A War Balloon Wrecked by Fire
That aerial monoplanes, biplanes and dirigible balloons intended for war purposes may prove more fatal to those employing them than to the enemy, is being daily demonstrated. The last proof was. perhaps, the most convincing, and has caused Germany’s aerial fleet to suffer a severe loss. One of its immense dirigible balloons was moored in a large hall at Reinickendorf, a suburb of Berlin. It was of the Semi-rigid type, with internal air balloonets to preserve its shape —the invention of Major Gross, of the Prussian army—and was being refilled with hydrogen gas by soldiers of the “flying corps.” This gas is highly inflammable and was being passed into the envelope from metal cylinders, when it exploded violently, the result was the complete destruction of the dirigible balloon and the hall, the latter being literally shattered and splintered. Strange to say, none of those in the hall was injured. The cause of the explosion is set down to the friction of the gas itself on the filling tube generating fire. The friction arose from the tube being overloaded, owing to the flow of gas being excessive. Molecular action was set up, the tube was perforated in consequence, the gas escaped and, on being exposed to the action of the oxygen of the atmosphere, broke out into flame, accompanied with a violent explosion.