Sunday, June 24, 2012

Germany - 1916 AEG C.IV

Out With the Old, In With the New.

Part of my daily routine is looking over my profiles to see which ones annoy me enough to jump into action. Work I did years ago and had served well enough is no longer good enough. Sooner or later the axe will fall and the old is replaced with something less annoying for the moment.

The Stodgy but Dependable AEG C.IV

AEG C.IV s/n, C4762 - 1917

This example is sporting the mauve and green scheme with blue under surfaces. The crosses are bordered and the serial numbers are painted on the tail fin.

AEG C.IV s/n 2, C6674 - 1917

AEG C.IV s/n 2, C6674 - 1917

This is an example of the German brown and green scheme with blue under surfaces. The crosses are displayed on a white field as above the serial numbers are painted on the tail fin.

A Short History of the AEG C.IV

The AEG C.IV was a two-seat biplane reconnaissance aircraft produced by Allgemeine Elektrizitats-Gesellschaft (AG). The design was based on the C.II, but featured a larger wingspan and an additional forward-firing LMG 08/15 Spandau-type 0.312 in (7.92 mm) machine gun.

The C.IV was a conventional biplane. The wings featured and equal span upper and lower wing assembly with double bays and parallel struts. The forward portion of the fuselage was contoured , producing a n aerodynamic look while the rest of the body maintained a box-like appearance. Performance was good for the time with a top speed of 98 miles per hour with a service ceiling of 16,400 feet.

The aircraft entered active service during the spring of 1916. By June of 1917, no fewer than 150 examples were operating along the Western Front .

The AEG C.IV primarily served as reconnaissance aircraft from 1916 onwards though it also served as a bomber escort and saw service with the German air service until the end of the war. The design proved to be seriously under-powered for the bomber escort role. Nevertheless, the C.IV was easily the most successful of AEG's World War I B- and C-type reconnaissance aircraft, with some 400 being built and remaining in service right up to the end of the war.

A variant, the C.IV.N was designed specifically as a prototype night bomber in 1917, with the Benz Bz.III engine used in other C-types and a lengthened wingspan. Another variant, the C.IVa, was powered by a 180 hp (130 kW) Argus engine.

C.IV aircraft saw service with the Bulgarian Air Force and the Turkish Flying Corps.


  1. From Wikipedia AEG C.IV, ""
  2. The Great War Flying Museum
  3. Axelrod, Alan. "World War I". Indianapolis: Macmillan USA, Inc, 2000.
  4. Sharpe, Michael (2000). "Biplanes, Triplanes, and Seaplanes". London: Friedman/Fairfax Books. p. 14.
  5. Bullock, David L. Allenby's "War: The Palestine-Arabian Campaigns 1916-18". London: Blandford Press, 1988.
  6. Cron, Hermann. "Imperial German Army 1914-18". Solihull, West Midlands, UK: Helion & Company, 2002.
  7. Flanagan, Brian P.; Smith, Frank; and Raidor, Lonnie. "The Great War 1914-1918 - Chronology of Events of World War I: Cross and Cockade (US)", various volumes and issues covering the period 1916 to 1918. Cross and Cockade (US).
  8. Franks, Norman; Frank Bailey, and Rick Duiven "Casualties of the German Air Service 1914-1920". London: Grub Street, 1999.
  9. Franks, Norman; Frank Bailey, and Russell Guest. "Above the Lines". London: Grub Street, 1998.
  10. Groschel, Dieter H. M, "Ein Verlust der bayerischen Flieger-Abteilung 304 an der Palästina-Front 1918", Das Propellerblatt Nummer 7, 2003.
  11. Groschel, Dieter H. M. and Div Gavish. "Rudolf Holzhausen - Weltkriegsflieger, Dipolmat, und Historiker". Das Propellerblatt Nummer 9, 2004.
  12. Grosz, Peter M. "Windsock Datafile 67 AEG C.IV". Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, UK: Albatros Publications, Ltd., 1998.
  13. Imrie, Alex. "Pictorial History of the German Army Air Service 1914-1918". Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1973.
  14. Hoeppner, Ernest, General von. "Germany's War in the Air". Nashville, TN: The Battery Press, 1994.
  15. Nicolle, David. "The Ottoman Army 1914-18", Osprey Men-at-Arms Series No. 269. London, UK: Osprey Publications, Ltd 1994.
  16. Nikolajsen, Ole. "Pilot Fazil Bey Turkish Aviation Hero, Over the Front Volume 22 No. 3". Journal of the League of World War I Aviation Historians, 2007.
  17. Perrett, Bryan. "Megiddo 1918: The Last Great Cavalry Victory", Osprey Campaign Series No. 61. Botley, Oxford, UK: Osprey Publications, Ltd 1999.
  18. Rottgardt, Dirk. "German Armies' Establishment 1914/18", Volume 4: German Forces in the Middle East. West Chester, Ohio: The Nafziger Collection, Inc., 2007.
  19. Sanders, Liman, General von. "Five Years in Turkey". Nashville, TN: The Battery Press, 2000.
  20. Shores, Christopher; Norman Franks, and Russell Guest. "Above the Trenches. A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Forces 1915-1920". London: Grub Street, 1990.
  21. WWI Aero, volume 107 (for C Types), Dec 1985
  22. Zankl, Reinhard. "Deutsche Flieger-Einheiten 1914-1918": Folge 3 - Flieger-Abteilungen. Das Propellerblatt Nummer 3, 2002.

I'd like to take time for a long overdue shout out to Patti Davidson-Peters, a new found friend and the webmaster at The excellent 93rd Aero Squadron web site There is much hard to find information about the 93rd Aero Squadron and is well worth a visit. Welcome aboard Patti!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bloodied Red Star

Bloodied Red Star by Gary C. Warne

I have been working in secret on a project with a friend and fellow blogger, Gary C. Warne. He asked me to to produce a series of profiles for his new book, Bloodied Red Star. Today he made it public with his current blog post Bloodied Red Star - 1st installment - Sequel to The Kaiser's Yanks. Stop by his blog and you can read all about the latest news.

Polish Albatros D.III (Oefag) Ba-253.224
Polish Albatros D.III (Oefag) Ba-253.224 for Bloodied Red Star by Gary C. Warne

One of the great things about the visual backdrop of the post-WWI conflict in Eastern Europe is the bewildering amount of aircraft types used in service. It has been great fun working with Gary to bring this era to life.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

France - 1915 Ponnier M.1

The Deservedly Unloved Ponnier M.1

First off I want to give special thanks for all the valuable input on the topic provided by several members at Friends of the League of WWI Aviation Historians on Facebook. Many thanks to Aaron Weaver for your help, and Gary Warne for the inspiration after beating me to the punch.

Sometimes designers create an aircraft which raises the bar for innovation. Many more times their hard work is in vain. There are designs so bad that redesigns just amount to putting lipstick on a pig. When the Russians accept the horrifyingly bad SPAD reject the offer of desperately needed aircraft, you know you have a turkey on your hands. This is the story of one of the most maligned airplanes which entered production.

This profile is of the original configuration which was flight-tested by a number of pilots, including Charles Nungesser and Jean Navarre. Notable is the small rudder similar in shape to early Nieuports. Also of interest is the mounting of the machine gun.

The profile shows one of the variants of the redesigned Ponnier M-1 in Belgian service. Le Vampire is the personal marking of Abel De Neef. We see the addition of a fixed tail fin and a fuselage mounted non-synchronized machine gun which used deflector gear similar to that used on the Morane-Saulnier Type N.

This redesigned Belgian Ponnier M.1 has the more standard mounting for the machine gun. The pilot for this aircraft is unknown.

This small fighter was designed and built in France, where a few were used as trainers. Belgium ordered 30 for front line use, but its extremely poor control caused the order to be cut to 10, or perhaps as many as 18, and it is not thought that any were actually used operationally.

Apparently the prototype was flight-tested by a number of pilots, including Charles Nungesser, who flew the M.1 on 29 January 1916. During that flight the aircraft crashed and Nungesser broke both legs and his jaw. From what I read the Po.M.1 was not put into production for the French military, yet some M.1s were sent to the training schools. None however equipped operational units.

Thirty were ordered by Belgium because of their inability to receive enough Nieuports. Discovering what the French already knew, these aircraft were modified by having the cone de penetration deleted, the tailplane and elevators enlarged, and a fixed fin fitted. Willy Coppens noted that the M.1 remained unstable even after these alterations and consequently the initial order of 30 was reduced to (approx.) 10, of which only a few, were ever used operationally.

Having an urgent need for new fighter aircraft the Belgian authorities ordered thirty Ponnier M.1's, although this machine was rejected by the French Armee de l'Air for being too dangerous to fly. Most Belgian pilots also refused to fly the Ponnier (of which only ten were delivered) and it was quickly withdrawn from use.

The justly deserved reputation of the Ponnier M.I did one thing... Even the Russians refused the offer from the French.


  1. Jim Davilla Rare Birds Ponnier M.1 Over the Front Volume 26, Number 1, Spring 2011, p. 76-86
  2. Ponnier M.1 - Their Flying Machines
  3. Ponnier M.1 - Belgian Wings
  4. Ponnier M.1 -
  5. M.1 - 1915
  6. Wrong airplane, wrong time Warnepieces