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Alternate History

Marlin Class Airship (Of Clockwork and Men)

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Specifications
Principal Inventor Marzhin Cabal
Manufacturer Rembert Cabal Aeronautics
Type Air-destroyer
Years Produced 1900-1919
Number produced 13
In Service With (From)
  • French Air force (1900)
  • British Air force (1910)
  • Greek Air force (1920)
Variants (V) or Other designations (oD)
  • Flying Tortoise (oD-British)

Design & Role

A massive leap forwards in airship design this was the first purpose built Air-destroyer. Equipped with twelve Cabal cannons and thus capable of unleashing a devastating broadside the Marlin's thick armour made it virtually impregnable. However all this metal came at a cost. The Marlin was horrendously slow and rather low flying, making it vulnerable to anti-balloon emplacements, especially in the later years of the Great War when such things became more common and better built. As a consequence it was far more often used to repel enemy aviators than to go on the offensive. German Aviators, particularly early on when it seemed invincible are recorded as 'refusing to fly' when they knew one was waiting.

Complete list of all Marlin Class Models with historical information

RC-M1-001 Joan d' Arc

  • The first Marlin type to see combat, commanded by Capitaine Marie Ludovic Jules Guynemer, the Joan d' Arc is credited with the most victories of any Marlin. She Survived the war and Capitaine Marie Ludovic Jules Guynemer was awarded the Légion d'honneur. On display in St. Malo.

RC-M1-002 La fureur de l'aigle

  • The second Marlin type, it was demonstrated to the British by Rembert-Cabal in August 1908 at Ventor on the Isle of Wight, flown by Capitaine Gérard Fortin, who later took the helm of 'Le bourreau de Pilleur' . She was loaned to the British so the RFC might train personnel for the airships being built. She was based at RFC Southfields until July 1917 when it was handed back to French command. Deployed in the Somme, she was commanded by Capitaine Charles Paul Narcisse Moreau.

RC-M1-003 Cheval de guerre

  • Shot down over Paris. Papers and references are fragmentary, having been destroyed either in the War or during the burning of the original Rembert-Cabal works. However we do know from German records that she is credited to Luftschiff Verteidigung Kanonier Lukas Bäcker, who was attached to Infanterie-Regiment Bremen (1. Hanseatisches) Nr. 75. Her fall was the subject of a painting by Gustave Baumann, which, though a great work of art, is (by his own admission) "...a work of near fantasy with regard to historical accuracy."

RC-M1-004 Napoleon

  • Commanded by Capitaine Pascal Dubois she saw action close to the border with Switzerland. Credited with knocking out an entire Thor company in April 1919 and halting a potentially devastating German advance, she was the subject of a terrific revenge attack, which left her confined to the airship works for the remainder of the war. She was put on display in Marseilles, but was burned in the revolution, due to her name. Pascal Dubois later became a celebrated war poet, publishing his collected works, 'Nuages orageux au-dessus paradis' in 1931, much of which was written whilst on patrol.

RC-M1-005 Porteur de guerre

  • The only Marlin to see action outside the western front and the longest serving. Deployed to Juan de Nova Island to protect shipping she destroyed SMS Königsberg in an action much cited by the pro-aviation lobby as proof that the doctrine of a 'wet navy' had been rendered obsolete. She hindered German supply routes greatly, but was heavily damaged by a sabotage mission in July 1917 and shipped back to France where she underwent repairs. Her crew being untrained in the methods of the western front, and with Marlins being increasingly vulnerable to Anti-Balloon fire she flew out to Algiers and then on to serve in the Greek theater of action, where she was renamed AAM Antibes after the Ancient Greek colony. The Greeks offered a considerable sum of money for her after the war, and she was in due course sold to them, where she served at the siege of Constantinople, then as she became outclassed functioning as a transport and tanker eventually being decommissioned in 1950. On her way to the scrapyard the transport fell of the road and down a mounting leaving the ship a wreck, bar the steering wheel which inexplicably was found in perfect condition and is now on display in the Constantinople Museum of Aviation. Commanded by

RC-M1-006 Le bourreau de Pilleur

  • Commanded by Capitaine Gérard Fortin.

RC-M1-007 La lumière d'Hadès

  • The seventh Marlin type in service with the French, Commanded by Capitaine René Sicard. The First Marlin to be shot down in combat. Death credited to an anti-balloon position at Laon whose commanding officer was Luftschiff Verteidigung Richtschützen Kapitän Wilhelm Schwarzkopf.

RC-M1-008 Coeur du feu

RC-M1-009 Tueur de chauves-souris

  • The ninth French Marlin. Survived the war and was transferred to the Colonial branch, being posted to French Indochina.

RC-M1-010 Sabre de la vengeance

  • The final French Marlin to be produced it was commanded by Capitaine René Sicard, formerly of La lumière d'Hadès. Credited with very few kills as a consequence of being produced rather late in the war, but saw important action at Dollart, destroying German supply lines and bombarding Emden. In particular one salvo is credited with destroying Nordseewerke, a testament to the power of the Marlin. Now owned by a private collector.

RC-M1-011 Victoria

  • First of the five airships commissioned by the British. Commanded by Captain Richard Eden Morriss. Credited with numerous victories she was the most successful of the British Marlins. Survived and is on display at the Imperial War Museum in Birmingham.

RC-M1-012 Elizabeth

  • Second of the  five airships commissioned by the British. Commanded by Captain Frank Le Moignan CallawayShot down on it's second mission by a German Anti-Balloon emplacement. All on-board perished.

RC-M1-013 Matilda

  • Third of the five airships commissioned by the British and the last one produced. Originally commanded by Captain Robert Goodman Kerr, who was killed over Calais, where the airship sustained near fatal damage in a fight with the Lola Montez of Germany, commanded by Captain Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen, The Crimson Count. Only one person survived, an errand boy William Lovegrove, who it transpired had saved the airship from completely crashing, taking the helm in the absence of anyone else being near enough. After treatment at hospital William was promoted to Captain and when the Matilda was fully repaired six months later William was given command. The airship survived the war and was on display at Darwin, to which Captain Lovegrove had emigrated at the close of the war for a number of years before being destroyed by Cyclone Tracy in 1974.


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