Sunday, 16 March 2008

Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI

A giant WW1 bomber,the Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI was a four-engined German biplane strategic bomber of 1917-18.
It had an eight man crew, and needed a ground staff of 42 just to get the plane out of the hangar!
The bomber was the largest wooden aircraft ever built until the advent of the Howard Hughes H-4 Hercules, the "Spruce Goose"in 1947.
The Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI's wingspan of 138 feet 5.5 inches (42.2 meters) nearly equaled that of the World War II B-29 Superfortress!
It operated 11 raids on Great Britain between September 28, 1917, and May 20, 1918, dropping 27,190 kg (30 tons) of bombs in 30 sorties. Aircraft flew to their targets on moonlit nights, using directional bearings by radio and using the river Thames as a navigational landmark. Missions on the 340-mile round trip lasted seven hours. None were lost in combat over Britain, but two crashed returning to base in the dark. A total of four R.VI's were shot down in combat, with six others destroyed in crashes.
Six of the 18 eventually built survived the war or were completed after the armistice.

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