Caudron G.3

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Caudron G.3
Hendon 190913 Caudron G.3 01.jpg
Caudron G.3 displayed at the Royal Air Force Museum London
Role Reconnaissance aircraft
Manufacturer Caudron
First flight Late 1913[1]
Introduction 1914[1]
Primary users Aéronautique Militaire
US Army Air Service
Finnish Air Force
Polish Air Force
Developed from Caudron G.2

The Caudron G.3 was a single-engined French biplane built by Caudron, widely used in World War I as a reconnaissance aircraft and trainer. In comparison to its competitors, it had a better rate of climb and it was considered especially suitable in mountainous terrain[citation needed].


The Caudron G.3 was designed by René and Gaston Caudron as a development of their earlier Caudron G.2 for military use. It first flew in May 1914 at their Le Crotoy aerodrome.[2]

The aircraft had a short crew nacelle, with a single engine in the nose of the nacelle, and twin open tailbooms. It was of sesquiplane layout, and used wing warping for lateral control, although this was replaced by conventional ailerons fitted on the upper wing in late production aircraft.

Following the outbreak of the First World War, it was ordered in large quantities. The Caudron factories built 1423 aircraft (2450 total were built in France) and it was built under licence in several other countries (233 were built in England and 166 were built in Italy). The Caudron brothers did not charge a licencing fee for the design, as an act of patriotism.[2]

Usually, the G.3 was not equipped with any weapons, although sometimes light, small calibre machine guns and some hand-released small bombs were fitted to it.

It was followed in production by the Caudron G.4, which was a twin-engined development.

Operational history[edit]

The G.3 equipped Escadrille C.11 of the French Aéronautique Militaire at the outbreak of war, and was well-suited for reconnaissance use, proving tough and reliable. As the war went on however, its low performance and the fact that it was unarmed made it vulnerable in front line service, and so the French withdrew it from front line operations in mid-1916.[2] The Australian Flying Corps (AFC) operated the G.3 during the Mesopotamian campaign of 1915–16.

The Italians also used the G.3 for reconnaissance on a wide scale until 1917, as did the British RFC (continuing operations until October 1917),who also fitted some with light bombs and machine guns for ground attack.[2]

It continued in use as a trainer after ceasing combat operations until after the end of the war. Caudron G.3 in Chinese hands, namely the air force of Fengtian clique warlords remained in service in training roles until the Mukden Incident of 1931, when most of them were captured by Japanese, and their eventual fate is unknown.

In 1921 Adrienne Bolland, a French test pilot working for Caudron, flew a G.3 across the Andes between Argentina and Chile. It was the first flight across that range by a woman.


Most G.3s were the A.2 model, used by various airforces for fire spotting on the West front, in Russia and in the Middle East. G.3 D.2 was a two-seated trainer aircraft, equipped with dual controls and the E.2 was a basic trainer. The R.1 version, which had been developed from the basic version was used by France and by the USA for taxi training, with fabric removed from large areas of the wing to prevent its becoming airborne. The last version, the G.3. L2, was equipped with a more powerful 100 hp Anzani 10 radial engine.

In Germany, Gotha built copies of the G.3 as the LD.3 and LD.4 (Land Doppeldecker - "Land Biplane").


Caudron G.3s are displayed in several museums, including at the RAF Museum Hendon, the Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace, Paris, the Royal Army and Military History Museum, Brussels and the Aerospace Museum (Musal), Rio de Janeiro. One aircraft (1E.18) is currently being repaired at the Hallinportti Aviation Museum.


Caudron G3 in the Airspace Museum (Museu Aeroespacial) in Rio de Janeiro.
Caudron G-III E-2, one of the first planes of the Colombian Air Force.
Argentine Air Force
Belgian Air Force
Colombian Air Force - Three aircraft only. The first military aircraft in the history of this country.
Royal Danish Air Force
 El Salvador
Air Force of El Salvador - Three aircraft only.
Finnish Air Force - The Finnish Air Force purchased twelve aircraft from France in 1920. Six of these were built in Finland by Santahaminan ilmailutelakka (today a part of Patria Aviation) between 1921 and 1923. Two aircraft and spares were purchased from Flyg Aktiebolaget on April 26, 1923 (production numbers 6 and 4396) together with a Caudron G.4 for 100,000 Finnish markka. The aircraft was easy to fly and repair and thus very suitable as a trainer. The Finnish-constructed aircraft had worse flying characteristics than the French machines due to a bad wing profile. The FAF used a total of 19 Caudron G.3 aircraft, which carried the designation codes 2A.490 - 2A.495, later 1B.1 - 1B.7 and 1D.8 - 1D.12. Aircraft constructed in Finland carried designation codes 1D.12 and 1E.14 - 1E.18, and the one purchased from Flyg Aktiebolaget carried designation code 1B.19. The aircraft was called Tutankhamon in Finland. The G.3 was used by the FAF between 1920 and 1924.
Caudron G.3 replica in "Museo del Aire", Madrid
operated by 38 escadrilles.[1]
Hellenic Air Force
Honduran Air Force
 Kingdom of Italy
One aircraft only.
Portuguese Air Force
Polish Air Force
Royal Romanian Air Force
Imperial Russian Air Force
Spain Kingdom of Spain
Spain purchased eighteen Caudron G.3 in June 1919. They were posted in flight schools in Getafe, Seville and Los Alcázares. These planes remained in service until they were replaced by Avro 504 K in 1924.
 Soviet Union
Soviet Air Force - Taken over for the Imperial Russian Air Force.
Turkish Air Force - Postwar.
 United Kingdom
Caudron captured
 United States
Venezuelan Air Force
Caudron G.3 - Original and restored, exhibited in the Aeronautical Museum Luis Hernan Paredes de Maracay - Venezuela

Specifications (G.3)[edit]

Data from Suomen ilmavoimien lentokoneet

General characteristics



One small calibre machine gun (optional) and some hand released bombs (optional)

See also[edit]

Related development


  1. ^ a b c Holmes, 2005. p 26.
  2. ^ a b c d e Donald 1997, p.233.
  • Donald, David (Editor) (1997). The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. Aerospace Publishing. ISBN 1-85605-375-X. 
  • Holmes, Tony (2005). Jane's Vintage Aircraft Recognition Guide. London: Harper Collins. ISBN 0-00-719292-4. 
  • Kalevi Keskinen, Kyösti Partonen, Kari Stenman: Suomen Ilmavoimat I 1918-27, 2005. ISBN 952-99432-2-9.
  • Kalevi Keskinen, Kari Stenman, Klaus Niska: Suomen ilmavoimien lentokoneet 1918-1939', Tietoteos, 1976.

External links[edit]