German Zeppelin
A German Zeppelin
The Remains of German Zeppelin L-33

The Birth of Strategic Bombing was in WWI when German Zeppelins began raiding London from bases in occupied Belgium. Small attacks against England were carried out early in the war, but by October 1915, "squadron-size" raids by numerous Zeppelins had begun, always at night and in the dark of the moon. Early in September 1916, a British fighter shot down an airship, and three weeks later, two Zeppelins attempting to attack London were also destroyed. Although Zeppelin performance was gradually improved, so were British balloons, and improved anti-aircraft defenses and heavy losses continued.

After a disastrous raid on August 5, 1918, the Germans practically discontinued Zeppelin warfare. There were 159 Zeppelin attacks against England in WWI, resulting in the death of 557 people, primarily civilians, and damages of $7,500,000.