Albatros D.III: Johannisthal, OAW and Oeffag variants by James F. Miller

By James F. Miller

In 1916, Imperial German aerial domination, as soon as held through rotary-engined Fokker and Pfalz E-type wing-warping monoplanes, have been misplaced to the extra nimble French Nieuport and British DH 2s which not just out-flew the German combatants yet have been found in larger numbers. Born-from-experience calls from German fighter pilots asked that, instead of compete with the maneuverability of those adversaries, new single-engine machines will be built with greater horsepower engines and armed with , instead of the then-standard unmarried laptop weapons. The Robert Thelen-led Albatros layout bureau started working on what grew to become the Albatros D.I and D.II and via April 1916 that they had constructed a swish but rugged laptop that featured the standard Albatros semi-monocoque wood development and hired a 160hp Mercedes D.III engine with energy adequate to equip the aeroplane with forward-firing desktop weapons. visible hallmarks of the D.I and early creation D.II comprise fuselage fixed Windhoff radiators and matching chords for the higher and reduce wings.

Meanwhile, Albatros had already produced the prototype of the D.II's successor, the D.III. inspired by means of the French Nieuport sesquiplane layout, the D.III featured decrease wings of diminished chord and single-spar development, with the interplane struts now assembly the decrease wings in a 'V'. After arriving on the entrance en masse in early 1917, the Royal Flying Corps didn't own a fighter that can arrest the Albatros' onslaught opposed to the RFC reconnaissance machines and therefore they suffered appalling casualties in a determined interval referred to as 'Bloody April'. besides the fact that, regardless of the D.III's good fortune, the sesquiplane layout ended in structural flaws that ended in the deaths of numerous pilots, which triggered the sort to be grounded till the reduce wings might be bolstered or changed. nonetheless, even after their go back to carrier, German pilots knew to not prosecute a dive too aggressively lest they invite structural catastrophe.

Always chasing functionality improvements, by the point of 'Bloody April' Albatros had already designed and obtained a construction order for the D.V.D.IIIs have been synthetic simultaneously yet creation used to be shifted to the Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke (OAW) in Schneidmuhl, the place they got extra strong development. They differed little from their Johannisthal D.III brethren externally, store for a marginally diversified epidermis software at the nostril and a D.V-type rudder, which had a curved instead of immediately trailing facet. in addition they had Mercedes engines of one hundred seventy five hp, as opposed to the a hundred and sixty hp engines of the Johannisthal D.III. total they benefitted from the teething event of the sooner D.IIIs and refrained from the structural difficulties that resurfaced with the Johannisthal-built D.Vs.

In all, 500 D.IIIs and 840 D.III(OAW)s have been produced and observed heavy carrier all through 1917. They extracted a significant toll at the enemy yet because the 12 months stepped forward confronted a growing number of new enemy fighter forms, together with the Sopwith domestic dog, Sopwith Triplane, SPAD VII, and SE5a, yet remained on the entrance in excessive numbers (446 of either varieties have been recorded on 31 October) till dwindling in spring 1918 (from 357 in February to eighty two in June) with the arriving of the Fokker Dr.I and D.VII.

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Incidentally, while fuel tank location and access between the cockpit and engine required the removal of engine cowl panels of Johannisthal and OAW machines, Oeffag installed a much more convenient fuel filler access panel on the port fuselage, near the aft center-section strut connection point. Oeffag cockpit configuration was slightly different, with the fuel controls situated along the port cockpit wall, externally accessible via a metal hatch; an altimeter and a tachometer at the front of the cockpit on either side of the Schwarzlose breech blocks, with engine magneto and starting magneto switches located at bottom right; and a combined throttle and spark-retardant control handle was affixed to the starboard cockpit wall.

Still others had their flying surfaces covered with swirled printed fabric, although this was a factory rather than field application. I had arrived in September. IIIs incountry but their numbers swelled to nearly 150 by the end of February. IIs – as both models were less than three months old, these machines could hardly be considered “old” – but instead assimilated into Staffeln complements. For example, Jasta Boelcke employed all three models concurrently. One Staffel that rostered but a single Albatros of any kind that January was Jasta 11.

Two and a half years younger than his brother and Jasta 11 Staffelführer Manfred, Lothar had begun the war in cavalry unit Dragoner-Regiment Nr 4 and fought in Belgium, France, and on the Eastern Front. In summer 1915 he trained as an aerial observer and then flew reconnaissance and bombing sorties with Kampfstaffel 23. Lothar enjoyed bombing, as had his brother, writing after the war: “This work as bomber crewman was very satisfying. We were scarcely back from our first flight when our crate was again loaded with bombs and filled with fuel.

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