Gotha WD.14

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WD.14, WD.20, and WD.22
Role Torpedo bomber
National origin Germany
Manufacturer Gotha
First flight 1916
Primary user Imperial German Navy
Number built 69

The Gotha WD.14, WD.20, and WD.22 (for Wasser Doppeldecker - "Water Biplane") were a family of torpedo bomber seaplanes developed in Germany during World War I. They were conventional biplanes, essentially enlarged versions of the WD.11 and like it, having twin engines mounted tractor-fashion on the lower wing. The wider fuselage of these aircraft allowed the pilot and observer to sit side-by-side in the open cockpit, and a second 7.92 mm (.312 in) machine gun was added in an open dorsal position. Hinges were added to the wings, allowing them to be folded for storage.

69 WD.14s were built, but were found to be ineffective in their intended role of torpedo bomber, since their low speed made them extremely vulnerable to defensive fire. Many were subsequently adapted to act as mine layers, and some were even used as transports, landing machine gun detachments during Operation Albion in October 1917. The WD.20 differed from it only in having large auxiliary fuel tanks for long-range reconnaissance and having no torpedo- or mine-carrying capability.

A small number of generally similar WD.22 prototypes were built, these differing from the WD.20 in having two extra engines added, creating two tractor-pusher pairs, one on each wing.

Specifications (WD.14)[edit]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Three, pilot, observer, gunner
  • Length: 14.45 m (47 ft 5 in)
  • Wingspan: 25.50 m (83 ft 8 in)
  • Height: 5.00 m (16 ft 5 in)
  • Wing area: 132.0 m2 (1,421 ft2)
  • Empty weight: 3,150 kg (9,845 lb)
  • Gross weight: 4,642 kg (10,234 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Benz Bz.IV, 150 kW (200 hp) each

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 130 km/h (80 mph)
  • Endurance: 8 hours
  • Rate of climb: 1.3 m/s (250 ft/min)

Armament

  • 1 × trainable, forward-firing 7.92 mm (.312 in) Parabellum MG14 machine gun in nose for observer
  • 1 × trainable, rearward-firing 7.92 mm (.312 in) Parabellum MG14 machine gun in dorsal position
  • 1 × 725 kg (1,600 lb) torpedo

References[edit]

  • Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions. p. 428. 
  • World Aircraft Information Files. London: Bright Star Publishing. pp. File 895 Sheet 09. 
  • S, W (March–April 2010). "Rara Avis - Gotha WD.14 - A WW1 'Swordfish'!". Windsock Worldwide (Albatros Productions) 26 (2): 15–18.