Hannover, a manufacturer of railway rolling stock, began license production of Aviatik C.1, Rumpler C.1 A, and Halberstadt scouts in 1915 before proposing a compact two-seat escort fighter to German High Command. The biplane-tailed CL.II entered service in late 1917, and was succeeded by the CL.III and CL.IIIa, also built under license by Luftfahrzeug Gesellschaft as CL.IIa. Small numbers of the enlarged CIV and CL.V were constructed, plus experimental CL.IIIs with various engine and airframe changes. The company's fighters were known popularly as "Hannoveraners."

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