Albatros D.V

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Albatros D.V
Albatros D.Va Duxford Airshow 2012.jpg
Albatros D.Va reproduction at Duxford Air Show, 2012
Role Fighter
Manufacturer Albatros-Flugzeugwerke
DesignerRobert Thelen
First flightApril 1917
Primary user Luftstreitkräfte
Number builtc. 2,500
Developed from Albatros D.III

The Albatros D.V was a fighter aircraft built by the Albatros Flugzeugwerke and used by the Luftstreitkräfte (Imperial German Air Service) during World War I. The D.V was the final development of the Albatros D.I family and the last Albatros fighter to see operational service. Despite its well-known shortcomings and general obsolescence, approximately 900 D.V and 1,612 D.Va aircraft were built before production halted in April 1918. The D.Va continued in operational service until the end of the war.

Contents

Design and development

Manfred von Richthofen's Albatros D.V (serial unknown). DVa2.jpg
Manfred von Richthofen's Albatros D.V (serial unknown).

In April 1917, Albatros received an order from Inspektion der Fliegertruppen ( Idflieg ) for an improved version of the D.III. The resulting D.V prototype flew later that month. The D.V closely resembled the D.III and used the same 127 kW (170 hp) Mercedes D.IIIa engine. The most notable difference was a new, fully elliptical cross-section fuselage which was 32 kg (71 lb) lighter than the partially flat-sided fuselage of the earlier D.I through D.III designs. [1] The new elliptical cross-section required an additional longeron on each side of the fuselage and the fin, rudder and tailplane initially remained unchanged from the D.III. [1] The prototype D.V retained the standard rudder of the Johannisthal-built D.III but production examples used the enlarged rudder featured on D.IIIs built by the Ostdeutsche Albatroswerke (OAW), in what was known as the independent city of Schneidemühl. [2] The D.V also featured a larger spinner and ventral fin.

Captured Albatros D.V (serial D.1162/17) with British roundels. DVa (12320781604).jpg
Captured Albatros D.V (serial D.1162/17) with British roundels.

Compared to the D.III, the upper wing of the D.V was 121 mm (4.75 in) closer to the fuselage, while the lower wings attached to the fuselage without a fairing. The D.V wings were almost identical to those of the standard D.III, which had adopted a sesquiplane wing arrangement broadly similar to the French Nieuport 11. The only significant difference between wings of the D.III and D.V was a revised routing of the aileron cables that placed them entirely within the upper wing, [3] Idflieg conducted structural tests on the fuselage, but not the wings, of the D.V. [4]

Early examples of the D.V featured a large headrest, usually removed in service, because it interfered with the pilot's field of view. [3] The headrest was deleted from the second production batch. [5] Aircraft deployed in Palestine used two wing radiators, to cope with the warmer climate. Idflieg issued production contracts for 200 D.V aircraft in April 1917, followed by additional orders of 400 in May and 300 in July. [4] Initial production of the D.V was exclusively undertaken by the Johannisthal factory, while the Schneidemühl factory produced the D.III through the remainder of 1917.

Operational history

A pilot's-eye view from an Albatros D.V cockpit. Albatroscockpit.jpg
A pilot's-eye view from an Albatros D.V cockpit.

The D.V entered service in May 1917 and structural failures of the lower wing immediately occurred. [4] In 2009, Guttman wrote that "Within the month Idflieg was doing belated stress testing and concluding, to its dismay, that the D.V’s sesquiplane wing layout was even more vulnerable than that of its predecessor". [6] The outboard sections of the D.V upper wing also suffered failures, requiring additional wire bracing and the fuselage sometimes cracked during rough landings. [6] Against these problems, the D.V offered very little improvement in performance. [3] [4] Front line pilots were considerably dismayed and many preferred the older D.III; Manfred von Richthofen was critical of the new aircraft. In a July 1917 letter, he described the D.V as "so obsolete and so ridiculously inferior to the English that one can't do anything with this aircraft". British tests of a captured D.V revealed that the aircraft was slow to manoeuvre, heavy on the controls and tiring to fly. [7]

German type D-5a Albatros biplane scout Type D-5a - Airplanes - Types - Types of German Airplanes. Albatros Biplane Scout. Rear View. From 2d Section General Staff - AEF - NARA - 17342149 (cropped).jpg
German type D-5a Albatros biplane scout

Albatros responded with the D.Va, which featured stronger wing spars, heavier wing ribs and a reinforced fuselage. [8] The modified D.Va was 23 kg (51 lb) heavier than the D.III but the structural problems were not entirely cured. Use of the high-compression 130 kW (180 hp) Mercedes D.IIIaü engine offset the increased weight of the D.Va. [9] The D.Va also reverted to the D.III aileron cable linkage, running outwards through the lower wing, then upwards to the ailerons - much the same as the earlier Albatros B.I unarmed two-seater had used before 1914 - to provide a more positive control response. The wings of the D.III and D.Va were interchangeable. [3] To further strengthen the wing, the D.Va added a small diagonal brace connecting the forward interplane strut to the leading edge of the lower wing; the brace was also retrofitted to some D.Vs. [9]

Idflieg placed orders for 262 D.Va aircraft in August 1917, followed by orders for another 250 in September and 550 in October. Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke, which had been engaged in production of the D.III, received orders for 600 D.Va aircraft in October. Deliveries of the D.Va commenced in October 1917. [8] The structural problems of the Fokker Dr.I and the mediocre performance of the Pfalz D.III left the Luftstreitkräfte with no alternative to the D.Va until the Fokker D.VII entered service in mid-1918. Production of the D.Va ceased in April 1918. [10] In May 1918, 131 D.V and 928 D.Va aircraft were in service on the Western Front; the numbers declined as the Fokker D.VII and other types replaced the Albatros in the final months of the war. By 31 August, fewer than 400 Albatros fighters of all types remained at the front but they continued in service until the Armistice. [11]

Survivors and reproductions

D.Va (serial D.5390/17) on display at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra Albatross DVa at the Australian War Memorial July 2015.jpg
D.Va (serial D.5390/17) on display at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra

Two D.Va aircraft survive in museums.

Cole Palen built a flying replica for his Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome (in Bavarian ace Hans Böhning's Rautenflagge colour scheme for its rear fuselage.) [14] [lower-alpha 1] A Ranger-powered replica, built in Canada, now flies with the New Zealand Warbirds Association at Ardmore, Auckland. A number of authentically-constructed airworthy Albatros D.Va reproductions have been built in New Zealand with original and new-build engines. One example is on display at the Royal Air Force Museum in Colindale, London, another is owned by Kermit Weeks in Florida, USA, while two others remain flying with TVAL in NZ.

Operators

Eduard Ritter von Schleich in his D.V (serial D.2034/17) Schleich Albatros.jpg
Eduard Ritter von Schleich in his D.V (serial D.2034/17)

Flag of the German Empire.svg  German Empire

Flag of Poland.svg  Poland

Flag of the Ottoman Empire (1844-1922).svg  Ottoman Empire

Specifications (D.V)

Official Albatros D.V Baubeschreibung
drawing, submitted to IdFlieg Albatros D.V dwg.jpg
Official Albatros D.V Baubeschreibung drawing, submitted to IdFlieg

Data from German Aircraft of the First World War [15]

General characteristics

Performance

Armament

See also

Related lists

Notes

  1. In 2013 the Albatros entered the shop for restoration, where the decision was made to change the livery for the first time. The aircraft was repainted in the brilliant colours of the D.V/D.Va flown by Lt. Hans Böhning of Jagdstaffel 36/Jagdstaffel 76 and returned to the air in May 2014.

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Jagdstaffel 12 Military unit

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Jagdstaffel 19 Military unit

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Jagdstaffel 31 Military unit

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Jagdstaffel 26 Military unit

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References

  1. 1 2 Mikesh 1980, p. 15.
  2. Grosz 2003, pp. 21–22.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Connors 1981, p. 22.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Van Wyngarden 2007, p. 40.
  5. Guttman 2009, p. 31.
  6. 1 2 Guttman 2009, p. 22.
  7. Bennett 2006, p. 124.
  8. 1 2 Van Wyngarden 2007, p. 65.
  9. 1 2 Mikesh 1980, p. 17.
  10. Mikesh 1980, p. 7.
  11. Herris 2001, p. 154.
  12. 1 2 "Albatros D.Va Scout Aircraft." Australian War Memorial. Retrieved: 20 July 2017.
  13. "Conservation of the Albatros D.Va." Australian War Memorial. Retrieved: 21 July 2017.
  14. "Albatros D.Va - Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome". oldrhinebeck.org. Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. 2014. Archived from the original on November 10, 2014. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  15. Gray and Thetford 1970, p. 52.

Bibliography