The C.VIII variant was developed with the intention of providing an operational trainer for aircrews nearing the end of their training with particular emphasis on the observers' curriculum of gunnery, observation, radio and photography. The aircraft was close to standards applicable to full military operation but could also be operated economically.
A strategic need for improved and intensified training in connection with an ultimate offensive on the Western Front in March 1918 existed. To facilitate this higher standard of training, the C.VIII was introduced towards the end of 1917 with the Flieger Ersatz Abteilungen, i.e. Flying Training Units.