O.Thetford, P.Gray German Aircraft of the First World War (Putnam)
Thirty-two aircraft of this type were supplied to the German Navy during 1915. They were used on reconnaissance patrol duties, radio was carried and some machines were fitted with racks to carry ten 5-kg. bombs. The machine was an improvement of the pre-war W design and bore unmistakable resemblance to Heinkel's three-bay Albatros seaplanes. Engine, 160 h.p. Mercedes D III. Span, 16.5 m. (54 ft. 1 3/4 in.). Length, 9.4 m. (30 ft. 10 1/8 in.). Area, 57.85 sq.m. (625 sq.ft.). Weights: Empty, 1,020 kg. (2,244 lb.). Loaded, 1.650 kg. (3,630 lb.). Speed, 90 km.hr. (56.25 m.p.h.). Duration, 4 hr. Armament, none.
Further development of the NW saw the construction of sixteen GNWs during 1915 for use as unarmed two-seater patrol seaplanes. Speed was less than that of the NW, but the climb was considerably better. Engine, 160 h.p. Mercedes D III. Span, 16.2 m. (53 ft. 1 7/8 in.). Length. 9.88 m. (32 ft. 5 in.). Height, 2.553 m. (8 ft. 4 1/2 in.). Area, 55.15 sq.m. (596 sq.ft.). Weights: Empty, 1,100 kg. (2,420 lb.). Loaded, 1,743 kg. (3,835 lb.). Speed, 115 km.hr. (71.825 m.p.h.). Climb. 1,000 m. (3,280 ft.) in 9.5 min.
C.Owers Hansa-Brandenburg Aircraft of WWI Vol.2: Biplane Seaplanes (A Centennial Perspective on Great War Airplanes 18)
The first Brandenburg designed as a warplane was the NW, a two-seat reconnaissance floatplane that could be fitted with radio in the Navy BFT Class of aircraft. The type was a marked improvement over the W and showed the continuing influence of Heinkel's pre-war three-bay Albatros floatplanes. The NW was a large floatplane with slight sweep back to the wings. The floats were an improvement over those fitted to the Type W and had a single step. The radiator for the engine was carried on the centre section struts being mounted in front of the upper wing. The observer occupied the front cockpit under the wings. A total of 60 were supplied to the German Navy during 1915, including a batch of 30 built by Gotha under licence. Some were fitted to carry up to ten 5-kg bombs for use against enemy vessels.(25) Initially the Benz Bz.III engine was proposed for the batch MN 601 - 608 but the 160-hp Mercedes D.III was installed in all batches.
The first four were assigned in early 1916 to bases at Borkum, Norderney and Heligoland. This dispersal says much for the state of the German Navy's aeronautical efforts prior to and during the early days of the war.
The NW was used for daylight raids on the English coast, participating alone or in company with other aircraft. Attacks took place on 9 and 20 February, 19 March, 3 May 1916. The War Diary of Zeebrugge recorded that NW. MN 521, along with the Gotha UWD MN 120, Friedrichshafen FF33B MN 457; FF33E MNs 473 and 547, and FF33F MN 537, of See Flieger Abteilung 1 carried out an attack on Sunday, 19 March 1916. The machines bombed Dover, Deal, and Ramsgate. Fourteen people were killed and considerable damage caused. The CO of Zeebrugge, Oberleutenant-zur-See von Tschirschsky und Bogendorff, led the raid in Christiansen's usual Brandenburg. This machine and another were forced down at sea and narrowly escaped destruction.
Dover received no warning of a raid and the RNAS station knew of it when a bomb exploded in the town. None of the four aircraft from the RFC, Dover, saw the enemy. The RNAS launched 24 aircraft, three of which suffered forced landings. Friedrichshafen MN 537 was engaged by a Nieuport 10 from Detling piloted by Flt. Cdr. R.J. Bone. Bone, the CO of Detling, had predicted the likelihood of a raid and, having fully loaded his ammunition, flew to Westgate where he waited with a thermos of coffee and sandwiches. He followed the seaplane towards the Belgium coast and after a 40-minute chase attacked. He was met by the observer's fire but sent the Friedrichshafen down with the propeller stopped and the engine smoking. Not having enough petrol to follow, he returned and a Short seaplane was sent out to bomb the enemy machine that was last seen on the water, but discovered nothing. The machine had been towed back to base.(26)
The Brandenburg NW was attacked by an RFC F.E.2b piloted by 2nd Lt. Reginald Collins with Flt. Sgt. Alfred Emery as observer. Collins was flying the new machine to France and when he noticed the defender's fire on the attacking seaplanes, he placed himself in a position to cut off their retreat. Attacking from above and behind he gained to within 150 yards behind the Brandenburg that had not seen him and Emery opened fire. The NW went into a steep right-hand spiral with steam streaming from its engine. The F.E.2b then lost sight of their victim. Collins attack had wounded the pilot and damaged the radiator. Von Tschirschky climbed out onto the wing and fixed the leaking radiator with his handkerchief and insulation tape, enabling the machine to stay in the air and they eventually came down about 20 miles from Ostende. Further repairs were effective as they managed to take off again and reached Zeebrugge.(27)
On 24 April 1916, NW seaplanes MNs 487 and 521 are recorded as being amongst six seaplanes that bombed ships in the Channel. On the night of 19/20 May 1916, LW MN 477 together with two NW floatplanes, MN 487 and 521 attacked Britain. This attack killed one and injured two but otherwise did little damage. Flt. Sub-Lt. R.S. Dallas claimed one aircraft shot down but See I lost no aircraft on this raid.
The Austro-Hungarians ordered a Brandenburg NW on 3 March 1916, to evaluate the type in order to replace their Lohner L flying boats. The NW was given the kuk Kriegsmarine Serial K148. The Benz Bz.III engine was replaced by a 165-hp Rapp engine sometime before it was wrecked in a forced alighting at Fasana on 18 June 1916. A Friedrichshafen FF33H had been obtained at the same time, receiving the serial K149, and it suffered a forced alighting due to engine failure and it too was wrecked. No orders were forthcoming from the kuk Kriegsmarine for either of these two floatplanes.
The German Naval contingent in Turkey was supplied with a number of NW floatplanes in January 1917 as follows: MNs 603, 604, 608, 760, 770, 771, 774 and 781. MN 603 was transferred to the Ottoman Navy in January 1918.(28) This NW floatplane was named Eregli 1 (Eregli 2 was a Gotha WD.13). Eregli 1 was operated by 2NCI Deniz Tayyare Bolukd from Eregli where it operated against the Russians in the Black Sea. After suffering storm damaged on 1 August 1917, it was flown to Yesilkoy for repairs. On its return flight it had a forced alighting and was wrecked. The remains were later towed to Eregli.
On 4 April 1917 a Brandenburg (type not identified) dropped two bombs on a Russian submarine. A hit was observed on the superstructure and the submersible was seen trailing a large amount of oil.
On 11 June, Brandenburg NW 760 was on a reconnaissance flight when it had to alight. In response to its call for help Brandenburg GNW MN 654 flew to pick up the crew but it crashed on alighting. Brandenburg MN 774 was then sent out and found the two stricken aircraft and thankfully their crews were still alive. It alighted safely and all were saved. MN 770 was lost in October but the crew managed to swim to shore.(29)
Post-war Poland received at least one NW by the end of 1921. This received the Naval serial No.6.
(25) Dr. Fritz Stormer recalled that these 5-kg bombs "did not produce great results, but they did damage the ballast tanks on submarines and thereby made them unable to submerge. In other uses, the bombs were good for our morale, as the shock caused by the explosion was quite impressive." Stomer flew Brandenburg seaplanes from Zeebrugge. Stomer, F. "Seaplanes in Combat", Cross & Cockade Journal, USA, Vol.20, No.2, 1979, P.111.
(26) Bones'report is contained in UKNA AIR1/646/17/122/352.
(27) The account given in Cole, C. & Chesman, E. F., The Air Defence of Britain 1914-1918, Putnam, UK, 1984, states that the observer was wounded. Gutman, J. Naval Aces of World War 1, Part 2, Osprey, UK, 2012, states that both von Tschirschky and Christiansen were wounded.
(28) Nikolajsen, O. Turkish Military Aircraft Since 1912, self-published, France 2007.
(29) This section is mainly based on Nikolajsen, O. Turkish Military Aircraft Since 1912, self published, France 2007.
Brandenburg NW Production
Marine Numbers Class Delivered Notes
486 - 489 B July-Dec 1915 485 - 489 are listed as NW in Typenschau
517 - 526 BFT Oct.1915 - Nov.1916
563 - 570 BFT Nov.1915 - Dec.1916
601 - 608 BFT Delivered late 1916, early 1917
752 - 781 Gotha-built under licence
Brandenburg NW Specifications
Source Typenschau Gray & Thetford SVK MN 602 (601 - 608) SVK MN 756 (752 - 781)
Span, m 16.27/15.27 16.5 16.270/15.270 16.270/15.270
Length, m 9.85 9.4 9.850 9.850
Height, m - - 3.750 3.750
Chord, m - - 1.800 1.800
Wing Area, m2 55.00 57.85 - -
Empty Wt, kg 1,020 1,020 1,052 1,032
Loaded Wt, kg 1,648 1,650 1,575 1,614
Speed in km/hr 122 90 - -
Time to 500 m - - 5.5 minutes -
Time to 800 m 7 minutes - 9 minutes 7 minutes
Time to 1000 m 9.5 minutes - 11.5 minutes 9.5 minutes
Time to 1500 m - - 20 minutes 15.5 minutes
Time to 2000 m - - - 22.5 minutes
Motor 160-hp Mercedes 160-hp Mercedes D.III 160-hp Mercedes 160-hp Mercedes
German Naval Seaplane Group in Turkey
Marine Numbers Entered Service Written Off Notes
603 04.17 Transferred to Ottoman Navy
760 04.17 11.06.17 Forced alighting Black Sea
771 04.17 16.05.17 Forced alighting Aegean Sea
770 06.17 28.10.17 Ditched Black Sea
781 08.18 Ex-2DzTyBl
The GNW was an unarmed three-bay two-seat biplane development of the NW reconnaissance seaplane. While there was no improvement in speed over the NW, it had a better climb. According to the Typenschau the type was designed to carry 10-kg bombs and had an endurance of 514 hours.
Brandenburg GNW Specifications
Source Typenschau Gray & Thetford Brandenburg 3-View SVK MN 629 (625 - 632 & 651 - 658)
Span, m 16.20/15.20 16.2 16.200/15.200 16.200/15.200
Length, m 9.65 9.88 9.650
Height, m — — — 2.750
Chord, m — — 1.800 1.800
Wing Area, m2 55.15 55.15
Aileron Area, m2 7.30 — — 7.30
Elevator Area, m2 1.65 — — 1.65
Rudder Area, m2 1.00 — — 1.00
Empty Wt, kg 1,100 1,100 1,078
Loaded Wt, kg 1,743 1,743 — 1,647
Speed in km/hr 115 115 — —
Time to 800 m — — — 8 minutes
Time to 1000 m 9.5 minutes 9.5 minutes — 10.5 minutes
Time to 1500 m — — — 17 minutes
Time to 2000 m — — — 26 minutes
Motor 160-hp Mercedes 160-hp Mercedes D.III 160-hp Mercedes 160-hp Benz
Brandenburg GNW Production
Marine Numbers Class Delivered Notes
625 - 632 B Sept. - Oct. 1916 The British illustrated MN 625 in their publication Types of German Seaplanes, and identified the type as the "Brandenburg-Gotha Seaplane 1916."(32)
651 - 658 BFT Sep. 1916 - Jan. 1917 628, 653 and 654 were delivered to the German Naval contingent in Turkey.(33)
(32) This booklet was printed by the Air Ministry, Air Intelligence (A.I.4), and dated July 1918. It was "not to be carried in aircraft." Each type was identified by photographs and silhouettes with a general description but no specifications. It details a total of 25 marine aircraft: 1 Albatros; 9 Brandenburg; 9 Friedrichshafen; 3 Sablatnig; 1 Rumpler and 2 Gotha seaplanes. The Brandenburgs illustrated are the KDW (2 entries, one probably the W.11); the NW; W.12; GW; GDW; GNW floatplanes and CC and FB flying boats.
(33) Nikolajsen, O. Op Cit.
J.Herris Gotha Aircraft of WWI (A Centennial Perspective on Great War Airplanes 6)
Gotha WD6 was the Gotha company designation for 30 Hansa-Brandenburg NW(Go) seaplanes, Marine Numbers 752-782, built under license. The production order was dated 14 May 1916 and deliveries took place between 29 September 1916 and 21 February 1917. The NW was an unarmed reconnaissance floatplane that carried a radio. Some were modified to carry ten 5-kg bombs.
Gotha WD6 / Brandenburg NW(Go) Specifications
Engine: 160 hp Mercedes D.III
Wing: Span Upper 16.50 m
Area 57.85 m2
General: Length 9.4 m
Empty Weight 1020 kg
Loaded Weight 1650 kg
Maximum Speed: 90 km/h
Duration: 4 hours
Gotha Seaplane Production Summary
Type Ordered Marine Numbers Remarks
WD6 30 752-782 Brandenburg NW built under license, designated Brandenburg NW(Go)
E.Hauke, W.Schroeder, B.Totschinger Die Flugzeuge der k.u.k. Luftfahrtruppe und Seeflieger 1914-1918
K 148 Type Brandenburg NW (Schwimmerflugzeug) Dm 160