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

Zeppelin-Staaken VGO.III / R.IV / R.VII

Страна: Германия

Год: 1916

Zeppelin-Staaken - R.V - 1916 - Германия<– –>Zeppelin-Staaken - R.VI - 1917 - Германия


В.Кондратьев Самолеты первой мировой войны


МОДИФИКАЦИИ
  
  VGO-III и "Цеппелин-Штаакен" R-IV. Силовая установка этих машин состояла из шести двигателей в трех спарках. В каждой мотогондоле VGO-III стояли по два 160-сильных "Мерседеса" D.III на одном валу, а в носовой части фюзеляжа - два таких мотора, установленные бок о бок с общим редуктором. На R-IV таким же образом были смонтированы шесть 220-сильных двигателей "Бенц" Bz.IV. Вооружение - 4-5 пулеметов: 2 в носовых законцовках гондол и 2-3 в фюзеляжных люковых установках за крылом. Бомбовая нагрузка - до 1000 кг. Экипаж - 7-8 человек. В 1916-1917 годах VGO-III и R-IV применялись на русско-германском фронте, в Прибалтике. Летом 1917-го R-IV переведен на западный фронт и до весны следующего года участвовал в налетах на Лондон.
   Четырехлопастные винты на R-V приводились в движение пятью моторами "Майбах" Mb.IV по 240 л.с. (1 в носу и 2 спарки в гондолах). В фюзеляже R-VII стояли 2 "Мерседеса" по 160 л.с., а в гондолах - 4 "Бенца" по 220 л.с. Обе машины в 1917 году отправили на западный фронт. R-VII разбился по дороге, а R-V некоторое время использовался в качестве ночного бомбардировщика.


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


Zeppelin-Staaken V.G.O. III
  Due to the V.G.O. I and II not being powerful enough, the V.G.O. III was powered with six engines; two mounted side-by-side in the nose and two in each nacelle mounted tandem fashion driving a single pusher airscrew. Serialled R 10/15, the machine was sometimes known as R III and used by Rfa 500 on the Eastern Front. Engines, six 160 h.p. Mercedes D III. Span, 42.2 m. (138 ft. 5 5/8 in.). Length, 24.5 m. (80 ft. 4 3/4 in.). Height, 6.8 m. (22 ft. 3 3/4 in.). Area, 332 sq.m. (3,586 sq.ft.). Weights: Empty, 8,600 kg. (18,920 lb.). Loaded, 11,600 kg. (25,520 lb). Speed, 120 km.hr. (75 m.p.h.). Climb, 2,000 m. (6,560 ft.) in 29 min. Armament, five machine-guns.

Zeppelin-Staaken R IV
  This machine was the first of the Staaken "Giants" to bear the official R designation. It was similar in most respects to the V.G.O. III, adhering to the same six-engined formula, but with the more powerful 220 h.p. Benz engines fitted in the nacelles, driving single four-bladed airscrews. Serialled R 12/15, this aircraft saw service on both Eastern and Western fronts. Engines, six - two 160 h.p. Mercedes D III in nose, four 220 h.p. Benz Bz IV in nacelles. Span, 42.2 m. (138 ft. 5 5/8 in.). Length, 23.2 m. (76 ft. 1 1/2 in.). Height, 6.8 m. (22 ft. 3 3/4 in.). Area, 332 sq.m. (3,586 sq.ft.). Weights: Empty, 8,772 kg. (19,298 lb.). Loaded, 13,035 kg. (28,677 lb.). Speed, 125 km.hr. (78.125 m.p.h.). Climb, 3,000 m. (9,840 ft.) in 89 min. Duration, 6-7 hr. Armament, six or seven machine-guns.
0 min. Armament, five machine-guns.

Zeppelin-Staaken R VII
  The R VII was a development of the R IV, and differed very little visibly from that machine. The same engine arrangement was adhered to, but there was some alteration in the system of bracing struts between the tailplanes. Serialled R 14/15, the R VII crashed while on a delivery flight to the Front. Engines, two 160 h.p. Mercedes D III in nose, four 220 h.p. Benz Bz IV in nacelles. Span, 42.2 m. (138 ft. 5 5/8 in.). Length, 22.1 m. (72 ft. 6 1/4 in.). Height, 6.8 m. (22 ft. 3 3/4 in.). Area, 332 sq.m. (3,586 sq.ft.). Weights: Empty, 8,923 kg. (19,741 lb.). Loaded, 12.953 kg. (28,497 lb.). Speed, 130 km.hr. (81.25 m.p.h.). Climb, 3,000 m. (9,840 ft.) in 50 min. Armament, five machine-guns.


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


VGO.III

  During October 1915 construction of the third Staaken giant, the VGO.III, was begun at Gotha. Early in the design stage it was decided to find alternative engines for the experimental 240 h.p. Maybach HS engines, which had proven to be unreliable for extended flights. In their place, the thoroughly-tested 160 h.p. Mercedes D.III engine was chosen, and to compensate for their lower output, six engines were used, increasing the total horse-power of the VGO.III to 960 h.p. as compared to the 720 h.p. available to the first two VGO types.
  The method of installation was entirely new. Two engines were mounted side by side in the fuselage nose and their crankshafts faced a central gear-box at an angle of about 8 degrees. Two large clutches were fitted to the front of each engine. A short extension shaft coupled each engine to the gear-box, which in turn drove a large tractor propeller. This method of coupling two engines to a common gear-box proved fairly successful as long as the engine crews were well trained and low-powered engines were used. Even so, this system was not entirely free of faults. The drive assembly produced a great deal of noise, particularly at certain engine speeds when fuselage, gears, extension shaft and propellers all began to resonate in unison. In fact, it was possible to see the standing waves in the extension shaft change as the engine speed was varied. In one instance the extension shaft broke in flight, and it required some four to six weeks to repair the damage. Later attempts to couple higher-powered engines to a common gear-box proved generally unsuccessful (see VGO.I and Staaken R.VII). Two large block radiators were mounted above the nose directly behind the propeller. The engines could be serviced in flight by a mechanic stationed in the large engine compartment, but from all accounts the ear-splitting noise made his life virtually impossible. Access was provided by a door on the port side, through which other crew members could also enter. The compartment was fitted with windows and sliding hatches to adjust interior ventilation, as well as a large open cockpit for the engine crew.
  The remaining engines were mounted in tandem pairs in the outboard nacelles and drove pusher propellers. The leading engine was mounted lower in the nacelle, allowing a transmission shaft to pass under the rear engine; both drive shafts terminated in a common gear-box. The individual clutches allowed the engines to be started singly and run independently of each other. The nacelles were lengthened considerably to accommodate the additional length of the engine-gear-box combination. To support the overhanging weight of these components an extra pair of struts was added at the rear of the nacelle. A pair of block radiators were mounted side by side between the nacelle and upper wing just behind the forward struts.
  As in the VGO.II, the nacelle engines were serviced by a gunner-mechanic who occupied the gun position in the front of each nacelle. Other machine-guns were located in dorsal and ventral fuselage positions behind the wings. Several tests were performed to investigate the feasibility of firing a 2 cm. cannon from the dorsal gun position; however, machine-guns remained the standard armament.
  The wing was identical to those used on the earlier machines, with the addition of a long gravity tank fitted at the junction of the centre-section struts. During flight testing an unusual system of aileron balance was tested. Small auxiliary surfaces were hinged two-thirds up the rear outer interplane strut. About three-quarters of this surface was in front of its hinge point. This experimental aileron compensator was connected to the main aileron cables in such a way that it would aerodynamically lighten the loads on the control cables. Although this primitive method of aileron "balancing" was used on a number of contemporary Gotha and Brandenburg seaplanes, it did not find favour on the VGO.III, as it was later removed and not used again on other Staaken machines.
  Aside from the addition of the flight-engineer's compartment in the nose and the relocation of the pilot's cockpit farther aft, the VGO.III fuselage was similar to the VGO.II. All tail control cables were housed internally, emerging from the fuselage about 6 feet from the tail. This became a standard practice on all future Staaken R-planes. The tail unit was similar to the VGO.II, with the exception of slightly increased fin area.
  The aircraft was allocated serial number R.10/15. The exact date of the first flight is unknown, but it occurred between 29 May and 4 June 1916. On 13 June 1916 it flew from Gotha to Friedrichshafen (to have the Zahnradfabrik G.m.b.H. run tests with the propeller reduction gearing) landing at Sindel fingen (location of the Daimler airfield) on the way. The VGO.III was accepted by Idflieg (Rea) on 28 August 1916 and delivered to Rfa 500 on 8 September. Offstv. Selmer, who also piloted the VGO.III, stated that the bomb installation was improved over earlier types, in that the bombs were hung beside each other rather than over one another and were released electrically. The crew consisted of seven men, including one wireless operator who worked the only type of wireless set fitted to R-planes at the time: a Siemens-Schuckert transmitter initially built for Austrian bombing planes and a Telefunken receiver. Power was supplied by an AEG generator driven by a small 2-cylinder Bosch petrol engine. Attempts to drive the generator by coupling it directly to the engines or by a small slipstream-mounted propeller were unsuccessful.
  The VGO.III completed about seven bombing missions, during which it targets were railway installations, troop encampments and depots in the vicinity of Riga. On a 3 hr. 10 min. bombing mission on 22 September 1916, it carried a useful load of 3310 kg. and reached an altitude of 3000 metres.
  On 24 January 1917 the first fatal R-plane accident occurred when the VGO.III, returning from a training mission, came in to land at Alt-Auz. With Selmer at the controls, the VGO.III was forced to touch-down prematurely due to a sudden downdraft. The ground was soft and covered with snow, and after some 10 metres the front wheels struck a hidden obstruction and snapped off. The sudden braking action caused the main undercarriage to collapse, the fuselage to break in two and the lower wings to tear off. The ruptured fuel lines sprayed petrol over the nose exhaust stacks, and the VGO.III was completely destroyed by fire, with loss of five crew members. A survivor stated that the forward fuel tank had burst on impact and had filled the fuselage with petrol. At an inquiry into the causes of the accident it was concluded that the nose undercarriage struts were too robust. Had they broken away sooner on striking the obstruction, the crash might not have been so serious. On later Staaken types the nose undercarriage or "Srossfahrgesrell" was considerably shortened and possibly reduced in strength.

Colour Scheme and Markings

  The VGO.III was clear doped overall, giving it a cream-buff colour. The cross Patee on white squares was carried on the fuselage sides and on all four wingtips. The outer fin and rudder surfaces were painted all white, and the cross Patee was the largest posible for the area available. No other markings were visible.


SPECIFICATIONS

Type: VGO.III
  Manufacturer: Versuchsbau G.m.b.H., Gotha-Ost
  Engines: Six 160 h.p. Mercedes D.III engines
  Dimensions:
   Span, 42•2 m. (138 ft. 5 1/2 in.)
   Length, 24•5 m. (80 ft. 4 1/2 in.)
   Height, 6•8 m. (22 ft. 3 1/2 in.)
  Areas: Wings, 332 sq. m. (3572 sq. ft.)
  Weights:
   Empty, 8600 kg. (18,963 lb.)
   Loaded, 11,600 kg. (25,578 lb.)
   Bomb load, 400-800 kg. (882-1764 lb.)
  Performance:
   Maximum speed, 120 km.h. (75 m.p.h.)
   Climb,
   1000 m. (3281 ft.) in 16 mins.
   2000 m. (6562 ft.) in 29 min.
   3000 m. (9843 ft.) in 56 mins.
   Ceiling, 3000 m. (9843 ft.)
   Duration, 6 hours
  Fuel: 3500 litres (770 Imp. Gals.)
  Armament: Provision for two dorsal, one ventral and two nacelle machine-gun positions
  Service Use: Eastern Front with Rfa 500 at Alt-Auz, September 1916-January 1917


Staaken R.IV

  With the growth of Allied air power, the possibility of an air strike against the Zeppelin airship works at Manzell became increasingly threatening. To forestall a possible crippling blow to the German airship programme, Major Thomsen urged the Zeppelin concern to establish a subsidiary airship works in a safer location, which it did in early 1916 at Staaken near Berlin. On 1 August 1916 the VGO works was officially transferred from Gotha to Staaken and renamed Flugzeugwerft G.m.b.H. The move was a natural outcome of the growth of the industry. Staaken would offer better facilities for the expansion of Zeppelin R-plane production and release space for Gotha Waggonfabrik. On 15 June 1916, the first group of VGO personnel began the transfer to Berlin (Staaken). With the reduction of airship construction in 1917 and its stoppage in January 1918, the Flugzeugwerft G.m.b.H. was easily able to absorb the airship workers and hangar space.
  A contemporary report states that the fourth VGO R-plane was in its first stages of construction at Gotha in February 1916. The machine completed its maiden flight on 16 August 1916, and by the time it had finished its flight tests the transfer of VGO to Staaken had taken place. Consequently, on being delivered to the Army this machine was the first of the Zeppelin-built giants to be officially designated a Staaken type, and under the Idflieg numbering system was known as the Staaken R.IV 12/15.
  The general layout of the Staaken R.IV followed closely that of its predecessor, the VGO.III. There was no change in the installation of the two 160 h.p. Mercedes D.III engines in the nose. The only visible differences were the close spacing of the two radiators and the exhaust stacks fitted into channels in the upper fuselage panelling. This in contrast to the VGO.III, where the stacks were housed internally and emerged at a sharp angle from the side panels.
  The desirability for more power and the availability of the new 220 h.p. Benz Bz.IV engines led to their installation as tandem pusher units in the nacelles. The additional 240 h.p. over the VGO.III gave the Staaken R.IVa total of 1200 h.p. and made it the first of the more powerful second generation Staaken R-planes. The engine coupling in the R.IV proved very successful, primarily for the reason that exceedingly well-trained engine crews had been assigned to this machine, making a thorough test programme possible. In fact, the R.IV was the only R-plane with coupled engines to see service on both the Eastern and Western fronts up to the very end of the war. A remarkable showing, considering the difficulties experienced by other Staaken R-planes fitted with coupled engines.
  The nacelle engines were arranged in the same way as in the VGO.III, but it was necessary once again to lengthen the nacelles to accommodate the new gear-box, Mercedes-built clutch and larger engines. Zahnradfabrik G.m.b.H., a Zeppelin subsidiary, built the gear-box, which reduced the 1400 r.p.m. of the engine to 860 r.p.m. for the propellers. The Garuda four-bladed propellers rotated in opposite directions and were placed well clear of the trailing edges. Initially the nacelle radiators were mounted in the manner of the VGO.III, but as these did not provide sufficient cooling, they were replaced by larger radiators mounted on front and rear nacelle struts; the front radiator was higher than the rear to avoid blanketing the rear radiator.
  The same wing structure was employed, differing only in the reduction of lower wing dihedral from 3 to 1 1/2 degrees.
  The fuselage was shortened slightly ahead of the wings; the open engineer's cockpit was replaced by a square hatch with sliding covers and the ventral machine-gun position was lowered to improve the field of fire. The resultant fairing produced a noticeable bulge under the fuselage.
  Although the tail remained structurally the same, it was raised to a position above the fuselage to prevent damage to the tail surfaces when landing on the tail skid. The lower tail pars ran under the top fuselage longeron, a feature retained on succeeding type. With the exception of landing lights attached to the auxiliary struts, the design of the undercarriage remained unchanged.
  A great deal of thought was given to the defensive armament of the R.IV. Soon after initial flight tests, machine-gun positions were built into the upper wings directly above the nacelles and behind the rear wing spar. Counting the two dorsal, one ventral and two forward nacelle gun positions, a formidable armament of seven machine-guns could be carried; a considerable number for one aircraft at that time. The wing position was reached by climbing a ladder leading from the nacelle to a platform hinged to the rear nacelle struts. The platform could be folded to allow the gunner to climb up and down, and sliding panel above and below the wing enclosed the position when not in use. The ladder was completely exposed and only a few feet from the propeller, so that the journey to the gun position must have been both exciting and hazardous. Idflieg considered the wing position useful, for they continued to be installed in several of the later Staaken types.
  After flight tests and modifications were successfully completed the R.IV was accepted by the Army Air Services on 5 May 1917 to begin an operational service life longer than any other R-plane. On 12 June 1917, the R.IV was flown to Alt-Auz from Gotha via Doberitz and Konigsberg to join Rfa 500. The flight went smoothly in every respect. On the Eastern Front the R.IV participated in raids on Wolmar (28/29 June 1917), Oesel (8/9 July 1917) and possibly other Russian targets. A contemporary report describes the transfer of the R.IV to the Western Front.
   On the flight from Alt-Auz to Metz the stages Alt-Auz-Konigsberg and Konigsberg-Doberitz were completed without mishap. The fact that both stages were flown at night, without specific orders to do so, is proof of the crew's confidence in the aircraft. The landing in Konigsberg on 18 July 1917, performed in ground fog, went smoothly.
  Assigned to Rfa 501 stationed in the Ghent district, the R.IV listed London, Chelmsford, Thames Estuary, Calais, Morville, Boulogne, Etaple , le Havre, Gravelines, Deauville and Doullens as its targets in its long and varied career on the Western Front, during which a total of 25.000 kg. bombs were dropped. It also survived a collision with the balloon apron guarding London. After the war the R.IV, presumably en route to Liegnitz to be broken up, was, in April 1919, shown to awed crowds at Kassel and other German cities.

Colour Scheme and Markings

  In its first form the R.IV was clear doped overall and carried national markings of the same style and pattern as the VGO.III. Later, with the installation of the wing gun positions, it was either re-covered in printed fabric with the standard irregular polygon design, or the design was painted over the old fabric. The Patee crosses were outlined in white on the camouflage pattern, but by mid-1918 these had been changed for the Latin cross with narrow white outlines. These crosses occupied the full chord of the wings, the depth of the fuselage side and the entire area of the fins and rudders.


SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Staaken R.IV
  Manufacturer: Flugzeugwerft G.m.b.H., Staaken, Berlin
  Engines:
   Two 160 h.p. Mercedes D.III engines
   Four 220 h.p. Benz Bz.IV engines
  Dimensions:
   Span, 42•2 m. (138 ft. 5 1/2 in.)
   Chord inner, 4•6 m. (15 ft. 1 in.)
   Chord outer, 3•6 m. (11 ft. 10 in.)
   Incidence inner, 3 1/2 degrees
   Incidence outer, 2 degrees
   Dihedral upper, None
   Dihedral lower, 1 1/2 degrees
   Length, 23•2 m. (76 ft. 1 in.)
   Height, 6•8 m. (22 ft. 3 1/2 in.)
   Tail span, 9 m. (29 ft. 6 in.)
   Wheel diameter, 1•02 m. (3 ft. 4 in.)
   Tractor propeller diameter, 4•2 m. (13 ft. 9 in.)
   Pusher propeller diameter, 4•3 m. (14 n. 1 in.)
  Areas: Wings, 332 sq. m. (3572 sq. ft.)
  Weights:
   Wings, 2,350 kg.
   Fuselage, 1,450 kg.
   Tail unit, 400 kg.
   Undercarriage, 900 kg.
   Accessories, 123 kg.
   Engines and transmission, 3,549 kg.
   ----
   Empty, 8,772 kg. (19,342 lb.)
   Fuel, 2,140 kg. (4,719 lb.)
   Disposable load, 2,123 kg. (4,681 lb.)
   ----
   Loaded, 13,035 kg. (28,742 lb.)
   Wing Loading: 39•2 kg. sq. m. (8,0 lb. sq. ft.)
  Performance:
   Maximum speed, 125 km.h. (77'5 m.p.h.)
   Climb,
   1000 m. (3281 ft.) in 10 mins.
   2000 m. (6562 ft.) in 35 mins.
   3000 m. (9843 ft.) in 89 mins.
   Ceiling, 3700 m. (12,139 ft.)
   Duration, 6-7 hrs.
  Fuel:
   2080 litres (458 Imp. Gals.)
   Oil engines, 53 litres (11,7 Imp. Gals.)
   Oil tank, 130 litres (28'6 Imp. Gals.
  Armament: Provision for six to seven machine-gun positions.
  Service Use: Eastern Front with Rfa 500 at Alt-Auz, June 1917 to July 1917. Western Front with Rfa 501 in Ghent area July 1917 to November 1918.


Staaken R.VII

  The Staaken R.VII would appear on the imaginary Staaken family tree as a direct-line descendant of the earlier R.IV. There is little doubt that the R.VII was built to capitalize on the success experienced with the R.IV configuration. The R.VII employed the same engines and drive system, but differed very slightly from its predeces or in the following ways: upper-wing gun platforms were omitted; radiator positions were reversed; the engineer's compartment had open cockpits; the tail was a single-bay structure and the undercarriage mounted eight wheels. A more subtle but most important difference between the two aircraft was that the fuselage of the R.VII was about 4 feet shorter. The slim rear fuselage of earlier VGO-Staaken R-plane had tendency to bend and twist in flight; therefore, the length of the fuselage was reduced to increase its stiffness. All later Staaken aircraft had the shorter fuselage configuration for that reason.
  The R.VII, serial number R.14/15, was accepted on 26 June 1917 after reaching an altitude of 3800 metres in 100 minutes carrying a useful load of 3600 kg. It was delivered to Idflieg (Rea) on 3 July and assigned to Rfa 501 on 29 July 1917 after successfully completing a 6 hr. 30 min. practice mission with military load the day before. Its service life was destined to be short, for it crashed in the following month. Here is what happened according to two eye-witness reports:
  On Friday, 14 August 1917 the R.VII, commanded by officers of Rfa 500, was on its way to the Front. Although Rfa 500 did not arrive at Custinne until February 1918, it is believed that advance elements of Rfa 500 may have been sent to the Front sooner, possibly to join Rfa 501 in the Ghent area. It was decided to land on the airfield of Flieger Ersatzabteilung 5 (Fea 5) in Halberstadt for repairs, and an aircraft was immediately dispatched from Fea 5 to obtain replacement parts from Berlin. On Sunday, 19 August 1917 repairs were completed and the crew of nine climbed aboard to take-off before a crowd composed of city officials, off-duty soldiers and curious citizen. The R.VII headed into the wind down the airfield, at the far end of which was a low hill topped with a few tall pine trees. The Fea 5 target ranges were located on the far side of the hill, which dropped sharply into a rock-strewn ravine. At some 60-70 metres altitude the right wing seemed to drop, forcing the R.VII into a starboard turn, and it was apparent to the spectators that something was wrong with the aircraft. The facile Halberstadt trainers would have had no difficulty in swinging around to make a safe downwind landing, but the unwieldy R-plane was not capable of performing this manoeuvre quickly enough. To the anxious spectators it seemed as if the R.VII would either clear the pine and make an emergency landing in the treacherous terrain on the far side of the hill or attempt to drop into the pine trees on the hill. The port engines were throttled back and the R.VII lost altitude, seemingly in preparation to land in the trees. For the moment, it appeared as if the exertions of the crew were going to be crowned with success after all.
  Suddenly, as if the starboard engines had jerked to a stop, the right wing lurched towards the ground and hooked a pine tree. With the added thrust of the port engines, the R.VII spin in a 180 degree arc, bounced off the hill and crashed into the ravine. The horrified spectator saw a black pall of smoke slowly rise into the air.
  Three badly burned crew members managed to escape and the starboard nacelle mechanic, who saw the mishap coming, jumped free as the machine crashed. The wireless operator fought his way out of the flaming, twisted wreckage and a machine-gunner was pulled from the crash by an alert and brave non-commissioned officer. Six aircrew died in the crash.
  What actually happened aboard the R.VII was told by the surviving flight mechanic. He stated that the replaced leather clutch facing had been cleared for flight by the aircraft's chief mechanic, who perished in the crash. Shortly after take-off the leather clutch burned through and the engine, robbed of its load and running at full speed, overheated and seized. Simultaneously, the other starboard engine, which was connected to the same gear-box, lost speed. The commander, noticing the difficulty, desperately signalled to the starboard mechanic, who interpreted the frantic hand waving a an order to shut off the engine. The surviving crew members felt the engines were cut just as the R.VII was turning back to the airfield. The starboard wing dropped, hooked the pine tree and the fate of the R.VII was sealed.

Colour Scheme and Markings

  The R.VII had a buff finish reminiscent of the early VGO types and carried the Patee cross insignia with white edges on wings, fuselage and tail.


SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Staaken R.VII
  Manufacturer: Flugzeugwerft G.m.b.H., Staaken, Berlin
  Engines:
   Two 160 h.p. Mercedes D.III engines
   Four 220 h.p. Benz Bz.IV engines
  Dimensions:
   Span, 42•2 m. (138 ft. 5 1/2 in.)
   Length, 22•1 m. (72 ft. 6 in.)
   Height, 6•8 m. (22 ft. 3 1/2 in.)
   Tractor propeller diameter, 4•2 m. (13 ft. 9 in.)
   Pusher propeller diameter, 4•1 m. (13 ft. 6 in.)
  Areas: Wings, 332 sq. m. (3572 sq. ft.)
  Weights:
   Wings, 2,350 kg.
   Fuselage, 1,450 kg.
   Tail unit, 400 kg.
   Accessories, 250 kg.
   Undercarriage, 900 kg.
   Engines and transmissions, 3,573 kg.
   ----
   Empty, 8,923 kg. (19,675 lb.)
   Fuel, 2,140 kg. (4,719 lb.)
   Disposable load, 1,890 kg. (4,167 lb.)
   ----
   Loaded, 12,953 kg. (28,561 lb.)
  Wing Loading: 39•0 kg./sq. m. (8'0 lb./sq. ft.)
  Performance:
   Maximum speed, 130 km.h. (80,9 m.p.h.)
   Climb,
   1000 m. (2381 ft.) in 12 mins.
   2000 m. (6562 ft.) in 25•5 mins.
   3000 m. (9843 ft.) in 50 mins.
  Ceiling, 3850 m. (12,631 ft.)
  Fuel:
   3140 litres (691 Imp. Gals.) in twelve 245 litre tanks
   Gravity tank, 155 litres (34,1 Imp. Gals.)
   Oil, 171 litres (37,6 Imp. Gals.)
  Service Use: None

G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
The VGO.III shown fitted with aileron balancing surfaces attached to the rear struts. From left to right: Hans Baumeister, Anton Diemer, Foreman Ridlein, Gustav Klein, Grimmeisen and Boenisch.
The sole giant Zeppelin-Staaken VGO III, 10/15, went into service with Rf Abt 500 based near Riga in Latvia in 1916, making its first operational sortie on 13 August 1916. Power for the VGO III was provided by six 160hp Mercedes D IIIs, paired to drive the nose-mounted tractor propeller, plus the two outboard pusher propellers. With a wingspan of 42m, or 137.8 feet, the VGO positively meandered along with a top level speed of 75mph. Sadly, the pilot responsible for coaxing the VGO III through her teething troubles, Oblt Hallen, Baron von Hallerstein was to be killed exactly three months after taking the VGO III on its first operational mission, while flight testing the lethally tail-heavy Zeppelin-Lindau V.I fighter.
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
Zeppelin-Staaken V.G.O. III. A GERMAN (ZEPPELIN) GIANT AEROPLANE. - Note the tractor airscrew in the nose of the fuselage.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
VGO.III 10/15
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Powered by six engines, the Zeppelin-Staaken VGO III was the first of the strategic bombers' produced by this company. The aircraft saw operational service with RFa 500 on the Eastern Front in the early days of 1915; although its top speed was only 75mph (120kph) and its ceiling only 6,560ft (2,000m) it was defended by five machine guns.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
The VGO.III is here shown resting all its tailskid; the more normal attitude was for it to rest on its nose wheels with the tail high.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
VGO.III 10/15.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
VGO.III 10/15 taking.off from Gotha to fly to Doberitz, August 1916
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Only minor damage was sustained by VGO.III during a forced landing, date unknown.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
The VGO.III on the tracks outside its hangar at Alt-Auz, summer 1916.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
The VGO.III, 8 September 1916 on delivery to Rfa 500.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
The Staaken R.IV prior to the fitting of upper wing armament.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
The form in which the Staaken R.IV 12/15 first flew.
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
ON BOARD A GERMAN GIANT AEROPLANE. - Photograph showing view looking aft from the port engine nacelle.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Dorsal gunner's position on the Staaken R.IV.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
ON BOARD A GERMAN GIANT AEROPLANE. - The mechanic is repairing an oil pump defect during flight. The photograph was taken from the port engine nacelle.
Port nacelle of the Staaken R.IV. This view shows mechanic in attendance during flight.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Member of the crew of the Staaken R.IV ascending to the upper wing gun platform.
В.Обухович, А.Никифоров - Самолеты Первой Мировой войны
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
The engineers looking out of the forward eingine-room (engineer compartment) window of German five-engined "Giant" aeroplane Staaken R.IV.
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
THE NOSE OF A GERMAN GIANT AEROPLANE. - Photograph taken from the port engine nacelle.
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
A ZEPPELIN GIANT. - The photograph shows how the fuselage is entered through a door in the side.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Mechanics working in the port engine nacelle of the Staaken R.IV 12/15.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Staaken R.IV 12/15, here seen at Alt-Auz early in its long operational career.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Staaken R.IV 12/15 in night camouflage on the Scheldewindeke airfield.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
The Staaken R.IV and its crew at Kassel after the war. The targets attacked, the total weight of bomb dropped and places flown to have been chalked on the fuselage side.
The Staaken R IV 12/15 had the longest operational career of any machine in the R category, and was the only one to be flown on both the Eastern and Western Fronts, from May 1917 until the Armistice. It survived a collision with a balloon cable over London in February 1918 and dropped a total of 25,000kg of bombs. It is seen at Kassel in April 1919 with its fuselage inscribed with the names of the main targets attacked (including London, Harwich, Chelmsford, Oesel Island (Baltic), Calais, Abbeville, Boulogne, Etaples, Doullens and Amiens) and the routeing of several long-distance flights occasioned by ferrying from one theatre of operations to another; eg, Gotha-Doeberitz-Koenigsberg-Riga.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919 /Jane's/
Three-quarter Front View of a Zeppelin Five-engined "Giant" bomber, probably one of the R.XIVs or XVs of 1918.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
The Staaken R.IV 12/15, at Kassel, April 1919.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919 /Jane's/
The Zeppelin Five-engined "Giant".
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Staaken R.lV 12/15. The only R-plane to see action on both the Eastern and Western Fronts. Late style markings on be seen painted over the old Patee crosses which still faintly show through.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919 /Jane's/
Rear View of the Zeppelin "Giant" Biplane. (5-250 h.p. Maybach engines.)
O.Thetford, P.Gray - German Aircraft of the First World War /Putnam/
Zeppelin-Staaken R VII
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Staaken R.VII 14/15 photographed before the fatal take-off crash at Halberstadt.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Staaken R.VII 14/15.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Staaken R.VII 14/15, with four-bladed tractor propeller.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
V.G.O. III
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Staaken R.IV
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Staaken R.VII