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Cossacks and a Zepplin _Stereotypic slide

Down below the first two pics is my latest find from an antique store in Delavan, WI. The stereotypic  image portrays Russian Cossacks shooting down a German Zeppelin. There is no way to date the image but it would have to be either WW1 (1914-1918) or post-war. Although the eastern front in WW1 receives little attention the campaigns fought there were massive.

Russian Cossacks WW1. In 1914 the cavalry of many nations were still armed with lances.

Russian Cossacks WW1. In 1914 the cavalry of many nations were still armed with lances. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/289285976036701407/

A Zeppelin over the SMS Seydlitz, c.1914

A Zeppelin over the SMS Seydlitz, c.1914 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeppelin


The image is stereotypic. The slide fit into a viewer and gave a three-dimension feel to viewing the image. The stereotypic viewer was used as an entertainment device primarily from the 1850s through the 1930s. However, I remember having a children’s version in the 1960s and I’m sure those variety are still used today.

Today you can find the double image slides in antique stores and they are collectible as are the original viewers. I picked this slide up simply because it had a WW1 theme and because it is unusual in what it portrays.

The Cossacks of the Russian Steppes were enlisted by the Czars to serve primarily as cavalry. Some units attained elite status and were considered Guards units. In general, the Cossacks were feared by their enemies and had a reputation for brutality, rape and looting.

The Germans used Zeppelin’s extensively in the First World War usually as bombers but also in a reconnaissance role. The most famous Zeppelin of all was the Hindenburg that crashed in New Jersey in the 1930s.

The slide is an unlikely portrayal. Although Zeppelin’s were vulnerable to fighter aircraft and longer range anti-aircraft fire it is unlikely that one could be brought down by rifle fire especially by mounted cavalry. I’m guessing the slide is more for propaganda purposes than it is for anything else.

Russian Cossacks shooting down a German from Horseback.

it p Russian Cossacks shooting down a German from Horseback.


After I published this post a friend found some information on when and where the slide is based on. Here’s what he found:

I located a number of New Zealand newspapers that report the event. It was reported as taking place near Warsaw. The report carries dateline PEROGRAD, 14th October [1914] with the Zeppelin being captured intact and then taken to Warsaw. No additional details were given on how it was brought down.

There was a brief mention in the 26 October 1914 edition of The Times Dispatch (Richmond, VA) . . . An Italian telegraph agency at Rome Italy reports that the Cossacks have captured a Zeppelin near Warsaw. It is now officially stated that no Zeppelin has been taken to Warsaw, and that no such capture has been made there or elsewhere.

It does make an interesting story.

Thanks Paul for these fascinating details.

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