Halberstadt CL.IV Ground Attack / Biplane Fighter Aircraft
Though excelling in the ground attack role, the Halberstadt CL.IV biplane attacker lacked the needed protection against ground-based fire.
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The CL.IV was a further development of the CL.II design, both aircraft a product of Halberstadt Flugzeugwerke of Germany. The CL.II was found to be a perfect platform when used in the close-support role and, as such, the CL.IV was designed as its replacement with that specific role in mind. Fielded in 1918, the type served in the final major campaigns of the First World War, taking on sorties that ran the gamut of light bombing, ground strafing, nightbombing and interception while still being capable of dogfighting.
The CL.IV was of an orthodox design with a crew of two. The pilot occupied the forward cockpit area just behind the trailing edge of the upper wing. Visibility was somewhat obscured due to the wing placement but views above, left and right were generally good. The pilot had access to a synchronized 7.92mm Spandau LMG 08/15 machine gun. The engine was mounted to the extreme forward of the fuselage just in front of the pilot and was of a 160 horsepower Mercedes D.III 6-cylinder, in-line, water-cooled engine type operating a two-blade propeller. The observer/gunner sat to the pilot's rear (directly behind actually, separated only by a wood panel) and operated a ring-mounted 7.92mm Parabellum LMG 14 machine gun. Externally, the CL.IV was designed to carry up to five 10 kilogram bombs. Wings were of equal span with single bays supported by parallel struts. The undercarriage was traditional, with two main wheels and a tail skid.
The new design proved a great deal better than her forerunner. The CL.IV was a stronger aircraft with good maneuverability. Though an exceptional aircraft when taking on ground targets, protection afforded to the crew was less than stellar, forcing the pilot to utilize the maneuverability of the CL.IV to avoid ground fire. With this in mind, the CL.IV was fielded in handfuls for collectively devastating attacks on ground forces through use of machine guns or bombs. Despite their effectiveness in this role, victory was falling ever farther from Germany's reach until the country officially capitulated.
The CL.IV was designed by Halberstadt chief designer Karl Thies.