AvStop Magazine Online


The Halberstadt CL IV was developed to replace the earlier CL II model as a principal ground attack aircraft for the German army. First introduced to combat in early 1918 in time for the last great German offensive of the First World War, the CL IV proved to be very successful in attacking Allied positions ahead of the advancing German troops.

Equipped with both fixed and flexible machine guns as well as hand dropped grenades and small bombs, CL IV was very effective in this role, but it lacked armor which became necessary as British, French, and later American ground fire became increasingly effective against low-flying aircraft. The CL IV was one of the most sought after targets of Allied pursuit squadrons, but it was able to give a very good account of itself in a dogfight.

A versatile machine, the CL IV also did yeoman duty as an interceptor against Allied night bombing raids and served as a night bomber against troop concentrations and airfields near the front lines.

The Halberstadt CL IV on display was acquired by the USAF Museum in 1984. It was badly deteriorated at the time, and its subsequent restoration was completed as a joint international cooperative venture by the Museum fur Verkehr und Technik in Berlin, Germany, the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, and the United States Air Force Museum. 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 campaign.


Span: 35 ft. 2 7/8 in.

Length: 21 ft. 5 1/2 in.

Height: 8 ft. 9 1/8 in.

Weight: 2,350 lbs. loaded

Armament: One or two 9mm fixed Spandau Machine guns and one Parabellum 9mm flexible machine gun; anti-personnel grenades and four or five 22 lb. bombs.

Engine: One Mercedes D III six cylinder in-line, water-cooled engine of 160 hp.

Crew: 2


Maximum speed: 112 mph.

Range: 300 miles

Service Ceiling: 21,000 ft.