Germany's Split Tail Giant.
When looking at the R Type giants the idea of form follows function goes out the window. Today's Giant is definitely unusual. Although it is a double boom aircraft it is unique is the use of vertically stacked booms instead of the more orthodox lateral arrangement used on other aircraft.
A Short History of the Siemens-Schuckert Steffen R.I
The Siemens-Schuckert Steffen R.I was a bomber aircraft designed and built in Germany from 1914.
December 1914 saw Siemens-Schuckert start the construction of a series of seven R aircraft, (Riesenflugzeug - giant aircraft) for the Imperial Military Aviation Service. These aircraft were essentially similar differing only in detail, engine installations and wing design. All of the seven Steffen designed aircraft were powered by three engines mounted in the forward compartment of the fuselage driving two tractor propellers mounted between the mainplanes via clutches, shafts and gearboxes.
The large forward compartment also housed the crew of between four and six in an enclosed cabin and open gun positions. Attached to the forward compartment were triangular section diverging booms, top and bottom, which supported the tail section, allowing the rear gunners, in positions between the boom attachments, a wide field of fire.
The R.I was used in non-operational roles at the eastern front and retained for training. R.II and R.III were used for training only, but R.IV, R.V, R.VI and R.VII were all used on operational missions by Rfa 501 (Riesenflugzeug abteilung) at Vilna on the eastern front.
- From Wikipedia Siemens-Schuckert Steffen R.I, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siemens-Schuckert_Steffen_R.I
- Haddow, G.W. & Grosz, Peter M. The German Giants, The Story of the R-planes 1914-1919 London. Putnam. 1963.
- Gray, Peter & Thetford, Owen. German Aircraft of the First World War. London, Putnam. ISBN 0 370 00103 6