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The Pohl Giant Triplane arriving at the Ahlhorn Naval Base

The Pohl Giant Triplane was a large aircraft designed by Villehad Forssman for Germany in World War I. In mind that the United States of America had just entered the war in early 1917, the plane was designed so that it could flown from Germany to New York. To this end it had ten engines and an enormous wingspan. It also had no cable bracing and the insides of the fuselage were lined with a second plywood layer.

The officials' first look of the Triplane

The prototype was constructed in Pohl. In March, after a brief delay because of a storm, it was secretly presented in Ahlhorn Naval Base to German officers and other specialists including Admiral Werner, General von Kramer, airplane designer Anthony Fokker and flying ace Rittmeister Manfred von Richthofen. Although the machine was a wholly different approach than Fokker's, who was versed in the design of small pursuit airplanes, the engineer was there to inspect it to improve Forssman's idea.

The first task of the machine would be to travel to New York and drop fliers urging the Americans to withdraw from the war, and then it would to be used as a bomber.

The Triplane prototype is destroyed.

Spy Indiana Jones, working for French Intelligence, was sent to persuade Anthony Fokker to defect to the French, and learned of the existence of the secret invention while pursuing the scientist. Having constructed a makeshift camera, Jones followed the convoy to the hangar and managed to take some pictures of the landing aircraft. However, he was recognised by von Richthofen, and during the subsequent firefight, an explosion in the hangar destroyed everything within the immediate vicinity, and the prototype was destroyed.

Behind the scenes[]

A real Pohl Giant Triplane was in construction by Mannesmann-Werke during the war and its unfinished remains were discovered in a hangar after the war's end. The aircraft had been designed by Forssman, financed by the Deutsche Bank and other private investors as well as the German military. It was intended as a medium-range bomber to be used against targets in Great Britain. Hence, it was not designed, as often stated, as a vehicle for attacking targets in the United States.


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