Caudron G.3

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Caudron G.3
Gervais-Courtellemont französisches Kampfflugzeug 1914 001.jpg
French Caudron G.3
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.


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 an open tailboom truss. 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. Usually, the G.3 was not armed, although sometimes light machine guns and small bombs were fitted.

It was ordered in large quantities following the outbreak of the First World War with the Caudron factories building 1423 of the 2450 built in France. 233 were also built in England and 166 built in Italy along with several other countries. The Caudron brothers did not charge a licensing fee for the design, as an act of patriotism.[2]

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

Operational history[edit]

French operational Caudron G.3
Caudron G.3 operated by the American 800th Aero Squadron as a trainer
Caudron G.3 floatplane trainer in Chinese service

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 stable and having good visibility. As the war progressed, its low performance and lack of armament made it too vulnerable for front line service, and it was withdrawn from front line operations in mid-1916.[2]

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 fitted some with light bombs and machine guns for ground attack.[2] The Australian Flying Corps operated the G.3 during the Mesopotamian campaign of 1915–16.

It continued in use as a trainer until well after the end of the war. Chinese Fengtian clique warlord Caudron G.3s remained in service as trainers until the Mukden Incident of 1931, when many were captured by the Japanese.

In 1921 Adrienne Bolland, a French test pilot working for Caudron, made the first crossing of the Andes by a woman, flying between Argentina and Chile in a G.3.


Most G.3s were the A.2 model, used by various airforces for artillery spotting on the Western front, in Russia and in the Middle East. The G.3 D.2 was a two-seat trainer, equipped with dual controls and the E.2 was a basic trainer. The R.1 version (rouleur or roller) was used by France and the United States Air Service for taxi training, with the wing trimmed down 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 a few 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 is being restored at the Hallinportti Aviation Museum in Finland.


Caudron G3 in the Airspace Museum (Museu Aeroespacial) in Rio de Janeiro.
Caudron G-III E-2, one of the first aircraft of the Colombian Air Force.
Argentine Air Force
Belgian Air Force
Colombian Air Force - Three aircraft became Colombia's first military aircraft.
Royal Danish Air Force
 El Salvador
Air Force of El Salvador - Three aircraft.
Finnish Air Force - 12 from France in 1920, six built in Finland by Santahaminan ilmailutelakka from 1921 to 1923. One from Flyg Aktiebolaget in 1923. Withdrawn 1924. Nicknamed Tutankhamon.
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
eighteen bought in 1919 for training at Getafe, Seville and Los Alcázares, replaced by Avro 504Ks in 1924.
 Soviet Union
Soviet Air Force - ex-Imperial Russian Air Force.
Turkish Air Force - Postwar.
 United Kingdom
Caudron G.3 at the Royal Air Force Museum London
 United States
Venezuelan Air Force

Specifications (G.3)[edit]

Caudron G.3 drawing

Data from Suomen ilmavoimien lentokoneet

General characteristics



One light machine gun (optional) and 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.
  3. ^ Thetford, Owen (1994). British Naval Aircraft Since 1912. London: Putnam. p. 415. ISBN 0-85177-861-5. 
  • 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]