AEG C.IV Fighter Biplane Aircraft
The AEG-produced C-series of aircraft provided German frontline troops with a versatile offensive performer throughout the course of World War 1.
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The C.IV was a twin-seat biplane aircraft produced by the German firm of Allgemeine Elektrizitats-Gesellschaft (or simply "AEG"). The type was primarily fielded as reconnaissance platform from 1916 onwards though it also served as a bomber escort and saw service with the German air service through to the end of World War 1in 1918. The C.IV represented one of AEG's most successful wartime ventures with production exceeding some estimated 658 examples.
Outwardly, the C.IV was a conventional biplane through and through. The wings featured and equal span upper and lower wing assembly with double bays and parallel struts. The engine, a single Mercedes D.III water-cooled in-line type of 160 horsepower - was mounted in the extreme forward portion of the fuselage with the distinct radiator "horn" protruding the top. The engine powered a two-blade wooden propeller. The forward portion of the fuselage was contoured to an extent, producing a somewhat aerodynamic look while the rest of the body maintained a boxy-like appearance. Seating was for two, made up of the pilot and an observer in tandem, with the pilot in the forward cockpit behind a simplistic windscreen. The pilot had access to a single Spandau machine gun offset to his right side. The system was synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades without damaging them via an interrupter gear. The observer manned the rear cockpit, facing aft, and sat inside of a Schneider-type gun mount ring. His position was dominated by a Parabellum machine gun with adequate traverse to engage trailing enemy fighters. The undercarriage remained fixed, characterized by the two large main landing gears at front and a simple tail skid under the tail section. The empennage featured a sharp-angled vertical tail fin with low-mounted horizontal stabilizers.
Performance was good for the time with the C.IV yielding a top speed of 98 miles per hour with a service ceiling of 16,404 feet. Endurance from the Mercedes engine was reported to be roughly 3 hours of flight time.
The C.IV entered service with Germany in early 1916 during the spring season. By June of 1917, no fewer than 150 examples were operating along the Western Front alone. The mount proved a success for the time it was fielded and several models continued in service after the cessation of hostilities.
The C.IV was produced in two other lesser-known variants designated as C.IVa and C.IV.N. The C.IVa distinguished itself from the base model by fitting an Argus engine of 180 horsepower. The C.IV.N was the prototype form of a C.IV night bomber developed sometime in 1917. The night bomber form was powered by a single Benz Bz.III series engine of 180 horsepower and would have carried 6 x 110lb bombs externally.
Beyond service to Imperial Germany, the C.IV was also fielded by the Turkish Flying Corps and the Bulgarian Air Force as well as with Poland - the latter in the years following the war (at least 64 examples).