Although most World War I enthusiasts are familiar with the Gotha bombers, and for a time, the name Gotha was the generic term for any large biplane bomber with black crosses on its wings, little information has been published about the airplanes that Gotha designed to replace its standard long range bombers. Although too late for service in the Great War, these planes represented a step forward in bomber design, featuring better streamlining and higher performance using smaller airframes. Several prototypes were ordered, including the G.VII, GL.VII, G.VIII. and G.IX. There were many variations of the basic design, and some were envisioned as reconnaissance aircraft with specialized camera installations, and even as armored ground attack types. Only a few early models appear to have been used on operations, mainly on photographic missions, although no documentation survives. About 200 late model Gotha bombers were turned over to the Allied Armistice Commission after the war.
The only country known to have operated the late models was Belgium, who received at least 29 GL.VII and G.IX bombers as reparations. In 1920, 24 were reported to have been in service, but little is known about these aircraft. A few were used elsewhere, such as the one used by the Ukrainians for the transportation of high value cargoes.
The book tells the complete story of these aircraft as far as is known. The photos are excellent, and the drawings in 1/72 and 1/48 scale would be extremely useful for anyone wanting to scratch build a model of one of these biplanes. The cover shows a color painting of a Ukrainian GL.VII, while the back cover illustrates the Ukrainian GL.VII, a German GL.VII, and a Belgian G.IX.
If you have any interest in late-war German World War I aircraft, this book is a “must buy”. The Windsock Datafile Series has always been excellent, and this issue certainly lives up to the reputation. One problem is that sometimes these books are hard to find, so snap one up when you find one.
Thank you to Albatros Publications, Ltd, Windsock Data FIles and IPMS/USA for tis copy for review.
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