Historically the French ultimately gained the upper hand over the Germans in aeroplane production in WW1, producing far more aircraft and winning control of the skies. Meanwhile the Germans, although producing plenty of aircraft themselves, are most famous for their usage of lighter-than-air zeppelins, that they used for bombing strategic targets in Paris and London and on post-war passenger routes. Ironically however, before the war the French had been perceived as being superior in lighter than air military applications in 1906 with French Lebaudy airships, followed in 1907 with La Patrie, a French semi-rigid aircraft. The Germans had been forced into reacting to French developments rather than leading, purchasing the rigid zeppelins despite their distaste at the extensive military drawbacks of this design. What might be the results if this situation was reversed, and French zeppelins - obviously with a different name - or lighter than air vessels in general, found greater success than their German counterparts, driven by national policy, different inventors, and luck and random chance, while on the German side greater effort went proportionally into their heavier than air programs?