LZ-55 (LZ-85) drawing.

Photo credits:

(Note: I could find no photographs of the LZ-55 before its downing in WW I)


The LZ-55 was built at Potsdam, Germany in 1915 during World War I and was used as a German bomber. She was produced as "LZ-55", but was given the designation as the "LZ-85" for her military service (LZ-85 was a tactical designation. In WW I, the German Army added '30' to the Zeppelin production number to obscure the number of Airships in production). She was 536 feet long, carried four 240 hp Maybach engines, and had a max speed of 60 mph. Her first flight was on September 12, 1915.


The LZ-55 was transferred to the German Army and she participated in her first mission on October 12, 1915 - a raid against Dunaburg, Latvia. Subsequently she participated in bombing raids on Minsk, the railroads of Riga, and Saloniki (Thessaloniki, Greece). Ultimately, she was shot down by the HMS Agamemnon on May 5, 1916 during her last attack on Saloniki.


The LZ-55 was shot down during a raid on Saloniki (Greece) and crashed into the Vadar river swamps near the mouth of the river.

Ignominious End

The crashed components of the LZ-55 were gathered and carried to Saloniki where officials did their best to reassemble the remains in an attempt to gather some intelligence on German military operations. It was, after all, World War I.

Sites of Interest


When the LZ-55 was shot down on May 5th, 1916, authorities gathered the debris and took it to what is now Thessaloniki, Greece. There they reassembled it as best they could in an attempt to glean as much intelligence as they could about German military operations. In this photo, you can see the girders being reassembled, with large poles erected to hold the assembly:

LZ-55 Wreckage.

Photo credits: Public Domain

The White Tower:

Very noticeably, the castle-like tower in the background just begs to be identified! Indeed, it is here, in Thessaloniki, Greece:

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The map tack above is at (Lat Lon) 40.626376 022.948328,

Zoomed-in the 3D view someone generously created, the scene today looks like this:

Thessaloniki, Greece.

Photo credits: Google Earth

If this is the proper view, it puts the LZ-55 wreckage assembly at Lat 40.626363 N, Lon 22.947953 E, on the ocean-side of the tower.

Here is a shot of the White Tower in 2009, taken from a perspective just a bit to the right of the shot of the LZ-55 framework:

White Tower.

Photo credits: Stefan Solakov

While the LZ-55 was reassembled at the White Tower, its crash site was "in the swamps at the mouth of the Vardar river". I found no record of the exact crash location, but the mouth of the Vardar at the time was here:

Vardar river mouth crash site.

Photo credits: Google Earth

Here I've placed a map tack at the mouth of the Vardar river - where the river mouth was originally located at the time of the LZ-55 crash. (Starting about 1930, many river projects were done which relocated the path of the Vardar further east.) Therefore the approximate site is at (Lat Lon) 40.589711 022.850232. Here is the view in Google Maps:

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A photo does exist of the LZ-55 crash site, before the remnants were taken to Thessaloniki:

LZ-55 crash site.

Photo credits: Public domain

I've marked this photo as located at (Lat Lon) 40.589711 022.850232, although this is just a guess as it is was in the marshes at the mouth of the Vardar river.

Thanks to reader Pavlos, who contacted me about the 1930's relocation of the mouth of the Vardar River.