In my AH there are large airships which are more advanced than those in our time line, i.e. real history (hereafter known as "OTL"). Country A has invaded country B and B needs to get some 'marines' to the threatened cities quickly (more quickly than marching/driving).

Country a B has good rail network but I'd assume large airships may be slightly quicker to get light infantry/bicycle/motorcycle troops to the threatened area - to be followed up by train-borne heavier troops in slightly slower time.

My question is this: how many troops could a large airship carry? (Obviously they don't need the level of luxury that the passengers in OTL enjoyed.)

  • $\begingroup$ The weight and volume of the troops themselves seems incidental. Your problem is the weight of all their kit, all of their equipment, a pre-packaged one week of the fuel for that equipment, all of their weapons, and one week of the ammunition for those weapons. That's enormous. If you have all that kit and equipment pre-positioned, then you likely don't need the troops -- the city's militia, plentifully so equipped, can handle the defense. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    May 10, 2022 at 13:01
  • $\begingroup$ It's unclear what "OTL" means. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    May 10, 2022 at 13:03
  • $\begingroup$ I love the idea of bicycle troops to minimize weight! $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    May 10, 2022 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ Also none of the bike marines weigh more than 50kg, and are armed with pumpable air rifles and ninja swords. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    May 10, 2022 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ actually just reading this which was what prompted me was an early 20th century way to increase infantry mobility amazon.co.uk/Military-History-Bicycle-Forgotten-Machine-ebook/… $\endgroup$
    – Millsy
    May 10, 2022 at 14:50

1 Answer 1


It depends on how much in the way of equipment they need to carry with them (ammunition, weapons, food, water etc). But as a guide I would use the US airship Akron: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Akron This could carry up to 72 tonnes of cargo. This cargo included 5 planes which could be launched and caught in the air. But Assuming the planes weren't carried and the hanger area was modified for troops around 600 at 120kg each including kit and modest supplies could be carried.

I'm not sure if 600 people could be accommodated, but an additional floor might be added at a weight penalty and either the size could be modestly increased or hydrogen could be used instead of (or as well as) the helium which Akron and her sister ship Macon used.

  • $\begingroup$ 600 people are the battallion range, then consisting of 3 or 4 companies of 200 or 150 each, which then have their subdivisions. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    May 10, 2022 at 13:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That 120Kg seems light. Doing quick search suggests 45Kg(100lbs) of gear is common with US soldiers. So budgeting 140 Kg per soldier might be more reasonable. Non modest heavy kit apparently is 90Kg per. $\endgroup$ May 10, 2022 at 18:31
  • $\begingroup$ Sure you pays your money and takes your choice. The troops can be transferred but how much kit do they need with them and what is available when they arrive? 73 tonnes and maybe double that with hydrogen... $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    May 10, 2022 at 22:26

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