2 x 260 hp ea.
2 or 3 – 7.92 mm
40 ft. 9 in.
77 ft. 9 in.
The Gotha bomber, produced by Gothaer Waggonfabrik, was introduced by Germany as an improvement over Zeppelins in speed and maneuverability. It had the ability to fly at relatively high altitudes and at night.
Unique to large aircraft of the time was a somewhat streamlined, narrow fuselage. The bomber was fabricated from wood and steel, covered with plywood and fabric.
Gotha bomber in-line piston engines were placed close to the fuselage. That enabled easier handling in case a single engine was disabled. The engines, mounted between the wings, drove pusher propellers. The trailing edge of the upper wing had a large section removed to give clearance to the propeller blades.
Some Gotha bomber aircraft were equipped with a rear machine gun that fired through an opening in the lower rear deck. This made it more difficult to attack from below and to the rear, formerly a blind spot, and a favorite position of fighter aircraft.
The Gotha bomber was deployed on the Eastern Front starting in November of 1916. However, engine problems limited its use until more reliable engines were introduced in early 1917.
Estimates are that Germany had a total of 36 Gotha bomber aircraft available for missions at their peak of operations.
From May of 1917 through May of 1918 they attacked England some twenty two times and dropped some 166,000 lbs. of ordnance.
The first major raid on England was by some 21 Gotha bomber aircraft and took place on May 25, 1917 over Kent. A total of 14 bombers attacked London for the first time on June 16, 1917 in a bold daylight raid.
These were relatively high level flights, taking place at altitudes of up to 16,000 feet. Defending fighter aircraft of the day had a difficult time intercepting the Gotha’s at those altitudes. However, Gotha bomber ordnance loads had to be lessened in order to achieve those heights.
The effectiveness of the Gotha bomber was greatly reduced when the fast climbing British interceptor was introduced in the latter part of 1917.
Approximately 60 Gotha bomber aircraft were destroyed during this period, either from enemy fire, bad landings, or other accidents.
It became common practice for the bombers to fly in close formation. This enabled each aircraft to provided a defensive umbrella of covering machine gun fire for other aircraft in the formation.
A total of over 200 Gotha bomber aircraft were produced.
The Gotha bomber from Arizona Model Aircrafters is 1/12 scale with a 84 in. wingspan. It is a laser cut kit for twin pusher electric power. The kit includes guns and detailed cockpits.
Cleveland Model has Gotha bomber plans with wingspans of 29, 39, 59, 78, giant scale 117, 156 1/2, and 235 inches.