В.Кондратьев Самолеты первой мировой войны
"Цеппелин-Штаакен" R-V и R-VII. Первый опыт воздушных боев показал, что истребители почти всегда атакуют бомбардировщики с задней полусферы. Поэтому, для более эффективной защиты, на очередной модификации "Цеппелина" мотогондолы как бы развернули на 180 градусов.
Двигатели с винтами установили спереди, а турели - сзади. Кроме того, на R-V еще одну турель с практически неограниченным полем обстрела смонтировали в так называемом "ласточкином гнезде" над верхним крылом, куда при угрозе нападения стрелок поднимался по лестнице.
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 R V
Fifth of the "Giant" prototypes, the R V again rung the changes in the engine arrangement. All five motors were 240 h.p. Maybachs, with reversion to a single power plant in the nose and tandem-mounted engines, now arranged to drive four-blade tractor airscrews, outboard. The nacelles housing the outboard engines were experimentally built of wood and covered in ply-sheet, and due to the tractor propeller arrangement, the machine-gun positions were necessarily transferred to the rear. An additional machine-gun emplacement was provided in a streamlined nacelle, also of plywood, positioned in the centre of the top wing and known as the Schwalbenest (Swallow's nest). This machine, serialled R 13/15, saw service on the Western Front. Engines, five 240 h.p. Maybach Mb IV. Span, 42.2 m. (138 ft. 5 5/8 in.). Length, 230 m. (75 ft. 5 5/8 in.). Height, 6.8 m. (22 ft. 3 3/4 in.). Area, 332 sq.m. (3,586 sq.ft.). Weights: Empty, 9,450 kg. (20,790 lb.). Loaded, 13,010 kg. (28,622 lb.). Speed, 135 km.hr. (84.35 m.p.h.). Climb, 3,000 m. (9,840 ft.) in 46 min. Armament, five machine-guns.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz The German Giants (Putnam)
The Staaken R.V was another step in a series of experiments to develop the correct formula for the decentralized-engined Staaken giants. Whereas the previous Staaken types represented a combination of tractor and pusher propulsion, the R.V had all its engines driving tractor airscrews. This configuration was chosen to provide a powerful and free field of fire to the rear. The R.V, with its five Maybach engines, was the most powerful German R-plane until the advent of the Benz-powered Aviatik licence-built Staaken R.XVI.
The engine layout could best be described as the Staaken R.IV system in reverse. Two engines in each nacelle were coupled to a common gear-box which drove a four-bladed Garuda tractor airscrew. The rear engine was stepped down to allow its transmission shaft to pass under the forward engine. Viewed from above, each engine was offset slightly from the nacelle centre line. In contrast to the R.IV, the similar transmission system of the R.V proved troublesome. The technical problems required a long time to solve, and many minor change were made before the necessary reliability was attained. The more powerful 245 h.p. high-compression Maybach Mb.IVa engines gave rise to greater transmission forces, as compared to the lower-powered engines of the R.IV, and this is where the trouble lay. As a result, the R.V, which was begun in June 1916, was not accepted until 29 September 1917, some three months after the Staaken R.VII 14/15 and Staaken R.VI 25/16.
The basic airframe followed closely the configuration of the previous Staaken machines, with few exception. The streamlined engine nacelles were a departure, for they were built of a wooden framework covered with plywood. This monocoque construction helped reinforce the engine mounts to the extent that vibrations and oscillation were greatly reduced. The engines were easily accessible, because internal bracing and cable work was eliminated. The streamline form was aerodynamically desirable but time-consuming and expensive to fabricate, precluding its use on succeeding Staaken aircraft. The nacelle underside remained open to allow fuel and vapours to escape. The tail of each nacelle extended well beyond the trailing edges of the wing, and each was equipped with a machine-gun ring that was to be manned by the flight mechanics.
The single, geared Maybach engine in the nose was cowled by aluminium panels in a manner similar to the R.IV and R.VII machines. The Maybach engines required five large radiator; one was installed above the fuselage nose and the remaining four were attached to the front and rear upper nacelle struts, staggered to avoid blanking each other.
Wing construction and dimensions were identical to the previous Staaken machines. Night-landing lights were fitted in the lower-wing leading edge in front of the inner struts.
The fuselage, though structurally similar to earlier Staaken machines, was considerably shortened from the centre-section struts aft. This segment and tail presaged the construction of the R.VI machines. Crew accommodations followed the pattern set by the VGO.III. The flight mechanic's compartment was located directly behind the nose engine, followed by a large open pilots' cockpit and a similar open commander's position. Dorsal and ventral machine-gun positions, located behind the centre section, supplemented the strong tail defence. To provide a forward-firing gun position the gravity tank was encased in a streamlined pod which extended ahead of the upper-wing leading edge. A machine-gun post, known as the "Swallow's Nest", was located in this extension and could be reached by a ladder set between the centre-section struts.
Strange as it may seem, the R.V was fully equipped with a pneumatic-tube message system with six receiving and sending stations. The problem of communicating in an R-plane was difficult to solve. Various attempts were made in the early giants to use such forms of acoustical communication as telephones, sirens and speaking-tubes. But these failed due to the loss of hearing experienced by crews during long flights. Optical devices ranged from the simple chalkboard to complicated optical systems, such as writing on frosted glass and projecting the message through prisms and lenses on to an opaque surface. Another technique which met with little success was to run messages along a wire track from station to station. In the end, the pneumatic-tube device, although an acceptable technique, lost out to the simpler electric telegraph, which used ten or twenty pre-set signals to furnish information and commands. The pneumatic telegraph in the R.V was operated by turning a crank: a right-hand turn created air pressure and a left-hand turn created suction. A signal light automatically lit in the receiving station when a message was placed in the tube.
It is known that Lt. Otto Reichardt was transferred to Gotha to take command of the R.V. It may be assumed that the R.V was the last Staaken R-plane to be built in Gotha and that Dipl.-Ing. Lt. Reichardt was responsible for bringing the R.V up to operational status. The crew of the R.V, larger than in most R-planes, numbered eleven men, consisting of one commander, two pilots, three mechanics, one wireless operator, one fuel attendant and three gunners.
The R.V 13/15 was accepted at Staaken on 29 September and joined Rfa 501 at Ghent on 23 December 1917. Its first bombing mission was on 25 January 1918 when it attacked harbour installations at Calais. During its eight months service career, the R.V flew only sixteen combat missions. This low total is a reflection of the recurring mechanical failures which plagued the power transmission system. The most notable mission recorded in the R.V war diary took place on 7/8 March 1918 when the R.V carried a useful load of 4771 kg. at an altitude of 3300 metres on a flight lasting seven hours. Although the right front clutch failed over London, the R.V returned home safely. Lt. Reichardt was transferred home during late 1918 to serve with Idflieg, where he utilized his experience a front-line pilot and R-plane commander to institute a series of improvements which, it is said, greatly increased the performance of the Staaken R-planes. Later in 1918 he was killed while assisting in the development of the AEG R.I.
Waldemar Roeder recalls his flying as second pilot on the R.V while serving with Rfa 501. The commander was Lt. Ernst Pickerott and first pilot, Vizefeldwebel Heinz Schmitz. The flying qualities of the R.V, as with all Staaken aircraft, were rather comfortable and stable, if one disregards the rather high control forces, particularly the unbalanced ailerons. The steering wheel had to be turned several times until the ailerons "caught", and then it took considerable time until the aircraft reacted.
With the fusion of Rfa 500 and Rfa 501 the R.V flew to Morville in October 1918. On 18 October 1918 the R.V was ordered to Dusseldorf-Lohausen. During the flight, fog was encountered in the Rhein area. Much against the better judgment of Schmitz and Roeder, Pickerott ordered an emergency landing. In the attempt, the aircraft was smashed, although the only injury to the crew was a broken ankle suffered by Lt. Pickerott. The crash occurred in what became the Allied Zone of Occupation, and it is entirely possible that reports by former squadron members are true, namely that the aircraft, or parts of it, were delivered to the Allied armistice commission.
Colour Scheme and Markings
The overall finish consisted of large vari-coloured polygons. White outlined Patee crosses were painted on upper and lower wingtips, fuselage sides and tail.
Type: Staaken R.V.
Manufacturer: Flugzeugwerft G.m.b.H., Staaken, Berlin
Engines: Five 245 h.p. Maybach Mb.IVa engInes
Span, 42•2 m. (138 ft. 5 1/2 in.)
Length, 23 m. (75 ft. 5 1/2 in.)
Height, 6•8 m. (22 ft. 3 1/2 in.)
Areas: Wings, 332 sq. m. (3572 sq. ft.)
Empty, 9450 kg. (20,837 lb.)
Useful load, 3560 kg. (7,850 lb.)
Loaded, 13,010 kg. (28,687 lb.)
Wing Loading: 42 kg./sq. m. (8,6 lb./sq. ft.)
Maximum speed, 135 km.h. (83•9m.p.h.)
1000 m. (3281 ft.) in 10 mins.
2000 m. (6562 ft.) in 22 mins.
3000 m. (9843 ft.) in 34 mins.
Ceiling approximately, 4500 m. (14,764 ft.)
Armament: Provision for dorsal, ventral, upper wing and two nacelle machine-gun positions.
Service Use: Western Front with Rfa 501 in Ghent area 1917-18