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Hannover CL.III

Twin-Seat Biplane Fighter Aircraft

Hannover CL.III

Twin-Seat Biplane Fighter Aircraft


The Hannover CL.III was a direct evolution of the earlier CL.II and saw production figures exceed 600 units in all.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: Imperial Germany
YEAR: 1917
STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Hannoversche Waggonfabrik / Opel - German Empire
OPERATORS: Imperial Germany; Latvia (post-war); Soviet Union (post-war)

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Hannover CL.IIIa model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
LENGTH: 24.87 feet (7.58 meters)
WIDTH: 38.39 feet (11.7 meters)
HEIGHT: 9.19 feet (2.8 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 1,576 pounds (715 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 2,381 pounds (1,080 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Argus As.III 6-cylinder water-cooled inline piston engine developing 180 horsepower and driving a two-bladed wooden propeller at the nose.
SPEED (MAX): 103 miles-per-hour (165 kilometers-per-hour; 89 knots)
RANGE: 311 miles (500 kilometers; 270 nautical miles)
CEILING: 24,606 feet (7,500 meters; 4.66 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 620 feet-per-minute (189 meters-per-minute)

1 x 7.92mm Spandau LMG 08/15 machine gun in fixed, forward-facing mounting.
2 x 7.92mm Parabellum MG14 machine guns in trainable mounting at rear cockpit.
Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun

Series Model Variants
• CL.III - Base Series Designation; powered by Mercedes D.III engine; 80 examples completed.
• CL.IIIa - Powered by Argus A.III inline piston engine of 180 horsepower; production by Opel.
• CL.IIIb - Proposed production form to be powered by NAG C.III engine of 185 horsepower.
• CL.IIIC - Testbed form with revised wing mainplanes with twin bays and NAG engine.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Hannover CL.III Twin-Seat Biplane Fighter Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 1/25/2019. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
Even as the CL.II (detailed elsewhere on this site) by Hannoversche Waggonfabrik AG was making its way to German squadrons during World War 1 (1914-1918), the company was already evolving the design under the designation of "CL.III". The engine-of-choice switched from the original's Argus As.III of 180 horsepower to the proven Mercedes D.III water-cooled engine of 160 horsepower - the change promising greater performance power at altitude. Several measures were also enacted to reduce the type's operating weight and various sections were reinforced or revised. The resulting biplane fighter saw total production reach 617 units with the German Empire and some post-war use was had by the nations of Latvia and the newly-founded Soviet Union.

The aircraft carried over other established qualities of the CL.II that came before it: the unequal-span biplane wing members (single bay, parallel struts), tail-dragger undercarriage, and tandem seating for its crew of two (pilot in front, gunner/observer at the rear). Armament was increased from two 7.92mm machine guns (one forward, one aft) to three machine guns: 2 x 7.92mm machine guns now featured at the rear cockpit emplacement.

Dimensions included a running length of 24.9 feet, a wingspan of 38.4 feet, and a height of 9 feet. Empty weight reached 1,580 lb against an MTOW of 2,400 lb.

The CL.III was approved on February 23rd, 1918 and a serial production order for 200 units then followed by the German Air Service with first-deliveries tagged for March of that year. However, there proved a shortage of the in-demand Mercedes D.III engines which resulted in just eighty of the aircraft featuring entering service with this powerplant - the remainder were equipped with the original Argus As.III of 180 horsepower and these became the "CL.IIIa" in service. The engines were license-built by Opel and designated "As.III(O)" to mark the origin.

With this engine in place, the aircraft could manage a maximum speed of 103 miles-per-hour, reach an altitude of 24,600 feet, and climb at 620 feet-per-minute while holding a mission endurance of three hours.

The CL.IIIa proved itself the definitive production mark of the series, seeing combat service from entry in April 1918 up until the end of the war in November of 1918 (the 'Armistice') - though by this point the capable fighters were being used in the ground-attack role to help delay Allied advances. At least one other designation emerged as the "CL.IIIb" and this was to feature the NAG C.III engine of 185 horsepower. For this work, a single experimental model, the "CL.IIIc", was to serve as a testbed while also sporting a two-bay biplane wing arrangement.

Despite the signing of the Armistice of 1918 to end the war in full, Hannover continued serial production of the aircraft for a short time later, adding another 100 CL.III and another 38 CL.IIIa forms.


General Assessment

Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
MF Power Rating
The MF Power Rating takes into account over sixty individual factors related to this aircraft entry. The rating is out of 100 total possible points.
Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 120mph
Lo: 60mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (103mph).

Graph average of 90 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Hannover CL.IIIa's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (617)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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