From Wings of Linen

Siemens-Schuckert Werke GmbH of Berlin and Nurnberg, aka "SSW", produced several interesting planes in small numbers, from fighters to giant bombers.[1] Siemens Halske had been founded in 1847 for the manufacture of telegraphic equipment, and in 1873 they merged with Schuckert works of Nürnberg to form Siemens-Schuckert. They started building airships in 1907, and their first bombers were of the giant R-class. In 1916 they entered the fighter arena with the E-class monoplanes, followed by the D.I and eventually D.III and D.IV.[2]

Production aircraft from the Great War or shortly thereafter include:


  1. The prototype E.II was basically an E.I with an 120hp Argus As.II inline engine instead of a rotary. It did not go into production.[3]
  2. A series of prototypes bore the D.II name, but none went into production. They led, however, to the D.III. The first three were pure D.II prototypes; the latter three were re-designated D.IIIs and were followed by production orders.[4]
  3. The R.I-R.IX retained the forked fuselage and internal engines of the R.I. They were reported as easy to fly and usually were fitted with one or two machine guns. On daytime missions, two-seater escorts were used. A crew of four was normal, but a fifth was sometimes added to operate the wireless set.[5]
  4. The Forssman was a poorly-built rough copy of the Sikorsky Il'ya Mouromets. After several poor, hopping test runs, it was finally (barely) flown in 1916, enough to gain acceptance by Idflieg, only to break in two and be fully dismantled.[6]
  5. The R.I served as the prototype for the entire series, and it featured three internal Benz Bz.III engines with gearing to transfer the power to outboard tractor propellers on either side. A forked fuselage was implemented to give a rear machine gun a wide field of fire. It first flew 24 May 1915, logging 24 flights before crashing in August.[7]
  6. The R.II, serial R.2/15, was plagued by the overheating of the new Maybach HS engines, a problem that would plague many of its successors until Benz and Mercedes replacements were used. It first flew on 26 Oct 1915, but engine troubles kept it mothballed until it could be rebuilt in mid-1917. It eventually was used for training until it crashed in the second half of 1918.[8]
  7. The R.III, serial R.3/15, was completed shortly after the R.II, but it crashed in early 1916, probably due to faulty HS engines. It was mothballed until engine replacement in late 1916, and it served as a trainer well into 1918.[9]
  8. One R.VIII was finished and another was under construction at the Armistice. The R.23 six-engined giant saw taxi testing in 1919, but a propeller disintegrated and damaged the aircraft. It was not rebuilt, and the R.24 successor, which was about 75% complete, was abandoned. In 1919 it was the largest aircraft in the world.[10]
  9. Three R.VIIIa's, R.75/18-R.77/18, were ordered. Preliminary construction had begun, but it was halted at the war's end.[11][10]
  10. The R.IX, serial number R.204/16, was based on the R.VIII. Though it started as a bomber, its design was changed to a two-deck transport aircraft of large proportions. It never got beyond the planning stages.[11][12]
  11. The L.I was a twin-engine, twin-boom bomber in the L-class, between G and R. Three prototypes were completed in 1918 but the type did not enter production.[13]
  12. Siemens-Schuckert also developed a seris of guided missiles for launch from airships, with weights up to 1,000 kg (2,200 lb).[14]
  1. Gray'87, p.209.
  2. Gray'66, p.3.
  3. Gray'87, p.555.
  4. Gray'66, p.5.
  5. Haddow'69, pp.181-184.
  6. Haddow'69, pp.163-173.
  7. Haddow'69, pp.173-180.
  8. Haddow'69, pp.184-187.
  9. Haddow'69, p.187.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Haddow'69, pp.198-206.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Haddow'69, p.68.
  12. Haddow'69, pp.206-208.
  13. Herris'14, p.190.
  14. Gray'87, p.571.
  • Peter Gray and Owen Thetford. German Aircraft of the First World War. Great Britain, Putnam, 1962, 1987. ISBN 0-85177-809-7.
  • Peter L. Gray, Profile Publications 86: The Siemens Schuckert D III & IV. England: Profile Publications Ltd., 1966.
  • G.W. Haddow and Peter M. Grosz, The German Giants; The German R-Planes 1914-1918. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 2nd Ed., 1969. ISBN 9780370000374
  • Jack Herris, German G-Type Bombers of WWI. Aeronaut Books, 2014. ISBN 978-1-935881-26-1.
  • Jack Herris, Siemens-Schuckert Aircraft of WWI: A Centennial Perspective on Great War Airplanes. United States: Aeronaut Books, 2014