Самолеты (сортировка по:)
Страна Конструктор Название Год Фото Текст

Zeppelin-Staaken VGO.I/VGO.II

Страна: Германия

Год: 1915

Бомбардировщик

Zeppelin-Lindau (Dornier) - Rs.IV - 1918 - Германия<– –>Zeppelin-Staaken - R.V - 1916 - Германия


В.Кондратьев Самолеты первой мировой войны


На рубеже 1914-1915 годов сразу несколько германских авиафирм практически одновременно приступили к созданию крупных многомоторных бомбардировочных аэропланов. Наибольших успехов в этом деле добился коллектив, возглавляемый выдающимся инженером-дирижаблестроителем графом Фердинандом Цеппелином. К работе над проектом Цеппелин привлек целую плеяду талантливых ученых. Среди них были Эрнст Хейнкель, Клаудио Дорнье, Адольф Рорбах, Хельмут Хирт, чьи имена впоследствии прославили немецкую авиацию. Строительство первых летающих гигантов проходило на основанной Цеппелином совместно с Густавом Кляйном и Робертом Бошем фирме Фершухс Гота Ост (Versuchs Gotha Ost, сокращенно - VGO). Позднее VGO объединилась с фирмой Штаакен, также возглавлявшейся графом Цеппелином. Всего за годы войны было создано 16 модификаций аэропланов VGO и "Цеппелин-Штаакен" (не считая гидросамолетов), две из которых выпускались серийно. Большинство из этих машин заслуживает отдельного описания.
  
  
МОДИФИКАЦИИ
  
  VGO-I и VGO-II. Первый экспериментальный образец с заводским индексом VGO-I впервые поднялся в воздух 11 апреля 1915 года. Это был многостоечный цельнодеревянный биплан с двойным оперением и полотняной обшивкой. На момент создания VGO-I - крупнейший самолет в мире.
   Два двигателя "Майбах" Mb.IV по 240 л.с. с толкающими винтами размещались в каплевидных мотогондолах, еще один такой же мотор с тянущим винтом - в носовой части фюзеляжа. В передних частях гондол предусматривалась установка пулеметных турелей. Шасси трехопорное с носовой стойкой. Экипаж - 7 человек: 2 пилота, 3 механика (по одному на каждый мотор) и 2 стрелка.
   После успешного облета машины на заводском аэродроме ее отправили для войсковых испытаний на восточный фронт. Затем самолет вернули на фирму, где с целью повышения энерговооруженности установили в мотогондолы еще два "Майбаха" в тандем к предыдущим. Таким образом аппарат стал пятимоторным.
   В одном из испытательных полетов модернизированный VGO-I потерпел катастрофу и не восстанавливался. VGO-II был практически идентичен с VGO-I в его раннем, трехмоторном варианте. Самолет также использовался в 1916 году на русско-германском фронте, а затем -в качестве учебной машины.


O.Thetford, P.Gray German Aircraft of the First World War (Putnam)


Zeppelin-Staaken V.G.O. I
  First of the Zeppelin "Giants", the V.G.O. I (Versuchs Gotha Ost) made its first flight on 11th April 1915. It was a three-engined machine - two pusher, one tractor - with gun positions at the front end of each engine nacelle. The machine set a standard of size and construction that was maintained throughout the "Giant" series, except for detail refinements, reference to which may be found in the main text. Built for the German Navy, the machine bore the serial R.M.L. 1 and served on the Eastern Front; it was later returned to Staaken and two additional engines were fitted in the nacelles. In this guise the aircraft crashed at Staaken while under test, two crew members, Vollmoller and Klein, being killed.
  Engines, three 240 h.p. Maybach Mb IV. Span, 42.2 m. (138 ft. 5 5/8 in.). Length, 24 m. (78 ft. 9 in.). Height, 6.6 m. (21 ft. 7 7/8 in.). Area, 332 sq.m. (3,586 sq.ft.). Weights: Empty, 6,520 kg. (14,344 lb.). Loaded, 9,520 kg. (20,944 lb.). Speed, 110 km.hr. (68.75 m.p.h.). Climb, 2,000 m. (6,560 ft.) in 39 min. Armament, four machine-guns.
  Data after modification to five 245 h.p. Maybachs. Weights: Empty, 7,450 kg. (16,390 lb.). Loaded, 11,485 kg. (25,267 lb.). Speed, 130 km.hr. (81.25 m.p.h.). Climb, 3,000 m. (9,840 ft.) in 60 min.
  N.B. The V.G.O. II was a virtually identical aeroplane, also to the three-engined formula. Serialled R 9/15, it was used on the Eastern Front and later used as a trainer.


G.Haddow, P.Grosz The German Giants (Putnam)


VGO.I - RML.I

  Although work on the VGO.I, as the first bomber was called by the Company, started in September 1914, final plans were not completed until December. Construction moved too rapidly, and in January 1915 work was temporarily halted to await delivery of the new 240 h.p. Maybach HS engines, which were to prove an unsuccessful aircraft version of the HSLu airship engine. Meanwhile interference came, of all places, from the Prussian War Office, which held it extraordinary that anyone besides themselves would dare take the initiative in weapons development, a field in which they alone considered themselves experts. Consequently, the War Office blocked the Graf at every turn, but the tenacious old gentleman, supported by Feldflugchef Thomsen and Admiral Dick, energetically pushed the project past all obstacles. Nevertheless, a nip-and-tuck race developed between the completion date of the VGO.I and the patience of the military authorities which was slowly running out. The situation was such that detached military personnel working on the bomber were to be recalled and had but few days leave remaining when Hirth piloted the VGO.I on its maiden flight on 11 April 1915.
  The flight crew consisted of two pilots seated in a large open cockpit, one commander/navigator and three mechanics, one for each engine. Their means of communication was very crude; it consisted of bell signals and blackboards upon which orders were written. An eye-witness also remembers Hirth signalling vigorously by hand to the mechanics in the outboard nacelles.
  Three 240 h.p. Maybach HS engines were installed; one was mounted in the fuselage nose and drove a tractor propeller, the other two were mounted in nacelles, driving pusher propellers within the wing gap. Each nacelle was supported at mid-gap by a pair of inverted V-struts. In its original form the fuel tanks were placed in the nacelles ahead of the engines. Initially uncowled, the front of the nacelles were later covered by streamlined metal fairings. Cooling was provided by six Haegele & Zweigle radiators, one along each side of the nose engine and two similarly placed on each nacelle.
  The four-bay wing structure with it swept-back leading edges and light negative stagger set the basic pattern for all the Staaken design that followed. Structurally, the wing was very similar to the Staaken R.VI type, and is described in detail in that chapter. Plain unbalanced ailerons were fitted to the wings.
  Typical of its day, the fuselage was a slab-sided structure with a rounded top-decking extending forward from the large open dorsal cockpit behind the rear cabane struts to the nose. Aft of this decking the top and bottom longerons converged towards the tail to meet in a horizontal knife-edge. From the attachment point of the front cabane struts, the upper longerons were angled down towards the thrust line of the nose engine. The rectangular fuselage was of mixed construction, with four wood longerons and welded steel tubing frames; those in the forward part of the fuselage were reinforced with diagonal tubes. The fuselage was cable-braced and fabric-covered, with the exception of the plywood panelled top-decking and nose sides back to the pilot's position.
  Provision was made for bomb to be carried in a cage at the centre of gravity, but the 1000 kg. bomb for which this aircraft was originally developed was not dropped by R-planes until 1918.
  The biplane tail surfaces were located at a point slightly below mid-gap by a pair of V-struts above and below the fuselage. In its general form the tail cellule was of narrow gap and incorporated four small fins and unbalanced rudders spaced along the span. Plain elevators were fitted to both upper and lower tail surfaces. The control cables passed along the outside of the fuselage to large quadrants at the cockpit.
  Two simple V-type undercarriages, each with four wheels arranged in pairs, were positioned under the nacelles. A similar undercarriage of lighter construction was mounted beneath the nose. Unlike the later Staaken machines, the VGO.I rested on its nose wheels when fully loaded. This brought the wings with their large angle of incidence into take-off altitude.
  The Maybach HS engine which powered the VGO.I was developed from a line of successful airship engines, but in the process of redesign and weight reduction it had fared badly. Beset by continual operational failures, particularly overheating at high revolution during take-off, the HS engine was responsible for substantial delays of the Staaken and SSW R-plane programmes; designers were eventually forced to resort to less powerful but more reliable engine.
  On 6 June 1915 the VGO.I made its first long cross-country flight from Gotha to the Maybach Works in Friedrichshafen. It took six month, until the winter of 1915, to provide the VGO.I with sufficiently reliable HS engines so that the Navy duration and acceptance flights could be flown in Friedrichshafen. On 15 December 1915 while on the return flight to Gotha with Hans Vollmoller and Flugmaat Willy Mann at the controls and Hirth as aircraft commander, the VGO.I ran into a severe snowstorm over the Thuringen Forest. Due to a failure in the oil lines, two of the three engines had cut-out. As it was impossible to maintain height on one engine, the crew had no choice but to make a forced landing. With exemplary skill they put the machine down in a small forest clearing at Geroldsgrun, with heavy damage to the aircraft but with no injuries to the crew.
  This marked the end of nine months' sustained effort to get the new Maybach HS engines running properly in an equally untried airframe. The team of engineers at Gotha were not discouraged by this unfortunate crash. They collected the remains and rebuilt the machine incorporating many new features. Profiting by the experience gained in flight testing the VGO.I, some of the improvements had already been built into the VGO.II, which had been completed by this time.
  As reconstructed, the VGO.I had cowled engines with gun positions for a gunner/mechanic in the front of each nacelle. The interplane struts were faired, replacing the plain tubes of the original machine. A large streamlined gravity tank, which was to become a permanent feature of later types, was built into the top of the centre-section cabane. A single radiator was fitted on the top of the nose for the single tractor engine; the pusher engines retained their twin H & Z radiators. The original tail unit had proved to be rather inadequate for directional control. It was replaced by one similar to that on the VGO.II, except that the fin area was increased and rudders balanced. The HS engine was not replaced, for it was still the most powerful aircraft engine available; yet in spite of countless improvements and modifications, it was never equal to the task set before it.
  The rebuilt VGO.I first flew on 16 February 1916. It was later accepted by the Navy and then assigned to Navy Kommando L.R.I, a special group formed under the command of Lt.z.S. Ferdinand Rasch to evaluate the new weapon on the Eastern Front. The letters RML.I painted on the fuselage side stood for Reichs Marine Landflugzeug I (Reich Navy Landplane I). Commanded by Rasch and flown by Navy pilots Lt. d. R. Carl Kuring and Flugmaat Willy Mann, the RML.I left Gotha for Alt-Auz in June 1916. It took two months to complete the trip that was normally a three-day flight. The trip to Doberitz was uneventful, but an unscheduled landing was made en route at Schneidemuhl to perform minor engine repairs. Several days later during the take-off run, the nose landing gear broke away and the machine came to rest on its nose. The small damage was promptly repaired and the RML.I was on its way to Alt-Auz when overheating engines (made known to the pilots when the nacelle engine mechanics held up their blackboards with the high temperatures chalked in large letters) forced an emergency landing on a small airfield near Konigsberg. New engines had to be installed. All was in readiness when, shortly before becoming airborne, the main undercarriage collapsed and the RML.I slid to a stop on its belly. Extensive and time-consuming repairs were required, but the newly-installed undercarriage was still not robust enough, and it collapsed again on the next take-off attempt. Finally, at the end of July 1916 the RML.I reached its destination at Alt-Auz. What today may read like a comedy of errors was regarded at the time with much misgiving by the crews flying these early unreliable and cantankerous R-planes. They greatly preferred to be aloft in a single-engined combat machine of proven worth.
  According to the Kommando L.R.I. War Diary, the first bomb raid was made on 15 August 1916, after an abortive start on 13 August, when it was to have attacked in company with the Army R-plane (VGO.II), then also stationed at Alt-Auz. The War Diary lists four bomb raids: the rail terminal at Schlok (15 August), the Russian air station at Lebara (16 August), the air station at Runo Island and troop encampment at Kemmern (17 August), and a cancelled raid on Kemmern (24 August) due to boiling left nacelle radiator shortly after take-off. On these raids the RML.I carried a store of bombs that varied according to the mission. Against air stations it carried 6 x 50 kg. (Karbonit), 8 x 20 kg. (Karbonit), and 4 x 10 kg. incendiary (Goldschmidt) bombs. For attacks against troop installations 32 x 12 kg. (Karbonit), 21 x 20 kg. (Karbonit) and 9 x 10 kg. incendiary (Goldschmidt) bombs were carried.
  Pasted into the last pages of the War Diary is a short telegram from the Commander of the Baltic Sea force to the Navy Staff dated 1 September 1916 saying that the "RML.I has in the meantime been damaged". Here is what had happened. It was night; pilots Kuring and Mann were at the controls and the RML.I had just taken the air fully loaded with fuel and bombs. The machine was straining for altitude when at 50 metres two of its engines, one after the other, "exploded". Having no choice but to go down, the pilots guided the aircraft gently into the pine forest below; although sixty-nine trees were sheared off, the dense foliage lessened the impact of the crash, which saved the RML.I from destruction by explosion or fire. Only the fuselage was worth salvaging, and it was sent back to Staaken to receive new wings and engines. The Kommando L.R.I. was disbanded, its members received other assignments and everyone was relieved that the career of the unpredictable RML.I was finally ended - or so they thought.
  It was decided to rebuild the underpowered RML.I by replacing the original three engines and increasing their number to a total of five 245 h.p. Maybach Mb.IVa engines, one in the nose and two in each nacelle geared to a single four-bladed propeller. (One source claims that two 160 h.p. Mercedes D.III engines geared to a single propeller were located in the nose) The Maybach Mb.IVa, a vast improvement over the HS engine, had become available in late 1916, and it was the first of the "over-compressed" engines developed by the Germans for high-altitude use (see Staaken R.VI chapter for details). Standard slab-type radiators were fitted, those on the front struts being placed higher than the rear ones. The entire tail plane structure was raised to the top longerons and modified to have a single bay on each side. Like the Li-Ho R.I 8/15, the new fuselage and tail were entirely covered in Cellon in an attempt to make the machine partially invisible.
  On 10 March 1917 the reconstructed VGO.I was readied for its maiden flight. The first pilot was Vollmoller, the second pilot was Kuring, who had been recalled from Marine Jagdstaffel 2. Rasch wanted to go along too, but Gustav Klein, who had been ordered by Bosch not to fly, jokingly told him to "stay behind and sweep up the pieces". Kuring stated that the VGO.I was still under Navy cognizance, which explained his presence and that of the other Navy personnel aboard. The take-off went smoothly, but as the VGO.I was circling the Staaken airfield a terrific detonation occurred in the left engine nacelle and the propeller stopped. The pilots immediately gave hard right rudder to compensate for the unequal thrust, and the machine responded well, flying a straight line to land parallel to the large airship sheds. Three days previously, while familiarizing himself with the controls, Kuring discovered and immediately reported that the rudder pedals were not functioning properly. In the hard-over position the pedal jammed and could not be returned to the neutral position. This fault had not been repaired. As Vollmoller cut the remaining engines preparatory to landing, the hard right rudder, robbed of its compensating force, slowly forced the VGO.I into a right turn. Kuring at once unfastened his safety belt and crept under the control panel to pull the rudder pedals over from their jammed position. It was too late. Vollmoller was helpless to prevent the VGO.I from reversing course and smashing head-on into the door of the air hip shed. Vollmoller was killed instantly, and Klein died after a few hours. Kuring was thrown out by the impact, and though he suffered severe head injuries he was able to rejoin Marine Jasta 2 and thence enjoy a long and varied aeronautical career.
  Graf Zeppelin had died two days earlier on 8 March 1917. Thus, in a span of three days, German R-plane development had lost three of its most important contributors, but serious as the loss may have been, their heritage was well founded. At that very moment the Staaken organization was building and testing new R-planes, destined to be the only giant bombers to enter operational service on the Western Front. It was the sustained efforts and enthusiasm of people such as Graf Zeppelin, Gustav Klein and Hans Vollmoller which made this achievement possible.

Colour Scheme and Markings

  The VGO.I as it first flew carried no markings; it was clear doped overall giving it a pale buff colour. Later, the black Patee cross on a white square background was painted on the wingtips, fuselage sides and rudders. The tail markings occupied the complete area of the vertical tail surfaces. The serial number RML.I was painted on the fuselage after the VGO.I was taken over by the Navy. In its final form, with five engines, the markings conformed to the current style, that is the Patee crosses received thin white outlines.


SPECIFICATIONS

Type: VGO.I-RML.I (three-engined version) VGO.I (five-engined version)
  Manufacturer: Versuchsbau G.m.b.H., Gotha-Ost
  Engines: Three 240 h.p. Maybach HS engines Four 245 h.p. Maybach Mb.IVa engines
   Two 160 h.p. Mercedes D.III engines
   or
   Five 245 h.p. Maybach Mb.IVa engines
  Dimensions:
   Span, 42•2 m. (138 ft. 5 1/2 in.)
   Length, 24 m. (78 ft. 9 in.)
   Height, 6•6 m. (21 n. 7 1/2 in.)
  Areas: Wings, 332 sq. m. (3572 sq. ft.) 320 sq. m. (3443 sq. ft.)
  Weights:
   Empty, 6520 kg. (14,377 lb.) 7450 kg. (16,427 lb.)
   Loaded, 9520 kg. (20,992 lb.) 11,485 kg. (25,325 lb.)
  Wing Loading: 29•7 kg./sq. m. (6,1 lb./sq. ft.) 37-4 kg. sq. m. (7'7 lb./sq. ft.)
  Performance:
   Maximum speed, 110 km.h. (68-4 m.p.h.) 130 km.h. (80,8 m.p.h.)
   Climb, 2000 m. (6562 ft.) in 39 mins. -
   Ceiling, 3000 m. (9843 ft.) in 79 mins. in 60 mins.
  Fuel: 1500 litres (330 Imp. Gals.)
  Armament: Provision for dorsal, ventral and nacelle machine-gun positions
  Service Use: Eastern Front with Kommando L.R.I. at Alt-Auz, August 1916 None


VGO.II

  The VGO.II, first of a long line of Staaken giants accepted by the Army, was begun in December 1914 and its first flight was made in early September 1915. The flight characteristics were 'very satisfying' but radiator and engine problems caused appreciable delays. The VGO.II was accepted by Idflieg on 28 November 1915 and allocated the serial number R.9/15.
  In construction and dimensions the airframe was virtually identical to the earlier VGO.I. However, in light of experience gained during test flights of the VGO.I, several modifications were made. In particular, the tail unit was redesigned; it retained the same biplane horizontal surfaces, but the gap was increased considerably. The number of vertical tail surfaces was reduced from four to two, but the rudders were given increased area, and the place of the inner rudders was taken by a pair of interplane struts. At a later date the fin area was increased by the addition of a large central fin. Another change was that the nacelles were fitted with a nose machine-gun position. The three 240 h.p. Maybach HS engines were cooled by H & Z radiators placed alongside the engines as in the prototype, with the exception that the fuselage radiators were of increased area. These were later replaced by block radiators mounted above the nacelles and fuselage nose. Additional machinegun positions were located above and below the fuselage, one directly behind the rear cabane struts and the other farther aft level with the lower-wing trailing edge. This ventral position remained a standard feature on all later Staaken types.
  In February 1916 the R.9 was delivered from Doberitz via Konigsberg to Rfa 500 at Alt-Auz. The 900 km. distance was flown in 7 1/2 hours in spite of snow flurries and low-hanging cloud cover, which forced the VGO.II to fly below 100 metres from Tilsit on. Offiziersstellvertreter (acting officer), Selmer piloted the VGO.II on a number of operational test flights. While he claimed that the VGO.II dropped bombs on Russian targets as early as March 1916, no records have been found to back up his statement. It was not until five months later that the VGO.II was to receive credit for the first acknowledged successful R-plane bombing attack.
  On 13 August 1916 the VGO.II took off from Alt-Auz, under the command of Oberleutnant Haller von Hallerstein, and successfully bombed the Russian rail junction at Schlok. The bomber was in the air for 3 hrs. 30 mins., carrying a useful load of 2296 kg. and reaching an altitude of 2500 metres. The VGO.II participated in a number of effective missions, such as the attack on the Russian railway station at Rodenpois in late autumn 1916. Having taken-off in the face of rapidly deteriorating weather, unexpected strong head winds were encountered on the return flight, and with 40 km. to go, the fuel ran out. The flight crew (Lt. Luhr, Lt. Frhr. von Buttlar and commander Lt. Max Schaefer) made a safe emergency landing on a small Fokker fighter field at Paulsgnade near Mitau. Just short of coming to a stop, the VGO.II ran into a shallow ditch, which tore away the undercarriage, but with the exception of one broken strut, the aircraft was undamaged. Repairs were quickly made, and within a few days Vollmoller and Luhr flew the VGO.II back to Alt-Auz.
  Luhr, who was also technical officer of Rfa 500, recalled an abortive attempt to place a machine-gunner in the tail of the VGO.II. On return from the sole test flight the hapless gunner was pulled out of the tail more dead than alive. Tail oscillations due to the flexibility of the fuselage structure (a common occurrence in the Staaken R-planes) had given the gunner a severe bout of air-sickness.
  Another recollection of interest is that each time a downdraft was encountered the dangling Karbonit bombs, which were suspended vertically in the bomb bay, clanked together, making sounds like a "dancing skeleton", not to mention the adverse influence of the swinging mass of bombs on the flight characteristics.
  Among the more fascinating episodes in the development of R-planes was the installation of a downward-firing 13 cm. (5,13 in.) calibre cannon (called Aussstossrohr or launching tube) in the VGO.II. Leutnant Dr. Ernst Neuber of Fea 3 at Gotha reasoned that the higher the velocity of a downward-launched projectile, the shorter its flight duration, hence the better its accuracy and the greater its impact velocity. Neuber's report includes calculations on the feasibility of penetrating the deck armour of British battleships. On 10 February 1916 Neuber was authorized by the Prufanstalt und Werft to proceed, and on 25 May a 12 kg. projectile was test fired from a 20 metre high tower into a 10 metre deep pit. A recoil force of 500-800 kg. was measured. Although VGO engineers were sure a 1500 kg. recoil force could be safely absorbed, the VGO.II structure was nevertheless reinforced. The cannon was mounted near the centre of gravity. Ground firing trial were performed on 6 and 10 October 1916 with varying powder charges. The recoil was only slightly noticeable, and in no way considered to be dangerous. After some small improvements and installation of a simple aiming device airborne firing tests were conducted on 19 October 1916. Again the much-feared recoil problem was found to be non-existent, the aircraft easily absorbing the recoil forces. Firing from a height of 800 metres, the shots missed the target by 40-45 metres, but this was blamed on the inadequacy of the aiming device. The gun was returned to the factory for modification, and it is not known if further tests were conducted with the VGO.II; although a high-velocity 10•5 cm. calibre cannon was ordered on 7 November 1917, Neuber proposed a cannon-carrying. 2000 h.p. R-plane and obtained a patent, No. 305,039, for the gun-mounting system.
  As the newer R-planes became available for service, the underpowered VGO.II was retired from operational service and relegated to training air crews at Doberitz. As a trainer, the VGO.II gave good service, and many of the crews that flew more powerful and improved giants later in the war must have had their first experience in this machine. In official records it was carried as a training machine attached to the Rea in Doberitz as of 1 January 1917. The following June it was under repair and it was fitted with a strengthened undercarriage. The end of the VGO.II came when it crashed and broke its back at Staaken, the exact date is unknown but it was probably in the summer of 1917. Photographs show that the machine did not catch fire, there are no reports of any officers being killed in the incident and the crew are believed to have escaped.
  In the spring of 1915 Austria-Hungary became interested in R-planes, and the greak Skoda works purchased a set of bomber plans, ostensibly of the VGO.I or VGO.II, from which an improved type was to be built. However, in spite of Austria-Hungary's thriving aircraft industry, no R-planes were ever constructed in that country.

Colour Scheme and Markings

  The VGO.II was clear doped overall. The Patee cross on a white background was painted on the outer surfaces of the fin and rudders, fuselage sides, the top and underside of the upper wingtips and on the underside of the lower wingtips. At a later date the style of the Patee crosses was changed and the serial number R.9/15 painted in black on the sides of the fuselage.


SPECIFICATIONS

Type: VGO.II
  Manufacturer: Versuchsbau G.m.b.H., Gotha-Ost
  Engines: Three 240 h.p. Maybach HS (or Mb.IV) engines
  Dimensions:
   Span, 42•2 m. (138 ft. 5 1/2 in.)
   Chord inner, 4•6 m. (15 ft. 1 in.)
   outer, 3•6 m. (11 ft. 10 in.)
   Gap inner, 4•6 111. (15 ft. 1 in.)
   outer, 3•6 m. (11ft. 10 in.)
   Incidence inner, 5 1/2 degrees
   outer, 2 degrees
   Dihedral upper, none
   lower, 3 degrees
   Length, 23•78 m. (78 ft.)
   Height, 7 m. (22 ft. 11 1/2 in.)
   Tailspan, 9 m. (29 ft. 6 in.)
   Wheel diameter, 1•02 m. (3 ft. 4 in.)
   Propeller diameter, 3•88 m. (12 ft. 9 in.)
  Areas: Wings, 332 sq. m. (3572 sq. ft.)
  Weights:
   Wings. 2,070 kg.
   Tail unit, 365 kg.
   Fuselage, 1,270 kg.
   Accessorie , 140 kg.
   Undercarriage, 793 kg.
   Engines, 1,999 kg.
   ----
   Empty, 6,637 kg. (14,635 lb.)
   Fuel, 1,126 kg. (2,483 lb.)
   Disposable load, 2,440 kg. (5,380 lb.)
   ----
   Loaded, 10,203 kg. (22,498 lb.)
  Wing Loading: 30•7 kg. sq. m. (6'3 lb./sq. ft.)
  Performance: Similar to VGO.I
  Fuel:
   Tank 1, 1120 litres (247 Imp. Gals.)
   Tank 2, 668 litre (147 Imp. Gals.)
   Gravity tank, 24 litres (5,3 Imp. Gal.)
   Oil engines, 36 litres (7,9 Imp. Gals.)
   Oil tank, 102 litres (22-4 Imp. Gals.) . . .
  Armament: Provision for dorsal, ventral and two nacelle machine-gun positions .
  Service Use: Eastern Front with Rfa 500 at Alt-Auz 1916. Training machine at Doberitz 1916-17
  Cost: The German Government paid 360,000 marks for the VGO.II. Construction cost 401,000 marks, and engines cost 75,000 marks.
  

G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
The VGO.I shown in its original form during the spring of 1915. This machine was the ancestor of the Staaken line of R-planes.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
VGO.I. The double interplane cables are here shown faired without first being drawn together as they were on all later types. Standing in front of the aircraft are (from L. to R.) VGO engineers Hans Baumeister, Philipp Simon and Foreman Hungs.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
The VGO.I on its maiden flight at Gotha, 11 April 1915.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Appearance or the VGO.I in the autumn of 1915, with modified nacelles and new tail unit.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Hellmuth Hirth's crash with the VGO.I in the Thuringen Forest. 15 December 1915.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Mishap with the rebuilt VGO.I (RML.I), during the take-off at Schneidemuhl for the journey to Alt-Auz, June 1916
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
A further mishap to the RML.I en route to the Front. Undercarriage failure on the airfield at Konigsberg.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Temporary shelter erected over the RML.I while under repair at Konigsberg.
O.Thetford, P.Gray - German Aircraft of the First World War /Putnam/
V.G.O. I. Attendant personnel lend scale showing how collossal these machines really were.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
The RML.l as used on operations over the Eastern Front.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
The RML.I and the VGO.II on the airfield at Alt-Auz.
A.Imrie - German Naval Air Service /Arms & Armour/
The land-based Riesentlugzeug (Giant Aeroplane) was evaluated as a possible addition to the naval airship for bombing and longrange scouting purposes. However, experience with RMLl (Reichs Navy Landplane 1) was plagued with difficulties. Engine troubles and structural failures of undercarriage assemblies were eventually overcome and the aircraft participated in some bombing operations on the Eastern Front, until, on a fully loaded night take-off late in August 1916, a double engine failure resulted in this crash into a Russian forest.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
The last landing of the RML.I on the Eastern Front.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Crash of the RML.I in the forest near Alt-Auz on 28 August 1916.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Wreckage of the final version of the VGO.I at Staaken. Both Hans Vollmoller and Gustav Klein were killed in this crash on 10 March 1917.
A.Imrie - German Naval Air Service /Arms & Armour/
Earlier we left RML1 in a Russian forest... The machine was completely rebuilt and was modified to take an additional two engines. At this time a transparent Cellon covering to reduce the effect of searchlight illumination was under consideration and the fuselage and tail unit were covered with this material. On the first test flight on 10 March 1917, at Staaken aerodrome near Berlin, engine failure resulted in an asymmetric flight condition, which was compounded by a control system malfunction. The pilots could not prevent the machine from crashing into the corner of one of the airship sheds.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
VGO.II 9/15. Photo probably taken at Doberitz prior to its service in the East.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
The VGO.II 9/15. Photo dated 5 November 1915.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
VGO.II 9/15. Officially credited with being the first R-plane to perform a successful bombing raid. Photo dated 5 November 1915.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
The emergency landing of the R.9 at Paulsgnade near Mitau.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
A bad landing made by the VGO.II at Paulsgnade.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
The final landing of the R.9 at Staaken, summer 1917. Note the raised tail surfaces.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Forward engine arrangement or the VGO.I and VGO.II.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Official drawing shows installation of 105 mm. cannon, the gun actually mounted in the VGO.II was of 130 mm. calibre.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
V.G.O.I