Hansa-Brandenburg W.12

The Hansa-Brandenburg W.12 was a German biplane fighter floatplane of World War I. It was a development of Ernst Heinkel's previous KDW, adding a rear cockpit for an observer/gunner, and had an unusual inverted tailfin/rudder (which instead of standing up from the fuselage, hung below it) in order to give an uninterrupted field of fire.

The W.12s (under the Naval designation C3MG) served on the Western Front, based at the Naval air bases at Ostend and Zeebrugge. The aircraft had some success, and one shot down the British airship C.27.

In April 1918, a W.12 made an emergency landing in the neutral territory of the Netherlands, where it was interned and flight tested by the Dutch. In 1919 the government of the Netherlands bought a licence to build the aircraft. 35 W.12s were subsequently manufactured by the Van Berkel company of Rotterdam as the W-A, serving with the Dutch Naval Air Service until 1933.

Hansa-Brandenburg W.12
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer Hansa und Brandenburgische Flugzeug-Werke
Origin Germany
Country Name Origin Year
Germany 1917
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Germany View
Netherlands View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Hansa und Brandenburgische Flugzeug-Werke 181 View


  • W.12 : German Navy model. 146 built.
  • W-A : Dutch licence-built W.12, with Benz engine. 35 built.

Role Floatplane fighter
Manufacturer Hansa-Brandenburg
Designer Ernst Heinkel
First flight Early 1917
Primary users Kaiserliche Marine
Number built 181

General characteristics

  • Crew: two (pilot & observer/gunner)
  • Length: 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)
  • Wingspan: 11.20 m (36 ft 9 in)
  • Height: 3.30 m (10 ft 10 in)
  • Wing area: 36.20 m² (389.5 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 997 kg (2,193 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 1,454 kg (3,206 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Mercedes D.III 6-cylinder inline engine, 119 kW (160 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 160 km/h (86 kn, 99 mph)
  • Range: 520 km (281 nmi, 320 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 5,000 m (16,405 ft)
  • Endurance: 3 hrs 30 mins


  • 1 or 2 × fixed forward 7.92 (0.312 in) lMG 08 machine guns
  • 1 × 7.92 (0.312 in) Parabellum MG14 in rear cockpit

End notes