Caudron G-III

The Caudron G-III was an early French reconnaissance aircraft and bomber, which was also used as a seaplane on the first seaplane carrier in history.


Development and construction:

The brothers René and Gaston Caudron and their company Société des aeroplanes Caudron in Issy-les-Moulineaux had been producing aircraft since 1909. After the very successful type Caudron B and 20 prototypes, the Caudron G-III was flown and presented for the first time in December 1913.

The Caudron G-III was a one-and-a-half-decker which at the beginning of production still had a wing twist for steering around the longitudinal axis. This was exchanged for an aileron in the later production series. The pilot and the observer sat one behind the other in a cut-off fuselage nacelle, with the engine in the front part.

In addition to the chassis consisting of runners and wheels, a seaplane variant was produced very early on, in which the chassis was exchanged for floats. The French Foudre was also equipped with this variant from 1912, which was the first seaplane carrier to be tested and later used.


A Caudron G-III seaplane on the La Foudre seaplane carrier in 1914


All in all, the Caudron G-III proved to be a very robust aircraft with which in May 1914 the record in continuous flight of 16 hours and 28 minutes, which had been in effect until then, could be surpassed.

Before the First World War, the French Escadrille C.11 squadron was equipped with these aircraft, which they used as reconnaissance aircraft. In addition, a few copies have already been sold to Denmark and China.


A Caudron G-III of the Chinese Air Force




Use in the First World War:

Shortly after the outbreak of World War I, the French Air Force needed a large number of aircraft. The Caudron G-III was ordered and produced in large numbers and the Escadrilles C.17, C.18 and C.30 variant G-IIIA.2 was used as a reconnaissance and observation aircraft. A short time later, the G-IIIB.2 variant was also used as a light bomber, albeit only in small numbers.

At the beginning of the war, the operations were spread across the Western Front, Eastern Front and the Middle East.

A total of 2.450 aircraft were produced in France alone. A further 233 aircraft in Great Britain and 166 aircraft in Italy were also built under licenses. By the end of the war, the aircraft was in service in a total of 21, with the French Air Force withdrawing them from the fronts in mid-1916 in order to replace them with more modern aircraft.

As version E.2 or D.2, the reconnaissance aircraft were then used to train pilots until the end of the war.


A British Air Force Caudron G-III


A Caudron G-III is being prepared for use in the Middle East


A French Caudron G-III is being prepared for use on the Western Front in June 1915




Technical specifications:

Designation: Caudron G-III
Country: France
Type: Reconnaissance plane
Length: 6,40 meters
Span: 13,40 meters
Height: 2,50 meters
Weight: 447 kilograms empty
Crew: Max. 2
Engine: an air-cooled rotary motor Clerget or Gnôme-Rhône with 80HP each
Maximum speed: 115 kilometers per hour
Range: Max. 360 kilometers
Armament: 1 machine gun 7,7 mm






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