The Caudron R-4 was initially developed as a bomber, but due to its poor performance, it could only be used as a reconnaissance aircraft in World War I.
Development and construction:
The French company Société des aeroplanes Caudron, headed by the brothers René and Gaston Caudron, has been building aircraft since 1909. The well-known and successful types, especially the Caudron G-III and G.IV, had the shortened hull typical of the company.
At the beginning of 1915, however, René Caudron began developing and designing a new bomber, the fuselage of which, contrary to the usual way, was to be built continuously. In addition, the crew of the new bomber should be increased from a maximum of 2 people to 3.
In June 1915, the first prototype of the bomber was presented under the designation R-4. Overall, the aircraft turned out to be very well thought out, especially since the fuselage was consistently smooth and shaped right up to the one-piece vertical stabilizer. In addition, the aircraft was three-legged and had ailerons on the upper wing for stabilization. To protect the two propellers, in addition to the twin wheels under the two motor nacelles and the grinding spur, an additional single wheel was attached under the bow.
The 3 aircraft occupants sat one behind the other, with the observer in the front, the pilot in the middle and the gunner in the back. In addition to the bombs, 1 to 2 machine guns each for the observer and for the gunner were used as armament.
Use in the First World War:
At the beginning of 1916, work began on bringing the aircraft that had been built to the Western Front and using them there. Due to the weak engine power, however, these were not used for their actual purpose as bombers but were mainly used as reconnaissance aircraft.
The crew of such aircraft was only able to assert itself against the German fighter pilots thanks to their strong armament, but at the beginning of 1917 they began to withdraw the aircraft from the western front and replace them with the more modern Létord aircraft.
In total, only 249 Caudron R-4 aircraft were built. Although some types were also equipped with more powerful engines, the design of the aircraft did not withstand this. In December 1915, Gaston Caudron also died on a test flight of a Caudron R-4 bomber, so that after production was discontinued, the designer Delville worked on a successor model.
|Weight:||1.710 kilograms empty|
|Engine:||two Renault 12Db engines with 130HP each|
|Maximum speed:||136 kilometers per hour|
|Range:||Max. 500 kilometers|
|Armament:||2 - 4 machine guns 7,7 mm
100 kilograms bomb load