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 combatants yet have been found in better numbers. Born-from-experience calls from German fighter pilots asked that, instead of compete with the maneuverability of those adversaries, new single-engine machines might be outfitted with larger horsepower engines and armed with , instead of the then-standard unmarried desktop weapons. The Robert Thelen-led Albatros layout bureau started working on what turned the Albatros D.I and D.II and by way of April 1916 they'd built a graceful but rugged computer that featured the standard Albatros semi-monocoque wood building and hired a 160hp Mercedes D.III engine with strength sufficient to equip the aeroplane with forward-firing laptop weapons. visible hallmarks of the D.I and early construction D.II contain fuselage fastened Windhoff radiators and matching chords for the higher and decrease wings.

Meanwhile, Albatros had already produced the prototype of the D.II's successor, the D.III. motivated by means of the French Nieuport sesquiplane layout, the D.III featured reduce wings of lowered chord and single-spar building, 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 may arrest the Albatros' onslaught opposed to the RFC reconnaissance machines and therefore they suffered appalling casualties in a determined interval often called 'Bloody April'. in spite of the fact that, regardless of the D.III's good fortune, the sesquiplane layout resulted in structural flaws that led to the deaths of numerous pilots, which brought on the sort to be grounded until eventually the decrease wings might 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 acquired 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 powerful building. They differed little from their Johannisthal D.III brethren externally, keep for a marginally diverse dermis software at the nostril and a D.V-type rudder, which had a curved instead of immediately trailing part. 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 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 provider all through 1917. They extracted a major toll at the enemy yet because the yr advanced confronted increasingly more 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 forms have been recorded on 31 October) until eventually dwindling in spring 1918 (from 357 in February to eighty two in June) with the coming of the Fokker Dr.I and D.VII.

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III fuselages featured a circular nose and slab-sided cross-section that faired smoothly into an ovoid top and underside, with the ovoid transitions becoming more knife-edged as they neared the empennage. The intersection of the curved belly and slab-sided fuselage at the lower wing leading- and trailing-edge connection points created drag-producing protuberances that required the installation of either wood or metal aerodynamic fairings, the shapes of which varied between manufacturers. The fuselage was of semi-monocoque construction, whereby the external skin acted in concert with the frame to share the stress of external loads, resulting in great strength without the need for internal wire bracing.

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.

2s. Again, the model of Albatros flown during these victories is uncertain. Is. III shortly thereafter, as were the rest of the Staffel, with Voss’s machine personally decorated with heart, swastika, and laurel wreath markings. III. Various photographs show this airplane with and without stripes on the upper wings, and with and without a third heart on the top of the fuselage, just aft of the cockpit (a location known as the “turtledeck,” a term associated more with Fokker machines but descriptive for many airplanes).

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