German automotive specialist Daimler was tasked by authorities to assist in aircraft and aero-engine production during The Great War (1914-1918). In response, the company arranged an aircraft division during the summer of 1915 and soon thereafter began construction of various products including the Friedrichshafen G.III heavy bomber (detailed elsewhere on this site). In 1917, the company introduced their own in-house biplane fighter design in the single-seat "D.I". This development was, in fact, taken into service by the Germans but only six of the type were produced before the end of the war (November 1918). Then followed the twin-seat "CL.I" (proposed escort fighter, prototype only), the single-seat "D.II" (evolved D.I, prototype only), and the single-seat "L11" (prototype only).
The end of the Daimler military aircraft line arrived with the "L14".
As the L9 was an evolution of the earlier L6 biplane fighter so too was the L14 an evolution of the earlier L11. It retained the monoplane parasol-style mainplane which sat above the fuselage and the member was supported through thick struts - enhancing out-of-the-cockpit vision when compared to biplanes of the period. The wing tips had the same swiveling function as the L11, giving better control, while streamlining was apparent in all of Daimler's designs with the L14 being no exception - the oversized spinner sat at the extreme front of the fighter followed by an elegantly-shaped fuselage. A conventional empennage and undercarriage were fitted to round out the basic features.
Like other Daimler designs, the L14 carried the Daimler D.IIIb V8 water-cooled engine, this fitted to the nose in the usual way, driving a two-bladed propeller unit (fixed pitch).
The key change from the L11 was the introduction of a second cockpit for a second crewman acting as an observer/dedicated machine gunner. The two crew were seated in open-air cockpits in tandem.
With its twin crew, the aircraft was expected to fulfill the role of escort fighter, retaining all combat aspects of a dedicated fighter type. The pilot was afforded a single 7.92mm LMG 08/15 air-cooled, belt-fed machine gun in a fixed, forward-firing mounting and synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades. At the observer's cockpit was a single 7.92mm Parabellum air-cooled machine gun of similar function though mounted atop a flexible system for more precise aiming.
Only a single prototype was completed by the time the war drew to a close in November of 1918. The Armistice ended the war and left the L14 without a buyer. Daimler attempted to interest the Chilean government during 1919 in a modified, mail-carrying form of its L14 (as the L14V) along with the earlier CL.I (modified to a similar civilian market standard) but these initiatives came to naught.
As test-flown, the L14 had a maximum speed of 128 miles-per-hour and a range out to 435 miles. Rate-of-climb reached 1,060 feet-per-minute. Empty weight measured 1,920lb against an MTOW of 2,800lb. Dimensions included a running length of a wingspan of 40.4 feet.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.
✓X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
40.4 ft (12.30 m)
1,918 lb (870 kg)
2,800 lb (1,270 kg)
+882 lb (+400 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Daimler L14 production variant)
1 x Daimler D.IIIb V8 water-cooled engine developing 185 horsepower driving two-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
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