Aviation & Aerospace - Airpower 2024 - Aircraft by Country - Aircraft Manufacturers Vehicles & Artillery - Armor 2024 - Armor by Country - Armor Manufacturers Infantry Small Arms - Warfighter 2024 - Small Arms by Country - Arms Manufacturers Warships & Submarines - Navies 2024 - Ships by Country - Shipbuilders U.S. Military Pay 2024 Military Ranks Special Forces by Country

Friedrichshafen FF.45 (G.III)

Bomber / Night Bomber Aircraft

Imperial Germany | 1917

"The Friedrichshafen G.III proved an excellent bomber for the German Empire during World War 1, seeing destructive action in night sorties."

Authored By: Dan Alex | Last Edited: 10/07/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Friedrichshafen G.III was a medium bi-plane class bomber utilized by the German Empire in World War 1 and designed by the firm of Flugzeugbau Friedrichshafen GmbH. The G.III was designed to make up for the limitations inherent in the successful Friedrichshafen G.II bomber series - mainly in operating range and overall bomb load. The G.III went on to make up a large portion of the Empire's night bomber force, sharing duties alongside the excellent Gotha G.V, and saw extensive actions from its inception in February of 1917 on to the end of the war in November of 1918. The G.III was noted for its reliability and power which allowed her to carry a substantial bomb load for her time. The type soldiered on in post-war Germany in the commercial market for a time before being removed from the skies by way of the Treaty of Versailles.

Design was conventional as World War 1 bombers go. Wings were large-spanning biplane assemblies fitted along the forward portion of the fuselage and set with three bays divided up by parallel interplane struts. An engine was suspended to either fuselage side between the first and second bays. The upper wing assembly was designed with a slightly wider span than the lower and sported some slight dihedral (upward angle). The G.III sported a curved nose assembly housing the position "tub" for the front machine gunner. The long fuselage was slab-sided and tapered off at the rear. The empennage originally held a conventional tail unit made up of a single vertical tail fin and applicable horizontal planes (the G.IIIa subvariant would later introduce a more complex biplane-type tail unit). The undercarriage was made up of two double-wheeled main landing gear legs that was complimented by an auxiliary wheel system fitted just under the nose gunners position to help prevent "nose-over" landings prevalent in the design of the G.II. The rear rested upon a simple tail skid. The pilot's position was set below and just ahead of the upper wing, offset to the left. The rear gunner sat in a ring-mounted tub aft of the wings. All crew positions were open-air affairs providing excellent visibility but at the same time exposing them to the night time elements at 14,000 feet.

Power was supplied by a pair of Mercedes D.IVa inline piston engines, each delivering 260 horsepower and operating in a "pusher" arrangement with two propeller blades (as opposed to "puller" arrangement would have indicated that the propellers would be mounted at the forward portion of the engine nacelle, thus "pulling" the aircraft through the sky - the G.III operated with the propellers fitted to the rear of the nacelle). Performance specifications included a respectable maximum speed of 84 miles per hour with a range of approximately five hours of flight time - the latter suitable to engage targets within France from the relatively safety of German soil. Service ceiling was reported to be about 14,764 feet.

Armament centered around a standard defensive setup of two (or three depending on the model) 7.92mm Parabellum MG14-series machine guns. One machine gun protected the forward arc of the G.III whilst a second machine gun was utilized to protect the rear. A third machine gun would later serve to attack enemy aircraft coming up from underneath. As a bomber, the G.III made use of up to 2,200lbs of ordnance (held both internally and externally) which itself could be made up of a combination of munition types and weights. Bombs came in the form of 110lb, 220lb, 660lb and 2,200lb munitions and, naturally, the higher the ordnance load the greater the decrease to the G.IIIs overall performance.

The G.III emerged in two major wartime variants alongside the base production G.III itself. These were designated simply as the "G.IIIa" and the "G.IIIb". The G.IIIa introduced an all-new, complex biplane-style tail unit which featured two horizontal planes and two vertical tail fins improving control. Additionally, a third 7.92mm machine gun, this made to fire downwards and operated by the rear gunner, could protect the bomber's vulnerable underbelly from attack. The G.IIIa eventually overtook the base G.III model along the production lines in whole by 1918. The G.IIIb arrived later in 1918 and featured a rear gunners area that was now connected to the cockpit via a passageway, thereby increasing crew communications.

The Friedrichshafen G.III was utilized to great effect in World War 1 primarily as a night bomber. Its superb payload and ability to take quite a bit of punishment saw it operate within range along the Western Front. Friedrichshafen, Daimler and Hanseatische Flugzeug Werke were all tapped to produce the machine to which some 338 examples were ultimately delivered before the end of the war though some 1,000 were on order - a testament to the value of this lethal machine. License production in Austria-Hungary never materialized but was discussed before the cessation of hostilities.

At any rate, the G.III was a proven performer that more than surpassed the successes of the G.II before it, becoming a standard frontline operational bomber for the German Empire until the end of the war. The Friedrichshafen G.III saw some use in the early years of post-war Germany, this with the civilian market in the cargo and passenger roles. The Treaty of Versailles, designed to permanently hog-tie the German war machine and lay all blame for the war at the feet of the one-proud Empire, grounded the G.III from continuing in these roles and thusly ending its legacy.

The G.III was evolved into the G.IV and G.V bomber models. These had their bow machine guns removed and sported an all-new shortened nose section. Engines were now of the "tractor" variety and not "pushers". The G.IV saw only limited actions before the end of the war while the G.V did not fly until after the war had ended.

Friedrichshafen designated the G.III internally as the "FF.45".

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Friedrichshafen G.III Bomber / Night Bomber Aircraft.
2 x Mercedes D.IVa 6-cylinder liquid-cooled in-line engines developing 260 horsepower each driving two-bladed wooden propellers in "pusher" arrangement.
84 mph
135 kph | 73 kts
Max Speed
14,764 ft
4,500 m | 3 miles
Service Ceiling
373 miles
600 km | 324 nm
Operational Range
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Friedrichshafen G.III Bomber / Night Bomber Aircraft.
42.0 ft
12.80 m
O/A Length
77.8 ft
(23.70 m)
O/A Width
12.0 ft
(3.66 m)
O/A Height
5,941 lb
(2,695 kg)
Empty Weight
8,664 lb
(3,930 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Friedrichshafen FF.45 (G.III) Bomber / Night Bomber Aircraft .
1 x 7.92mm Parabellum MG14 machine gun in forward gunners position.
1 x 7.92mm Parabellum MG14 machine gun in rear gunners position.

Up to 2,200lb of internally-held and externally-held drop ordnance.

1 x 7.92mm Parabellum MG14 machine gun in rear gunners position made to fire downwards.
Notable series variants as part of the Friedrichshafen FF.45 (G.III) family line.
G.III - Main Production Series Designation; 2 x 7.92 MG14 machine guns.
G.IIIa - Subvariant of base G.III production model; featured biplane tail assembly.
G.IIIb - Subvariant of base G.III production model; featuring passageway between cockpit and rear gunner position.
G.IV - Further Development of the G.III series model; sans bow machine gun; redesigned nose section; tractor type propeller system.
G.V - Further Development of the G.III series model; sans bow machine gun; redesigned nose section; tractor type propeller system.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Friedrichshafen FF.45 (G.III). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 338 Units

Contractor(s): Flugzeugbau Friedrichshafen GmbH; Daimler; Hanseatische Flugzeug Werke - German Empire
National flag of the German Empire

[ German Empire ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 100mph
Lo: 50mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (84mph).

Graph Average of 75 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
1 / 2
Image of the Friedrichshafen FF.45 (G.III)
Front left side view of the Friedrichshafen G.III bomber
2 / 2
Image of the Friedrichshafen FF.45 (G.III)
Right side view of the Friedrichshafen G.IIIa bomber

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Friedrichshafen FF.45 (G.III) Bomber / Night Bomber Aircraft appears in the following collections:
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Scale Military Ranks U.S. DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols US 5-Star Generals WW2 Weapons by Country

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

Part of a network of sites that includes Global Firepower, WDMMA.org, WDMMW.org, and World War Next.

©2024 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2024 (21yrs)