Gotha G.IV

The Gotha G.IV was a heavy bomber used by the Luftstreitkraefte (Imperial German Air Service) during the First World War. 

Gotha G.IV
Class Aircraft
Type Bomber
Manufacturer Gothaer Waggonfabrik
Origin Germany
Country Name Origin Year
Germany 1916
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Germany 1917 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Gothaer Waggonfabrik View

Experience with the Gotha G.III showed that the rear gunner could not efficiently operate both the dorsal and ventral positions. Hans Burkhard resolved this with what was known as the Gotha tunnel. The Gotha tunnel allowed a gunner at the dorsal position to depress his gun and fire through the fuselage at targets below and behind the bomber. A ventral machine gun could still be mounted, and there was even a provision for a fourth machine gun on a post between the pilot and bombardier cockpits, although this was rarely carried due to the weight penalty it imposed on the bombload. 

In November 1916, Gothaer received a production order for 35 aircraft; this was subsequently increased to 50 in February 1917. A further 80 aircraft were ordered from the Siemens-Schuckert Werke (SSW) and 100 from Luft-Verkehrs-Gesselschaft (LVG). 

The G.IV bomber entered service in March 1917. Gotha G.IV bombers remained in service throughout the remainder of World War I. Surviving aircraft were destroyed in accordance with the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.

General characteristics

  • Crew: Three
  • Length: 12.2 m (40 ft 0 in)
  • Wingspan: 23.7 m (77 ft 9 in)
  • Height: 3.9 m (12 ft 10 in)
  • Wing area: 89.5 m (563 ft)
  • Empty weight: 2,413 kg (5,320 lb)
  • Gross weight: 3,648 kg (8,042 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 x Mercedes D.IVa, 193 kW (260 hp)each


  • Maximum speed: 135 km/h (83 mph)
  • Endurance: 6 hours
  • Service ceiling: 5,000 m (16,400 ft)


  • 2 to 3 x 7.92 mm Parabellum LMG 14 machine guns
  • Up to 500 kg (1,100 lb) of bombs

End notes