Archive digitization



Aviation and Diplomacy

Frank Piasecki

NATO 1949-2009 Projekt ekspozycji w Muzeum Lotnictwa Polskiego w Krakowie



Polish Aviation Museum

31-864 Kraków,
al. Jana Pawła II 39
phone: (12) 640 99 60,
(12) 642 40 70
e-mail: info@muzeumlotnictwa.pl

a cultural institution of the Malopolska Region

Małopolska – Kraków Region


Patronage

Kraków Airport







Aeroplane: Halberstadt CL.II

Halberstadt CL.II
Germany
fighter
1917



  • Technical data


Span 10.8 m
Length 7.3 m
Take-off weight 1150 kg
Maximum speed 165 km/h
Ceiling 5100 m
Range 450 km
Armament Two fixed 7.92 mm Spandau MG 08/15 machine guns, one 7.92 mm Parabellum machine gun mounted on a turntable, 50 kg of bombs
Powerplant :
6 cylinder inline Mercedes D III,160 hp (118 kW) (after restoration at the mMseum the engine was started)
Virtual tour :

 

On the 6th September 1917, for the first in the history of wartime, the air attack sealed the fate of an offensive. 24 two seat German aircraft massacred the British troops crossing the Somme river nearby Bray St Christ. 48 men decided the fate of some thousands of British troops, and maybe... about the fate of war. The aircraft came from the aviation works in Halberstadt, and the cruel joke of the history pointed at the matter, that the company emerged as the branch of the... British and Colonial Aeronautical Limited of the famous Bristol company.

The aircraft designed in 1916 at Halberstad, in its assumptions have had to turn back the tragic position of the crews of the two seat observation aircraft. These machines, coded in Germany with the letter "C", serving as the "eyes of the army" had no chance in the clashes with enemy fighters. To protect them, special protection flights, equipped with the fast two seat fighters had sufficient range for the long distance reconnaissance missions, were organised. Such a class of aircraft bore the C-Leicht (light), abbreviated to CL.

The product of the Halberstadt Works didn't answer the following assumptions: durable, streamlined, well armed (two pilot machine guns and one with the 360 degree of shooting range rear gunner machine gun), had one weak point however - the D.III Mercedes engine. The aircraft was so alike to the single seat Albatros D.III and the Pfalz D.III fighters, that many of the Allied pilots paid the highest price, trying to attack the aircraft from the rear. Forcing the "mysterious" machine to land on an Allies territory cleared the puzzle.

The defeat of the Halberstadt as a fighter, begun its career as the "battlefield aircraft". The ground attacks over the Somme river and during the German counter offensive at Cambrai, turned the would-be protective flights into "combat flights" (the Schlachtstaffeln) and the front legend made out of the Halberstadts… "the unbeatable, armoured aircraft".

Of course this was not true: the Halberstadt CL.II had a wooden, semi-monocoque structure, covered with birch plywood stressed skin, and the wooden construction of the fabric covered wings. Only the rudders construction, the undercarriage and the wing struts were metal. The low-suspended upper wing allowed for unlimited rear gunner shooting range and the common "bath tube" cockpit interior allowed for good contact of the crew.

560 machines, produced at the mother and the Bayerische Flugzeuge works, has been written into the history of aviation, despite average flight capabilities, a poor engine and (apart from the enemy's opinion) strafing sensitivity. These failures were also confirmed by the Polish pilots using in the years 1919–1921, 15 Halberstadts - i.e. the 2nd and the 3rd Wielkopolska Eskadra. The CL.II, 202/18 (Bay) aircraft served for the liaison purposes, operating also from the Krakow-Rakowice airfield.

70 years later, on the territory of the same airfield, at the Polish Aviation Museum, the other liaison, 15459/17 Halberstadt CL.II restoration was undertaken. This unique aircraft served as the personal mount of the C-in-C of the German military aviation, general Gerth von Hoeppner. Until 1943 the aircraft was exhibited at the German Aviation Collection, then left on the Polish territory, was found in 1945. Moved in 1963 to Krakow, it survived as the world's only fuselage with the empennage, the engine, the undercarriage and the wing canopy. Here, the aircraft was rebuilt in the years 1990–1993. It was restored in an unusual camouflage painting, which relics are protected under the washable coat of the modern paints.

Back



Dofinansowano ze środków Ministra Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego
© NeoServer 2009 -      - Polityka obsługi "ciasteczek" -