It had much lower drag than comparable aircraft of its time. It featured a monocoque fuselage built with an outer skin of two layers of thin plywood strips at an angle to each other. This had both lower drag and better strength per weight than typical of the time, but it was relatively slow and expensive to build. The deep fuselage completely filled the vertical gap between the wing panel center sections, eliminating any need for cabane struts commonly used in biplanes, and gave the aircraft its "whale" nickname. There was even some attempt to flair the wings into the fuselage, to eliminate dead air space decade.
The C.II entered service in the spring of 1916. Operationally, handling was reported as difficult but performance was relatively good. Due to the crew positions with eyes above the upper wing, upward visibility was excellent, but downward visibility was poor. It was also used in a fighter escort role and had a crew of two, pilot and observer/gunner.
Because of its speed, when it was first introduced, it could be intercepted only from above. Because of the lack of downward visibility, it was best attacked by diving below and coming up at it.
British ace, Albert Ball, whose first victim was a C.II, said in the latter half of 1916 that it was "the best German machine now". Wikipedia
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