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The German government ordered Major von Gross, the officer commanding the army balloon establishment outside Berlin, to commence the design of a large semi-rigid to match French efforts. Work began in 1906 under conditions of the greatest secrecy, and was to result in the construction of a series of airships distinguished by an envelope of elipsoidal form with a triangular-section, articulated tubular steel keel.
The structure evenly distributed the shear and compressive stresses that resulted from the weight of the cars and other loads, whilst allowing the envelope to retain its shape to the best aerodynamic advantage. The Gross airships were shown to be sturdy and well-engineered craft, the development of which benefited from the availability of almost unlimited resources provided by the German government.
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