The first Gotha, the G-I, was designed by Oskar Ursinus for the Gothaer Waggonfabrik Company in 1914. This ground attack aircraft saw service on both the Western Front and the Eastern Front in 1915. The following year the company produced the Gotha G-IV. This aircraft, designed by Hans Burkhard, was built to carry out bombing raids in Britain. Day raids continued throughout the summer of 1917.
The Gotha G-IV was replaced by the superior Gotha G-V in August 1917. As well as structural changes, the Gotha G-V had more powerful engines and was more difficult to shoot down. A successful feature of the bomber was the gunner's ventral tunnel, which allowed him to fire downwards and towards the rear.
Performance Data of the Gotha G-V
2 x 260 hp Mercedes
77 ft 9 in (23.7 m)
40 ft (12.2 m)
14 ft (43 m)
87 mph (140 kph)
21,325 ft (6,500 m)
520 miles (835 km)
2-3 machine-guns; 1,102 lbs (500 kg) of bombs