Sunday, November 20, 2011

Germany - 1916 Halberstadt CL.II

Germany and Ground Attack Aircraft

I took a break from working on American units this weekend. What that means is I just shifted focus back to German aircraft and their operational organization. I took the opportunity to work up several models of Halberstadt aircraft and more Fokker D.VII.

As early as 1916 Germany developed purpose built Ground attack aircraft which supported infantry units. Armed with machine guns and anti-personel bombs these aircraft performed their missions well. One of the best designs was the Halberstadt CL.II.

This example is painted in the standard scheme set by Rudolf Berthold after March 1918, when Hptm. Adolf Tutschek died and command passed to him. The red nose could indicate this example was attached to Jasta 15. The cross on the rudder is the Maltese cross in use in 1918.

This example has a very striking paint scheme. The name Martha is probably the name of the pilot's girlfriend. The number 3 on the rudder is unusual, The side mounted boxes for anti-personel munitions are absent. The wings are done in the standard lozenge scheme, a dark pattern on the upper surfaces, lighter on the lower. The tail plane is painted in the orange and dark green motif. Once again the Maltese crosses indicate the aircraft is in use in 1918.

This example is painted in a speckled pattern. The rear fuselage section is white with a yellow stripe separating the dark section from the white. The number in the white diamond may be an aircraft identifier. The wings are standard lozenge and the tail plane is white. The side boxes are mounted on the fuselage.

The Halberstadt CL.II was the first German purpose designed aircraft for the ground attack role. The Halberstädter Flugzeug Werke began supplying the German Halberstadt D-II during the summer of 1916. The plane was created to provide air support for ground troops.

The CL.II was powered by the reliable 160 hp (120 kW), 6 cylinder in-line, water cooled Mercedes aircraft engine. and armed with three machine-guns and five 22-pound (10 kg) anti-personnel bombs, the plane soon established itself as the best ground attack fighters of the war.


  1. From Wikipedia Halberstadt CL.II, ""
  2. Angelucci, Enzo (ed.). "World Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft". London: Jane's, 1981. ISBN 0 7106 0148 4.
  3. Gray, Peter and Thetford, Owen. "German Aircraft of the First World War". London: Putnam, 1962.
  4. Green, William and Swanborough, Gordon. "The Complete Book of Fighters". New York: Smithmark, 1994. ISBN 0-8317-3939-8.


Jon said...

I find it interesting in the colors used by all aircraft in general and ground attack aircraft in particular. The Halberstadt CL.II Schlasta 21 sn 5 speckled pattern would look normal on a ground attack aircraft in World War II, but I can only assume that the white tail and lozenge pattern would make the aircraft stand out.

As always, these look great.

W. I. Boucher said...

I think that most times ground attack aircraft used shock and awe while conducting their operations. Since the location of aerodromes was common knowledge hiding aircraft with camouflage was a low priority. Lozenge camouflage did work. it broke up the outline of an aircraft and dazzled the eye making it hard to focus on a target.

I am surprised there were so many WWI ground attack aircraft with camouflage patterns. For me it is a great thing that there is so much variation. It allows me a chance to make eye jarring profiles. My next series of posts will be more German ground attack planes. I think they will be of interest.

I find it interesting that German aircraft are more popular than those flown by French, British and American forces.