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Caudron G.4

France (1915)

Detailing the development and operational history of the Caudron G.4 Heavy Bomber Biplane Aircraft.

 Entry last updated on 7/18/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  Caudron G.4  
Picture of Caudron G.4 Heavy Bomber Biplane Aircraft

The Cau 4B.2 faced many losses in the daylight bomber role and was relegated to the reconnaissance and fire spotting role with the Cau G.4A series.

The Caudron G.4 series was a twin-engine bomber platform introduced in the early years of World War 1 by the French. The system served initially with the French air force but was put to good use in the hands of British, Italian and Russian pilots thereafter. Produced in two variants (the earlier B.2 and the later A.2) the Caudron G.4 appeared to the tune of some 1,421 total aircraft.

The G.4 was developed from the similar G.3 reconnaissance series as a dedicated bomber platform. From the outset, the design centered around how much of a bombload the aircraft could maintain whilst provided for decent flight characteristics. Power was derived mainly from twin Le Rhone rotary-type engines producing some 80 horsepower each. The engines proved better than those used on the G.3 series and allowed for an additional crewmember to be seating in the nose with a defensive machine gun and a capable bomb load underwing.

The G.4 design was characterized not only by its twin-engine layout and biplane wing assembly but also by the four rudder system mounted at rear. The two-person crew consisted of a pilot and a gunner/observer. Defensive armament was limited to usually the one 7.7mm machine gun and the bombload capacity varied between 220lbs and 250lbs.
Picture of the Caudron G.4 Heavy Bomber Biplane Aircraft
Picture of the Caudron G.4 Heavy Bomber Biplane Aircraft

The appearance of the G.4 was delayed by production problems, not surprising considering the aircraft was in its relative infancy at the time and designing during wartime added a new element of thinking. The G.4 first appeared in the skies for service in 1915 as the Cau 4B.2. This particular model, however, suffered from an extremely high loss rate and would be phased from service by November of 1916. The Cau 4A.2 followed and was put to more successful use in the reconnaissance and artillery spotting role.

The Cau G.4 was produced in Britain as well as France and was used by the major Allied powers including Russia. British flyers used the type to continually disrupt seaplane and Zeppelin airship bases throughout Belgium with good success while the Italians utilized the high altitude performance of the aircraft to good effect in the Alps. The French and Russian both utilized the type in the reconnaissance role where the onboard radio proved useful in the artillery spotting role as well.
Caudron G.4A.2 Specifications
National Flag Graphic
Year: 1915
Type: Heavy Bomber Biplane Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Caudron Feres - France / A.E.R. - Italy / British Caudron Company - UK
Production: 1,421
Supported Mission Types
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Airborne Early Warning
Electronic Warfare
Aerial Tanker
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Special Forces
Crew: 2
Length: 23.49 ft (7.16 m)
Width: 56.43 ft (17.20 m)
Height: 8.53 ft (2.60 m)
MTOW: 2,932 lb (1,330 kg)

Installed Power
2 x Le Rhone 9C rotary engines developing 80 horsepower each OR 2 x Anzani 10-cylinder radial engines developing 100 horsepower each.

Standard Day Performance
Maximum Speed: 82 mph (132 kph; 71 kts)
Service Ceiling: 14,108 ft (4,300 m; 2.67 mi)

1 OR 2 x 7.7mm machine guns

Between 220 lb and 250 lb of external ordnance (model dependent).

Operators List
Belgium; Colombia; France; Finland; Kingdom of Italy; Imperial Russia; United Kingdom

Series Model Variants
• Cau 4B.2 - Bomber Variant; initial production model; 220lb external ordnance limit; withdrawn from service in 1916.
• Cau 4A.2 - Reconnaissance Variant; second production model; 249lb external ordnance limit; appearing in November 1915; used primarily in artillery spotting and reconnaissance flight duties.
• Cau 4E.2 - Trainer Variant; dual-controls.
• Cau 4IB "Blindage" - Armored Variant
• Cau G.6 - Further Development of G.4 Series; redesigned with a traditional fuselage layout and empennage.

Supported Weapon Systems
Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun

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