WW1 Planes
An encyclopediae of 1914-18 aircraft types

flag AEG Planes

About Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft

The "General electricity company" (AEG), was a German electrical equipment specialist founded as the Deutsche Edison-Gesellschaft für angewandte Elektricität in 1883 in Berlin by Emil Rathenau (An Edison-patented company). After being relocated post-1945, the company evolved and eventually joined in 1996 Daimler-Benz AG, later DaimlerChrysler, then Adtranz and Deutsche Aerospace, DASA, and now EADS.

The company was credited with a number of inventions and innovation in electrical engineering and full expansion, it entered the automobile and airplane markets as well as supplying the German railways. In the Aviation field, the company expanded the aircraft business at the request of the German authorities, in dire need of more manufacturers, but AEG started already in 1912.

AEG G.IV Bomber
The AEG G.IV heavy bomber

AEG Planes

AEG manufactured a wide range of aircraft from 1912 to 1918 starting with a Wright brothers ripoff with a wingspan of 17.5 m (57 ft) and powered by an 8-cyl. 75 hp engine, lifting its 850 kg empty. Top speed was 65 km/h (40 mph). Construction moved to plywood and steel tubes covered with fabric, and tractor biplanes. The Riesenflugzeug ("giant aircraft") AEG R.I. was one of the most impressive of the serie, a heavy bomber, four times 260 hp (190 kW) with Mercedes D.IVa engines using a combed leather cone and dog clutch gears.

It first flew on 3 September 1918, but broke up in flight, killing seven, which stopped the program. The best AEG design was certainly G.IV Grossflugzeuge heavy tactical bomber, of which 320 were built, one being preserved to this day. During WW2 AEG made reconnaissance aircrafts, including an interesting tethered "helicopter" used in U-Bootes.

The AEG B.I recce biplane, first model of the serie in 1914

AEG models in detail

The B.I was the first two-seat biplane by AEG. It was an unarmed reconnaissance aircraft but production was very limited in 1914. It was 10.5 m (34 ft 5 in) long by 14.5 m (47 ft 7 in) wingspan, and weighted 650 kg/1,040 kg propelled by a Mercedes D.I 6-cyl. water-cooled in-line piston engine rated for 74.5 kW (99.9 hp), capable of 100 km/h (62 mph; 54 kn) and capable of a 2,500 m (8,200 ft) ceiling.

It was soon overshadowed by the AEG B.II, same two-seater of 1914, slightly smaller but more successful. A few were built from 1914 to 1915, and soon replaced, lacking any armament and being slow. It had a more powerful Mercedes D.II 6-cyl. rated for 89.5 kW (120.0 hp), giving a 110 kph top speed. The B.III was not a large production plane in early 1915, an evolution of the B.II, with a new tailplane assembly but was still slow and unarmed and was used for reconnaissance and later as a trainer in 1915.

AEG B.II Bomber
The AEG B.II recce biplane of 1914

The next logical step was for AEG to arm the next iteration, the C.I with a single 7.92 mm (.312 in) Parabellum/Bergmann machine gun mounted over the observer's cockpit for the observer and a more powerful engine while power was increased with a Benz engine allowing to achieve 130 km/h (81 mph). Production was limited but stopped mid-1915 and by October 1915, it was already replaced by the C.II.

The latter was slightly smaller which allowed better performance, and redesigned cockpits with a rear-mounted 7.92 mm (.312 in) Parabellum MG14 MG and able to carry four 10 kg (22 lb) bombs. The next C.III was a single prototype featured an unusual fuselage design stretched between the upper and lower wings. This provided a better pilot's vision, while the observer had a wider field of fire, the pilot seating behind him. The C.III failed its tests and was never ordered despite a better 158 km/h (98 mph) top speed.

AEG C.II Bomber
The AEG C.II recce biplane of 1914

The AEG C.IV was the most produced of this serie. It entered service in 1916, based on the AEG C.II, but with a larger wingspan, and two forward Spandau-type 7.92 mm (.312 in) machine guns. From reconnaissance, the model was used as an escort fighter, although underpowered. This was the most successful AEG model of the war with some 687 delivered and in service until the last days of the war.

The C.IV.N was a prototype night bomber of 1917 powered by the Benz Bz.III engine (of the C-types) and lengthened wingspan while the other experimental C.IVa, was given a 130 kW/180 hp Argus As III engine. This model also see action with the Bulgarian Air Force and the Turkish Flying Corps (46 in all). About 91 spare stock C.IVs were captured by the Polish in 1919, assembled, entering service with the Polish Air Force in the Polish-Soviet War.

AEG C.IV Bomber
The AEG C.IV recce biplane of 1916

The next C.V remained at prototype stage. It first flew in February 1916, and used a Mercedes D.IV 8-cyl. water-cooled engine rated for 164 kW (220 hp). The C.VI was another developement in 1916 from the AEG C.IV, which did not entered production. It had a Benz Bz.IV 6-cylinder, water-cooled, inline engine rated for 200 hp, or 150 kW. The next c.VII was also a prototype two-seat reconnaissance biplane developed from the C.IV, tested with two different wing arrangements, but never entered production. The following C.VIII was also a derivative with a new engine, for which two prototypes were built, one in biplane configuration, the other a triplane but none justified any production.

The AEG C.VIIIdr triplane prototype of 1916

AEG also worked in 1915 on bombers. The experimental G.I was a twin-engined, designated at the beginning the K.I designed as a three-seater biplane bomber, tested, flew in early 1915 and found viable in the latter half of 1915, but performances were weak, leading the G.II. This new model was tested from July 1915. it had basically more powerful engines and was armed with three 7.92 mm (.312 in) machine guns. It could carry 200 kg (440 lb) of bombs but suffered stability problems. Additional vertical tail surfaces on the fin and rudder fitted on many models later had better handling.

In all, twenty were built and in service for the duration of the war. They were propelled by a pair of Benz Bz.III 6-cyl. water-cooled in-line piston engines rated for 112 kW (150 hp), and armed by up to three 7.92 mm (.312 in) machine guns. The next G.III was flew in December 1915, and it was powered by two Mercedes D.IV 8-cylinder water-cooled inline piston engines rated for 164 kW (220 hp), which could carry a 50% increase in bomb load were built in small numbers and seeing limited operational use. Production records are unknown.

AEG G.II Bomber
Profile of the AEG G.II bomber of 1916, wikimedia commons Blueprint

The next C.IV serie was however a different story. It was developed from G.III with more powerful engines, a higher bomb-load (Twice higher than the G.II) and increased dimensions. It entered service in late 1916, and featured a bomb capacity twice as large as that of the AEG G.II.

It was arguably the most modern german bomber of that era, having onboard radios and electrically heated suits for the crew, and being of all-metal, welded-tube frame, construction. It was also innovative as having the rear gunner’s cockpit position given a hinged window in the floor to spot pursuing aircraft. However by 1916 standards, Idflieg considered it still inadequate both for performances and payload, and improvements led to the development of the G.V, which was tested but did not became operational before the end of the war. The AEG G.IV was the most produced of the whole serie, and achieve operational success both in long-range reconnaissance and combat.

AEG G.IV Bomber
AEG G.IV bomber in Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

One variant was known as the antitank gunship G.IVk (Kanone) fitted with two 20 mm Becker cannon, never operational. Another variant was called the G.IVg, fitted with an increased span three-bay wing. More easy to fly than the heavy Friedschafen, the served as tactical bomber close to the front lines in day and night operations. Outside the western front, the G.IV also served in Romania, Greece and Italy. Considered obsolescent in 1918 it was chiefly used for night raids. And at that stage they served mainly as nuisance raids without true objective.

As proof of its comfort and ruggedness, G.IVs of Kampfgeschwader 4 flew seven times in a single night on the Italian front. A single one is now preserved at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. The G.V had a 600 kg (1,320 lb) bombload, but was ready too late in the war, although it was tested and a small production took place. None became operational. Instead, they joined the postwar Swedsih Air Force. Several were also converted into 6-passenger airliners for the Deutsche Luftreederei, the only large German WWI aircraft to see such service, for which passengers sat soon in an enclosed Limousine version was soon developed while the nose was fitted with a hinged door for baggage and a toilet installed aft of the passenger cabin.

AEG D.I fighter

Of course, AEG attempted to create a single-seat high performances fighter, the AEG D.I, and three prototypes were ordered on blueprints. The first two experienced serious crashes killing the ace Walter Höhndorf on September 1917, and the whole development was cancelled. But a triplane version was developed, named the Dr.I. All three were powered by a Daimler D.IIIa 6-cylinder, liquid-cooled, inline piston engine, 160 hp/120 kW. At the end of the war, AEG attempted to convert a C.IV as an armoured fighter, specialized for ground attacks. The DJ.I as it was known, was a highly streamlined biplane which undergone evaluation from September to the Armistice, and therefore never passed this stage.

AEG J.I fighter

After successful experiments during the Battle of Verdun in 1916, the Flieger Infantry advocated for the formation of tactical support squadrons, whose equipment became a priority. To meet this urgent need, AEG developed from the C.IV a two-seater propelled by a 200 hp Benz Bz IV engine. The crew and engine were protected by no less than 390 kg of armor. The aft fuselage floor was open to a twin-mount 08/15 with 7.92 mm machine guns able to swivel to an angle of 45° while the observer's Parabellum MG was preserved, and the hood LMG 08/15 suppressed.

Produced started in 1917, waiting for the arrival of the better adapted AEG DJ.I. The J.II Structurally similar to the J.I the J.II introduced ailerons aerodynamically balanced by large horn extensions at the wing-tips, increased fin area to improve directional stability and a re-located aileron link strut. A grand total of 609 were built from both series. The AEG J.Ia variant featured additional aileron controls on the lower wings.

AEG PE Triplane
AEG PE Triplane

The AEG N.I was a German biplane night-bomber which saw limited action as a total of 37 only were built, but several were used postwar as airliners. The AEG PE was the Panzer Einsitzer, "armoured one-seater" triplane, a ground-attack aircraft designed from the outset for that role. It was found too heavy for the Idflieg and was rejected for poor maneuverability, making it an easy prey to enemy.

The R.I heavy bomber or Riesenflugzeug 1 was a multi-engined aircraft that carried all its Mercedes D.IVa 6 cyl. water-cooled in-line piston engines, rated 194 kW (260 hp) within the fuselage while a system of drive shafts driving the external propellers. It was protected by five 7.92 mm (.312 in) machine guns and could carry up to 3,800kg (8,377lb) bomb load.

A first prototype was tested in 1916, which was successful, but on 3 September 1918 was plagued by excessive vibrations resulting in the breakup of the aircraft, with the whole seven crew dead. Seven further AEG R.1 were under production in various stages when the war ended, but only R.21 was completed, never operational. The R.II remained on the drawing board. It was completely different, with a thick all-metal wing. This monoplane recalled some all-metal Junkers and Staaken projects and its design were very advanced in November 1918.

AEG Eule
AEG Eule - http://www.muzeumlotnictwa.pl

The Eule ("Owl") was designed by engineer Wagner as a two seater, mid-wing monoplane. Its fuselage was made of welded steel tubs wrapped with fabric, and oak wood, fabric covered wings. The 4.77 meters long fuselage had a 110 cm x 98 cm cross section. The wings featured a scalloped, bat-like trailing edge and curving leading edge.

The overall shape was reminiscent of a bat. The first prototype used a Gnome rotary engine and only made taxi tests but was lost in a fire. The second prototype was given an inline 4-cylinder engine, possibly from a Ford Model T. The few tests gave no satisfaction and the whole program was dropped. Structurally, it inspired however the next B, C and J classes. The Eule prototype display in the AEG aircraft assembly hall, donated to the German Aviation Collection in Berlin, moved to German-occupied Poland, captured by the Russians, and then in storage in the Polish Technical Museum shipped in 1963 to the Krakow Aviation Museum.

  • AEG B.I reconnaissance 1914 (c10?)
  • AEG B.II reconnaissance1914 (c50)
  • AEG B.III reconnaissance 1914 (c100)
  • AEG C.I reconnaissance 1915 (c100)
  • AEG C.II reconnaissance 1915 (c100)
  • AEG C.III reconnaissance 1915 prototype
  • AEG C.IV reconnaissance 1916 (687)
  • AEG C.IVN night bomber (1)
  • AEG C.IVa reconnaissance 1916 (1)
  • AEG C.V reconnaissance 1916 (1)
  • AEG C.VI reconnaissance 1916 (1)
  • AEG C.VII reconnaissance 1916 (2)
  • AEG C.VIII reconnaissance 1916 (1)
  • AEG C.VIII Dr reconnaissance triplane 1917 (1)
  • AEG D.I fighter 1917 (3)
  • AEG G.I/K.I bomber 1915 (1)
  • AEG G.II bomber 1915 (20)
  • AEG G.III bomber 1916 (c15)
  • AEG G.IV bomber 1916 (320)
  • AEG G.V bomber 1918 (c50)
  • AEG J.I/J.II ground attack aircraft 1917 (609)
  • AEG DJ.I armoured ground attack fighter 1918 (1)
  • AEG Dr.I triplane fighter 1918 (1)
  • AEG N.I night bomber 1917 (37)
  • AEG PE armoured triplane ground attack fighter 1918 (1)
  • AEG R.I heavy bomber (2)
  • AEG R.II heavy bomber (Project)
  • AEG Wagner Eule (2)

Read More/Sources