Thursday, May 19, 2011

Germany - 1917 Albatros D.V

Five Albatros D.Va In a Day

Albatros D.Va - 1917
Albatros D.Va - 1917

I have been updating my master aircraft files. It means creating new shaded monochrome profiles with elements isolated on layers which can be turned into finished work with minimal time and effort. Today I tackled a new master for the Albatros D.V and D.Va. Once I was finished with the master I began working up a series of new color profiles I was surprised that I ws able to turn out 5 different color profiles in an afternoon. I thought I would share them here today.

The Albatros D.V was a fighter aircraft 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 structural shortcomings and general obsolescence, approximately 900 D.V and 1,612 D.Va aircraft were built before production halted in early 1918. The D.Va continued in operational service until the end of the war.

In April 1917, Albatros received an order from the Idflieg (Inspektion der Fliegertruppen) for an improved version of the D.III. The prototype flew later that month.

The resulting 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 fuselage which was 32 kg (70 lb) lighter than that of the D.III. The elliptical cross-section required an additional longeron on each side of the fuselage. 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 Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke (OAW). The D.V also featured a larger spinner and ventral fin.

The upper wing of the D.V was repositioned 4.75 inches closer to the fuselage, while the lower wings attached to the fuselage without a fairing. The wings themselves were almost identical to those of the standard D.III, except for a revised linkage of the aileron cables. For this reason, Idflieg conducted structural tests on the fuselage but not the wings of the new aircraft.

Early examples of the D.V featured a large headrest, which was usually removed in service because it interfered with the pilot's field of view. The headrest was eventually deleted from production. 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. 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.

The D.V entered service in May 1917 and, like the D.III before it, immediately began experiencing structural failures of the lower wing. Indeed, anecdotal evidence suggests that the D.V was even more prone to wing failures than the D.III. The outboard sections of the upper wing also suffered failures, requiring additional wire bracing. Furthermore, the D.V offered very little improvement in performance. This caused considerable dismay among frontline pilots, many of whom preferred the older D.III. Manfred von Richthofen was particularly 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 maneuver, heavy on the controls, and tiring to fly.

Albatros responded with the D.Va, which featured stronger wing spars, heavier wing ribs, and a reinforced fuselage. The D.Va also reverted to the D.III's aileron cable linkage to provide a more positive control response. The wings of the D.III and D.Va were in fact interchangeable. The D.Va was also fitted with a small brace connecting the interplane struts to the leading edge of the lower wing. These modifications made the D.Va 23 kg (50 lb) heavier than the D.III, while failing to entirely cure the structural problems of the type. Use of the high-compression 130 kW (180 hp) Mercedes D.IIIaü engine offset the increased weight of the D.Va.

Idflieg placed orders for 262 D.Va aircraft in August 1917, followed by additional orders for 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. The structural problems of the Fokker Dr.I and the mediocre performance of the Pfalz D.III left the Luftstreitkräfte with no viable alternative to the D.Va until the Fokker D.VII entered service in the summer of 1918. Production ceased in April 1918. As of May 1918, 131 D.V and 928 D.Va aircraft were in service on the Western Front. Numbers declined as production ended, but the D.Va remained in use until the Armistice (11 November 1918).


  1. From Wikipedia Albatros D.V, ""
  2. Bennett, Leon. "Gunning for the Red Baron". College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2006. ISBN 1-58544-507-X.
  3. Connors, John F. "Albatros Fighters in Action" (Aircraft No. 46). Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc. 1981. ISBN 0-89747-115-6.
  4. Green, William and Gordon Swanborough. "The Complete Book of Fighters". London: Salamander Books, 1994. ISBN 0-83173-939-8.
  5. Grosz, Peter M. "Albatros D.III (Windsock Datafile Special)". Berkhamsted, Herts, UK: Albatros Publications, 2003. ISBN 1-90220-762-9.
  6. Mikesh, Robert C. "Albatros D.Va. : German Fighter of World War I". Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1980. ISBN 0-87474-633-7
  7. Van Wyngarden, Greg. "Albatros Aces of World War I Part 2" (Aircraft of the Aces No. 77). Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84603-179-6.


The Angry Lurker said...

That's quite a good looking aircraft, great colours and designs on those.

kingsleypark said...

Excellent site. Many thanks to the Lurker for pointing me here. I will definitely be going through all the old posts.

Just one query. Do you do pictures of the top wing as well as fuselage profiles?

Keep up the good work!!!!

W. I. Boucher said...

Thanks I am glad you like them. It makes me think all the obsessive work is worth it.
@Fran Thanks for your comments and support.
@Kingsleypark I have done a few wing drawings, however it was primarily for an articles on World War One camouflage on my aviation history site ( The reason for the omission has been a matter of time and layout constraints. It is a one man operation running two interlocked sites, and I juggling a collection of hats on them from graphics, research, layout to web design. Eventually I plan on doing more 3 view renderings and a series of line drawings for others to use.

Anonymous said...

Excellent blog here (thanks to Lurker for the link)

I think i may just be digging out the old Revell 1/72 Fokker D VII from the stash soon...

Thanks for the inspiration :)

Paul´s Bods said...

Maybe KP has a point. There are lots of pics of the planes from the sides etc, but bottom and tops along side them...not.
it´s a very good reference blog already and with additions like the wing!!
Save people like me hunting throughtout the web for such things.
I´m at the moment building a Albatros D.III from Roden. Luckily they give a pretty decent colour plan on the box, but Revell, Toko, and Airfix etc, fail to do so.
You do post a lot of planes..I keep asking myself wether you will run out:-D
I hope not

W. I. Boucher said...

@In Chigh Thanks, Any time someone gets the modeling itch is a good day.

@Paul, I know and I agree. I will try to add more detail drawings. One problem is due to the angle many times finding the scheme used on wings ends up being a best guess affair. As far as running out goes I have a couple hundred aircraft in my "to do" folder in various stages of completion. and a couple thousand images I use for reference. so my dance card is pretty full.

kingsleypark said...

Well it's excellent stuff you are putting out so far so anything else would be a total bonus

Jacob said...

Super Interesting. An interesting hobby you have here! Does anyone profit from your research? (Museums, other Historians..)

W. I. Boucher said...

@Jacob, My main site get used by a number of school districts, military, etc and cited on NASA's Century of Flight site and Wikipedia as a source. I am also working on a profile for fund raising to build a memorial for Major Lanoe Hawker VC, DSO Memorial in Ligny Thilloy next to the French War Memorial. For me I have not made money off my aviation history site in the 11 years of operation. I have tried to keep the primary site advertiser free, but I do solicit contributions to stay in operation. Although so far people prefer to use the site for free.