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Rumpler C.IV

Imperial Germany (1917)
Picture of Rumpler C.IV Reconnaissance Biplane / Light Bomber Aircraft

The Rumpler C.IV found value with several world air forces for its time with production handled by both Rumpler and Pfalz during World War 1.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Rumpler C.IV Reconnaissance Biplane / Light Bomber Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 11/2/2016. Authored by Dan Alex. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Taking the C.III two-seat reconnaissance biplane of 1916 as a starting point, Rumpler Flugzeugwerke engineers developed an improved form of 1917 that became the Rumpler C.IV to fulfill the same over-battlefield role. Design was led by Dr. Edmund Rumpler and the primary operator became the German Empire though the Ottoman Air Force also relied on the type during the war years and post-war operators became Belgium, Switzerland and Yugoslavia.

Compared to the C.III, the C.IV was given a new Mercedes C.IVa engine and revised tail surfaces. This gave the modified aircraft good speed and an excellent service ceiling while at the same time providing the needed endurance for reconnaissance sorties. Its value to the Germans was such that it survived the whole of the war in its given role despite more modern offerings on hand. In practice there were few Allied warplanes that could intercept the C.IV which gave Rumpler aircrews a considerable advantage.

The aircraft was given a conventional biplane wings (over and under) with parallel struts creating a twin-bay arrangement. The engine, driving a two-bladed wooden propeller at the nose, was seated at the forward section of the aircraft just ahead of the pilot. The pilot sat under the upper wing mainplane with the observer / rear gunner in a cockpit just aft of the pilot. Both crewman were given open-air cockpits which meant environmental temperatures at high altitude could reach as low as -50C (-58F). Couple this with missions lasting between four and six hours and one can imagine the hardships endured by these flying men. The undercarriage was of a "tail-dragger" arrangement with the main legs wheeled. The tail unit sported a small-area, rounded vertical fin and low-set horizontal planes.

Performance from the Mercedes D.IVa water-cooled inline piston engine (260 horsepower) included a maximum speed of 107 miles per hour and a service ceiling of 21,000 feet.

Armament centered on 1 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine gun in a fixed, forward-firing position over the nose, synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blade and operated by the pilot. The rear gunner managed a 7.92mm Parabellum MG14 on a trainable (ring) mounting to help protect the aircraft's vulnerable "six" from trailing threats. In addition to the gun armament, the airframe was also cleared to carry 220lb of conventional drop stores allowing the biplane to take on Targets of Opportunity (ToO).

Early production models were fielded with large spinners at the propeller hub. This physical feature was deleted in later arrivals which improved drag qualities some and furthered performance even more. Manufacture was by both Rumpler and competitor Pfalz to which the latter variant was designated as "Pfalz C.I" (later "Rumpler C.IV (Pfal)") and carried different ailerons. Some 300 examples were produced by Pfalz for the war effort.

Beyond its service over the Western Front, the Rumpler C.IV series was deployed over the Italian Front and in the Middle East for its part in the war. The Rumpler 6B-2 was a floatplane (detailed elsewhere on this site) offshoot of the land-based C.IV series.

Any available statistics for the Rumpler C.IV Reconnaissance Biplane / Light Bomber Aircraft are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 120mph
Lo: 60mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (106mph).

    Graph average of 90 miles-per-hour.
Aviation Era Impact
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Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
650
650


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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Supported Mission Types:
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: Imperial Germany
Service Year: 1917
Classification Type: Reconnaissance Biplane / Light Bomber Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Rumpler Flugzeugwerke / Pfalz Flugzeugwerke - Imperial Germany
Production Units: 650
Global Operators:
Belgium (post-war); Imperial Germany; Switzerland; Ottoman Empire (Turkey); Yugoslavia (post-war)
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Rumpler C.IV model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
2


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
27.59 ft


Meters
8.41 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
41.54 ft


Meters
12.66 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
10.66 ft


Meters
3.25 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
2,381 lb


Kilograms
1,080 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
3,373 lb


Kilograms
1,530 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Mercedes D.IVa water-cooled inline engine developing 260 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
106 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
171 kph


Knots
92 kts


Performance
CEILING


Feet
20,997 ft


Meters
6,400 m


Miles
3.98 mi

Armament - Hardpoints (4):

STANDARD:
1 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine gun in fixed, forward-firing mounting synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
1 x Parabellum MG14 machine gun on trainable (ring) mounting at rear cockpit position.

OPTIONAL:
Up to 220lb of externally-held, conventional drop stores.
Visual Armory:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Variants: Series Model Variants
• C.IV - Base Military Designation
• Pfalz C.I - Rumpler C.IVs produced by Pfalz Flugzeugwerke.
• 6B-2 - Single-Seat Floatplane Fighter for German Navy; fitted with Mercedes D.III series engine of 160 horsepower.