Engineer Dr. Hugh Hunt virtually ascends to 21,000 feet in a low-pressure chamber to experience the debilitating conditions suffered by the Zeppelin pilots for himself (PHOTO: PBS)In the early days of World War I, Germany, determined to bring its British enemies to their knees, launched a new kind of terror campaign: bombing civilians from the sky. The lethal payloads rained down from Zeppelins — enormous airships, some the length of two football fields. With a team of engineers, explosives experts and historians, Nova investigates the secrets behind these deadly war machines. The program explores the technological arms race that unfolded as Britain scrambled to develop defenses that could neutralize the threat, while Germany responded with ever bigger and more powerful Zeppelins. Why were these monsters of the sky, filled with flammable hydrogen gas, so difficult to shoot down? Experts reconstruct and detonate deadly WWI incendiary bombs and test-fire antique flaming bullets to discover how the British devised unique artillery that would finally take down the biggest flying machines ever made.
Nova: Zeppelin Terror Attack, Wednesday at 9 on PBS 6.