Germany's Underrated Tactical Bomber
When the subject of German bombers comes up most people automatically think of the Gotha bombers. In fact their performance was not as good as many think. The AEG G type tactical bomber served in many countries as a day and night bomber with very good results. It was easy to fly and and extremely sturdy. It was designed to use many advanced equipment such as radios and electronically heated suits for the aircrew. The AEG was held in high regard by the flight crews that manned them.
The AEG G.IV was a biplane bomber aircraft used in the World War I by Germany. It was developed from the AEG G.III, with refinements to power, bomb-load, and dimensions. Serving late in the war, the AEG G.IV managed to achieve some operational success in reconnaissance and combat roles. Coming into service in late 1916, it featured a bomb capacity twice as large as that of the AEG G.II, but was still considered inadequate in terms of offensive capacity and performance. Further improvements led to the development of the G.V, but the Armistice came before the replacement could become operational.
The Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft (A.E.G.) G.IV was derived from the earlier G.III. Designed as a tactical bomber, the relatively modern technology included onboard radios and electrically heated suits for the crew. The AEG G.IV also had a quality that endeared it to the men who flew it -it was an extremely rugged aircraft. Unlike the other German bombers such as the Gotha and the Friedrichshafen, the AEG featured an all metal, welded tube frame. Well equipped with armament, although the rear gunner's cockpit was on the top of the fuselage, the position was equipped with a hinged window in the floor for viewing and fending off pursuing aircraft.
The AEG G.IV bomber entered service with the German Air Force in late 1916. Because of its relatively short range, the G.IV served mainly as a tactical bomber, operating close to the front lines. The G.IV flew both day and night operations in France, Romania, Greece and Italy, but, as the war progressed, the AEG G.IV was restricted increasingly to night missions. Many night operations were considered nuisance raids with no specific targets, but with the intention of disrupting enemy activity at night and perhaps doing some collateral damage.
The AEG G.IV carried a warload of 400 kg (880 lb).] While Gotha crews struggled to keep their heavy aircraft aloft, the AEG was renowned as an easy machine to fly. Some G.IV crews of Kampfgeschwader 4 are known to have flown up to seven combat missions a night on the Italian front. A notable mission involved Hauptmann Hermann Kohl attacking the railroad sheds in Padua, Italy in his G.IV bomber.
- From Wikipedia AEG G.IV, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AEG_G.IV
- Sharpe, Michael. Biplanes, Triplanes, and Seaplanes. London, England: Friedman/Fairfax Books , 2000. Page 15. ISBN 1-58663-300-7.
- Grey, Peter and Thetford, Owen. German Aircraft of the First World War. London: Putnam, 1962. ISBN 0-370-00103-6.
- Molson, Kenneth M. Canada's National Aviation Museum: Its History and Collections. Ottawa, Canada: National Museum of Science and Technology , 1988. ISBN 0-17596-248-1.