Siemens-Schuckert R.I

The Siemens-Schuckert R.I was a bomber aircraft built in Germany during World War I.[4][5] It was originally ordered as the Siemens-Schuckert G.I prior to the German Inspectorate of Flying Troops (the Idflieg) adopting the "R" classification for multi-engine aircraft in late 1915.[6] Some sources refer to the aircraft as the Siemens-Schuckert Steffen R.I, including the name of the brothers that designed it.[1]

Riesenflugzeug Siemens Schuckert VIII 1918.jpg
Siemens-Schuckert R.I in 1918.
Role Bomber
National origin Germany
Manufacturer Siemens-Schuckert
Designer Bruno and Franz Steffen[1]
First flight 24 May 1915[2]
Number built 1[3]
Developed into Siemens-Schuckert R.II, R.III, R.IV, R.V, R.VI, and R.VII

The R.I was a large three-bay biplane with unstaggered wings of unequal span[7] and a fully enclosed cabin. Power was supplied by three 112-kW (150-hp) Benz Bz.III engines mounted internally in the fuselage, which transmitted their power via driveshafts to two propellers mounted tractor-fashion on the interplane struts nearest the fuselage.[8] The main undercarriage consisted of divided units, each of which carried dual wheels, and the tail was supported by a pair of tailwheels.[2] The rear fuselage structure was forked into an upper and lower section, which allowed a clear field of fire to the rear of the aircraft.[1] The entire structure was of wire-braced wood, covered in fabric.[2]

Designers Bruno and Franz Steffen piloted the aircraft themselves on its first test flight on 24 May 1915.[2] They ended this flight prematurely because of overheating in the gearboxes,[2] and subsequent tests revealed other defects such as excessive vibration in the drive system.[9] With these problems addressed, the R.I was ready for its Idflieg acceptance flights in June 1915.[9] Bruno Steffen ferried the three-person inspection team, plus a number of passengers, from Neumünster to Döberitz.[9] He had even placed two armchairs and a bottle of champagne in the cabin for the occasion.[9] The R.I reached Döberitz safely and made around twenty-four test flights before it was accepted by the military on 26 July 1915.[6]

On 13 October 1915, the R.I was assigned to Feldfliegerabteil 31, a reconnaissance unit, at Slonim.[6] However, a series of mishaps and malfunctions prevented it from seeing any operational use and the R.I was dismantled and sent back to Berlin by rail in March 1916.[6] Although damaged in transit, the R.I was repaired and was assigned to the Riesenflugzeugersatzabteilung (Rea — "giant aircraft support unit") as a trainer from mid 1916 to 1918 — possibly even to the Armistice.[10]

Parts of the R.I were preserved in a Berlin museum until destroyed by bombing during World War II.[3] Despite the difficulties encountered with the design, the Idflieg was sufficiently impressed with the R.I to order a batch of six similar aircraft on 26 June 1915, to be powered with the more powerful Maybach HS engine in place of the Benz B.III used by the R.I.[11] Although the six were originally intended to be identical, each developed in a different direction and were eventually designated as different aircraft types by the Idflieg — R.II, R.III, R.IV, R.V, R.VI, R.VII.[12]

The R.I was ordered and delivered as the Siemens-Schuckert G.I in the G (Grossflugzeug - large aircraft) series and given serial number SSW G.I 31/15, changed to SSW G.I 32/15 before the final change to R.I/15.[6] Similarly, the Siemens-Schuckert R.II to R.VII were ordered in the G (Grossflugzeug - large aircraft) series and given serial numbers G.32/15 to G.37/15 respectively. These serials were changed on 13 July 1915 to G.33/15 - G.38/15, for unknown reasons and again on 6 November 1915 to R.2/15 - R.7/15 in the R (Riesenflugzeug - giant aircraft) series, adopting the R.II to R.VII designations.[12]


Siemens-Schuckert R.I
Siemens-Schuckert R.II
Siemens-Schuckert R.III
Siemens-Schuckert R.IV
Siemens-Schuckert R.V
Siemens-Schuckert R.VI
Siemens-Schuckert R.VII


Data from Kroschel & Stützer 1994, p.133

General characteristics

  • Crew: 4
  • Length: 17.5 m (57 ft 5 in)
  • Wingspan: 28 m (91 ft 11 in)
  • Height: 5.2 m (17 ft 1 in)
  • Wing area: 138 m2 (1,490 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 4,000 kg (8,800 lb)
  • Gross weight: 5,200 kg (11,440 lb)
  • Powerplant: 3 × Benz Bz.III , 112 kW (150 hp) each


  • Maximum speed: 110 km/h (69 mph, 60 kn)
  • Range: 520 km (325 mi, 282 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 3,700 m (12,100 ft)


  • 1 × 7.9-mm machine gun
  • 500 kg (1,100 lb) of bombs.


  1. ^ a b c Grey & Thetford 1962, p.572
  2. ^ a b c d e Haddow & Grosz 1963, p.175
  3. ^ a b Haddow & Grosz 1963, p.179
  4. ^ Taylor 1989, p.808
  5. ^ The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft, p.2920
  6. ^ a b c d e Haddow & Grosz 1963, p.178
  7. ^ Haddow & Grosz 1963, p.177
  8. ^ Haddow & Grosz 1963, p.174
  9. ^ a b c d Haddow & Grosz 1963, p.176
  10. ^ Haddow & Grosz 1963, p.178–79
  11. ^ Haddow & Grosz 1963, p.180
  12. ^ a b Haddow & Grosz 1963, p.184


  • Gray, Peter; Owen Thetford (1962). German Aircraft of the First World War. London: Putnam.
  • Haddow, G.W.; Peter M. Grosz (1962). The German Giants: The Story of the R-planes 1914–1919. London: Putnam.
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft. London: Aerospace Publishing.
  • Kroschel, Günter; Helmut Stützer (1994). Die Deutschen Militärflugzeuge 1910–1918. Herford: Mittler.
  • Taylor, Michael J.H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions.
  • Wagner, Ray; Nowarra, Heinz (1971). German Combat Planes: A Comprehensive Survey and History of the Development of German Military Aircraft from 1914 to 1945. New York City: Doubleday.