Military Review

Forgotten Giants Zeppelin II


The VGO.II aircraft first flew in August 1915 of the year. It was identical to its predecessor VGO.I in its final five-engine version. VGO.II was used for various experiments, in particular, they tried to install an 105-millimeter howitzer, directed vertically downwards, to fire enemy ships and ground targets. However, tests have shown that the recoil force of the gun is too great for an aircraft with a fragile wooden frame. Subsequently, the second German giant was used to train and train pilots until it crashed.

At the end of May, the 1916 of the year took off the third model of the VGO.III, equipped with six Mercedes D.III III engines rated for the 160 hp. In the nacelles, they stood next to each other, and in the nose of the fuselage - side by side. The gondolas themselves were made more elongated and streamlined, giving them a rounded section. In the fuselage, between the cockpit and rear rifle station, equipped with a fairly large bomb bay. The aircraft could lift up to 1000 kg. there are twice as many bombs as “Ilya Muromets”.

VGO.III was adopted, having received the military index R.III. R is an abbreviation for the word Riesenflugzeuge, which translates as "a huge plane." This letter in the German Air Force designated heavy multi-engined bombers. In early August, R.III arrived at the Baltic sector of the Russian-German front, and on August 13 - made the first raid on the Riga railway junction. 18 August in the next raid the crew of the "Riesenflugtsoyga" first met with Russian anti-aircraft gunners. The plane received three shrapnel hits in the wings, but managed to return to the airfield.

Further R.III. made seven more bomb raids on the Russian military and transport facilities, but the car didn’t fly so much as idle at the airfield because of constant problems with the engines. 24 January 1917 of the year was the last day of her combat service. On that day R.III. whether it was shot down, or crashed for technical reasons. The plane crashed and burned, killing five of the seven crew members.

The next giant, R.IV, came to the test of 16 August 1916 of the year. From R.III it was distinguished by wing power units with 220-strong "Maybachs" instead of 160-strong "Mercedes" and four-bladed screws. Thus, the total power of the propulsion system reached 1200 horsepower. Accordingly, increased flight performance. The maximum speed of the R.IV without bomb load was 130 km / h (with bombs - 110), the ceiling - 3700 m. The plane was equipped with a radio station, and the crew members' workplaces that were far apart from each other were connected with telegraph lines. A radio operator and two more machine-gunners were introduced to the team, and on the upper wing, over the engine nacelles, they made two additional machine-gun points.

R.IV was the most successful and long-lived of the early "Riesenflugtsoygov." He served as a heavy bomber on the eastern front until the end of 1917, then was transferred to the west and there he fought to the end of the war, making many combat missions, including to London and Paris. After the signing of the Compiegne truce R.IV with arms removed, he carried passengers and mail for another six months, but was later destroyed at the request of the Allies, since the Versailles Treaty forbade Germany to have heavy multi-engined airplanes suitable for use as bombers.

VGO.III at the factory airfield during flight tests. Armament is not yet available. Pay attention to the additional steering surfaces, "strung" on the extreme wing racks. Later they were dismantled.

Another shot of VGO.III, taken before being sent to the front.

The bow of VGO.III close-up.

R.IV with a group of its creators and testers. The plane has not yet received weapons and "war paint".

R.IV engines: on the left - "Maybach", on the right - "Mercedes".

R.IV in flight.

Post-war snapshot R.IV

VGO.I and R.IV in camouflage type "lozeng".
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. Bayonet
    Bayonet April 16 2016 06: 42
    The crew of the German heavy bomber Zeppelin-Staaken R.IV at work
  2. Stoler
    Stoler April 16 2016 07: 17
    All the same, there is some kind of bewitching beauty in these old cars. And the "open gondola" on the wings is a thrill! good
    1. Arktidianets
      Arktidianets April 16 2016 09: 25
      Imagine how it was to the minders in these nacelles next to the roaring and smoking engines
      1. sub307
        sub307 April 16 2016 10: 33
        "Imagine what it was like for the minders in these nacelles ..."
        Presented ...- approximately as in the engine compartment of a submarine + some specifics.
      2. The comment was deleted.
    2. avt
      avt April 16 2016 10: 03
      Quote: Stoler
      All the same, there is some kind of mesmerizing beauty in these old cars.

      good Yes, ah .... it was in that short period that they didn’t bother much with aerodynamics and licked cars for speed, but simply put more and more powerful motors.
      1. Bersaglieri
        Bersaglieri April 16 2016 11: 19
        The speeds were still "bus", so they didn't bother too much. They began to bother after 10 years.
    3. novobranets
      novobranets April 16 2016 14: 40
      Quote: Stoler
      And the "open gondolas" on the wings are great!

      Yeah. And in the winter? wassat Later TB-3 was also with open cockpits, as in a flying boat.
      1. PKK
        PKK April 16 2016 16: 10
        Then there was a period of real aviation until closed cockpits were made. In those days, the enemy was found by smell in the air. On some models, the rods were sprayed before the flight and the flight time was limited by the presence of lubricant in the rods. Salidol flew into the face and after the flight the pilots had a specific view. This is seen in the Lafayette movie. It was a time of romance and there was money for it.
      2. Bersaglieri
        Bersaglieri April 18 2016 17: 12
        Yeah. And in the thick wing there was a manhole, with hatches at the top, so that the mechanic could service the engines in flight. But the most apotheosis of this is K-7, of course :)

        Estimate the thickness of the wing
  3. AlexVas44
    AlexVas44 April 16 2016 09: 12
    Quote: Stoler
    And the "open gondolas" on the wings are great!

    And the radiator in front of the pilots, so it’ll fly away! laughing
  4. 2005 Aleksey
    2005 Aleksey April 16 2016 09: 54
    This was also called the battle clutch in Germany. what
    But the meaning of the word has not changed.
  5. Ramzes33
    Ramzes33 April 16 2016 15: 18
    Interesting article.
  6. Signaller
    Signaller April 17 2016 03: 52
    Forgotten Giants Zeppelin II
    More correct to say FILLED into the ground. Germany in the First World War was in the role of the losing side. And all of their planes, in fact, were jammed ......
  7. Dekabrev
    Dekabrev April 17 2016 13: 49
    I haven’t heard about the "rods injected", but in the most common rotary aircraft engines of the "Gnome" "Ron" type, the lubrication system seems to be direct-flow. The castor oil from the tank was sucked in due to the centrifugal force arising from the rotation of the radial engine, passed through the grooves in the calender to the rubbing parts, fell into the cylinders and, that did not burn out, flew out in all directions. As I understand it, they flew not so much at the pilot as at the audience of the air show, than those, sometimes, were proud of showing their friends oil stains on the lace.
  8. Dekabrev
    Dekabrev April 17 2016 13: 53
    By the way, as far as I know, before starting the rotary engine, it was necessary to squirt the fuel into the cylinders, so that during the first revolution for the propeller there was something to ignite inside the cylinders. When landing, such engines could not hold too little gas, so they were simply jammed, so the second run, apparently, was very problematic.
  9. ZIS
    ZIS April 18 2016 02: 16
    I am not a specialist in aviation, but it’s strange, why not take the rear landing gear a little back for tail stability, and not place the machine gunner there. The "dead zone" is excluded.
  10. dvg1959
    dvg1959 April 18 2016 21: 51
    Impressive giants of their time.