Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI

The Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI was the most successful of the German Riesenflugzeuge (“giant aeroplanes”). This extraordinary heavy bomber certainly justified its name; its wingspan was vast for its
day and it had an impressive maximum bombload of 4,400lb.
There was nothing rovnlutionary about the aircraft’s structure,
however like most of its humblersized contemporaries, it was made
largely of wood and fabric.
The engines were mounted in tandem pairs, each driving one tractor and one pusher propeller. Two pilots sat, side by side, in an enclosed cabin, while other crew sat in the engine nacelles or manned guns in the nose or above and below the fuselage.
The firsl R.VI were delivered to service units in June 1917, and from
September they joined the smaller Gothas in night bombing raids on
London. During raids in February 1918. “Giants” dropped single bombs as large as 2,200lb.
Of the 18 R.VIs that entered service, only two were destroyed by
enemy fire. However,operating these massive machines at night in wartime conditions was inherentIy hazardous; eight were lost in crashes.

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