Zeppelin airships were a key weapon for the Germans during the 1914 to 1918 war but production placed a huge demand on cow guts, used to make gas holding cells.
It took more than 250,000 cows to make a single airship and the animals' intestines became so precious that making bratwurst and other sausages was temporarily made illegal in areas under German control.
Details of the sausage ban were uncovered by researchers working on a Channel 4 documentary.
For the programme Dr Hugh Hunt, a University of Cambridge engineer, examined the role of the Zeppelin in the war. "One of the most intriguing things about the Zeppelins is that we don't have a huge amount of information about how they were built, nor about how they were destroyed," he said.
"But while shooting down a massive hydrogen balloon sounds pretty easy, actually it was quite the opposite."London's East End and other towns in east and southern England, including Hull, King's Lynn and Great Yarmouth, were targeted.
Because of their stealth, the attacks were difficult to counter and when the raids ended in 1917, 77 of the 115 German airships had been shot down but 1,500 British citizens had been killed.
Eventually an incendiary bullet which set the Zeppelins alight was developed.