Tuesday, June 14, 2011

France - 1915 Caudron G.IV

An Early French Bomber

A long day on the run after sleeping four hours did me in. I got home and could not keep my eyes open. I fell asleep watching the evening news and did not wake till around dawn. I need to check out the blogs I missed and post later than is my habit.

The French developed one of the first dedicated bomber aircraft. It looks fragile to a modern eye but it was a successful design.

The Caudron G.4 was a French biplane with twin engines, widely used during World War I as a bomber aircraft. It was designed by René and Gaston Caudron as an improvement over their Caudron G.3. The aircraft was no delight for the eye with its massive, open construction. The aircraft employed wing warping for banking. The first G.4 was manufactured in 1915, both in France, England and in Italy.

The Caudron G.4 was used as a reconnaissance bomber into the heart of Germany. Later, when Germany developed a fighter force, the aircraft had to be used for night bombings.

Following several production delays, the Caudron G.4 entered service with the French Aviation Militarie in 1915 and was soon in use by the British, Russian and Italian air services. In 1916 and early 1917, the G.4 was extensively used by the Royal Flying Corps to bomb the German seaplane and Zeppelin bases in Belgium. Despite its lack of defensive armament, the twin-engine biplane quickly established a reputation as a reliable performer with a good rate of climb.

While the Caudron G.3 was a reliable reconnaissance aircraft, it could not carry a useful bomb load, and owing to its design, was difficult to fit with useful defensive armament. In order to solve these problems, the Caudron G4 was designed as a twin engined development of the G.3, first flying in March 1915. While the G.4 had a similar pod and boom layout to the G.3, it has two Le Rhône rotary or Anzani 10 radial engines mounted on struts between the wings instead of a single similar engine at the front of the crew nacelle, while wingspan was increased and the tailplane had four rudders instead of two. This allowed an observer/gunner position to be fitted in the nose of the nacelle, while the additional power allowed it to carry a bomb load of 100 kg.


  1. Caudron G.4. (2010, December 30). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:43, January 26, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Caudron_G.4&oldid=405065472
  2. Donald, David (Editor). The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. Leicester, UK: Blitz Editions, 1997. ISBN 1-85605-375-X.
  3. Kalevi Keskinen, Kyösti Partonen, Kari Stenman: Suomen Ilmavoimat I 1918-27, 2005. ISBN 952-99432-2-9.
  4. Kalevi Keskinen, Kari Stenman, Klaus Niska: Suomen ilmavoimien lentokoneet 1918-1939, Tietoteos, 1976.
  5. Thetford, Owen. British Naval Aircraft since 1912. London:Putnam, 1978. ISBN 0 370 30021 1.


The Angry Lurker said...

Nice aircraft, the open construction must have been designed to allow bullets to pass right through.

W. I. Boucher said...

@ Fran It was definitely a transitional design. It still employed wing warping for maneuvering, but the two engine design marked a move to a more modern design. The engine nacelles also provided the aircrew with added protection.

kingsleypark said...

It does look like a collection of string and wood.

It is a marvel to think that these things flew never mind carried out bombing missions and evaded hunting fighter planes