Friedrichshafen G. III

From the beginning of hostilities the German Army was keen to deploy large-sized, long-range aeroplanes as strategic bombers. Flugzeughau Friedrichshafen was one of several German aircraft manufacturers that struggled to supply a suitable Grossflugzeug (large aeroplane).
Their first aircraft, the G.I of 1914, failed to go into production. Its successor, the G. II of 1916, entered service in limited numbers, but was not entirely suitable since it could carry only a modest 330lb bomb load. The larger G.III appeared early in 1917.
Powered by two water-cooled Mercedes engines driving pusher propellers, the G.III could carry a 1,100lb bomb load – 220lb internally and the remainder on underfuselage racks. It was armed with defensive guns in the front and rear cockpits, but to increase its chances of survival it was chiefly employed on night-time raids.
In service from mid-1917 until the end of the war, G.IIIs were mostly used to attack French and Belgian targets on the Western Front: some, however, joined their Gotha counterparts in bombing raids on Paris and London, while others served in Macedonia.
In early 1918 the G.IIIa appeared, with a biplane tail and twin fins and rudders. The Daimler and Hanseatische companies shared production of the G.III and G.IIIa. building a total of 338.

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