Hannover CL.III

The Hannover CL II (aka Hannoveraner) was a successful relatively small, two-seat aircraft that was used in the escort fighter and attack roles. The CL designation was for fast two-seater, multi-role aircraft. It was first used as an escort fighter for C class photo-reconnaissance manchines. Allied fighters often attacked it thinking it was a single-seat scout and got a surprise when the rear-gunner fired at them.

The CL II was a biplane of conventional layout apart from its biplane tail, which was designed to offer the rear gunner a better arc of fire over the tail. The body was deep and fairly narrow, which afforded excellent visibility downwards. It was highly manoeuvrable and versatile. It first flew in late-1917 and participated with newly formed Schlachtstaffeln (Battle Flights) in the heavy ground-attacks during the German spring offensive of 1918. 639 were built by Hannover Waggonfabrik Aktien Gesellschaft.
The Hannover CL III was a development of the CL II. It was a bit smaller and lighter but with the same configuration. 537 were built.

Technical Details

Type: CL II
The CLII carried a crew of two, the standard of pilot and rear gunner. It was powered by the 180hp (134 kW) Opel-Argus As III inline engine. Maximum speed was 101 mph (165km/h), with a ceiling of 24600ft (7500 m) and an endurance time of 3h 30m. It was armed with the standard German machine guns, typically 7.92 mm, being a single synchronized Spandau gun fuselage mounted and a ring-mounted Parabellum for the gunner.

Type: CL IIIa
The Hannover CL III was a development of the CLII with the same layout. It was produced in response to criticism from crews in the field about a lack of lateral control at low levels. The wingtips were modified and the ailerons now incorporated overhung balances. This modification was important because the improved lateral control was more immediately necessary when manoeuvring close to the ground as the changed role of the aircraft (ground attack) now dictated. The response to questions of performance were answered by installing the 160 hp. Mercedes engine, which was lighter and although rated lower in horsepower, actually performed better, particularly at altitude. Unfortunately, the Mercedes engine was required more urgently for single seaters, so the type reverted to the Argus engine and in this guise was designated the CL.IIIa. The CL III had an Mercedes D.III engine, the CL IIIa an Argus As III engine. All other aspects of their abilities seem to be the same as the CL II.