The history of WW1 airplane development is filled with failures and disappointments. There are rare cases where an airplane performed better than hoped for, and the UFAG C.I – featured in the new series of WW1 Wings of Glory Airplane Packs, is one of those stories.

Ungarische Flugzeugwerke AG (UFAG) had been building Lohner and Brandenburg aircraft under license, and may have been looking for ways to improve on other designs. In early 1917, they entered a competition with Phönix to build a new recon plane for the Austrian air service (Luftfahrtruppe). Unlike earlier two-seaters, the UFAG C.I dispensed with complicated bracing between the wings (“star strutters”) and the clunky lines that seemed the norm. Instead, UFAG modified the wings into a straightened form with rounded tips that curved slightly inward. The fuselage was rather deep and the observer/gunner had an excellent field of fire. In flight tests with the competition, the UFAG design proved faster and more maneuverable, especially at lower altitudes - in fact, the UFAG C.1 is the fastest 2-seater produced by the Central Powers during the entire war. Its Hiero 6-cylinder 230 hp engine gave a top speed as high as 118 mph / 190 km/h.

UFAG C.I built by Phönix.

UFAG C.I built by Phönix.

The UFAG C.I was used almost exclusively on the Italian front, for escorting observation planes, ground attack, and light bombing. Some squadrons added the “/S” to their unit designation as a sign that they were not just performing the usual observation roles. At least one C.I experimented twin forward-firing machine guns, aimed to help this more active role in combat."

The UFAG C.I was first released in April 1918 in small numbers, like most Austria-Hungary airplanes, but its performance quickly earned it a larger contract. Sources are unclear of the exact number delivered, but they were certainly fewer than 300 to be produced by the war’s end, and perhaps fewer than 200, including about 40 built under license by Phönix. The aircraft was also used in 1919 in the Hungarian Revolution and a few numbers were employed by the Romanian Air Service.

UFAG C.I in Wings of Glory

The UFAG C.I is presented in Airplane Packs featuring three different paint schemes. Airplane records for the Austrian-Hungarian air service are very poor. While we have captured actual models and paint schemes, we only have hard information about one of the airplanes, and that comes from a damage report.

The first pack brings the UFAG C.I 161-37, which comes with some interesting special cards. First, it offers the optional rule “experimental armament” of 2 forward guns that we know at least one UFAG C.1s carried. For play balance, it also provides the potential for negative traits, with cards for “rookie” pilot or observer who perform shooting functions slowly and poorly.

Of course, while some of the special cards that come with the planes are linked with that particular kind of plane (like the Nieuport top wing guns and the Albatros locking controls,) most cards are not locked specifically into that single airplane and many can be used with completely different airplanes. Feel free to use these for other places in your scenarios. Special cards provide ways of adding interest or creating play balance. It will be interesting to see how a very good plane with—for example—a “Rookie Pilot,” can measure up against a less powerful plane that has a “Sniper” ability or something positive.

The Wings of Glory model of the UFAG C.I 161.109, used by Fiik 62/s.

The Wings of Glory model of the UFAG C.I 161.109, used by Fiik 62/s.

The second UFAG airplane pack features the Flik 62/s. There are records that the airplane with these markings, number 161.109, was used by Flik 62/S and based at San Martino (Italy). The base was hit by a heavy storm (of close to hurricane violence) that sweep up the Veneto’s plain. This plane, and #161.48, from the same unit, became soaked and storm damaged. The glue seems to have been of poor quality and the wood structures deformed, while both engines needed to be completely rebuilt.

Special cards for this airplane are “Fire Expert”, “Perfect Bombardier” and “Photo Expert”, allowing it to put fires out faster and be more effective at both bombing and taking photographs.

The third plane, UFAG C.I 161-138, comes with special cards that reflects that UFAG C.I was a high–performing 2–seater, available in limited numbers, and so often reserved for the best available crews. The cards “Precision Bombardier”, “Sniper” and “Weapon Specialist” make this airplane extremely effective at bombing and excellent at shooting, and also able to repair jams more quickly.

Information sources: International Warbirds: An Illustrated Guide to World Military Aircraft, by John C. Fredriksen, IPMS/USA Reviews - UFAG C.I, Military Factory, Rise of Flight.

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