R-planes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

R-planes were large German Army bombers in World War I. The R classification was short for Riesenflugzeug ("giant aircraft"). In designations, the manufacturer's name preceded the letter R followed by a Roman numeral, e.g. Dornier Rs.III or Staaken R.XIV.

The R-planes were the largest aircraft of World War I. The German R-planes that bombed London during World War I were larger than the German aircraft used for the same purpose in World War II.

The operational history of the R-plane designs spanned the years 1915 to 1919. These were large multi-engine aircraft capable of flying several hours with larger bomb loads than the smaller G-type bombers. Engines were often mounted inside the fuselage using gearboxes and driveshafts to transfer the power to the propellers mounted on the wings, with a few of the types using more reliable direct-drive power transmissions which matched the number of engines and propellers.

Virtually all the aircraft types of this class were built as "one-off" aircraft, each one a unique airframe, with the sole exception of the small number of Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI bombers produced. Nearly all the Zeppelin-Staaken "giants" had nearly identical wingspans of 42.2 meters, and likely used nearly identical wing structures.[citation needed]

List of aircraft[edit]

AEG
Four 260 h.p Mercedes D.IV engines. did not enter service
DFW
  • DFW R.I
    • Four 220 Mercedes D.IV engines
    • Wing span: 30.5 m. (100 ft)
    • Length: 17.6 m. (57 ft. 9in.)
    • Height: 6.0 m. (19 ft. 8in)
    • Service: Eastern Front with Rfa (Riesenflugzeug-Abteilung) 500 at Alt-Auz, April 1917 to September 1917
  • DFW R.II
    • Four 260 Mercedes D.IV engines
    • Wing span: 35.06 m. (115 ft)
    • Length: 20.93 m. (68 ft. 8in.)
    • Height: 6.4 m. (21 ft)
    • Service: Training duties with Rea. Cologne 1918
  • DFW R.III
    • Eight 260 Mercedes D.IV engines
    • Wing Span: 53.5 m. (175 ft. 6 in)
    • Length: 25 m. (82 ft)
    • Height: 8.6 m. (28 ft. 2.5 in)
    • Service: None
Dornier
  • Dornier Rs.I (flying-boat)
    • built by Zeppelin-Werke Lindau
    • Three 240 hp Maybach HS (Mb.IV) engines
    • Wing Span: 43.5 m. (142 ft. 9 in)
    • Length: 29.0 m. (95 ft. 1.5 in)
    • Damaged in a storm
Dornier Rs.II (Flying-boat)
    • Manufacturer: Zeppelin-Werke Lindau
    • Three 240 h.p Maybach HS (Mb.IV) engines
    • Wing Span: 33.2 m. (108 ft. 11in.)
    • Length: 23.88 m. (78 ft. 4in.)
    • Service: None
  • Dornier Rs.III (Flying-boat)
    • Manufacturer: Zeppelin-Werke Lindau G.m.b.H
    • Four 245 h.p Maybach Mb.IVa engines
    • Wing Span 37 m. (121 ft. 4.5in.)
    • Length: 22.75 m. (74 ft. 6.5in.)
    • Service Norderney Seaplane Station, August to November 1918
  • Type: Dornier Rs.IV (Flying-boat)
    • Manufacturer: Zeppelin-Werke Lindau G.m.b.H
    • Engines: Four 245 h.p Maybach Mb.IVa engines
    • Wing Span: 37 m. (121 ft. 4.5in.)
    • Length: 22.3 m. (73 ft. 2in.)
    • Height: 8.55 m. (28 ft)
    • Service: None
Linke-Hofmann
Mannesmann
A wheel of the German giant Mannesmann Poll Triplane Bomber after its discovery by a Royal Air Force team of the Interallied Military Control Commission near Cologne, 1919.
  • "Poll-Giant", "Forssman Triplane"
    • Manufacturer: Mannesmann-Mulag-Werk in Westhoven[1]
    • Engines: Ten engines, never installed
    • Wingspan 50,30 m (165 ft. 24in)
    • Length: 45,70 m. (149 ft. 11in)
    • unfinished prototype found in 1919 by the Military Inter-Allied Commission of Control
Siemens-Schuckert Forssman
  • Siemens-Schuckert Forssman R
    • Manufacturer: Siemens-Schuckert Werke G.m.b.H
    • Engines: Four 110 h.p Mercedes engines
    • Wing Span: 24 m. (78 ft. 9in.)
    • Length: 16.5 m. (54 ft. 2in)
    • Service: Training duties
SSW
  • Siemens-Schuckert R.I
    • Manufacturer: Siemens-Schuckert Werke G.m.b.H
    • Engines: Three 150 h.p Benz Bz.III engines
    • Wing Span: 28 m. (91 ft. 10in.)
    • Length: 17.5 m. (57 ft. 5in.)
    • Height: 5.2 m. (17 ft. 5in.)
    • Service: Eastern Front 1915–1916 and training duties 1916–1918
  • Type: SSW R.II to R.VII
    • Manufacturer: Siemens-Schuckert Werke G.m.b.H
    • Engines: Three 220 h.p Benz Bz.III engines (R.III to R.IV), three 260 h.p Mercedes D.IV engines (R.II and R.VII)
    • Wing Span: 28.77 m. to 38.44 m. (92 ft. 7in. to 126 ft. 1.5in)
    • Length: 17.7 m. to 18.5 m. (58 ft 1in. to 60 ft. 8.5in.)
    • Height: 4.6 m. (15 ft. 1in.)
    • Service: Eastern Front August 1916 to August 1917
  • Type: Siemens-Schuckert R.VIII
    • Manufacturer: Siemens-Schuckert Werke G.m.b.H
    • Engines: Six 300 h.p Basse und Selve BuS.IVa engines
    • Wing Span: 48 m. (157 ft. 6in.)
    • Length: 21.6 m. (70 ft. 10in.)
    • Height: 7.4 m. (24 ft. 3in.)
    • Service: None
    • Largest heavier-than-air aircraft built during World War I, by either Allied or Central Powers
VGO (Versuchsbau Gotha Ost)
  • Type: VGO.I-RML.1
    • Manufacturer : Versuchsbau Gotha-Ost G.m.b.H
    • Engines: Three 240 h.p Maybach HS engines in first version five 245 h.p Maybach Mb.IVa engines
    • Wing span: 42.2 m. (138 ft. 5.5in.)
    • Length: 24 m. (78 ft. 9in.)
    • Height: 6.6 m. (21 ft. 7.5in.)
    • Service: Eastern Front with Kommando L.R.I at Alt-Auz, August 1916
  • Type: VGO.II
    • Manufacturer : Versuchsbau Gotha-Ost G.m.b.H
    • Engines: Three 240 h.p Maybach HS engines
    • Wing span: 42.2 m. (138 ft. 5.5 in.)
    • Length: 23.78 m. (78 ft)
    • Height: 7 m. (22 ft. 11.5in.)
    • Service: Eastern Front with Rfa 500 at Alt-Auz 1916. Training machine at Doberitz 1916–1917
  • Type: VGO.III ("R.III")
    • Manufacturer : Versuchsbau Gotha-Ost G.m.b.H
    • Engines: Six 160 h.p Mercedes D.III engines (3 propellers)
    • Wing span: 42.2 m. (138 ft. 5.5in.)
    • Length: 24.5 m. (80 ft. 4.5in.)
    • Height: 6.8 m. (22 ft. 3.5in.)
    • Service: Eastern Front with Rfa 500 at Alt-Auz, summer 1916 - January 1917
Zeppelin-Staaken (successor firm of VGO)
  • Zeppelin-Staaken R.IV
    • Manufacturer : Flugzeugwerft G.m.b.H
    • Two 160 hp Mercedes D.III engines and four 220 hp Benz Bz.IV engines
    • Wing Span: 42.2 m. (138 ft. 5.5in.)
    • Length: 23.2 m. (76 ft. 1in.)
    • Height: 6.8 m. (22 ft. 3.5in.)
    • R.IV saw service on the Eastern Front with Rfa 500 at Alt-Auz, June 1917 to August–September 1917, Western Front with Rfa 501 in Ghent area September 1917 to November 1918
    • Sole example of a "one-off" Zeppelin-Staaken giant aircraft to survive World War I
  • Zeppelin-Staaken R.V
    • Manufacturer : Flugzeugwerft G.m.b.H
    • Five 245 h.p Maybach Mb.IVa engines
    • Wing Span: 42.2 m. (138 ft. 5.5in.)
    • Length: 23 m. (75 ft. 5.5in.)
    • Height: 6.8 m. (22 ft. 3.5in.)
    • Service on Western Front with Rfa 501 in Ghent area 1917–1918
  • R.VI
    • Manufacturer : Flugzeugwerft G.m.b.H
    • Four 260 h.p Mercedes D.IVa engines
    • Wing Span: 42.2 m. (138 ft. 5.5in.)
    • Length: 22.1 m. (72 ft. 6in.)
    • Height: 6.3 m. (20 ft. 8in.)
    • Service: Up to 13 aircraft in service on the Western Front with Rfa 500 and Rfa 501, 1917 to November 1918
  • R.VII
    • Manufacturer : Flugzeugwerft G.m.b.H
    • Engines: Two 160 h.p Mercedes D.III engines & Four 220 h.p Benz Bz.IV engines
    • Wing Span: 42.2 m. (138 ft. 5.5in.)
    • Length: 22.1 m. (72 ft. 6in.)
    • Height: 6.8 m. (22 ft. 3.5in.)
    • Service: None
  • Zeppelin-Staaken R.XIV
    • Manufacturer : Zeppelin-Werke G.m.b.H
    • Five 245 h.p Maybach Mb.IVa engines
    • Wing Span: 42.2 m. (138 ft. 5.5in.)
    • Length: 22.5 m. (73 ft. 10in.)
    • Height: 6.3 m. (20 ft. 8in.)
    • Service: Western Front with Rfa 500 and Rfa 501 August - November 1918
  • Zeppelin-Staaken R.XIVa
    • Manufacturer : Zeppelin-Werke G.m.b.H
    • Five 245 h.p Maybach Mb.IVa engines
    • Wing Span: 42.2 m. (138 ft. 5.5in.)
    • Length: 22.5 m. (73 ft. 5.5in)
    • Height: 6.3 m. (20 ft. 8in.)
    • Service: Used in 1919 by the German Government to fly money into Ukraine, and was seized by the Inter-Allied Control Commission when it landed at Aspen near Vienna.
  • Zeppelin-Staaken R.XV
    • Manufacturer : Zeppelin-Werke
    • Five 245 h.p Maybach Mb.IVa engines
    • Wing Span: 42.2 m. (138 ft. 5.5in.)
    • Length: 22.5 m. (73 ft. 10in.)
    • Height: 6.3 m. (20 ft. 8in.)
    • Service: Western Front
  • Zeppelin-Staaken R.XVI
    • Manufacturer : Zeppelin-Werke
    • Two 530 hp Benz Bz.VI pusher engines & two 220 h.p. Benz Bz.IV tractor engines
    • Wing Span: 42.2 m. (138 ft. 5.5in.)
    • Length: 22.5 m. (73 ft. 10in.)
    • Height: 6.5 m. (21 ft. 4in.)
    • Service: None
  • Type: Staaken L (Seaplane R.VI)
    • Manufacturer : Zeppelin-Werke G.m.b.H
    • Engines: Four 245 h.p Maybach Mb.IVa engines
    • Wing Span: 42.2 m. (138 ft. 5.5in.)
    • Length: 22.2 m. (72 ft. 10in.)
    • Height: 7.38 m. (24 ft. 2.5in.)
    • Service: None
  • Staaken 8301 (Seaplane R.VI/R.XV)
    • Manufacture: Zeppelin-Werke G.m.b.H
    • Four 245 h.p. Maybach Mb.IVa engines
    • Wing Span: 42.2 m. (138 ft. 5.5in.)
    • Length: 21 m. (68 ft. 10.5in.)
    • Height: 6.8 m. (22 ft. 3.5in.)
    • In the early post-war period were used on a regular weekend passenger excursions between Berlin and Swinemunde, a popular German resort.

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ G. Sollinger, "The Forssman Tri-plane, The Largest Aeroplane Of World War I" The Forssmann-Triplane
Bibliography
  • G.W. Haddow & Peter M. Grosz The German Giants, The Story of the R-planes 1914–1919, Putnam & Company Limited, London 1962
  • G. Sollinger Villehad Forssman: Constructing German Bombers 1914-1918, Rusavia Publishing House, Moscow, 2009

External links[edit]