Caudron R.11, R.12


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  ESCORT FIGHTERVirtual Aircraft Museum / France / Caudron  

Caudron R.11, R.12

Evolved by Paul Deville from the R.IV reconnaissance bomber designed by Rene Caudron, the R XI three-seat biplane was originally intended as a Corps d'Armee aircraft, but was destined to find its forte as a three-seat escort fighter. Powered by two 215hp Hispano-Suiza 8Bda eight-cylinder water-cooled engines, the R XI appeared in March 1917, and entered service in February 1918. Armament comprised five 7.7mm Lewis guns on flexible mounts - two in the nose cockpit, two in the dorsal cockpit and one firing downwards and rearwards beneath the front gunner's cockpit - and while initial models retained the HS 8Bda engines, later versions were fitted with the 235hp HS 8Beb. The R XI enjoyed considerable success as an escort for the Breguet 14 during the closing months of WWI and during the summer of 1918. It also served in the fighter-reconnaissance role. At the time of the Armistice, the R XI equipped six 15-aircraft escadrilles of France's Aviation Militaire. A more powerful version, the R XII with 300hp HS 8Fb engines, was tested during the summer of 1918, but apparently failed to display significantly better results than those obtained with the R XI. Prototype trials with the R XII were completed in the autumn of 1919, but no further development was undertaken.

Caudron R.11, R.12

  Take-off weight2167 kg4777 lb
  Empty weight1422 kg3135 lb
  Wingspan17.92 m59 ft 10 in
  Length11.22 m37 ft 10 in
  Height2.80 m9 ft 2 in
  Wing area54.25 m2583.94 sq ft
  Max. speed183 km/h114 mph

Caudron R.11, R.12A three-view drawing (1670 x 1060)

Kevin OReilly, e-mail, 17.08.2013 04:12

I have a photograph of one of these taken in Egypt 1917 /18 & would like details.
Advise an address so I can send an image. kevin


Barry, 28.03.2013 17:45

This was a good airplane with poor engines, that plagued it throughout it's operational life. Over 500 were produced and some estimates suggest as many as 1,000 eventually saw service. The armament consisted of two .303" Lewis guns in each of the front and rear gunnery positions, and the later addition of a downward firing gun in one or both positions in other words a total of 4 /6 guns. Furthermore, the R11 could carry a bomb load of upto 300k.g. (660lb) externally.


Bob Gerlach, e-mail, 18.03.2012 08:27

I have an original WWI unpublished photo of this and several other WWI types taken by my great uncle in France in 1917-1918 and will be donating them to the NASM in the near future. They should be available for reference sometime this year.


Klaatu, e-mail, 22.05.2011 20:02

The successful use of these Caudrons as escort fighters established a French trend towards the development of multi-seat combat aircraft, a category that became known as the "multiplace de combat". The French continued to experiment with this category of aircraft throughout the 20s and 30s, and even influenced air forces in other countries to do the same. The U.S. Army Air Corp's Bell YFM-1 Airacuda comes to mind as a classic example of the genre. The last French aircraft of this sort to enter service was the Potez 63 series, which saw service in 1940.


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