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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Early Years of Flight Day 2: Halberstadt CL IV

Halberstadt CL IV Under lower wing Halberstadt CL IV view under wing

Halberstadt CL IV wheel

The first thing I noticed, and I’m sure you did as well, is the colorful camouflage on the Halberstadt CL IV. Typically this early years WWI plane had a fuselage and wings painted green, mauve, and brown camouflage. Lozenge camouflage was found on the underside of the wings and tail, as you see in the picture above.

Halberstadt CL IV plane Halberstadt CL IV

World War I saw the emergence of the Halberstadt CL IV in combat during the last great German offensive. Pilots aboard the Halberstadt CL IV aided ground troops by utilizing the fixed and flexible machine guns, grenades and small bombs. Unfortunately, the CL IV lacked the armor necessary for protection against ground fire.

Halberstadt CL IV airplaneHalberstadt CL IV airplane 1

The CL IV was a hunted target of Allied pursuit squadrons and decidedly so. It was versatile and highly maneuverable, which made it a contender in dogfights. The Halberstadt CL IV performed as an interceptor against Allied night bombing raids and served as a night bomber against troop concentrations and airfields near the front lines.

Halberstadt CL IV aircraft

The USAF National Museum acquired the Halberstadt CL IV in 1984. The Halberstadt was in dreadful condition and required extensive restoration efforts.  The Museum fur Verkehr und Technik in Berlin, Germany, the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of the United States Air Force, worked in a joint venture to restore the Halberstadt CL IV to its former glory.

It is marked as the CL IV of the squadron leader of the Schlachtstaffel 21, which is known to have engaged elements of the U.S. Army's 94th and 95th Aero Squadrons in mid-July 1918 during the Chateau Thierry battle.

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