Search Our Catalog

Books, Ephemera & War Bond Posters -
WW1 Imperial German Original Illustration Art of Halberstadt CL.II Fighter Plane by Jerome Biederman
Item #: VF4004
Click on an image to enlarge
WWI original aircraft on art board that measures 25″x20″. Illustrated image measures 19″x14.25″. This particular aircraft is identified at the bottom and sighed by the artist. Jerome Biederman was born February 1, 1913 in Braddock, Pennsylvania. He was a graduate of Chicago’s American Academy Of Art. He maintained studios in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Nashville during his career. This original Gouache watercolor illustration is of a Imperial German Halberstadt CL.II. and was part of a series of aviation paintings that Jerome did in 1975. His artwork routinely sells for over a thousand dollars and he is listed with Artfact.

Development and design

Early in 1917, Idflieg, the German Army Inspectorate of Flying Troops, developed a requirement for a new type of two-seat aircraft, smaller than the existing C-type aircraft. This type, to be known as CL-type (Light C type) aircraft, were to be used to equip Schutzstaffeln (Protection flights) to escort reconnaissance aircraft. To meet this requirement, Halberstadt developed an aircraft based on its earlier, unsuccessful Halberstadt D.IV single-seat fighter. Originally designated the Halberstadt C.II, it was redesignated the Halberstadt CL.II when the CL designation was applied.

The CL.II was a single-engined biplane, with an all-wooden structure. The fuselage was covered with thin plywood panelling and housed the crew of two in a single cockpit, with the observer's 7.92 mm (.312 in) machine gun being mounted on an elevated gun ring, giving a good field of fire, allowing downwards fire at targets on the ground. A tray large enough to hold ten stick grenades was attached to the left side of the fuselage. The single-bay wings were fabric-covered, with a swept upper wing.

The aircraft had provisions for a wireless radio. When needed the radio and antenna could be installed in the observer's cockpit and a generator, that would also supply current for heated flight suits, could easily be installed. The generator was directly driven by a pulley on the engine and mounted on the left side with a tear drop shaped fairing covering it. With the generator removed, a flat panel would be fitted instead.

Loading up with Wurfgranaten 15 bombs (note ten stick grenades)

The CL.II passed its Typenprüfung (type-test) on 7 May 1917, which resulted in production orders being placed. Halberstadt built 700 CL.IIs by the time production shifted to the improved CL.IV in mid-1918. A further 200 CL.II aircraft were built in 1918 by the Bayerische Flugzeug-Werke (BFW).

Operational history

The CL.II entered service in August 1917, and proved extremely successful, its excellent manoeuvrability, rate of climb and good field of fire for its armament allowing it to match opposing single-seat fighters. It also proved to be well suited to close-support, which became the primary role of the CL-type aircraft, the units operating them being re-designated Schlachtstaffeln (Battle flights).

Ground support by the Schlachtstaffeln proved very effective, being used both in support of German attacks and to disrupt enemy attacks. An early example of the successful use of CL type aircraft in the ground attack role was during the German counterattack on 30 November 1917 during the Battle of Cambrai, where they were a major factor in the German performance.

The success of the German tactics at Cambrai, including the use of close air support, resulted in the Germans assembling large numbers of CL-types in support of the Spring Offensive in March 1918, with 38 Schlachtstaffeln (equipped with the CL.II, CL.IV and the Hannover CL.III) available, of which 27 were deployed against the British forces during the initial attack Operation Michael The CL.II continued in service until the end of the War.


The only existing Halberstadt CL.II is exhibited in the Polish Aviation Museum in Kraków. This unique plane served as the personal aircraft of the Commander of Luftstreitkräfte general Ernst von Hoeppner.

"History will duly set aside the years 1900-1950 as the most momentous. Invention followed close upon the heels of invention...of all the bewildering and glittering array, few if any remotely approach in importance that role occupied by the ability and means to move...on the land, in the air, above and below the surface of the water," expressed Jerome D. Biederman. And few artists have been equally adept at capturing important vintage automobiles and other forms of transportation as this pioneering artist.


"My final year in high school, I convinced myself that, above all else, I wanted to become an artist, and started a vigorous inquiry into every school of art within a thousand miles of my hometown Pittsburgh," Biederman wrote in his autobiography, published in the November-December 1970 issue of Horseless Carriage Gazette. He attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago. "The only entrance requirement consisted of artistic proof of one's ability, so I prepared a complete catalog featuring an imaginary automobile. Each page portrayed a separate model, each laboriously rendered in profile, all in full and glorious color. When this massive document was finally lashed together, it possessed all the weight and characteristics of a suitcase loaded with bricks. Thus, for better or worse, my artistic career was launched."


Biederman graduated from the Academy in October 1932, and like many of his contemporaries, the rigors of the Depression meant that it took him three years to find a job in his field. "My introduction to the advertising world was a revelation akin to the opening of 1,000 doors," he wrote. "Such mysteries as art direction, layout, production, type, reproduction-all unfolded in rapid succession...I survived this routine for years, but slowly and inevitably had begun the realization that the artist must at some time look to specialization and away from generalization in order that he might achieve recognition, prominence, and even fame. In 1940, I departed the advertising affair for the calmer atmosphere of a studio.


"I turned my full attention and energies to transportation vehicles...on/in the water, air and land," he continued. "Movement in its various forms has dominated my time, my thinking, and my life these past thirty years. In the years that followed, I did become known and my particular specialty recognized, but many detours were necessary, including art directorships, freelance artist, etc. As my exhibits became more numerous and my sells more regular, exposure of my efforts began to enter into commercial channels...calendars, prints, premiums, novelties, magazines, as well as other channels."


As Biederman's expanding body of work was gaining him prominence, he began a relationship with the McCleery-Cumming Corporation in 1956; this calendar company retained the artist to create six paintings for each of their 1958 automobile calendars. He painted for the calendar company for 36 years, and in the first 31 of those years, 186 automobile paintings were printed without interruption. A total of 444 Biederman transportation paintings were published in McCleery-Cumming calendars by 1993. In addition to the calendars, Mr. Biederman's automotive paintings were featured prominently in Playboy magazine, Automobile Quarterly and Horseless Carriage Gazette. He retired at the age of 75, in 1988, and died in 1996.


According to his widow, most of Biederman's paintings were done in tempera on heavyweight 20 x 30-inch illustration board. Calendar art averaged roughly 10 x 15 inches, depending on the subject. A substantial portion of Biederman's body of work remains intact, and most originals are available for purchase at $1,200 apiece.


"It seems to me that despite the untold millions of devotees adherent to this, that and the other...the fundamental 'love affair' lies in and with the internal combustion engine, the good, bad or indifferent that surrounds it," Biederman wrote. "The combination of motor, wheels and body, has known, knows, and will experience moments of greatness, be they in performance, styling, concept, even flights of fancy."
Shipping Weight: 3 lbs
Your Price $500.00 USD