. О Albatros C XII

Type: Reconnaissance

Dimensions: 47 feet, 2 inches; length, 29 feet; height, 10 feet, 8 inches Weights: empty, 2,251 pounds; gross, 3,613 pounds

Power plant: 1 x 260-horsepower Mercedes D VIa liquid-cooled in-line engine Performance: maximum speed, 109 miles per hour; ceiling, 16,405 feet; range, 300 miles Armament: 2 x 7.92mm machine guns Service dates: 1917-1918


he long-serving Albatros C class was among the finest and most adaptable reconnaissance aircraft of World War I. They combined good performance and reliability into an aesthetically pleasing airframe.

The Albatros family of two-seat reconnais­sance aircraft grew out of the prewar unarmed B – series. The new C versions, introduced in 1915, were armed, more strongly built, and capable of de­fensive maneuvering. Successive models tended to be better armed and better powered, and in 1917 the trend culminated in the introduction of the C X model. This version mounted the new 260-horse­power Mercedes D IVa engine that gave it greater speed and altitude than previous versions. It capped a tendency in the reconnaissance family to incorporate more and more features of the famous D series of fighters. It also sported lengthened wings that housed flush-mounted radiators and double ailerons. The C X displayed good high-alti­tude performance and the two-man crew carried its own oxygen supply aloft along with a wireless
radio. The plane commenced field service in the summer of 1917 and proved entirely successful as a photo platform and artillery spotter. A total of 330 machines were constructed, and they served with distinction to war’s end.

In time Albatros followed up with an improved model of the C X, the C XII. From an aesthetic stand­point, this was the most pleasing aircraft of the en­tire series. The C XII was the first reconnaissance machine to directly incorporate the trademark ellip­tical fuselage cross-section of the famous D-series fighters. It also employed an enlarged, curved tailfin strongly reminiscent of the scouts, along with a tri­angular ventral fin attached to the tail skid. How­ever, the motor, wing, and landing gear of the previ­ous aircraft were retained. The overall effect of the new machine was sleek and elegant. However, for all its refinement, the C XII boasted little improve­ment over the C X in terms of performance. It was nevertheless deployed in some numbers and served alongside earlier versions until the Armistice.