. О Albatros D V
Dimensions: wingspan, 29 feet, 8 inches; length, 24 feet; height, 8 feet, 10 inches Weights: empty, 1,511 pounds; gross, 2,066 pounds
Power plant: 1 x 185-horsepower Mercedes D Ilia liquid-cooled in-line engine Performance: maximum speed, 116 miles per hour; ceiling, 20,500 feet; range, 200 miles Armament: 2 x 7.92mm machine guns Service dates: 1916-1918
he famous Albatros scouts were among the most beautiful and deadly fighters of World War I. By the spring of 1917 they had become so indelibly associated with fighting that the British christened this period “Bloody April.”
The famous Fokker scourge of 1915 was summarily ended by the appearance of the Nieuport 11 and the de Havilland DH 2, and the Germans were hard-pressed to field an effective foil. In the spring of 1916 the Albatros Werke under chief engineer Robert Thelen conceived a fighter design unlike anything that had been seen in the skies of Western Europe. Dubbed the D I, it was extremely sleek and heavily armed, being the first German biplane fighter powerful enough to carry two synchronized machine guns. It debuted with great success that spring before a subsequent version, the infamous D III, appeared. This machine proved even deadlier. The D III combined many aeronautical refinements and incorporated features of the heretofore unbeatable Nieuport 17, including vee struts and a smaller lower wing. In the hands of aces like von
Richthofen, Boelcke, and Voss, it quickly established superiority over opposing Allied aircraft. Consequently, the spring of 1917 became reviled as “Bloody April,” and the prowess of Albatros scouts caused the life expectancies of British airmen to be measured in days.
One persistent problem with the D III, which it had ironically inherited from Nieuport fighters, was the inherent weakness of the lower wing. In combat it was liable to flutter and break off, with fatal consequences. An improved model, the D V, was accordingly introduced in May 1917 to correct this. It featured a deeper, elliptical fuselage, a more powerful engine, and more closely spaced wings. However, despite these refinements, the D V and its successor, the D Va, boasted few advantages over the aging D III. Throughout most of 1918, the D Vs constituted the bulk of German fighter strength, although they continually lost ground to newer Allied types such as the SPAD XIII and Sopwith Camel. An estimated
3,0 Albatroses, including Austrian versions, were manufactured.