The Gotha G.I, Gotha G.II, Gotha G.III Bombers, were built in 1915-1916 by Gothaer Waggonfabric AG, they were principally a new type of fighting machine (bomber). Nevertheless they were not able to carry out the "Strategic Missions"; this phrase being used by German High command to designate air raids over England. But the situation had changed radically after the successful testing of a new modification by Gotha on the G.IV. The Gotha G.IV differed from its predecessors in the size of its ailerons on both wings and the so-called 'Gotha tunnel' - a special cut-out in the aft bottom part of its fuselage which allowed its gunner to defend the aircraft in both the upper and lower hemispheres. Moreover, additional fuel tanks were installed which increased its range. After Inspection by the Air Force, 52 aircraft were immediately ordered from the Gotha Company and another 180 machines were to be built under license from Luft Verkehrs-Gesselschaft (LWG) and Siemens Schuckert Werke (SSW) until the end of 1916.
In March and April of 1917, Kagohl 3, a new military unit (unofficially called as Englanheschwaders) had obtained the first batch of serially manufactured 'fours'. The staging area of Kagohl 3 was at New Manchester situated on the Belgian coastline, in close proximity to Great Britain.
The first raid was made by Kagohl 3 on May 25 1917; it was aimed at Folkestone, Shorncliffe and Cheriton. The results were terrible: 95 people were killed, and 192 wounded, although with respect to the number of victims, the raid outdid the best raids of the airships. Up to and including September 1917, Kagohl 3 had bombed the British Isles seven more times (London was bombed three times). On June 13th 1917, fourteen Gotha G.IVs attacked the territory near the Liverpool Street Station, dropping 72 bombs in total. 162 people were killed and 432 more were wounded. This raid went down in the history of the First World War as the most powerful raid, taking into account the number of its victims.
The general public of Great Britain were aghast at this, while the press accused the government of being paralyzed, the British were forced to change the whole system of air defense radically; they formed the so-called "Home Defense Network".
Germany, to the contrary, triumphed over the "Defeated Enemy". Hauptmann Ernst Brandenburg, squadron commander of Kagohl 3, was decorated with the highest war decoration for airmen - the Pour le Merite ('Blue Max'). Only fighter pilots were honored with the "Blue Max" before this time.
Starting in September of 1917, Kagohl 3 switched to night raids only, caused by the high losses among the strategically important Gotha G.IVs during the raids (the British home defense network was found to be very efficient). At the same time, Kagohl 3 had received a new modification of the G.IV aircraft - the Gotha G.V- - which gradually relegated the 'fours' to the background. The last five Gotha G.IVs were written off in the autumn of 1918.