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Albatros C.III

Imperial Germany (1916)
Picture of Albatros C.III Two-Seat Biplane Reconnaissance Aircraft

The effective Albatros C.III biplane became the most-produced of the C-type reconnaissance aircraft fielded by the Germans during World War 2.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Albatros C.III Two-Seat Biplane Reconnaissance Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 12/1/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Albatros built several "C-type" twin-seat reconnaissance biplanes for the German Air Service in World War 1 but none were produced to the levels of the Albatros C.III model introduced in 1916. By this time, the war had bogged down in the quagmire of trench warfare and any viable military weapon was in play to unseat the defender - including armed scouts which provided essential over-the-horizon reporting, observation of enemy movements far away, and engagement of targets of opportunity. Before her final days, the successful C.III model ended in the inventories of the German Empire, Bulgaria, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and the Ottoman Empire.

Continuing the long line of what essentially proved to be "short-term" reconnaissance biplanes, the Albatros C.III was an effort to improve upon the successes of the earlier C.I, itself an armed form of the original Albatros B.II model series. The C.I, however, flipped its crew with the pilot at front and the observer/gunner at rear. The C.III carried this design quality and followed the lines of the earlier designs quite closely. It retained the dual-bay biplane wing arrangement, forward-mounted engine, and conventional tail unit. Its undercarriage was fixed and consistent with the period, centered on two large main wheels and a wood tail skid. The engine mount was of particular note for its large exhaust manifold assembly emanating from the upper engine section, decidedly obstructing the forward view. A sole 7.92mm Spandau machine gun was set to the starboard side of the engine, synchronized to fire through the spinning, two-bladed propeller arrangement. The rear observer/gunner managed a trainable 7.92mm Parabellum machine gun to protect the aircraft's more vulnerable "six".

In practice, the C.III was a valuable aircraft for the German Air Service, capable of undertaking a variety of roles beyond that of reconnaissance flights. It could be outfitted with up to 200lb of internally-held drop stores for light bombing of valued targets. Its machine guns could also strafe unprotected ground targets as they were found. Handling and agility of the mount was deemed good and crews favored the C.III over all other C-type designs from Albatros. Its overall construction made for a robust military instrument which carried it through to the final days of the war - something of a rarity for early-war biplanes. Many existed after the Armistice and were forced to be handed over to the Allies for destruction or reissue to allied nations.

The C.III was deployed with one of two engine installations - one being a 150 horsepower Benz Bz.III and the other a 160 horsepower Mercedes D.III inline. Speeds reached approximately 87 miles per hour with a service ceiling of 11,000 feet and mission endurance window of about four hours. The Albatros C.VI was a variant of the C.III line which incorporated a 180 horsepower Argus As III series 6-cylinder inline. The new engine led to a reinforced engine mounting but provided a slight increase in performance - notably speed. Production of this variant was very limited. A floatplane form was also devised and this became the one-off Albatros W.2. These featured a Mercedes D.II engine with the applicable floatplanes added to the fuselage in place of its wheeled undercarriage.

Any available statistics for the Albatros C.III Two-Seat Biplane Reconnaissance 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.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 100mph
Lo: 50mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (87mph).

    Graph average of 75 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Albatros C.III's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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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 Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
600
600


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
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Origin: Imperial Germany
Year: 1916
Type: Two-Seat Biplane Reconnaissance Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Albatros Flugzeugwerke - Germany
Production: 600
Global Operators:
Austria-Hungary; Bulgaria; Finland; Imperial Germany; Latvia; Lithuania; Poland; Ottoman Empire (Turkey)
Historical 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 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 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
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Albatros C.III model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
2


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
26.25 ft


Meters
8 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
38.39 ft


Meters
11.7 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
10.17 ft


Meters
3.1 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
1,874 lb


Kilograms
850 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
2,987 lb


Kilograms
1,355 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Mercedes III OR Benz Bz.III liquid-cooled inline engine developing 160 / 150 horsepower (respectively).

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
87 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
140 kph


Knots
76 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
342 mi


Kilometers
550 km


Nautical Miles
297 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
11,155 ft


Meters
3,400 m


Miles
2.11 mi

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (0):

STANDARD:
1 x 7.92mm Spandau MG08 machine gun in nose
1 x 7.92mm Parabellum machine gun in rear cockpit

OPTIONAL:
Up to 200lb of internal stores (bomb bay).
Variants: Series Model Variants
• 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.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 te C-series; in service through the end of the war; refined fuselage design.