Albatros C.III

The Albatros C.III was the most numerous of the Albatros two-seater scouts and after a useful front line career went on to serve in even larger numbers as a trainer.

The Albatros C.III combined features from the armed C.I and the unarmed B.III. The fuselage came from the B.III, while the tail had more in common with the B.III than the C.II. Early Albatros aircraft had used an arrow-head tail, with straight edges and quite sharp corners. The tail on the C.III was much closer to the rounded version that would become familiar on later Albatros aircraft. The vertical surface still had a straight upper edge but the rudder was curved, and the horizontal surfaces were almost semi-circular with curved control surfaces.

Albatros C.III from the right
Albatros C.III from the right

As with most Albatros aircraft the C.III was of mixed construction. The wings used wooden spars and ribs, and were fabric covered while the fuselage had a wooden frame and was plywood covered. The wings were still of uneven span, but were closer to being the same length than on the C.I. The lower wing was smaller and had straight leading and trailing edges with a slightly angular tip. The upper wing had a straight leading edge. The trailing edge was straight in the centre but angled back slightly on the ailerons. The resulting aircraft was faster and more manoeuvrable than the C.I (although its maximum speed didn't improve).

The C.III was originally designed to carry a single flexibly mounted machine gun, but it soon gained a fixed forward firing LMG 08/15, without any significant reduction in performance. This made it one of the first German C class aircraft to carry such a gun.

Originally designed with the single flexibly mounted machine gun, soon gets fixed forward firing gun as well - one of first German C class aircraft to carry such a gun.

The first twelve C.IIIs were recorded at the front in December 1915, and the type increased in importance throughout 1916, reaching a peak of 354 aircraft at the end of August. There were still 320 in use at the end of the year but the numbers fell quickly during 1917 and were in single figures by the end of the year. The aircraft remained in use on secondary fronts after being withdrawn from the Western Front. The Albatros was also used in small numbers by the German navy.

At least 2271 Albatros C.IIIs were ordered, with around 800 ordered as front line aircraft and the rest as trainers. The aircraft was built by Albatros and under licence by seven other companies - Ostdeutsche Albatros Werk, B.F.W., D.F.W., Hansa, Linke-Hofman Werke, L.V.G. and Siemens-Schuckert Werke.

The C.III was used by a number of foreign air services, and remained in use after the end of the First World War. Amongst the users were Latvia, Turkey, Lithuania and Russia.

Engine: 150hp Benz Bz.III or 160hp Mercedes D.III
Span: 38ft 4.25in
Length: 26ft 3in
Height: 10ft 0.75in with Benz engine, 10ft 2in with Mercedes engine
Empty weight: 1,876lb
Maximum take-off weight: 2,983lb
Max speed: 87mph
Climb rate: 9 minutes to 3,280ft
Endurance: 4hrs
Armament: One flexibly mounted 7.92mm Parabellum machine gun, one fixed forward mounted 7.92mm LMG 08/15, small bombload

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (11 October 2012), Albatros C.III ,

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