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Zeppelin L-49 / LZ-96 / Type U
The L-49 was one of the lightened Type U “height climbers” designed by the Germans late in World War I, when improvements in Allied fighter aircraft and anti-aircraft artillery made it necessary for Zeppelins to climb to great altitudes to avoid being shot down. For the Zepeplins to rise to greater heights on a fixed volume of lifting gas, however, the weight and strength of their structures were dramatically reduced. This decrease in strength was accepted as a wartime necessity, since a structurally weaker Zeppelin flying above the reach of enemy aircraft and artillery was safer than a stronger Zeppelin that could be easily attacked.
USS Shenandoah was the first of four United States Navy rigid airships. The design was based on Zeppelin bomber L-49 (LZ-96), built in 1917 which had been forced down intact in France in October, 1917 and carefully studied.

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