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Location: /Squadron Patches/USN NAVY Squadrons

WWII Patch, USN, Blimpron ZP-3 ZP-12 NAS Lakehurst, NJ

WWII Patch, USN, Blimpron ZP-3 ZP-12 NAS Lakehurst, NJ

Product Information
WWII US Navy Squadron Patch
USN ZP-3    Blimpron
USN ZP-12  Blimpron
Navy Lighter Than Air Patrol Squadron #12 (early)  / #3 (late)
ZP-12 was an Airship Patrol Squadron flying Blimp type aircraft located at base, NAS Lakehurst, NJ.
ZP-3 was an Airship Patrol Squadron flying Blimp type aircraft located at base, NAS Lakehurst, NJ.
ZP = Lighter Than Air - Airship Patrol Squadron (Zeppelin, Dirigible, Blimp) Submarine Hunters
ZP = Airship Patrol Squadron - 1942-1961
ZP = Blimp Squadron - 1942-1961
ZP = Airship Patrol Squadron (All-Weather Anti-Submarine) or Airship Squadron or LTA Patrol Squadron - 1942-1961

5 1/8 inches


from wikipedia: An airship or dirigible is an aerostat  or "lighter-than-air aircraft" that can be steered and propelled through the air using rudders and propellers  or other thrust  mechanisms. Unlike other aerodynamic  aircraft such as fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, which produce lift by moving a wing, or airfoil, through the air, aerostatic aircraft, such as airships and hot air balloons, stay aloft by filling a large cavity, such as a balloon, with a lifting gas.

The main types of airship are non-rigid (or blimps), semi-rigid and rigid. Blimps are small airships without internal skeletons. Semi-rigid airships are slightly larger and have some form of internal support such as a fixed keel. Rigid airships with full skeletons, such as the huge Zeppelin transoceanic models, all but disappeared after several high-profile catastrophic accidents during the mid-20th century.

Airships were the first aircraft to enable controlled, powered flight, and were widely used before the 1940s, but their use decreased over time as their capabilities were surpassed by those of airplanes. Their decline continued with a series of high-profile accidents, including the 1937 burning of the hydrogen-filled Hindenburg near Lakehurst, New Jersey, and the destruction of the USS Akron. Airships are still used today in certain niche applications, such as advertising, tourism, camera platforms for sporting events, and aerial observation and interdiction platforms, where the ability to hover in one place for an extended period outweighs the need for speed and maneuverability.

World War II
While Germany determined that airships were obsolete for military purposes in the coming war and concentrated on the development of airplanes, the United States pursued a program of military airship construction even though it had not developed a clear military doctrine for airship use. At the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 that brought the United States into World War II, it had 10 non-rigid airships:

    * 4 K-class: K-2, K-3, K-4 and K-5 designed as patrol ships built from 1938.
    * 3 L-class: L-1, L-2 and L-3 as small training ships, produced from 1938.
    * 1 G-class built in 1936 for training.
    * 2 TC-class that were older patrol ships designed for land forces, built in 1933. The US Navy acquired them from the United States Army in 1938.

Only K- and TC-class airships were suitable for combat and they were quickly pressed into service against Japanese and German submarines  which were then sinking US shipping within visual range of the US coast. US Navy command, remembering the airship anti-submarine success from World War I, immediately requested new modern anti-submarine airships and on 2 January 1942 formed the ZP-12 patrol unit based in Lakehurst from the four K airships. The ZP-32 patrol unit was formed from two TC  and two L airships a month later, based at NAS Moffett Field in Sunnyvale, California. An airship training base was created there as well. In December 1941 and the first months of 1942, the Goodyear blimp Resolute was operated as an anti-submarine privateer  based out of Los Angeles. As the only US craft to operate under a Letter of Marque since the War of 1812, the Resolute, armed with a rifle and flown by its civilian crew, patrolled the seas for submarines.In the years 1942–44, approximately 1,400 airship pilots and 3,000 support crew members were trained in the military airship crew training program and the airship military personnel grew from 430 to 12,400. The US airships were produced by the Goodyear factory in Akron, Ohio. From 1942 till 1945, 154 airships were built for the US Navy (133 K-class, 10 L-class, seven G-class, four M-class) and five L-class for civilian customers (serial numbers L-4  to L-8).

The primary airship tasks were patrol and convoy escort near the US coastline. They also served as an organization center for the convoys to direct ship movements, and were used in naval search and rescue operations. Rarer duties of the airships included aerophoto reconnaissance, naval mine-laying and mine-sweeping, parachute unit transport and deployment, cargo and personnel transportation. They were deemed quite successful in their duties with the highest combat readiness factor in the entire US air force (87%).

In 1944-45, the United States Navy moved an entire squadron of eight Goodyear K class blimps (K-123, K-130, K-109, K-134, K-101, K-112, K-89, & K-114) with flight and maintenance crews from Weeksville Naval Air Station in North Carolina to Port Lyautey, French Morocco. Their mission was to locate and destroy German U-boats in the relatively shallow waters around the Strait of Gibraltar where magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) was viable. PBY aircraft had been searching these waters but MAD required low altitude flying that was dangerous at night for these aircraft. The blimps were considered a perfect solution to establish a 24/7 MAD barrier (fence) at the Straits of Gibraltar with the PBYs flying the day shift and the blimps flying the night shift. The first two blimps (K-123 & K-130) left South Weymouth NAS on 28 May 1944 and flew to Argentia, Newfoundland, the Azores, and finally to Port Lyautey where they completed the first transatlantic crossing by non-rigid airships on 1 June 1944. The blimps of USN Blimp Squadron ZP-14 (Blimpron 14, aka The Africa Squadron) also conducted mine-spotting and minesweeping operations in key Mediterranean ports and various escorts including the convoy carrying United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to the Yalta Conference in 1945.

During the war some 532 ships without airship escort were sunk near the US coast by enemy submarines. Only one ship, the tanker Persephone, of the 89,000 or so in convoys escorted by blimps was sunk by the enemy. Airships engaged submarines with depth charges and, less frequently, with other on-board weapons. They were excellent at driving submarines down, where their limited speed and range prevented them from attacking convoys. The weapons available to airships were so limited that until the advent of the homing torpedo they had little chance of sinking a submarine.

Only one airship was ever destroyed by U-boat: on the night of 18/19 July 1943, a K-class airship (K-74) from ZP-21 division was patrolling the coastline near Florida. Using radar, the airship located a surfaced German submarine. The K-74 made her attack run but the U-boat opened fire first. K-74's depth charges did not release as she crossed the U-boat and the K-74 received serious damage, losing gas pressure and an engine but landing in the water without loss of life. The crew was rescued by patrol boats in the morning, but one crewman, Aviation Machinist's Mate Second Class Isadore Stessel, died from a shark attack. The U-Boat, submarine U-134, was slightly damaged and the next day or so was attacked by aircraft sustaining damage that forced it to return to base. It was finally sunk on 24 August 1943 by a British Vickers Wellington near Vigo, Spain

Fleet Airship Wing One operated from Lakehurst, NJ, Glynco, GA, Weeksville, NC, South Weymouth NAS Massachusetts, Brunswick NAS and Bar Harbor ME, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and Argentia, Newfoundland.

Some US airships saw action in the European war theater. The ZP-14 unit operating in the Mediterranean area from June 1944 completely denied the use of the Gibraltar Straits to Axis submarines. Airships from the ZP-12 unit took part in the sinking of the last U-Boat before German capitulation, sinking U-881 on 6 May 1945 together with destroyers Atherton and Mobery.

Other airships patrolled the Caribbean, Fleet Airship Wing Two, Headquartered at NAS Richmond, Florida, covered the Gulf of Mexico from Richmond and Key West, FL, Houma, Louisiana, as well as Hitchcock and Brownsville, Texas. FAW 2 also patrolled the northern Caribbean from San Julian,[clarification needed] the Isle of Pines (now called Isla de la Juventud) and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as well as Vernam Field, Jamaica.

Navy blimps of Fleet Airship Wing Five, (ZP-51) operated from bases in Trinidad, British Guiana and Parmaribo, Dutch Guiana. Fleet Airship Wing Four operated along the coast of Brazil. Two squadrons, VP-41 and VP-42 flew from bases at Amapá, Igarape Assu, Sao Luiz, Fortaleza, Fernando de Noronha, Recife, Maceió, Ipitanga (near Salvador, Bahia), Caravellas, Vitoria and the hangar built for the Graf Zeppelin at Santa Cruz, Rio de Janeiro.

Fleet Airship Wing Three operated squadrons, ZP-32 from Moffett Field, ZP-31 at NAS Santa Ana, and ZP-33 at NAS Tillamook, Oregon. Auxiliary fields were at Del Mar, Lompoc, Watsonville and Eureka, CA, North Bend and Astoria, Oregon, as well as Shelton and Quillayute in Washington.

From 2 January 1942 till the end of war airship operations in the Atlantic, the airships of the Atlantic fleet made 37,554 flights and flew 378,237 hours. Of the over 70,000 ships in convoys protected by blimps, only one was sunk by a submarine while under blimp escort.

The Soviet Union used a single airship during the war. The W-12, built in 1939, entered service in 1942 for paratrooper training and equipment transport. It made 1432 runs with 300 metric tons of cargo until 1945. On 1 February 1945, the Soviets constructed a second airship, a Pobeda-class (Victory-class) unit (used for mine-sweeping and wreckage clearing in the Black Sea) which crashed on 21 January 1947. Another W-class - W-12bis Patriot - was commissioned in 1947 and was mostly used for crew training, parades and propaganda.
The end of Lighter than Air in U.S. Navy came with the disestablishment of Fleet Airship Wing One and ZP-1 and ZP-3, the last operating units in LTA branch of Naval Aviation, at Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1961.

Price: $150.00


Product Code: PatchUSN.003.ZP3Blimpron3
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