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Preserved Linke-Hofmann tram, Kraków, Poland

Linke-Hofmann was a German manufacturing company established in Breslau to produce locomotives and rolling stock. Its origins lay in the wheelwright business of Gottfried Linke, begun in 1834. It is now part of Alstom, the name Linke-Hofmann-Busch became defunct in 2009 when it became ALSTOM Transport Germany GmbH.

During World War I, it became one of many companies in Germany drawn into the aircraft industry even though they had no prior experience in aircraft design.

Linke-Hofmann first entered the aircraft industry by repairing and constructing aircraft under licence, such as the Roland C.IIa, Albatros C.III, C.X and B.IIa. In 1916, aircraft design must have seemed very simple, little more than a kite with an engine attached, unlike steam locomotive designs which were mature and complicated.

In 1916 Linke-Hofmann was awarded a contract to design and build a four-engined R-Plane. The R classification is short for Riesenflugzeug ("giant aircraft"). Two designs were built in prototype form, the R.I and the R.II; both designs were highly unconventional.

The R.I was a failure, but the Linke-Hofmann R.II flew well. However, the war ended before it could be put into production. Post-war attempts to build R.II's as passenger and transport aircraft came to nothing.

See also[edit]


  • The German Giants, The Story of the R-planes 1914-1919, G.W Haddow & Peter M. Grosz, 1963. Published by Putnam & Company 42 Great Russell Street London
  • Gunston, Bill (1993). World Encyclopedia of Aircraft Manufacturers. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. p. 183.