The Albatros C.I series of aircraft was the next evolution in the brand's reconnaissance aircraft line. Stemming from the development of the production Albatros B.II, the C.I shared many of the common characteristics in the initial design including the biplane wing assembly and basic fuselage design. Where it differed from the B.II, however, was in crew layout, the implementation of self-defense armament and improved performance capabilities. The C.I would become the aircraft on which many a German ace would be introduced to aerial combat and hone his skills on before graduating to the new breed of true fighter.
The C.I, like the B.II before it, featured crew accommodations for two personnel in the form of one pilot and a rear "observer" that doubled as a gunner. Unlike the B.II, the C.I switched the positions of the pilot and observer to a more traditional layout, putting the pilot forward just behind the engine, and the observer to the rear. This allowed the pilot a more traditional viewpoint from the front of his machine while allowing the rear observer/gunner a greater area to which train his gun in for self-defense. Armament consisted of a single 7.5mm Parabellum machine gun in the rear gunner area. Beyond that, the system was a reconnaissance aircraft not built for straight up engagements, though the C.I did find its fair share of success in that field.
The Albatros C.I offered up performance improvements thanks to the Mercedes D.III liquid-cooled inline engine. Performance increased the maximum speed from the B.II's 66 miles per hour to the C.I's 87 miles per hour. The endurance of the newer C.I did suffer quite a bit, however, from 4 hours of flightier in the B.I to just 2 hours of flight time in the C.I. Nevertheless, the powerplant was one of the best and most powerful available when compared to its contemporaries and handling was reported as good to excellent, making for a lethal weapon despite these shortcomings.
Status Retired, Out-of-Service
Production 500 Units
Albatros Flugzeugwerke - Imperial Germany
Bulgaria; German Empire; Lithuania; Poland; Sweden; Turkey
- Reconnaissance (RECCE)
25.75 ft (7.85 m)
42.32 ft (12.9 m)
10.30 ft (3.14 m)
1 x Mercedes D.III liquid-cooled inline engine developing 160 horsepower driving a two-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
87 mph (140 kph; 76 kts)
9,843 feet (3,000 m; 1.86 miles)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Albatros C.I production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
1 x 7.92mm MG14 Parabellum machine gun in rear gunner's position.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Albatros C.I production model)
C.I - Initial C-series model; based on the B.II unarmed reconnaissance biplane; 1 x 7.5mm machine gun in rear gunner position; Mercedes D.III engine delivering 160hp.
C.Ia - Improved C.I model with Argus As III series engine.
C.Ib - Dual-Control Trainer Variant
C.I-V - Single Experimental Prototype Model
C.III - Derived from the B.III reconaaissance biplane; 1 or 2 x 7.5mm machine guns in rear gunner position; Mercedes D.III engine delivering 160hp.
C.V - Developed from the C.III; 2 x 7.5mm machine guns in rear gunner position; Mercedes D.IV 8-cylinder engine delivering 220hp; refined fuselage design.
C.VII - Replacement Model beginning in mid-1916 for the underperforming C.V model.
C.X - Improved over the C.V design; fitted with Mercedes D.IVa engine delivering 260hp; refined fuselage design.
C.XII - Regarded as best of the C-series; in service through the end of the war; refined fuselage design.
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
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