Imitation is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery
The Germans were no strangers to copying technology from their enemies in the early days of the Great War. Pfalz had copied early Morane-Saulnier aircraft, and the Oberursel rotary engines were essentially direct copies of the French-made Gnôme rotary engines. The performance of the Nieuport 17 impressed the Imperial German Army Air Service, so it comes as no surprise that The Germans would attempt to retro-engineer their own version. Unfortunately the engine used proved to be overly complicated and caused delays in delivery, so the aircraft was inferior to the aircraft in service at the time of production.
A number of captured Nieuport 17 fighters were given to German aircraft manufacturers to study, the Siemens-Schukert Werke produced the D.I based on the captured fighter. The D.I was a biplane powered by 110 hp (82 kW) Siemens-Halske Sh.I rotary engine. An order for 150 aircraft for the Imperial German Army Air Service was placed, but these were delayed by late delivery of the complicated geared engine, so that the aircraft was outclassed in combat by newer Allied aircraft when delivered. Only 95 aircraft were produced, most of which were used for training.
A single D.Ia was produced with a greater wing area and more powerful engine but was not ordered into production. The development continued through a prototype D.II to the D.III.
- "Siemens-Schuckert D.I", From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siemens-Schuckert_D.I
- Green, W; Swanborough, G (1994). "The Complete Book of Fighters". Smithmark. ISBN 0-8317-3939-8.
- Grey, Peter; Thetford, Owen (1962). "German Aircraft of the First World War". London: Putnam.
- "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft" (Part Work 1982-1985). Orbis Publishing.