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 by means of 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 warring parties 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 outfitted with better horsepower engines and armed with , instead of the then-standard unmarried desktop weapons. The Robert Thelen-led Albatros layout bureau got to work on what grew to become the Albatros D.I and D.II and by means of April 1916 they'd constructed a graceful but rugged computing device that featured the standard Albatros semi-monocoque wood development and hired a 160hp Mercedes D.III engine with strength sufficient 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 decrease wings.

Meanwhile, Albatros had already produced the prototype of the D.II's successor, the D.III. prompted by way of the French Nieuport sesquiplane layout, the D.III featured decrease wings of diminished 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 a number of pilots, which brought on the kind to be grounded till the decrease wings can 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 at the same time yet creation used to be shifted to the Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke (OAW) in Schneidmuhl, the place they acquired extra strong development. They differed little from their Johannisthal D.III brethren externally, retailer for a touch various pores and skin software at the nostril and a D.V-type rudder, which had a curved instead of directly trailing aspect. additionally they had Mercedes engines of one hundred seventy five hp, as opposed to the one hundred sixty hp engines of the Johannisthal D.III. total they benefitted from the teething adventure of the sooner D.IIIs and shunned 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 yr advanced confronted increasingly more new enemy fighter varieties, together with the Sopwith doggy, Sopwith Triplane, SPAD VII, and SE5a, yet remained on the entrance in excessive numbers (446 of either kinds have been recorded on 31 October) till 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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Scoring a double on the day of his inaugural air-combat success was a portent of things to come. 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).

These scarf-jointed seams were internally reinforced with glued strips of heavy-weave cotton fabric, and the resultant large shells were then glued and nailed to the formers and stringers, with the corners secured by screws. Glue was the primary bond for joining the structure; the steel nails and screws were used to hold the structure in place as the glue cured, but they also provided additional strength. When attached to the frame the scarf-joint seams did not necessarily align with the locations of the formers and typically were offset.

Means “Empty [airplane] weight: 675 kg. ” The tube at right was a common field modification for firing flare guns from the cockpit. 30 partially cowled within detachable metal panels. On Oeffag airplanes the guns were enclosed (“buried”) within the fuselage and fired through port and starboard blast tubes that straddled the engine. During production of Series 153 machines, experiments were conducted with the guns raised more to eye-level to improve aiming, but this relocation proved unpopular when pilots complained about reduced visibility and gun oil hitting their faces.

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