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Army Balloon: 1918

Army Balloon: 1918

Vicinity of Washington, D.C. Army balloon circa 1918-1921. View full size. Glass negative from the National Photo Company Collection.

 

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Passive restraint

These 'Barrage Balloons' were a cheap coastal defense against enemy planes attempting to strafe or bomb the areas inland of them. Beside the many ropes attached to them, they carried a woven steel cable anchored to the ground. Running into a cable at speed would usually shred enemy aircraft. Getting them aloft required great quantities of hydrogen gas, usually produced by pouring sulphuric acid over iron filings, a method little changed since the civil war.

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