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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 via 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 opponents 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 could be built with larger horsepower engines and armed with , instead of the then-standard unmarried laptop weapons. The Robert Thelen-led Albatros layout bureau got to work on what grew to become the Albatros D.I and D.II and through April 1916 they'd constructed a graceful 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 construction 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. stimulated by way of the French Nieuport sesquiplane layout, the D.III featured reduce wings of diminished chord and single-spar building, with the interplane struts now assembly the reduce wings in a 'V'. After arriving on the entrance en masse in early 1917, the Royal Flying Corps didn't own a fighter which could arrest the Albatros' onslaught opposed to the RFC reconnaissance machines and hence they suffered appalling casualties in a determined interval referred to as 'Bloody April'. even if, regardless of the D.III's good fortune, the sesquiplane layout resulted in structural flaws that led to the deaths of numerous pilots, which prompted the sort to be grounded until eventually the reduce wings should be reinforced or changed. nonetheless, even after their go back to provider, 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 construction used to be shifted to the Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke (OAW) in Schneidmuhl, the place they obtained extra powerful building. They differed little from their Johannisthal D.III brethren externally, retailer for a marginally diversified dermis software at the nostril and a D.V-type rudder, which had a curved instead of immediately trailing part. additionally they had Mercedes engines of a 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 adventure 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 major toll at the enemy yet because the 12 months improved confronted a growing number of new enemy fighter kinds, together with the Sopwith domestic dog, Sopwith Triplane, SPAD VII, and SE5a, yet remained on the entrance in excessive numbers (446 of either kinds have been recorded on 31 October) until eventually 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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Additional info for Albatros D.III: Johannisthal, OAW and Oeffag variants

Example text

III (SERIAL NO. U/K), JASTA 18, FLOWN BY OBLT ERNST TURCK, OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 1917 Although at first glance this appears to be an OAW-built machine, close scrutiny of a photograph revealed that this is actually a first production batch Johannisthal machine, fitted with a replacement OAW rudder and possibly lower port wing. Clues to its true Johannisthal origin include a central radiator; lack of a nose footstep; manufacturer placards on the nose rather than by the cockpit, where OAW located them; shape of the engine cowl panels; and location of the panel lines and fuselage cross, which differed between Johannisthal and OAW.

Taken at Roucourt, c. late April, 1917. 46 overturned landing, were likely fabricated as autobiographical embellishment. III spate of wing failures and subsequent groundings had a silver lining of sorts: they came in winter when air combat had slowed. Slowed, but not stopped: sorties were still flown, victories and losses were still had, and as the year progressed more Jagdstaffeln were created and employed at the front. Thus, the pace naturally grew and intensified. IIIs. III awaited to exact a terrible tactical toll.

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. III arrived in mid-January when newly appointed Staffelführer Leutnant Manfred von Richthofen brought one with him when he transferred from Jasta Boelcke.

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