Caudron G.3

The Caudron G.3 was a single-engined French biplane built by Caudron, widely used in World War I as a reconnaissance aircraft and trainer.

Caudron G.3
Class Aircraft
Type Reconnaissance
Manufacturer Caudron
Origin France
Country Name Origin Year
France 1914
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Argentina View
Australia View
Belgium View
Brazil View
China View
Colombia View
Denmark View
El Salvador View
Finland View
France View
Greece View
Guatemala View
Honduras View
Italy View
Japan View
Peru View
Poland View
Portugal View
Romania View
Russia (USSR) View
Spain View
Turkey (Ottoman Empire) View
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) View
United States of America View
Venezuela View
Yugoslavia (Serbia) View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Caudron 2849 View

The Caudron G.3 was designed by René and Gaston Caudron as a development of their earlier Caudron G.2 for military use. It first flew in May 1914 at their Le Crotoy aerodrome.

The aircraft had a short crew nacelle, with a single engine in the nose of the nacelle, and an open tailboom truss. It was of sesquiplane layout, and used wing warping for lateral control, although this was replaced by conventional ailerons fitted on the upper wing in late production aircraft. Usually, the G.3 was not armed, although sometimes light machine guns and small bombs were fitted.

It was ordered in large quantities following the outbreak of the First World War with the Caudron factories building 1423 of the 2450 built in France. 233 were also built in England and 166 built in Italy along with several other countries. The Caudron brothers did not charge a licensing fee for the design, as an act of patriotism.

It was followed in production by the Caudron G.4, which was a twin-engined development.


Most G.3s were the A.2 model, used by various airforces for artillery spotting on the Western front, in Russia and in the Middle East. The G.3 D.2 was a two-seat trainer, equipped with dual controls and the E.2 was a basic trainer. The R.1 version (rouleur or roller) was used by France and the United States Air Service for taxi training, with the wing trimmed down to prevent its becoming airborne. The last version, the G.3. L2, was equipped with a more powerful 100 hp Anzani 10 radial engine. In Germany, Gotha built a few copies of the G.3 as the LD.3 and LD.4 (Land Doppeldecker - "Land Biplane").

The G.3 equipped Escadrille C.11 of the French Aéronautique Militaire at the outbreak of war, and was well-suited for reconnaissance use, proving stable and having good visibility. As the war progressed, its low performance and lack of armament made it too vulnerable for front line service, and it was withdrawn from front line operations in mid-1916.

The Italians also used the G.3 for reconnaissance on a wide scale until 1917, as did the British RFC (continuing operations until October 1917), who fitted some with light bombs and machine guns for ground attack. The Australian Flying Corps operated the G.3 during the Mesopotamian campaign of 1915–16.

It continued in use as a trainer until well after the end of the war. Chinese Fengtian clique warlord Caudron G.3s remained in service as trainers until the Mukden Incident of 1931, when many were captured by the Japanese.

In 1921 Adrienne Bolland, a French test pilot working for Caudron, made the first crossing of the Andes by a woman, flying between Argentina and Chile in a G.3.

Role Reconnaissance aircraft
Manufacturer Caudron
First flight Late 1913[1]
Introduction 1914[1]
Primary users Aéronautique Militaire
US Army Air Service
Finnish Air Force
Polish Air Force
Developed from Caudron G.2

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 6.40 m (21 ft 0 in)
  • Wingspan: 13.40 m (44 ft 0 in)
  • Height: 2.50 m (8 ft 3 in)
  • Wing area: 27.00 m (290 ft)
  • Empty weight: 420 kg (930 lb)
  • Loaded weight: kg (lb)
  • Useful load: kg (kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 734 kg (7631 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 x Le Rhone C rotary, 60 kW (80 hp)


  • Never exceed speed: km/h (knots, mph)
  • Maximum speed: 106 km/h (57 knots, 68 mph)
  • Cruise speed: km/h (knots, mph)
  • Stall speed: km/h (knots, mph)
  • Range: km (nm, mi, 4 h)
  • Service ceiling 4300 m (14,110 ft)
  • Rate of climb: m/s (ft/min)
  • Wing loading: kg/m (lb/ft)
  • Power/mass: W/kg (hp/lb)


  • One small calibre machine gun (optional) and some hand released bombs (optional)

End notes