Книги

Centennial Perspective
J.Herris
Roland Aircraft of WWI
430

J.Herris - Roland Aircraft of WWI /Centennial Perspective/

A portrait of Flieger-Abteilung (Artillerie) 292 (Artillery cooperation aviation unit 292) with two Roland C.II aircraft in the lineup behind the aircrew. The aircraft on the left is an AEG C.IV, and in the center is an LVG C.IV. Like the Roland C.II, the AEG C.IV used the 160 hp Mercedes D.III.The LVG used the rare 220 hp Mercedes D.IV engine, an 8-cylinder engine created by adding two more cylinders to the 6-cylinder Mercedes D.III. Most German two-seater units were equipped with a variety of types optimized for the different roles they performed.
Roland B.I

  The Roland B.I was in fact the Albatros B.II built under license by Roland. Apparently these aircraft were initially designated Roland B.I (870-881/14), indicating that a dozen were built. To reduce confusion Idflieg started rationalizing aircraft designations in August 1916, and the Roland B.I was sensibly re-designated the Albatros B.II(Rol) by Kogenluft directive on 18 February 1917.
Roland B.I, later designated Alb. B.II(Rol). An abundance of national insignia were applied to prevent troops shooting at their own aircraft.
Roland C.I

  The Roland C.I was in fact the Albatros C.I built under license by Roland. To reduce confusion Idflieg started rationalizing aircraft designations in August 1916, and the Roland C.I was rationally re-designated the Albatros C.I(Rol). A total of 88 aircraft were ordered and built as shown in the adjacent table.
  
Alb. C.I(Rol) Production
Ordered Qty Serial Numbers
27 Aug. 1915 34 C.640-663/15
31 Oct. 1915 36 C.1800-1835/15
27 Nov. 1915 18 C. 1986-2003/15
Roland C.I, later designated Alb. C.I(Rol). The subsequent Roland C.II was the first original Roland design to see mass production.
This Roland D.II(Pfal) has had some of its cowling panels removed for engine maintenance. An Albatros C.III is in the background.
Scenes of Roland D.II fighters at Brest-Litovsk on the Eastern Front. The German Army captured the city in 1915 and at the time of these photos it was a center for aircraft distribution and aviation training behind the front. At right is a hangar with Roland D.II / D.IIa fighters and Albatros C.III reconnaissance aircraft. Inset clearly shows "W" in two colors on a D.IIa.The air combat environment in the east was much more permissive than the Western Front, which had a much higher density of first-rate combat aircraft. This enabled the Germans to find useful service for mediocre aircraft like the Roland D.II and D.IIa.
Roland D.II Edith and Albatros D.III fighters of Jasta 15.
Roland C.IV

  There is no known information for the Roland C.IV. Because the Roland-built Albatros C.X was produced about the same time Idflieg rationalized the aircraft designation system, the Albatros C.X(Rol) could originally have been designated Roland C.IV, C.VI, or C.VII in company records. In any case, apparently there is no original Roland design built that was designated Roland C.IV. Later Roland produced other two-seaters under license, the Hannover CL.II(Rol) and Halberstadt CL.IV(Rol). These were too late to receive a confusing designation under the old system, but perhaps Roland management assigned a Roland designation to them, or, more likely, these remained unbuilt Roland projects.
A Roland D.VIa of Jasta 35b with an Albatros D.V or D.Va on the right.
The first Roland D.VIa fighters arrived at Jasta 35b on May 14, 1918. This early-production D.VIa (identified by its straight metal interplane struts faired with wood) was damaged by Albatros D.Va 7186/17 (in the background) while being flown by Lt. Borner on June 1, 1918. The chevron on the top of the upper wing was a unit marking.
Scenes of Roland D.II fighters at Brest-Litovsk on the Eastern Front. The German Army captured the city in 1915 and at the time of these photos it was a center for aircraft distribution and aviation training behind the front. At right is a hangar with Roland D.II / D.IIa fighters and Albatros C.III reconnaissance aircraft. Inset clearly shows "W" in two colors on a D.IIa.The air combat environment in the east was much more permissive than the Western Front, which had a much higher density of first-rate combat aircraft. This enabled the Germans to find useful service for mediocre aircraft like the Roland D.II and D.IIa.
The Roland C.II arrived at the front when the comparatively primitive Fokker Eindeckers were still the leading German fighters. This early production C.II lacked a fixed, synchronized gun for the pilot so was not yet a two-seat fighter, but it was faster than the Eindeckers. There is a great contrast in production technology between the two aircraft.
Roland D.II and a Fokker D.II share an airfield.
Roland D.II of Kest 4b shares an airfield with a Fokker D.II in the background.
An unidentified D.VIa with a painted fuselage. A Fokker D.VII rests in the background.
This unit lineup features a Roland-built D.II in the foreground followed by Halberstadt and Fokker biplanes.
Restored Halberstadt CL.IV(Rol) at NASM's Udvar-Hazy facility. The factory finish of this Roland-built aircraft was well documented during its restoration. Roland finished late-production Roland D.VIb aircraft from the 6100-6149/18 and 7500-7549/18 production batches in the same colors.
Roland Two-Seaters

  Roland's first aircraft designs, the Stahl-Pfeil Doppeldecker and Stahl-Pfeil Eindecker built in 1913 were unsophisticated, unarmed two-seat aircraft designed for reconnaissance and observation in Germany's African colonies. Their airframes were primarily build of steel tubing to give them the robustness needed for this demanding role. Aside from their steel airframes, their engines and configurations were typical of German pre-war designs. Few were built and only two were purchased by the German Air Service before the war.
Roland soon upgraded the engines of Stahl-Pfeil-Doppeldeckers to more powerful 6-cylinder types.
Roland Stahl-Pfeil-Doppeldeckers had sharply swept-back wings, hence the Pfeil (Arrow) designation.
Additional views of Roland Stahl-Pfeil-Doppeldeckers. On 3 Feb. 1914 an aircraft of this type set a world endurance record of 14 hours in the air.
The Roland Stahl-Pfeil-Doppeldecker (Steel-Arrow-Biplane) was a pre-war design; only one was purchased by the German air service.This early aircraft has a 4-cylinder engine; most used more powerful 6-cylinder engines.
The LFG Stahl-Pfeil (steel 'arrow') biplane of 1913, Roland's first original design, was powered by a 100 hp Mercedes. On 3 Feb. 1914 this aircraft set a world endurance record of 14 hours in the air.
TWO GERMAN MACHINES WHICH HAVE EXCELLENT PERFORMANCES TO THEIR CREDIT. - Left, the "Roland" biplane, and right, the "Roland" Taube. Both built by the Luft-Fahrzeug-Gesellschaft, Berlin.
On 3 Feb. 1914 Bruno Langer set a world flight endurance record of 14 hours in a Roland Stahl-Pfeil-Doppeldecker.
Six-cylinder Stahl-Pfeil-Doppeldecker sent to Africa before the war for colonial use.
Roland Two-Seaters

  Roland's first aircraft designs, the Stahl-Pfeil Doppeldecker and Stahl-Pfeil Eindecker built in 1913 were unsophisticated, unarmed two-seat aircraft designed for reconnaissance and observation in Germany's African colonies. Their airframes were primarily build of steel tubing to give them the robustness needed for this demanding role. Aside from their steel airframes, their engines and configurations were typical of German pre-war designs. Few were built and only two were purchased by the German Air Service before the war.
TWO GERMAN MACHINES WHICH HAVE EXCELLENT PERFORMANCES TO THEIR CREDIT. - Left, the "Roland" biplane, and right, the "Roland" Taube. Both built by the Luft-Fahrzeug-Gesellschaft, Berlin.
One of the so-called Steel Taubes, built by LFG Roland during 1914. Employing a steel tube structure in place of the Etrich's original wooden one, the 100hp Daimler having now become a 100hp Mercedes D I. Despite these changes, performance, or at least the 71 mph top level speed appears to have changed little. Note the retention of wing warping and the distance between pilot in the rear and the front seated observer, something that could not have helped in-flight communications.
Additional view of Roland Stahl-Pfeil-Eindecker. Only one Roland Taube was purchased by the German Fliegertruppe; it was given the designation A.157/13. Unlike many other Taube designs, the Roland had hinged elevators instead of warping elevators.
The LFG Stahl-Pfeil Taube (steel arrow 'dove') monoplane of 1913 was Roland's second original design.
Roland Stahl-Pfeil-Eindeckers (Steel-Arrow-Monoplanes). Like most German aircraft manufacturers pre-war, Roland built some aircraft to the Taube (Dove) configuration. The Taube configuration had the significant advantage of being inherently stable in flight, a major consideration at the infancy of aviation. The Taube was therefore safer than most other designs of the time, but Taube performance was limited by the configuration's high drag. As wartime operations became more demanding, the Taube as abandoned for the greater speed, climb, and ceiling of newer biplane designs. Furthermore, the Taube's inherent stability and lack of maneuverability was a disadvantage if it was attacked by a hostile aircraft.
This uncovered aircraft shows Roland's steel-tube construction.
Roland C.II

  The Roland C.II was a completely new, original design by Roland. When building the Albatros B.II and C.I under license, Roland engineers became concerned about the high drag created by the multitude of bracing wires in these designs. The engineers started exploring methods to reduce drag to increase speed using the same engines currently employed. A wide field of fire for the gunner was also a design priority. This work led to the Roland Walfisch, or Whale, as the C.II was nicknamed in Germany.
  Much of the engineering was based on the work of Professor Ludwig Prandtl at the Gottingen University wind tunnel. Prandtl had taught Roland chief designer Dipl.-Ing. Tantzen and consulted on aerodynamics for Roland. Like many significant advances in aeronautics, the Roland C.II combined new construction methods with superior aerodynamics to achieve its jump in performance. In this case, the Roland engineers used their revolutionary Wickelrumpf technology, which combined layers of veneer strips wrapped diagonally around a mold at an angle to each other, and glued and reinforced with fabric. This method resulted in a robust, streamlined shell that carried the structural loads. Using this new technology, the Roland C.II was designed by Tantzen, Ober-Ing. Cammerer, Ing. Sonntag, and Ing. Richter.
  Powered by a 160 hp Mercedes D.III engine, the Roland C.II prototype first flew on 24 or 25 October, 1915. Engine failure soon after takeoff damaged the prototype, which had to be repaired. In speed trials the C.II demonstrated a speed advantage of about 30 km/h (19 mph) over contemporary German two-seaters. The excellent speed of the Roland C.II was good enough for an initial production order for 50 aircraft, awarded 23 December 1915.
  The type-tests and static load tests were performed in mid-February 1916 on airframes C.4415/15 (work #550) and C.4423/15 (work #558). During testing it was determined that the wing cellule was not strong enough, and an additional drag wire had to be installed. After that minor delay, the first five production aircraft were ready to leave the factory on 7 March 1916.
  The streamlined Roland C.II arrived at the front in March 1916, where it created a sensation, and served on operations until June 1917. At the time, it was the smallest and fastest German two-seater, and certainly looked fast. Its aerodynamic shape and 160 hp Mercedes engine gave it excellent performance for the time. It was as fast as the opposing Nieuport and Sopwith Pup fighters, making it an effective combat aircraft. Because they were so much faster than the other German two-seaters, the Rolands generally operated in groups so as not to be slowed by their contemporaries.
  Speed, while especially important in a combat aircraft, is not everything, and the Roland C.II's flight characteristics needed improvement. Probably the most significant shortcoming of the C.II was its limited visibility for the pilot forward and downward, making it difficult for pilots to judge their landing flair and making touch-down and landing rollout somewhat tricky and hazardous. Although landing accidents were distressingly common for WWI aircraft, the Roland C.II suffered disproportionately more than its peers.
  To improve its combat effectiveness, a fixed, synchronized gun for the pilot was fitted to the C.II starting with the second production batch. The roll-over structure had to be redesigned to accommodate the addition of the gun. Additional changes to the wing structure were made mid-way through the third production batch to improve flight characteristics. The changes, which included moving the interplane I-struts inboard and reducing the wing span slightly, strengthened the wing. It is thought the modified version was designated the C.IIa, whose static test took place in late April or early May 1916. These aircraft reached the front in the summer.
  The final significant improvement to the C.IIa was an enlarged vertical tail to improve flight stability and control. The last Roland-built production batch of 40 aircraft, ordered in June 1916, had this feature. The C.II had needed this improvement from the beginning of its service, and the change should have been made during flight testing before the C.II went into production.
  Linke-Hoffman was given an initial production order for the Roland C.IIa(Li) in July 1916 and a final production order for 40 aircraft in September. The type test took place in November 1916 and the production aircraft reached the front in early 1917. By the time these aircraft arrived at the front new German and Allied aircraft had improved performance; the C.II had lost its performance advantage and its operational service was nearing an end. After being withdrawn from the front, the rugged C.II served with flight schools into 1918.


Roland C.II Specifications (1st Production Version)
Engine: 160 hp Mercedes D.III
Wing: Span 10.33 m
Chord 1.5 m
Gap 1.32 m
Area 27.96 m
General: Length 7.70 m
Wheel Track 1.75 m
Empty Weight 789 kg
Useful Load 520 kg
Loaded Weight 1309 kg
Maximum Speed: 165 kmh
Climb: 1000m 7 min
2000m 14 min
3000m 26 min


Roland C.II Production
Ordered Qty Serial Numbers Designation Remarks
Dec. 23, 1915 50 C.4413-4462/15 Rol. C.II One MG, round rollover structure
Mar. 16, 1916 24 C.999-1023/16 Rol. C.II Two MGs, angular rollover structure
Apr. 16, 1916 45 C.1600-1644/16 Rol. C.II
Apr. 16, 1916 19 C.1645-1663/16 Rol. C.II/C.IIa
Apr. 16, 1916 36 C.1664-1699/16 Rol. C.IIa Aileron control in top wing
June 16, 1916 40 C.2700-2739/16 Rol. C.IIa Large fin, aileron control in top wing
July 16, 1916 12 C.1851-1862/16 Rol. C.IIa(Li) Aileron control in top wing
Sep.16, 1916 40 C.3624-3663/16 Rol. C.IIa(Li) Aileron control in top wing
Notes:
  1. All aircraft after the first production batch had a fixed, synchronized gun for the pilot and angular rollover structures. A total of 267 production aircraft were ordered and built.
  2. The production batch ordered June 16, 1916 had the large fin. All others had the original small fin.
  3. The first 4 production batches used the ocarina radiator type,- radiators varied on the last 4 batches.
  4. The first 3 production batches had their aileron controls in the bottom wing. The last 4 batches had the aileron control in the top wing; location of the aileron control in the 4th batch is not known.
Roland C.ll of Kasta 8, Kagohl 2.
Roland C.II of Kasta 8, Kagohl 2. This aircraft may have been flown by Manfred von Richthofen because he was in that unit when this aircraft served there.
Roland C.ll of Kasta 8, Kagohl 2.
Roland C.II flown by Hptm. Eduard Ritter von Schleich of Schusta 28 in original configuration.
Roland C.II Meerkatze of FFA 18.
Roland C.II flown by Lt. Otto Czermack of Schusta 28 after a forward-firing gun was fitted in a crude mount.
Roland C.II of Lt. Rudolf Windisch of Feldflieger-Abteilung 62; it has unit-applied colors painted on the fuselage, upper surfaces, and interplane struts for camouflage.
Roland C.II of Schusta 27.
Roland C.II with shark mouth of Flieger-Abteilung 62.
Roland C.II with shark mouth of Flieger-Abteilung 62.
Roland C.IIa(Li), unit unknown.
Roland C.IIa with large tail, Schusta 27.
Roland C.IIa with large tail of an unknown unit.
A Roland C.II prototype rests in front of the L.F.G. factory at Adlershof. A similar photo was taken on October 24, 1915, and this photo was probably taken at the same time. An anemomenter airspeed indicator is mounted on the upper left wing for speed measurements. The aileron controls were led through the upper wing but early production aircraft ran the aileron controls through the lower wing. Although all production C.II aircraft used the 160 hp Mercedes D.III engine, at least two prototypes were tested with a 150 hp Benz Bz.III. The Walfisch design was patented by Ing. R. Richter on October 7,1915, and the Wickelrumpf technology was a closely-held industrial secret until 1918 when publicity photos of the Pfalz factory revealed some details of the process.
The first Roland C.II series production aircraft with company test pilot Hptm. Freiherr von Thuna in the cockpit on February 4, 1916.The fin and rudder were slightly increased in area compared to the prototypes, but needed to be even larger for better flying qualities, something finally addressed in the last production batch ordered from LFG. No rollover cage is fitted to this early production aircraft.
This unarmed early-production C.II aircraft is in training service. The windows have been modified to slide down to open.
A Roland C.II of the first production batch as shown by the lack of a fixed gun for the pilot and the rounded rollover cage.
An early production Roland C.II shows its clean lines. April 25, 1916.
A curious Roland C.II reconnaissance and escort two-seater biplane of 1916-17, with pilot and passenger above the upper plane. It will be noted that the "single strut" idea is not new in Germany. The engine is a 160 h.p. Mercedes D.III. Its body arrangement recalls Mr. R.F.Macfie's design of 1911.
This streamlined early-production C.II made a good subject for a photo that was made into the Sanke card at left.
This early-production Roland C.II has been painted with a number of dark (black?) circles for identification.
An early production Roland C.II with armament supplemented by a captured Lewis on an improvised mount.
This early-production C.II of Lt. Rudolf Windisch of Feldflieger-Abteilung 62 has unit-applied colors painted on the fuselage, upper surfaces, and interplane struts for camouflage.
This early-production C.II has a dark (black?) band around the fuselage and on the fin for identification. A rack under the observer's window carries signal flares.The Roland C.II was a very photogenic airplane compared to its peers and represented a significant performance increase.
This early-production Roland C.II shows the clean lines of this break-through design. Eyes and mouth have been painted on to emphasize the Walfisch design's resemblence to a fish. Unlike the prototypes, the early production aircraft had their aileron cables routed through the lower wing, then rising upward externally to move the ailerons. The streamlined 'ocarina' exhaust was a distinctive feature of many C.II aircraft.
Perhaps in training service, this C.II has its propeller and engine covered by canvas for protection.
The striking Roland C.II was a favorite backdrop for photos.
A Roland C.II of Flieger-Abteilung 62 with shark mouth is photographed with its flight crew in the center (Oblt. Maximilian von Cossel at left, and to his left, Vzfw. Rudolf Windisch) flanked by its ground crew on the Eastern Front.
This early-production C.II is being readied for flight. Wooden planks prevented getting bogged down in mud.
The streamlined C.II was a notable advance over contemporary two-seaters. The care taken to minimize drag gave it a speed 30 km/h (19 mph) faster than other German two-seaters when it reached the front.
The LFG Roland C II of exceptionally clean appearance made its debut in October 1915 and stayed in front-line service until the autumn of 1917. Powered by a 160hp Mercedes D II, the C II's top level speed was 103mph at sea level. Thanks to its relatively short span, low aspect ratio wings, its high altitude performance was limited to a modest ceiling of 13,100 feet. This said, it should be noted that the RFC ace, Albert Ball cites this machine as being the best of the German two seaters with very effective fields of fire to the front and to the rear. This is an early production example, serving with Fl Abt A 227 at Lille in the autumn of 1916. The crew members are Lt Stuhldreer, pilot, sitting on the inboard upper wing, along with Lt Allmenroder, observer, astride the port wheel.
Portrait of an early-production C.II aircraft with the flight crew, Oblt. Maximilian von Cossel at left, and Vzfw. Rudolf Windisch second from left, either just before or after their famous raid on a Russian railway line.The ground crew is on the right.
Roland C.II aircraft of the first Roland production batch.
Kasta 8 of Kagohl 2 lineup with early-production C.II aircraft on the right and other aircraft on the left.
Another photo of the early-production C.II aircraft of Kasta 8 of Kagohl 2. The C.II in the center of the lineup appears to be the aircraft with black circles shown on page 22.
An aircrew is photographed with their early-production Roland C.II.
Another photo of early-production C.II Meerkatze, which means a green or long-tail monkey.
Early-production Roland C.II Meerkatze of Feldflieger-Abteilung 18; some observers preferred a Lewis machine gun to the heavier Parabellum.
This early-production Roland C.II of FEA 6 was flown by Lt. Konrad von Bulow and Oblt. Tamm. The windows in the fuselage allowed more light into the cockpits and could also be used as emergency escape hatches in case the aircraft turned upside down from a bad landing or being shot down.
Lt. Otto Czermack's Roland C.II was from the first production batch and lacked a synchronized gun for the pilot. Subsequently a fixed machine gun was mounted to fire above the propeller arc on a crude mount.
The Roland C.II flown by Otto Czernak was equipped with an interesting instrument in the cockpits that enabled the observer to send directions to the pilot.
Lt. Otto Czermack's modified Roland C.II in the snow. A fixed machine gun for the pilot has been added on a crude mount, apparently to fire over the propeller arc, to compensate for the missing pilot's gun installed on later production aircraft.
The Roland C.II arrived at the front when the comparatively primitive Fokker Eindeckers were still the leading German fighters. This early production C.II lacked a fixed, synchronized gun for the pilot so was not yet a two-seat fighter, but it was faster than the Eindeckers. There is a great contrast in production technology between the two aircraft.
The Roland C.II aircraft assigned to Hptm. Eduard Ritter von Schleich of Schusta 28 attracts a crowd. New aircraft types always draw the curious, and the radically-streamlined Roland C.II was especially popular, gaining a reputation much larger than its small numbers at the front would indicate.
Hauptmann Eduard von Schleich in his early-production Roland C.II prepares for flight on a snow-covered airfield with the obligatory dog in the foreground.
Hptm. Eduard Ritter von Schleich's Roland C.II.
Hptm. Eduard Ritter von Schleich's Roland C.II in the snow.
The Roland C.II aircraft assigned to Hptm. Eduard Ritter von Schleich and others of Schusta 28. The markings of the aircraft are distinctive, as is the fish on the upper left wing in place of an anemometer. An aircraft from the first production batch, it has the early turn-over pylon and no gun for the pilot.
Hptm. Eduard Ritter von Schleich's Roland C.II was from the first production batch and lacked a synchronized gun for the pilot.
Roland C.II C.1624/16 of the third production batch in embarrassing circumstances. Although Idflieg required serial numbers be painted on the aircraft, Roland-built C.II aircraft are notable for not displaying their serial numbers.
The Roland C.II “Walfisch” immediately caught the imagination and creativity of those who flew it. Many photos show fish lips or shark mouths and eyes painted on, as well as scales, or curtains painted over the windows. The crew of this C.II chose a flashy, striped finish showing they weren’t hiding from the enemy.
The LFG Roland C.II was a break-through design for Roland. The exceptional streamlining for the time - it entered service in March 1916 - was developed in conjunction with wind-tunnel testing and full-size testing on a high-speed train. To reduce drag the upper wing was built directly into the fuselage without benefit of cabane struts. The C.II was the smallest, fastest German two-seater when it reached the front, and was faster than most Allied fighters. Initially armed with a single flexible gun for the observer, the second and subsequent production batches included a fixed, synchronized gun for the pilot as shown above. The speed of the C.II coupled with its effective armament made it the first German two-seater that was effective as a two-seat fighter. The relatively high-performance C.II proved a handful for many service pilots and its maneuverability and flying qualities were mediocre.The narrow gap between the wings resulted in airflow interference between them, reducing lift and increasing drag. The view upward was excellent but the view downward and forward was limited, a problem that contributed to numerous landing accidents. Lt. Seitz was the pilot of this C.II.
The mid-production Roland C.II carries the light, single-color scheme originally used in production.
The mid-production Roland C.II's shown carry the light, single-color scheme originally used in production.
This closeup of the mid-production C.II shown in full on page 17 shows the armament details. The observer's window has been modified to open by sliding it aft. Lt. Seitz was the pilot.
The aircrew of this mid-production C.II have retained their sense of humor at the front and decorated their aircraft to suit themselves.
Mid-production Roland C.II. The Roland C.II was by far the most famous and significant Roland design. Not only is it the only well-known Roland design, for a time it was the best German aircraft at the front. Its innovative streamlining immediately made other two-seaters obsolete and its patented fuselage structure was used by Pfalz (under license) for all new Pfalz aircraft designed from the time Pfalz built Roland fighters under license.
A Roland C.II of the third production version with standard tail and factory camouflage and markings for mid-production. July 1916.
Roland C.IIa(Li) fitted with bomb racks.
A mid-production C.II in the snow displays its dark camouflage. Unfortunately, the unit and crewmen are unknown.
Later production C.II with fixed gun for the pilot and bomb racks under the center section.
A camouflaged Roland C.II of Flieger-Abteilung 62 with tactical number '7' painted on its fin and a shark mouth.
An elephant and a “whale” appear together in this photo. Hagenbeck’s Tierpark (zoo) traveled the country visiting various aviation units and schools, including the Fliegerschule at Thorn where this photo was taken to commemorate a good will visit by the animals to the student pilots and observers stationed there.
A Roland C.II and a visiting elephant from Hagenbeck's Tierpark in Hamburg during a visit to the Flieger-Beobachterschule Thorn on 17 August 1917. Hagenbeck's Tierpark (Zoo) was world famous and would tour units for morale purposes with some of their animals.
Roland C.II with Lt. Boes in the observer's cockpit and Oblt. Dostler at right. Lt. Boes is complaining to the Waffenmeister Lademacher at left about gun stoppage problems.
This view of a Roland C.IIa(Li) shows the two-color Linke-Hoffman factory camouflage scheme applied to these aircraft.The light-colored rudder and fin are either white or light blue, a signature of C.II aircraft built by Linke-Hoffman.
This Roland C.IIa(Li) is ready for its next mission. The light-colored fin and rudder on a camouflaged aircraft indicates it was built by Linke-Hoffman, who built only the C.IIa version.
Roland C.II aircraft of Kampfstaffel 36 wear the unit's chevron marking over their factory camouflage.
Mid-production Roland C.II in flight.
A portrait of Flieger-Abteilung (Artillerie) 292 (Artillery cooperation aviation unit 292) with two Roland C.II aircraft in the lineup behind the aircrew. The aircraft on the left is an AEG C.IV, and in the center is an LVG C.IV. Like the Roland C.II, the AEG C.IV used the 160 hp Mercedes D.III.The LVG used the rare 220 hp Mercedes D.IV engine, an 8-cylinder engine created by adding two more cylinders to the 6-cylinder Mercedes D.III. Most German two-seater units were equipped with a variety of types optimized for the different roles they performed.
Roland C.IIa aircraft of a Kampfstaffel are lined up. The nearest aircraft has a shark mouth painted on it. The tactical numbers are painted on the vertical fins, and some aircraft have bomb racks. Aircraft "3" through "6" in the lineup have the large tail from the last C.II production batch built by Roland.
Roland C.IIa aircraft of a Kampfstaffel are lined up. The nearest aircraft has a shark mouth painted on it. The tactical numbers are painted on the vertical fins, and some aircraft have bomb racks. Aircraft "3" through "6" in the lineup have the large tail from the last C.II production batch built by Roland.
Large-tail Roland C.IIa 2701/16 of Feldflieger-Abteilung (A) 292b in the spring of 1917 at Houplin airfield in northern France. It has had the aft fuselage repaired; external stringers for additional strength have been added to the aft fuselage. The pilot is Lt. Otto Fuchs, who later became a fighter pilot and served with Jastas 30, 35b, and 77b. The observer is his brother Lt.d.R. Rudolf Fuchs, who later became a fighter pilot who served with Jastas 77b and 35b.
A large-tail Roland C.IIa of the last Roland production batch with tactical number '3'.
Roland C.IIa from the final Roland production batch with the large fin needed for greater stability. It is camouflaged and the pilot's machine gun has been raised well above the normal position.
A large-tail Roland C.IIa of the last Roland production batch.
A camouflaged Roland C.II in flight.
Transporting a Roland C.IIa to the front by truck from Charlottenburg on November 28, 1916.
A dismantled mid-production Roland C.II gets a ride to its next airfield.
A Roland C.II is dismantled for transportation. Moving aircraft by train was very common during WWI because it was more reliable than flying the airplanes to their destination.
Four mid-production C.II aircraft dismantled for transportation. The fixed machine gun for the pilot was fitted to all but the first production batch and required the rollover structure to be redesigned. The ear radiators, clearly visible here, detracted from the streamlined fuselage lines.
Roland D.I and late (large fin) C.IIa airframes being built on November 8, 1916 in the Kaiserdamm factory.
The final Roland production batch of large-tail C.II aircraft under construction at the Kaiserdamm factory.
Completed Roland C.II aircraft in front of the LFG factory ready for delivery.
The nose of the Roland C.II was very streamlined. Even the exhaust manifold was streamlined. Because the crewmen's heads extended above the wing, the pilot had a turn-over struture for protection.
The Roland C.II featured a simple, low-drag landing gear.
The simple wood frame of the Roland C.II was covered by a streamlined, two-part Wickelrumpf shell.
The streamlined interplane strut had internal 'X' bracing connecting the two spars in both wings.
A virtually unknown Roland private venture design of 1915 is this rotary-engine aircraft similar in concept to the C.II. No details are known, not even if it had one or two seats.
The Roland C.II flown by Otto Czernak was equipped with an interesting instrument in the cockpits that enabled the observer to send directions to the pilot. The pilot's receiver is shown behind the control wheel
The Roland C.II flown by Otto Czernak was equipped with an interesting instrument in the cockpits that enabled the observer to send directions to the pilot. Here is a closeup of the sender in the observer's cockpit. The German text and apparent meanings are: Pumpen - Pump (the elevators up and down?), text obscured by arrow, Feind - Enemy, Gleitflug - Glide or cruise slowly, Gut - Good (apparently sent when the pilot was following directions), Links - To the left, Hafen - Head for home, Rechts - To the right, Druckn - Dive.
Wireless installation in the front of the observer's cockpit of a Roland C.II.
Flairing for landing too high above ground was not the only way to have a landing accident; this Roland C.II ended its career landing in a canal.
Yet another Roland C.II pilot has misjudged his landing. This is graphic evidence of the absolute need for the rollover pylon to protect the crew in case of an accident, although one wonders if the observer survived.
Still more Roland C.II landing fun.
More Roland C.II landing fun, this time an aircraft of Schusta 6.
Although many WWI aircraft were destroyed in bad landings, the Roland C.II was notorious for being difficult to land due to the poor field of view forward and downward. This early-production C.II of FeldfliegerAbteilung 292b wrecked in a landing accident on April 22, 1916 shows its underside details. The two holes are for the camera and bombs. Although mechanical parts like the engine and machine guns could often be salvaged from a wreck, if the engine was running when the aircraft was wrecked, as evident here by the shattered propeller blades, the crankshaft was typically broken during impact.
Another view of the same Roland C.II landing accident.
An example of why transportation by train was often preferred; a Roland C.II of Bavarian Kampfstaffel 36 has come to grief in during landing. A shark mouth and eye have been painted on the nose and the wheel covers have been quartered, perhaps in Bavarian blue and white. The light interplane strut and lack of a distinct camouflage pattern indicate the dark camouflage may have been applied at the unit.
Roland C.IIa of Schutzstaffel 27 crashed May 27, 1917. This aircraft is from the final Roland production batch and finally has the large fin needed for greater stability, something the aircraft needed from the beginning. It is camouflaged and has a chevron in front of the fuselage cross; the numeral '1' is in front of the chevron.
A Roland C.II wrecked in a landing accident was hardly a rare event; however, this photo is included to show the interesting fish scales painted on the fuselage. The windows could be used as emergency exits when needed.
Closeup of yet another Roland C.II landing debacle showing the need for the rollover pylon.
Taxi accidents are more likely when aircraft have no brakes, and most WWI aircraft lacked brakes.
Roland C.II
Roland C.II
Roland C.II
Roland C.II
Roland G.I

  The Roland G.I was Roland's only G-type design; the 'G' designation, for Grossflugzeug (large aircraft), later became synonymous with twin-engine bombers. Despite the fact that all other G-types were twin-engine aircraft, the Roland G.I was a single-engine aircraft. The fuselage-mounted engine drove two pusher propellers via gears and shafts. The fact that there were only two crewmembers, with the gunner handling a single flexible machine gun in the nose, indicates that the G.I was originally conceived as a Kampfflugzeug (battle plane), or aerial cruiser, similar in concept to the AEG K.I. The AEG K.I was fitted with two 100 hp engines; the Roland G.I had more power from its single 245 hp Maybach Mb.IV engine. Despite its array of drag-producing mounting struts for the propellers, the G.I was said to be capable of 160 km/h, a good speed for a G-type at the time. The landing gear was neatly designed and featured twin nose wheels to prevent nosing over on landing.
  The Kampfflugzeug concept was a failure because the lumbering aircraft could not catch faster two-seaters, and these aircraft quickly found their true role as bombers. With its single engine centrally mounted at its center of gravity, the Roland G.I was not suited to all the modifications necessary to convert it into a bomber, including adding a third crewman aft as a rear gunner. As far as is known only a single G.I was built. A G.II design was ordered from Roland at the same time the G.I design was ordered, but the G.II was not built.

Roland G.I Specifications
Engine: 245 hp Maybach Mb.IV
Wing: Span 30.1 m
General: Length 15.9 m
Empty Weight 2,750 kg
Loaded Weight 4,300 kg
Maximum Speed: 160 km/h
View of the Roland G.I showing the two propellers supported by struts with the gunner demonstrating his flexible machine gun. The simple landing gear appears to be effective in reducing nose-overs.
The Roland G.I was the only Roland G-type design to be built. Roland built only single-engine aircraft; despite having two propellers, the G.I was powered by a single 245 hp Maybach Mb.IV engine located in the fuselage as indicated by the radiators mounted on the fuselage sides. The two propellers were driven by gears and shafts. The two crewmen are in their cockpits, with the gunner demonstrating his flexible machine gun. The Roland G.I was apparently designed for the Kampfflugzeug (battle plane), or aerial cruiser role, which quickly proved ineffective in combat.The claimed maximum speed of 160 km/h seems optimistic given the profusion of drag-producing struts supporting the propellers.
Roland C.III

  The Roland C.III was a development of the C.II with conventional two-bay interplane struts replacing the streamlined, single-bay I-struts of the C.II. While the I-struts aided streamlining, they also obscured the view to the sides and the conventional struts improved the view for the crew. The C.III also was fitted with the more powerful 200 hp Benz Bz.IV engine typically used in second-generation C-types like the DFW C.V, etc. The C.III remained a single prototype and was destroyed when LFG's Adlershof factory burned down on 6 September 1916.

Roland C.III Specifications
Engine: 200 hp Benz Bz.IV
Clearly derived from the C.II, the Roland C.III had larger wings with conventional two-bay interplane bracing. Intended for the more powerful 200 hp Benz Bz.IV engine, it appears like a 160 hp Mercedes D.III is installed here, perhaps for initial flight testing. Armament was the standard fixed Spandau for the pilot and flexible Parabellum for the observer. The sole prototype was destroyed when LFG's Adlershof factory burned.
Roland D.I

  In 1916 LFG initiated the design of a new fighter plane under the direction of Dipl.-Eng. Tantzen. The new fighter was derived from the earlier Roland C.II two-seater; it used the same 160 hp Mercedes D.III engine, the same Wickelrumpf "wrapped fuselage" construction, and similar aerodynamic and structural technology.
  Three prototypes were ordered in April 1916. In August 1916 Idflieg completed testing of the D.I and awarded LFG a contract for 60 fighters. At the same time Pfalz was awarded a contract to produce 20 Roland D.I fighters under license. These aircraft were initially known as the Pfalz D.I, but later, after Idflieg rationalized the aircraft designation system, these aircraft were known as the Roland D.I(Pfal).
  The Roland D.I had two synchronized LMG 08/15 machine guns buried in the nose. This gave excellent streamlining but made them nearly inaccessible to the pilot in case of a malfunction, common at the time. The D.I arrived at the front in October 1916, but a fire at the LFG factory in 6 September reduced production to a trickle at this important time.
  The Roland C.II was known as the Walfisch (Whale) and the smaller D.I was nicknamed Haifisch (Shark), but this was not an official name. Like the C.II, the D.I was strong and fast, but lacked the maneuverability needed for a first-rate fighter. In addition, the pilot's field of view forward and downward was compromised by the design, so few Roland D.I fighters were built.


Roland D.I Specifications
Engine: 160 hp Mercedes D.III
Wing: Span 8.90 m
Chord (upper) 1.45 m
Chord (lower) 1.45 m
General: Length 6.93 m
Maximum Speed: 180 kmh
Climb: 1000m 4 min
2000m 8 min
3000m 13.5 min
4000m 22 min
5000m 28 min


Roland D.I Production
Ordered Qty Serials Notes
April 1916 1 112/16 Prototype
Aug. 1916 60 830-889/16 1st production
Sept. 1916 20 1680-1699/16 Pfalz-built
Oct. 1916 40 Unknown See note
Note: May have been changed to D.II
Roland D.l of Jasta 5
The LFG Roland D.I prototype was the first Roland fighter design and direct ancestor for all early Roland fighters. Clearly derived from the Roland C.II, it used the same engine and technology that made the C.II so successful and shared the strengths and weaknesses of the C.II. The upper wing was built directly into the fuselage without benefit of cabane struts, limiting the pilot's view forward. This feature required two re-designs to provide adequate forward view. Unfortunately, the mediocre maneuverability and handling qualities the D.I inherited from the C.II were a more severe limitation for a single-seat fighter than a two-seater and were not overcome until Roland developed the Roland D.VI.
The LFG Roland D.I shown here was also built under license by Pfalz as the Pfalz D.I.
Prototype Roland D.I 112/16 at the factory. The photo has been re-touched to outline the shape of the vertical tail surfaces which did not contrast much with the sky. The upper wing was built directly into the fuselage without benefit of cabane struts, limiting the pilot's view forward and downward. Unlike the Roland C.II, I-type interplane struts were not used. It was the first of three prototypes ordered in April 1916, the other two were built as Roland D.II fighters.
This Roland-built D.I in typical factory sprayed camouflage has had an accident. The angular roll-over structure of the D.I resembled that used in later-production C.II aircraft and was not used in later Roland fighters.
Roland D.I and late (large fin) C.IIa airframes being built on November 8, 1916 in the Kaiserdamm factory.
Roland D.I
Roland D.I
Roland D.I
Roland D.II & D.IIa

  The Roland D.II was a development of the D.I designed to improve the pilot's field of view forward and downward. The upper wing was now mounted on a small pylon and the side-mounted 'ear' radiators of the D.I were replaced with an airfoil radiator mounted in the upper wing. Both changes improved the pilot's field of view forward and downward. Engine and armament remained the same as the D.I, a 160 hp Mercedes D.III engine and two synchronized LMG 08/15 machine guns buried in the nose.
  Despite these improvements, the maneuverability and flying characteristics of the D.II were no better than the D.I. The competing Albatros fighters were somewhat easier to fly and more maneuverable than the Rolands and were much more successful in combat.
  Regardless, LFG received a contract for 30 D.II fighters in October 1916. In November Pfalz was awarded a contract for 100 of these fighters as the Pfalz D.II, later re-designated Roland D.II(Pfal).
  When the somewhat more powerful 180 hp Argus As.III engine became available, it was used in the D.II to create the D.IIa. This had the additional benefit of freeing up more Mercedes engines for the production of Albatros fighters. The Roland D.IIa was ordered in greater quantity than the D.I; 40 were ordered in November 1916, 100 in January 1917, and a final 50 in March 1917.
  The D.IIa had an overall performance similar to the D.II with Mercedes engine, but the Argus engine experienced a significant power loss at higher altitudes, significantly reducing the rate of climb of the Roland D.IIa above 3,000 meters. This was a serious limitation of the D.IIa as a fighter and it was never as successful as the Albatros fighters.

Roland D.II/IIa Production
Ordered Qty Serials Notes
April 1916 2 113-114/16 Prototypes
Oct. 1916 30 2800-2829/16 D.II
Nov. 1916 40 3701-3740/16 D.IIa
Nov. 1916 60 2830-2929/16 D.II A D.IIa,
Nov. 1916 40 Pfalz-built
Jan. 1917 100 150-199/17, 450-499/17 D.IIa
Jan. 1917 100 300-399/17 D.IIa, Pfalz-built


Roland D.II Specifications
Engine: 160 hp Mercedes D.III
Wing: Span (upper) 8.90 m
Span (lower) 8.50 m
Chord (upper) 1.45 m
Chord (lower) 1.45 m
Gap 1.35 m
Area 22.78 m2
General: Length 6.93 m
Height 3.11 m
Empty Weight 635 kg
Loaded Weight 815 kg
Maximum Speed: 180 kmh
Climb: 1000m 3 min
2000m 6 min
3000m 10 min
4000m 15 min
5000m 23 min

Roland D.IIa Specifications
Engine: 180 hp Argus As.Ill
Wing: Span (upper) 8.90 m
Span (lower) 8.50 m
Chord (upper) 1.45 m
Chord (lower) 1.45 m
Gap 1.35 m
Area 22.78 m2
Maximum Speed: 180 kmh
Climb: 1000m 3 min
2000m 6.5 min
3000m 11 min
4000m 18 min
5000m 29 min
Roland D.II prototype
Roland D.II of Jasta 27
Roland D.ll, unit unknown
Roland D.II of Jasta 32.
Roland D.II on the Eastern Front.
Roland D.II Edith serving with Jasta 15
Roland D.II(Pfal), unit unknown.
Roland D.IIa of Jasta 25 in Macedonia. Most likely this was the aircraft flown by 19-victory ace Vzfw. Gerhard Fieseler.
Roland D.IIa of Jasta 27 flown by Unteroffizier Stein.
Roland D.II with the coat-of-arms of the city of Halle an der Saale
Roland D.IIa of Jasta 31 flown by Vzfw. Harling.
Roland D.IIa of Jasta 32 flown by Vzfw. Paul Raetsch.
Roland D.IIa serving on the Eastern Front, unit unknown
Roland D.IIa(Pfal) serving on the Eastern Front, unit unknown.
Roland D.IIa of the Jastaschule at Valenciennes.
Roland D.IIa of the Bulgarian Air Service.
Roland D.II prototype, powered by a 160 hp Mercedes D.III engine, October 22, 1916, in front of the LFG flight test hangar. An anemometer airspeed indicator is mounted on the upper left wing.
Roland D.II prototype in October 1916 flying over the Adlershof aerodrome in October 1916.
Fresh from the Pfalz factory, and immaculate D.II (Pfal) 2872/16 poses for the camera before the application of camouflage in March 1917. The gravity fuel tank in the left wing was used on late-production aircraft.
The port radiator section of this Roland has been removed for maintenance, clearly showing its normal location.
The Roland D.IIa had a slightly lengthened nose to accommodate its 180 hp Argus As.III engine. Just below the aileron control rod is the Roland logo.
Roland D.II of Kest 4b shares an airfield with a Fokker D.II in the background.
This Roland D.II(Pfal) has had some of its cowling panels removed for engine maintenance. An Albatros C.III is in the background.
A Roland-built Roland D.II runs up its engine in preparation for take off.
This Roland D.II fighter carried two broad white fuselage bands as identify markings.
Vzfw. Richard Scholz in his Roland D.II at Flieger-Abteilung 21 on the Eastern Front. The instrument mounted above the altimeter appears to be a clock.
Typical Eastern Front mixed unit with Roland D.IIs and an Albatros C.III.
This unit lineup features a Roland-built D.II in the foreground followed by Halberstadt and Fokker biplanes.
Roland D.II fighters in the field; two of them carry additional identity markings on their fuselages.
Roland D.II Edith and Albatros D.III fighters of Jasta 15.
Roland D.II fighters in wooden hangars with Flieger-Abteilung 15 on the Eastern Front. The men appear to be watching a flying display of some sort.
Roland D.II and a Fokker D.II share an airfield.
D.II fighters waiting for their next mission.
These Roland-built D.II fighters have been disassembled for transportation. They are in the gun pits having their guns sighted and tested.
Roland D.IIs on the Eastern Front; the aircraft in front was built by Pfalz, and that in the rear was built by Roland. The distinguishing feature is the thickness of the iron cross insignia; the Pfalz-built aircraft has insignia of normal proportions, while Roland painted thicker crosses on the aircraft it produced.
Prince Leopold of Bavaria (1848-1930) inspects a Roland D.II or D.IIa during flight operations at Brest Litovsk. By the time of these photos Leopold was the Supreme Commander of the German forces on the Eastern front (Oberbefehlshaber Ost). The thick cross insignia indicates the aircraft is Roland-built, and it has the letter "W" painted on the rear fuselage in two colors.
Pfalz-built Roland D.II on the Eastern Front. From building Roland fighters Pfalz learned the Wickelrumpf wrapped-plywood fuselage construction that was used in all subsequent original Pfalz fighter designs.The Roland D.II replaced the ear radiators of the D.I with airfoil radiators for lower drag, and mounted the upper wing on a pylon for better visibility.
French postcard of von Hausen's downed Roland D.II captured May 16, 1917.
This Roland D.II, possibly of Jasta 32, carries a personal marking of two white birds on each side of the fuselage.
This Roland D.II or D.IIa carries a checkerboard personal marking.
Roland D.II or D.IIa number 19 at Jastaschule I at Valenciennes.
Roland D.II or D.IIa ready for take-off.
This well-used Roland D.II(Pfal) appears to be at a fighter school.The numeral "8" appears below the cockpit and the lower left wing has been recovered in new fabric after a repair.
A Roland-built Roland D.II starts is take-off run.
Future ace Lt. Hans Pippart flying his Roland D.II(Pfal) while with Flieger-Abteilung 220 on the Eastern Front.
Roland D.II in flight. If the Roland D.II was not the superior fighter the Albatros was, it was a welcome replacement for the primitive Eindecker fighters on the Eastern Front. The Roland was faster, better armed, and stronger than the Fokker and Pfalz Eindeckers and was significantly superior to them. It was also stronger than the V-strutter Albatros fighters and was not subject to the lower-wing structural failures that plagued those fighters.
Production Roland D.II in flight.
Roland D.IIa(Pfal) 374/17 on the Koledziany airfield.
The Roland D.II used the 160 hp Mercedes D.III; the Roland D.IIa used the 180 hp Argus As.III.
Roland D.IIa(Pfal) 374/17 at Koledziany airfield on the Eastern Front, possibly as part of the equipment of the Jagdkommando of Fl.Abt.(A)220. In addition to the standard insignia, the lack of a tail skid fairing identifies this aircraft as Pfalz-built. The Roland D.IIa was used extensively on the Eastern Front, where the air combat environment was more permissive than on the Western Front and the D.IIa could make use of its strengths, good speed, strong armament, and a robust structure, against two-seaters while its weaknesses, poor maneuverability and handling and modest climb over 3,000 m due to its Argus engine, were not as important.
Roland D.IIa(Pfalz) 713/16 of Flieger-Abteilung 21, Eastern Front. Some Pfalz-built aircraft had a faired tail skid.
Roland D.IIa serving at the front.
Roland D.IIa of Vzfw. Paul Raetsch of Jasta 32 wears a macabre skull and bones on its spinner.
Roland-built D.IIa on the Eastern Front with a Pfalz-built D.II in the right background.
Roland D.IIa number 17 at Jastaschule I at Valenciennes. The number was painted yellow.
Roland D.IIa number 17 at Jastaschule I at Valenciennes. The number was painted yellow.
This Roland D.IIa interests the visiting officers.
Roland D.IIa "S" of Jasta 25 in Macedonia is inspected by a group of curious officers.
"Роланд" D.II, построенный на заводе LFG.
Roland D.IIa built by Roland wears the standard Roland factory finish devoid of serial numbers. However, data is stenciled below the cockpit. Above the rigging datum line is Leergewicht 600 kg (Empty weight 600 kg); below the datum line is Zul. Nutzlast bei vollem Tank 167 kg (Permissible useful load with full tank 167 kg).
At 44 years old, Lt. Friedrich N. Guttler was one of the oldest fighter pilots and was, of course, known as 'Papa' to the other pilots of his unit, Jasta Ober Ost on the Eastern Front. Here he is in the cockpit of his Roland-built D.IIa.
19-victory ace Vzfw. Gerhard Fieseler in the cockpit of his Roland D.IIa of Jasta 25 in Macedonia. A small windscreen is fitted on each side of the central pylon; the one at right has a small hole for aiming the guns. The bars in front of the windscreens mounted the rear gunsights. The large instrument is the altimeter.
Roland D.IIa "K"of Jasta 25 in Macedonia is ready for take-off.
The crest on the side of this Roland D.IIa is the Municipal Wappen (coat-of-arms) of the city of Halle an der Saale in southern Germany, in what is now Saxony-Anhalt. The stars and crescent moon were red on a white shield.
Roland D.IIa(Pfal) Silberfisch dismantled for transport.
Jasta 25's LFG Roland D II single seat fighters lined up on their Catnatlarzi base in Macedonia during 1917. First flown in October 1916, the twin 7.92mm Spandau armed D II was built in far greater quantities than either of the company's D I or D III designs. Like the D I, the D II used a 160hp Mercedes D III that gave a top level speed of 105mph at sea level. Entering service in early 1917, a total of around 300 D IIs are believed to have been built, both by LFG and Pfalz. The machine was not unconditionally loved by its pilots, who found it particularly sensitive, especially in the yawing plane. Incidentally, this image, showing as it does no less than ten D IIs, goes some way to refute the often made claim that no unit seems to have been exclusively D II-equipped. The individual letters were the first initials of the pilots' last names. All are Roland-built except the last in line appears to be built by Pfalz.
Roland D.IIa fighters of Jasta 25 lined up in Macedonia.
Roland D.IIa in the foreground and two Mercedes-engined Roland D.II fighters in th background. The two nearest fighters were built by Roland; the fighter in the background has no camouflage on its fuselage and may be Pfalz built.
Roland D.IIa fighters in the field in Bulgarian service. The aircraft served in typical factory camouflage and markings for German fighters. Fast and well-armed, the Roland D.II/IIa was able to intercept Allied two-seaters with some success but was significantly inferior to the best Allied fighters like the Spad 13 and SE.5a.
(КПР 75)
Pfalz-built Roland D.IIa (w/n 539) captured by the Russians after being shot down on Sept. 9, 1917 by Poruchik (Lieutenant) Alexander Sveshnikov of the Russian 7th Corps air detachment, 2nd fighting air group. The pilot escaped back to German lines. The broad white marking along the fuselage side is distinctive.
Roland D.IIa fighters in storage waiting distribution to front-line units.
Scenes of Roland D.II fighters at Brest-Litovsk on the Eastern Front. The German Army captured the city in 1915 and at the time of these photos it was a center for aircraft distribution and aviation training behind the front. At right is a hangar with Roland D.II / D.IIa fighters and Albatros C.III reconnaissance aircraft. Inset clearly shows "W" in two colors on a D.IIa.The air combat environment in the east was much more permissive than the Western Front, which had a much higher density of first-rate combat aircraft. This enabled the Germans to find useful service for mediocre aircraft like the Roland D.II and D.IIa.
The Mercedes D.III engine removed from a D.II reveals details of the Roland's structure.
Roland D.II in a structural test rig at the factory.
View from the cockpit of a D.II with engine removed shows details of the structure and guns.
There was at least one in every unit; Pinkert of Jasta 25 in Macedonia does a head-stand in his Roland D.IIa.
Roland D.II being recovered after a pilot's 'head-stand'.
The pilots field of view forward and downward from the Roland D.II was little better than that from the C.II with similar results; the landing flair could not be judged well and landing accidents were common.
Over-turned D.II with unusual half-circle marking.
Roland-built D.IIa after a landing accident shows its underside details. Although embarrassed, pilot Vzfw. Paul Raetsch of Jasta 32 fortunately appears unhurt.
Jasta 27 mishap; Unteroffizier Stein stalled and crashed from 30 m during takeoff. Despite breaking the tail off his sturdy Roland D.IIa, Stein was not injured in the crash.
Crashed Roland D.IIa of Jasta 25 in Macedonia; the abashed pilot is photographed with the evidence.
A Bulgarian Roland D.IIa after a landing accident is used as a background for a group photo.
This Roland D.II(Pfal) with "J" marking behind the insignia is in an embarrassing situation. One wonders how the pilot could find this building so precisely when it is surrounded by so much open terrain.
French postcard of the downed Roland D.II of Uffz. Tolischuss, Kest 3, made POW May 23, 1917.
Roland D.II
Roland D.II
Roland D.II
LFG Roland W1

  The L.F.G. W1 was basically an Albatros C.Ia, which L.F.G. built under license, fitted with floats. L.F.G. built seaplanes at its Bitterfeld plant and these did not carry the Roland trademark, but all L.F.G. aircraft are frequently called 'Rolands'. The engine was a 150 hp Benz Bz.III. Only a single aircraft, assigned Marine Number 509, was built.
L.F.G. W
The LFG Roland W1 was basically an Albatros C.Ia fitted with floats. Powered by a 150 hp Benz Bz.III, only a single aircraft, Marine Number 509, was built.
LFG Roland W16

  The Roland W16, Marine Number 943, was designed as a two-seat reconnaissance floatplane, category CFT with a flexible gun for the observer. It was powered by a 220 hp Mercedes D.IV engine. Ordered in June 1916, the only aircraft built was not accepted by the SVK.
The LFG Roland W16 photographed without floats in front of the LFG Bitterfeld seaplane production facility.
Roland C.V

  The Roland C.V was a compact, streamlined two-seater derived from the Roland D.II fighter. Like the D.II the C.V was a single-bay biplane that utilized Wickelrumpf technology for the fuselage structure. The C.V was powered by a 160 hp Mercedes D.III engine and had one fixed and one flexible machine gun. Apparently there was no significant advantage over the C.II and only one C.V was built.

Roland C.V Specifications
Engine: 160 hp Mercedes D.III


Roland C.VI & C.VII

  See the Roland C.IV for a brief discussion of the unknown Roland C-types. These were likely un-built Roland designs but may have been factory designations for C-types built under license.


Roland C.VIII

  The Roland C.VIII was a large, two-bay two-seater with conventional struts. Clearly derived from earlier Roland designs that utilized Wickelrumpf technology for the fuselage structure, it was a competitor for the Albatros C.X and was similarly powered by the 260 hp Mercedes D.IVa or Maybach Mb.IV. After evaluation of these types Roland was ordered to build the Albatros C.X, itself a mediocre aircraft, under license instead of its own C.VIII design. The C.VIII was the last original Roland two-seat design to be built; after the C.VIII Roland built other two-seat types under license.

Roland C.VIII Specifications
Engine: 260 hp Mercedes D.IVa or
245 hp Maybach Mb.IV
The Roland C.V was derived from the D.II fighter. It had the same 160 hp Mercedes D.III engine used in the D.II and larger wings with conventional single-bay interplane struts. Armament was the standard fixed Spandau for the pilot and flexible Parabellum for the observer. Only one Roland C.V was built.
The LFG Roland C.VIII was a bulky, ungainly design. It featured conventional two-bay wings with ailerons on all wings; the upper and lower ailerons were connected by an actuating strut. It was the last original C-type design built by Roland, who were directed to build the Albatros C.X under license instead of their own C.VIII.
Roland D.III

  The Roland D.II needed further improvement to the pilot's field of view, and the Roland D.III was developed from the D.II to finally solve the problem. The D.III received a robust but conventional-looking cabane structure giving the pilot better visibility forward. The wings were also staggered and the lower wing had reduced span and chord, further improving visibility downward. One D.III flight-tested a number of wings using different airfoils.
  Like the D.II/D.IIa, different D.III fighters used both the 180 hp Argus As.III engine and the 160 hp Mercedes D.III, apparently without a different designation to distinguish between them. All D.III fighters were armed with the standard German fighter armament of twin synchronized LMG 08/15 machine guns buried in the forward fuselage. In May 1917 the D.III passed its type test, but the first order had already been given to Roland in February.
  Apparently Pfalz built about 30 Roland D.III fighters, 1330-1359/17, under license although it is not known if all were completed. Then the contract was modified for Pfalz to build its own design, the Pfalz D.III, in place of the Roland D.III to finish out the contract using the remaining serial numbers.
  The Pfalz D.III fighter design was based on Roland's Wickelrumpf "wrapped fuselage" structural technology. The Pfalz D.III, powered by the same 160 hp Mercedes D.III engine, had better maneuverability and flying qualities than the Roland D.III. Furthermore, the poor altitude performance of the Argus engine used in many Roland D.III fighters also compromised their performance and only a limited number of Roland D.III fighters were built. In fact, in June 1917 Roland was given a contract to build Pfalz D.III fighters under license, but the contract was cancelled before any were produced.
Roland D.III Production
Order Qty Serials Notes
Feb. 1917 50 700-749/17 Roland order; Argus engine
May 1917 50 3000-3049/17 Roland order; Mercedes?
June 1917 100 1330-1429/17 Pfalz Order

The first production Roland D.IIIs did not become available until late September 1917, and by December 98 were on hand. The limited number of Roland D.1II fighters that reached the front went to the Eastern Front and Bulgaria, where the air combat environment was much less demanding than the Western Front. In Bulgaria the Roland D.III was viewed as ineffective against the British SE.5a and the Spad 13, but one did manage to down a BE.2.
Roland D.III Specifications
Engine: 160 hp Mercedes D.III or 180 hp Argus As.Ill
Wing: Span Upper 9.50 m
Span Lower 8.91 m
Chord Upper 1.58 m
Chord Lower 1.20 m
Gap 1.35 m
Area 19.83 m2
General: Length 6.93 m
Height 2.9 m
Empty Weight 717 kg
Loaded Weight 961 kg
Maximum Speed: 175 kmh
Climb: 1000m 2.5 min
2000m 6 min
3000m 10 min
4000m 15.5 min
5000m 24 min

Roland D.III first prototype.
Roland D.III 700/17, second prototype.
Roland D.III, unit unknown
Roland D.III, Bulgarian service.
The Roland D.III prototype used a conventional cabane structure to further improve the pilot's view forward. This photograph was taken October 26, 1916 at the factory.This first prototype D.III was essentially the same as the earlier D.II except for the center section. Unfortunately, the maneuverability and handling qualities were not improved and few Roland D.III fighters served operationally. Production D.III fighters had a reduced-chord lower wing and larger fin.
Front view of the first Roland D.III protoype powered by a 160 hp Mercedes D.III engine.
Rear view of the first Roland D.III protoype powered by a 160 hp Mercedes D.III engine.
The first Roland D.III protoype was powered by a 160 hp Mercedes D.III engine. The wings and tail were the same as the Roland D.II, but production D.III aircraft had a lower wing of reduced chord and a larger fin. Production D.IIIs were powered both by the 160 hp Mercedes D.III and by the 180 hp Argus As.III, apparently with the same type designation.
The second Roland D.III prototype 700/17 (work #2500) photographed on May 16,1917 shows important changes from the first prototype.The engine is now a 180 hp Argus As.III and the fin is larger for improved directional stability. The chord of the lower wing has been reduced to further improve the pilot's downward field of view, resulting in the lower wing spars being closer together as indicated by the fact the interplane struts now are closer at the bottom instead of being parallel.
The second Roland D.III prototype now carries an anemometer on the interplane strut to measure airspeed.
Manfred von Richthofen flew the second Roland D.III prototype 700/17 on May 16, 1917 at Adlershof. While his evaluation is unknown, it must not have been negative or it seems unlikely that more Roland D.III fighters would have been ordered. In June 1917 Pfalz received an order for 100 Roland D.III(Pfal) fighters.
The second Roland D.III prototype 700/17 (work #2500) photographed on May 16,1917 at Adlershof.
Roland D.III closeup showing the gun-sight and aileron actuating controls. The machine guns were internal.
A raised top wing and a conventional cabane distinguished the Roland D III from the earlier Roland fighter biplanes.
This Roland D.III powered by an Argus As.III engine was photographed on June 13, 1917 at Roland's Kaiserdamm facility. This aircraft was used to test different airfoils in an effort to improve flight performance. The D.III was the third configuration of the first Roland fighter generation, all part of a continued search for better visibility for the pilot. The D.I, D.II, and D.III all had a pair of synchronized machine guns mounted inside the fuselage for minimum drag, but these were difficult for the pilots to access in flight to clear jams, which occurred frequently. The fighters also shared the same structural technology and the 160 hp Mercedes D.III engine, although many D.II and D.III fighters used the 180 hp Argus As.III as the Mercedes was in great demand for many other aircraft types. Flight performance, maneuverability, and handling qualities for these very similar fighters were also nearly identical.
This Bulgarian Roland D.III has been extensively camouflaged to hide it from Allied aerial reconnaissance.
Roland D.III fighters on Levunovo airfield in 1918; the late-style insignia verify the date.
Bulgarian airmen in front of a Roland D.III of the Bulgarian air service. This aircraft has a 160 hp Mercedes D.III engine. At least six Roland D.III fighters were supplied to Bulgaria. Postwar one D.III, 3000/17, work number 2700, also powered by a Mercedes, was inspected by the British Armistice Commission.
Roland D.III fighter being assembled outside the LFG flight hangar at Adlershof.
Roland D.III fighters with their engines removed stored at Leignitz, today Legnica, Poland. Few Roland D.III fighters were built and fewer still saw combat; many, perhaps most, were sent directly to storage.
Roland D.III fighters with their engines removed stored at Leignitz, today Legnica, Poland. Few Roland D.III fighters were built and fewer still saw combat; many, perhaps most, were sent directly to storage.
The structure of the second version of the Roland D.III prototype photographed April 20, 1917, after Roland had a production contract, showing its massive, robust center section. Wickelrumpf fuselage construction gave great strength without requiring a heavy internal structure.
The structure of the second version of the Roland D.III prototype photographed April 20, 1917. The fin was larger than that of the D.II and first D.III prototype.
Pilot's view from the cockpit of a Roland D.III illustrates the very robust cabane struts. The small wheel likely adjusted airflow through the offset airfoil radiator, allowing the pilot to control engine temperature.
Bulgarian Roland D.III that has been crashed, probably the result of another landing accident.
Roland D.III
Roland D.III
LFG Roland D.IV / Dr.I

  Originally designated the D.IV, Roland's only triplane fighter was re-designated the Dr.I when Idflieg promulgated the 'Dr' class designation for Dreidecker (triplane). This was the first Roland fighter to use the Klinkerrumpf fuselage construction (clinker-built or lapstrake like a boat hull). Power was the 160 hp Mercedes D.III and armament was to be the standard two synchronized guns. The prototype crashed at the end of September 1917 and was rebuilt using a Roland D.VI fuselage, but further testing led to the design being abandoned.

  
Roland D.IV / Dr.I Specifications
Engine: 160 hp Mercedes D.III
Wing: Span 9.45 m
General: Length 7.32 m
Empty Weight 930 kg
Loaded Weight 1208 kg
Maximum Speed: 155 km/h
Service Ceiling: 6,000m
Roland D.IV/Dr.I prototype triplane fighter, initial version before crash and rebuilding.
Although a triplane, this Roland fighter was designated the D.IV, not the Dr.I. This was the first Roland fighter to use the Klinkerrumpf fuselage construction, which was similar to constructing a wooden boat hull with overlapping boards. (160 h.p. Mercedes engine.)
The Roland D.IV / Dr.I used Klinkerrumpf fuselage construction to save construction time.
The Roland D.IV/Dr.l rebuilt with a Roland D.VI prototype fuselage after its accident. The stubs for the lower wings from the biplane D.VI prototype are clearly visible.
Roland D.IV (Dr.I)
Roland D.IV (Dr.I)
Roland D.V

  Three prototypes of the Roland D.V fighter were built in late 1917 with the intention of eliminating the shortcomings of the Roland D.III. Structurally, it was the last Roland fighter to use the Wickelrumpf structural technology, and used the complete wing cellule of the D.III. Two synchronized IMG 08/15 machine guns were carried.
  One prototype retained the 180 hp Argus As.III, but the other two used the 160 hp Mercedes D.III engine. Limited by the D.III wing cellule, testing revealed little advance over D.III performance and development was abandoned in favor of the more advanced Roland D.VI design.

Roland D.V Specifications
Engine: 160 hp Mercedes D.III or 180 hp Argus As.III
The Roland D.V was the last Roland fighter to use the Wickelrumpf fuselage construction, it used the D.III wing with lowered front fuselage for improved pilot visibility and refined fuselage for improved performance. The improvement was not enough and the first generation of Roland fighters was finally abandoned.
Roland W

  The Roland W, Marine number 750, was developed from the operational Roland D.I fighter, itself derived from the successful Roland C.II. Compared to the D.I the W had enlarged wings to carry the additional weight of the floats and carried only one machine gun. The vertical tail surfaces were enlarged from the D.I to compensate for the side area of the floats forward of the center of gravity. Like the C.II and D.I, the W was powered by a 160 hp Mercedes D.III.
  The W was flown from the Roland seaplane factory at Stralsund to the SVK test center at Warnemunde on June 29, 1917 for evaluation. On August 15 the SVK reported that the flight characteristics and pilot's visibility were very bad, and the W was returned to Stralsund for modification. By September 15 it was back at the SVK. After re-testing in late September, the SVK reported that flight characteristics had not improved. The type was dismissed as a fighter and the two other prototypes ordered were cancelled and their Marine numbers (789 and 790) were re-assigned. The production orders for single-seat floatplane fighters went to the more docile and maneuverable Rumpler 6B1 along with the Albatros W4 and Brandenburg KDW. The sole Roland W was purchased as a trainer on November 1, 1917, and assigned to the naval Einsitzerschule (single-seat fighter school) at Hage, where it was found by the Allies in December 1918.

Roland W Specifications
Engine: 160 hp Mercedes D.III
Wing: Span Upper 10.10 m
Span Lower 9.70 m
Chord Upper 1.65 m
Chord Lower 1.65 m
Gap 1.50 m
Area 29.9 m2
General: Length 8.95 m
Height 3.20 m
Empty Weight 868 kg
Loaded Weight 1148 kg
Climb: 1000m 5.4 min
2000m 12.7 min
Roland W prototype, Marine Number 750.
Предпринималась попытка установить Роланд DI на поплавки, однако маломощный двигатель не позволил получить требуемые характеристики.
The Roland W photographed at the L.F.G. factory.
Except for its ear radiators, the Roland W was nicely streamlined. It used the Wickelrumpf technology of fuselage construction, narrow ribbons of wood wrapped around a mold and glued into a strong, light-weight shell that was streamlined and resistant to combat damage. Wickelrumpf was pioneered by L.F.G. and later used successfully by Pfalz.
The Roland W, Marine #750, was derived from the Roland C.II two-seat reconnaissance airplane. Only one prototype was built. It was powered by the same 160 hp Mercedes D.III engine used in their C.II.
Roland D.IX

  The appearance of more powerful rotary engine prototypes in early 1918 was the impetus for development of rotary-powered fighter prototypes using these engines. The Roland D.IX was powered by the 160 hp Siemens-Halske Sh.III counter-rotary engine and appeared at the First Fighter Competition along with similarly-powered fighter prototypes from Pfalz and SSW.
  The Roland D.IX demonstrated excellent performance at the First Fighter Competition but was destroyed in a freak accident. The pilot's seat collapsed in flight and the pilot inadvertently pulled the aircraft into a tight loop. The resulting high G forces drove the unfortunate pilot through the bottom of the fuselage and the aircraft broke up.
  Small numbers of the competing Pfalz D.VIII and SSW D.III fighters powered by the Siemens-Halske Sh.III were ordered, and the two additional Roland D.IX fighters being built were successfully load tested and competed at the Second Fighter Competition.

Roland D.IX Specifications
Engine: 160 hp Siemens-Halske Sh.III
Wing: Span 8.92 m
Area 18.48 m2
General: Length 5.90 m
Height 2.75 m
Empty Weight 534 kg
Loaded Weight 724 kg
Maximum Speed: 185 km/h
Climb: 5000m 16.4 min


Roland D.XIV

  The Roland D.XIV was ordered in April 1918 to evaluate the new Goebel Goe.III 11-cylinder rotary engine. Similar to the D.IX and armed with the standard two synchronized LMG 08/15 machine guns, the prototype D.XIV participated in the Second Fighter Competition in May 1918. Evaluation flights were limited by poor engine reliability and according to competition protocol the D.XIV was eliminated from consideration for production.

Roland D.XIV Specifications
Engine: 160 hp Goebel Goe.III
Roland D.IX 226/18 fighter prototype.
The Roland D.IX fighter prototype was powered by the 160 hp Siemens-Halske Sh.III counter-rotary. This first prototype, 225/18, with overhung ailerons is the aircraft that crashed at the First Fighter Competition.
The Roland D.IX 225/18 fighter prototype crashed at the First Fighter Competition.
The Roland D.IX fighter prototypes were subjected to the same control surface experiments as the Roland D.VI and D.VII to optimize maneuverability and flying qualities. D.IX 226/18 demonstrate one of different tail configurations.
L.F.G. Roland D IX (second version)
The revised Roland D.IX 3001/18 fighter prototype powered by the 160 hp Siemens-Halske Sh.III was entered in the Second Fighter Competition. Its vertical tail configuration was similar to some of the D.VI and D.VII tail configurations; not a surprise since all were designed at nearly the same time and with the same technology. The major differences between the types were the engines fitted. The D.VI used a production engine and went into production and operational service. Using experimental engines, the D.VII and D.VIII were unreliable and were abandoned. Although the D.IX used an engine just going into production, it had no advantages over the similarly-powered SSW D.III and Pfalz D.VIII, both of which were already in production, so the Roland D.IX program was also terminated.
The revised Roland D.IX 3001/18 fighter prototype powered by the 160 hp Siemens-Halske Sh.III was entered in the Second Fighter Competition.
The Roland D.IX fighter prototypes were subjected to the same control surface experiments as the Roland D.VI and D.VII to optimize maneuverability and flying qualities. What appears to be D.IX 3001/18 demonstrate one of different tail configurations. D.IX 3001/18 also evaluated a third tail configuration.
Basically similar to the D XIII, the D XIV was powered by the unsatisfactory Goebel rotary.
The Roland D.XIV 3003/18 fighter prototype powered by the 160 hp Goebel Goe.III was entered in the Second Fighter Competition. The D.XIV was very similar to the Roland D.IX powered by the production 160 hp Siemens-Halske Sh.III.
The Roland D.XIV 3003/18 fighter prototype powered by the 160 hp Goebel Goe.III was entered in the Second Fighter Competition. Problems with the experimental engine dogged the aircraft, limiting its flights and eliminating it from competition. The tight cowling with few inlet holes would seem to limit the flow of cooling air.
The crash of the Roland D.IX fighter prototype at the First Fighter Competition was the result of a freak accident.
Roland D.VIa & D.VIb

  The first of three prototypes of the Roland D.VI fighter was rolled out on 17 October 1917, the 1,000th aircraft built by LFG. The D.VI, which used the new Klinkerrumpf fuselage construction, was a completely new design. The first D.VI entered flight testing in November 1917 powered by a 160 hp Mercedes D.III. Because the Mercedes was in great demand, especially for fighters, at least two D.VI prototypes were powered by the 185 hp Benz Bz.IIIa. Two synchronized LMG 08/15 machine guns were carried.
  The D.VI participated in the First Fighter Competition in January 1918, and the D.VI passed its type test on 9 February 1918. Based on its promising performance in the fighter competition, a small production batch of 50 D.VI fighters was ordered. Subsequently, Idflieg placed orders for a total of 350 D.VIa and D.VIb fighters. Production was 150 D.VIa fighters powered by the 170 hp Mercedes D.IIIa engine, and 200 D.VIb fighters powered by the 185 hp Benz Bz.IIIa engine. Both variants reached combat units in May-June 1918.
  The Roland D.VIa was slightly faster and more maneuverable than the Albatros D.Va and Pfalz D.IIIa that it was intended to replace, and was structurally stronger than the Albatros V-strutters with single-spar lower wings. However, its climb rate was less and the Jasta pilots viewed it as a marginal improvement over the earlier types. The more powerful D.VIb, the only production aircraft powered by the 185 hp Benz Bz.IIIa, was faster and had better climb than the earlier Albatros and Pfalz fighters. A good fighter, the D.VIb was, like all other types, over-shadowed by the Fokker D.VII, and it was the last production Roland fighter. However, limited D.VIa/D.VIb production lasted until the war's end.


Roland D.VIa Specifications
Engine: 170 hp Mercedes D.IIIa
Wing: Span Upper 9.40 m
Span Lower 8.68 m
Chord Upper 1.40 m
Chord Lower 1.20 m
Gap 1.49 m
Area 21.7 m2
General: Length 6.40 m
Height 2.60 m
Empty Weight 655 kg
Loaded Weight 845 kg
Maximum Speed: 190 km/h
Climb: 1000m 2.5 min
2000m 6.0 min
3000m 11.0 min
4000m 18.0 min
5000m 25.0 min

Roland D.VIb Specifications
Engine: 185 hp Benz Bz.IIIa
Wing: Span Upper 9.40 m
Span Lower 8.68 m
Chord Upper 1.40 m
Chord Lower 1.20 m
Gap 1.49 m
Area 21.7 m2
General: Length 6.40 m
Height 2.60 m
Empty Weight 655 kg
Loaded Weight 845 kg
Maximum Speed: 200 km/h
Climb: 1000m 2.5 min
2000m 4.9 min
3000m 7.8 min
4000m 12.3 min
5000m 19.0 min


Ordered Qty Serials Notes
Feb. 1918 3 220-222/18 Prototypes
Feb. 1918 50 1200-1249/18 D.VIa
Apr. 1918 50 2212-2261/18 D.VIb
June 1918 50 3600-3649/18 D.VIa
June 1918 50 5000-5049/18 D.VIa
Aug. 1918 50 5600-5649/18 D.VIb
Sep. 1918 50 6100-6149/18 D.VIb
Sep. 1918 50 7500-7549/18 D.VIb
Roland D.VIa of Lt.d.R. Emil Koch, Staffelfuhrer of Jasta 32b. Koch was an ace who scored 7 victories.
Roland D.VIa of Jasta 32b.
Roland D.VIa 3612/18, Lt. Hans Jungwirth, Jasta 78b.
Roland D.VIa 1205/18 of Gefr. Jakob Tischner, Jasta 35b.
Roland D.VIa of Lt. Otto Kissenberth, Jasta 23b. Kissenberth scored 20 victories and was awarded the Pour le Merite.
Roland D.VIa of Jasta 32b.
Roland D.VIa, unit unknown
Roland D.VIb 6138/18, pilot and unit unknown
Roland D.VIb 7502/18 as painted by the US Army Air Service for camouflage experiments in 1921.
The US Army Air Service used the Roland D.VIb as one of a number of aircraft in day camouflage experiments in 1921.
The fuselage of Roland D.VIb 2225/18 in Poland
The only remaining aircraft of Roland design in the world is this D.VI fuselage in Poland.
The only remaining aircraft of Roland design in the world is this D.VI fuselage in Poland.
The Roland D.VI prototype was the 1,000th Roland-built aircraft. Powered by the proven 160 hp Mercedes D.III, it was the protoype for the D.VIa. Another D.VI powered by the 185 hp Benz Bz.IIIa was the prototype for the Roland D.VIb.
Another view of the first Roland D.VI prototype; it was completed the morning of 27 Oct. 1917.
The second Roland D.VI prototype featured a redesigned fin and rudder in a search for improved handling and maneuverability.
The second Roland D.VI prototype featured a redesigned fin and rudder with aerodynamic balance. The first three D.VI prototypes each had a different fin and rudder design in a search for better flying qualities.
L.F.G. Roland D VIa (prototype)
The second Roland D.VI prototype featured a redesigned fin and rudder; however, like the first prototype it was powered by a 160 hp Mercedes D.III engine.
The third D.VI prototype flew at the First Fighter Competition. This prototype has an under-fuselage fin. Powered by the 185 hp Benz Bz.IIIa engine, it was the prototype of the Roland D.VIb. In addition to the different tail designs, the different D.VI prototypes tried both aerodynamically balanced and unbalanced ailerons and elevators, all in pursuit of the best maneuverability and handling qualities. All production D.VI aircraft settled on aerodynamically-balanced ailerons and rudders.The Mercedes-powered D.VIa and some early-production D.VIb fighters had unbalanced elevators, but aerodynamically-balanced elevators were standardized for the D.VIb.
Roland D.VIb 6117/18, with a painted nose and spinner, was an aircraft of the sixth production batch. Here it is in Allied hands after the Armistice.
A dark-painted D.VIa of Jasta 32. The aircraft was painted at the unit.
Although the Roland D.VI did not win the First Fighter Competition, it made a good enough showing that a small quantity of 50 was ordered for operational evaluation at the front. This spectacular example was flown by Pour le Merite ace Otto Kissenberth with Jasta 23b. A strong and maneuverable fighter, the Roland D.VI, like all other fighters, was overshadowed by the Fokker D.VII and production was limited.
The spectacular Edelweiss marking on Pour le Merite ace Otto Kissenberth's Roland D.VIa of Jasta 23b
Roland D.VIa 1211/18 was the 12th aircraft in the first production batch. Despite being from the first 20 aircraft built, which are all thought to have the straight metal interplane struts, this aircraft now appears to have the all-wood interplane struts normally fitted to later-production aircraft.
A group of Americans poses with late-production Roland D.VIb 7504/18 at Koblenz in 1919.
Roland D.VIb 7504/18, from the same production batch as its sister 7502/18, is shown postwar at Koblenz. As originally built by Roland it has the same factory finish as other late-production D.VIb aircraft shared with the Roland-built Halberstadt CL.IV(Rol) restored by NASM.
Roland D.VIb 2216/18 undergoing evaluation at Adlershof in April-May 1918. This aircraft is from the second production batch, which was the first batch of D.VIb aircraft. According to official Idflieg drawings the D.VIb was supposed to receive an aerodynamically-balanced elevator, but this photo proves that was not fitted to all production D.VIb aircraft.
An American pilot taxis a Roland D.VIb, perhaps 7504/18, for takeoff at Romorantin postwar.
Roland D.VIa 1211/18 in service with Jasta 35b; the white chevron on the upper wing was part of the unit markings.
Aircrew of Jasta 35b gather for an informal portrait with a Roland D.VI. Rudolf Stark, sitting on the tail in his swim trunks, was the Jastafuhrer. The chevron on the top wing was part of the unit markings.
Roland D.VIa 1219/18 was the 20th production aircraft and reportedly served with Jasta 30.
Roland D.VIa 3612/18 was photographed at Koblenz postwar after it was delivered to the Americans. The aircraft was previously flown by Lt. Hans Jungwirth of Jasta 78b.
Roland D.VI at Armee Flug Park 17.
Roland D.VIb 6142/18 taxiing for takeoff at Romorantin postwar. This late-production aircraft was finished in the same colors that Roland used on their license-built Halberstadt CL.IV(Rol) aircraft.This is significant because one of these aircraft has been carefully restored and is now on display at the Udvar-Hazy facility of the National Air & Space Museum.
Roland D.VIa 5023/18, an aircraft from the 4th production batch, with Lottchen in the cockpit.
A Roland D.VI from Jasta 23b postwar with an American pilot in the foreground.
An unidentified D.VIa with a painted fuselage. A Fokker D.VII rests in the background.
Thanks to the relatively protracted development of the LFG Roland D VIb, only a small number of this 200hp Benz Bz IIIa powered single seater reached the Western Front prior to the Armistice. A handful also found their way to the Navy, where they were used to defend seaplane bases. Armed with twin 7.92mm Spandaus. the D VIb had a top level speed of 124mph at sea level, falling sharply to 113mph at 6,560 feet.
Roland D.VIb, probably 6142/18, being readied for a test flight at Romorantin postwar.
Roland D.VIa 5012/18, an aircraft from the 4th production batch, was sent to Japan as war reparations and was photographed upon arrival.
A Roland D.VIb, likely 6142/18, at Romorantin postwar.
This appears to be another photograph of Roland D.VIb 2216/18. The Roland D.VI had clean lines. The lower wing was attached to a pylon below the fuselage to provide sufficient wing gap to prevent airflow interference between the wings.
Americans starting Roland D.VIb 6142/18 at Romorantin postwar.
Roland D.VIb 6142/18 ready for flight at Romorantin postwar.
A Roland D.VIa of Jasta 35b with an Albatros D.V or D.Va on the right.
This Jasta 23b lineup is mostly Roland D.VIa fighters but includes at least two Pfalz D.IIIa fighters.
Roland D.VIa with its pilot in the cockpit ready for a mission. The four vents on the starboard nose were an indication of the Mercedes engine being used.
A spectacularly-painted Roland D.VIa of Jasta 32b; Uffz. Krautheim at left with Uffz. Marchner next; the other men are unknown.
Lt.d.R. Emil Koch of Jasta 32b ready to fly his Roland D.VIa. Koch was an ace who scored 7 victories.
Lt.d.R. Emil Koch of Jasta 32b with his colorful Roland D.VIa. Koch commanded Jasta 32b from July 23 to October 24,1918, when he was wounded while strafing advancing British troops.
Roland D.VIa 12xx/18. The fuselage insignia has been overpainted. The men and unit are unidentified.
Roland D.VIa 12xx/18. The fuselage insignia has been overpainted. The men and unit are unidentified.
Roland D.VIa 1223/18 served with Jasta 35b. Mostly in factory finish and markings, the chevron on top of the upper wing was part of the unit markings. Jasta 35b received its first five Roland D.VIa fighters from Armee-Flugpark 17 on May 7, 1918 and did not start receiving Fokker D.VII fighters until August 24, 1918. The Roland D.VIa was more maneuverable than the Albatros fighters the Jasta had used until then but otherwise offered little performance improvement. However, it was stronger than the Albatros and not subject to wing failure.
Roland D.VIb 6142/18 at Romorantin postwar. This aircraft was photographed a number of times.
A Roland D.VIb, likely 6142/18, at Romorantin postwar.
"Роланд" D.VI захваченный американцами и увезенный после войны в США.
A Roland D.VIa of Jasta 23b photographed postwar at Koblenz, where it was evaluated by Allied pilots. The white circle on the black fuselage band is thought to have been added after it was given to the US Air Service as part of the Armistice requirements.
The Mercedes-engined D VIa (on photo) was, in other respects, similar to the Benz-engined D VIb.
Roland D.VI at the firing range at Adlershof testing its machine gun synchronization and aiming.
Roland D.VIb 6138/18 was an aircraft of the sixth production batch. Here it is stored by Americans after the Armistice. These late-production aircraft were finished like the Halberstadt CL.IV(Rol) in the NASM.
Roland D.VIb 6142/18 disassembled and stored at Romorantin postwar.
Closeup of the data painted on the fuselage of Roland D.VIa 12xx/18.
Roland D.VIb 7502/18 from the final Roland D.VI production batch was brought to America after the war. Later it was used for a series of camouflage experiments by the U.S. Army as shown here.
A Roland D.VI in Ottawa; America was not the only recipient of war-booty Rolands postwar, nor the only country to fail to preserve one for future generations.
Roland D.VI in Czechoslovakian service postwar. Czechoslovakia was apparently the only other country other than the USA to use the Roland D.VI postwar. A small but unknown number were used.
Roland D.VIb 2253/18 was flown in 1919-1920 by Czechoslovakia.
Roland D.VI in Czechoslovakian service postwar. Roland D.VI with smooth, apparently monocoque fuselage; no details of this interesting modification are available.
The LFG Roland D VIb was one of the designs for the 1918 fighter competition. The Germans had realized that numerical superiority rested with the Allies and so instead concentrated on trying to achieve technical superiority. Only limited numbers of the Roland VIb were built and they were mainly used by the Navy for seaplane defence duties. The Roland D VIb fighter began to reach combat units at the Front in mid-1918.
D.VIb 2217/18 photographed on June 10,1918, was used for a series of tests to investigate an extremely flat wing profile. Interestingly, the new wings were supported by four I-struts.
Another photograph of D.VIb 2217/18 taken on June 10, 1918, during its use for a series of airfoil tests. (190 h.p. Benz engine.)
Disassembled and packed Roland D.VI fighters on the train on their way to the front.
Late-production Roland D.VI aircraft stored at Romorantin postwar. These aircraft were to be shipped to America, and some were. With all these pristine aircraft available, how is it that none were preserved in a museum?
Late-production Roland D.VI fighters in storage at Romorantin postwar.
Cockpit of a Roland D.VIa serving with Jasta 35b.
This closeup of a disassembled Roland D.VIb shows details of the cockpit, guns, and engine.
The first Roland D.VIa fighters arrived at Jasta 35b on May 14, 1918. This early-production D.VIa (identified by its straight metal interplane struts faired with wood) was damaged by Albatros D.Va 7186/17 (in the background) while being flown by Lt. Borner on June 1, 1918. The chevron on the top of the upper wing was a unit marking.
Roland D.VIb 6141/18 crashed by German pilot Lt. Hans Christian Donhauser of Jasta 17 on January 1, 1919 at Coblenz. He walked away, but was later killed in a crash during a test flight. Such accidents were regarded as normal at the time.
Crash of Czechoslovakian Roland D.VI number "2".
Roland D.VI rigging diagram.
Roland D.VI
Roland D.VI
Roland D.VI
Roland D.VII & D.VIII

  The Roland D.VII was developed in parallel with the D.VI; the key difference was the engine. The D.VII, which also used the Klinkerrumpf fuselage construction like the D.VI, was powered by an experimental 185 hp Benz Bz.IIIbo direct-drive V-8 engine. The D.VII had two synchronized LMG 08/15 machine guns and also participated in the First Fighter Competition.
  During flight testing the ailerons were revised and D.VI-type vertical tail surfaces were introduced. The D.VII had some good qualities, including excellent field of view for the pilot. The D.VII also participated in the Second Fighter Competition in May 1918, but the experimental engine was troublesome and not ready for production and D.VII development was finally abandoned.
  Developed in parallel with the Roland D.VII, the Roland D.VIII differed primarily by having a geared version of the Benz V-8, the experimental 185 hp Benz Bz.IIIbm, instead of the direct-drive version of the engine. The D.VIII was scheduled to participate in the Second Fighter Competition in May 1918. According to debriefing minutes of the contest "...due to the results obtained during the trials, the Roland D.VIII cannot be considered for series production." The reduction gears of the Benz Bz.IIIbm suffered severe vibration and recurrent failures, and further development was abandoned after the Second Fighter Competition. No additional data about the Roland D.VIII or illustrations are available.


Roland D.VII Specifications
Engine: 185 hp Benz Bz.IIIbo V-8
Wing: Span 8.84 m
Area 20.83 m2
General: Length 6.10 m
Height 2.80 m
Empty Weight 666 kg
Loaded Weight 858 kg
Maximum Speed: 190 km/h
Climb: 5000m 16.2 min
The Roland D.VII was very similar to the prototype D.VI except for using the experimental 185 hp Benz Bz.IIIbo direct-drive V-8 engine. The experimental engine was unreliable and not ready for production, dooming the D.VII.
The Roland D.VII prototype 224/18 was powered by the experimental Benz Bz.IIIbo ungeared V-8.
The Roland D.VII was very similar to the prototype D.VI except for using the experimental 185 hp Benz Bz.IIIbo direct-drive V-8 engine. The experimental engine was unreliable and not ready for production, dooming the D.VII.
Different tail surfaces were tried on the Roland D.VII prototype but the aircraft was doomed by its troublesome engine. Development of the similar Roland D.VIII, powered by the geared version of this engine, was likewise terminated due to engine problems.
The Roland D.VII prototype was abandoned due to its unreliable, experimental 185 hp Benz Bz.IIIbo direct-drive V-8 engine.
Roland D.XIII

  The next Roland fighter built was the D.XIII, the D.X through D.XII remaining unbuilt projects. Based on the D.VII and ordered in April 1918, the D.XIII, 3002/18, used the prototype 195 hp Korting Kg.III V-8 engine. Armed with the standard two synchronized LMG 08/15 machine guns, the D.XIII entered flight testing in May 1918. The experimental engine was not sufficiently developed and problems resulted in its removal from the D.XIII in July 1918 and it was returned to the factory for modification. The engine was not reinstalled because the D.XIII prototype was one of ten prototypes destroyed in a hangar fire on 25 July 1918.

Roland D.XIII Specifications
Engine: 195 hp Korting Kg.III V-8
Wing: Span 9.00m
Area 23.00 m2


Roland D.XV

  Three Roland D.XV prototypes were ordered in April 1918 with the intention of fitting each with a different engine for comparison. Armament was the standard two synchronized LMG 08/15 machine guns and the first two prototypes used the familiar Klinkerrumpf fuselage construction. The wing cellule had no bracing cables and featured more stagger than previous Roland designs.
  The first prototype was powered by the 170 hp Mercedes D.IIIa engine and was completed before the end of April. In May flight testing was interrupted to return the prototype to LFG for modifications. A second prototype, similarly powered, appeared in July 1918; the major changes were replacement of the paired interplane struts by single I-struts and introduction of overhanging ailerons. This second prototype was tested with both the 170 hp Mercedes D.IIIa and 185 hp BMW.IIIa engines. With both engines the D.XV was fast but had a mediocre climb rate.
  Based on the results of trials of the first two prototypes, Idflieg demanded further modifications in September 1918. Rather than make the modifications, LFG designed and built a completely new fighter that retained the D.XV designation.
  The next prototype D.XV, actually a totally new design, had a very strong similarity to the Fokker D.VII. Considering the success of the Fokker D.VII, this should not have been surprising. The new design, two of which were built, abandoned the Klinkerrumpf fuselage construction for a rectangular fuselage skinned with plywood. N-struts were used for interplane bracing. The first 'new' D.XV flew in late October with a 185 hp BMW.IIIa engine. The second example appeared soon after with a 200 hp Benz Bz.IIIa. Neither was in time to participate in the Third Fighter Competition, and the Armistice halted further development.

Roland D.XV Specifications (First Prototype)
Engine: 170 hp Mercedes D.IIIa
Wing: Span 8.64 m
Area 23.80 m2
General: Empty Weight 730 kg
Loaded Weight 910 kg
The Roland D.XIII fighter prototype was similar to the earlier D.VI, D.VII, and D.VIII prototypes, but used the experimental 195 hp Korting Kg.III V-8. Failure of this engine doomed the Roland D.XIII.
The Roland D.XIII fighter prototype was similar to the earlier D.VI, D.VII, and D.VIII prototypes, but used a different engine, the experimental 195 hp Korting Kg.III V-8.This engine failed to reach production, dooming the D.XIII.
The first Roland D.XV prototype, 3004/18, was powered by a production 170 hp Mercedes D.IIIa engine. It used the Klinkerrumpf fuselage construction, had parallel interplane struts, and was clearly related to the production D.VIa.
Additional view of the first Roland D.XV prototype, 3004/18, which was powered by a production 170 hp Mercedes D.IIIa engine. Its Klinkerrumpf fuselage construction and overall design was clearly similar to the Roland D.VIa already in production; the key difference is that the D.XV eliminated bracing wires and their associated drag.
L.F.G. Roland D XV (first version)
L.F.G. Roland D XV (first version)
The second Roland D.XV prototype, 3006/18, was the 2,000th aircraft built by Roland and was painted to celebrate this achievement. Appearing in June 1918, the second prototype had single-bay I-struts but was otherwise similar to the first prototype. It was tested with both a production 170 hp Mercedes D.IIIa engine and a 185 hp BMW.IIIa. It was fairly fast but had insufficient climb rate, and as a result, in September 1918 Idflieg demanded still further modifications to the prototypes.
Another view of the second Roland D.XV prototype, 3006/18. Tested with both a 170 hp Mercedes D.IIIa engine and a 185 hp BMW.IIIa engine, it was fairly fast but its climb rate was not sufficient. The distinctive radiator design and location differ from previous Roland practice.
Retaining the D XV designation, a wholly new design was produced late in 1918.
The third Roland D.XV prototype was a completely new design that abandoned Roland's Klinkerrumpf fuselage construction in favor of a plywood fuselage. It retained the distinctive radiator design and location introduced on the previous Roland D.XV prototypes; other than the radiator it closely resembled the reigning Fokker D.VII.
The completely new third Roland D.XV prototype closely resembled the dominant Fokker D.VII, which was certainly not a coincidence. The fact that Roland ignored Idflieg demands to continue modifications to the first two D.XV prototypes may have been due to Roland's realization that neither prototype could compete with the Fokker D.VII regardless of modifications. Two new 'D.XV' aircraft were built, the first was rolled out in late October and was powered by a 185 hp BMW.IIIa.The second was completed soon after and was powered by a 200 hp Benz Bz.IIIa. Neither prototype was in time for the Third Fighter Competition and the Armistice halted further development.
L.F.G. Roland D XV (fourth version)
Roland D.XV/3
Roland D.XV/3
Roland D.XVI

  Two Roland D.XVI prototypes were completed in September-October 1918. A parasol monoplane originally designated E.I before Idflieg stopped using the 'E' category for monoplane fighters, armament was the standard two synchronized LMG 08/15 machine guns. One prototype D.XVI was powered by an experimental 160 hp Goebel Goe.III rotary and the other was powered by a production 160 hp Siemens-Halske Sh.III.
  The D.XVI had a fully-cantilevered, fabric-covered wing and a plywood fuselage. Although the Third Fighter Competition in October 1918 was officially restricted to fighters powered by the water-cooled 185 hp BMW.IIIa, other fighters were allowed on the basis that they were "interesting types" and the D.XVI was one of these. The D.XVI was faster than the SSW D.IV and Fokker D.VII up to 4,000 meters, but was slower above that altitude.

Roland D.XVI Specifications
Engine: 160 hp Siemens-Halske Sh.III or
160 hp Goebel Goe.III
Wing: Span 9.46 m
General: Length 5.90 m
Roland D.XVI prototype powered by the 160 hp Siemens-Halske Sh.III
Roland D.XVI prototype powered by the 160 hp Sh.III engine, which was in production. Undoubtedly inspired by the production Fokker E.V/D.VIII parasol monoplane, the Roland D.XVI did not surpass it.
Little in the way of hard fact appears to have survived concerning the pair of parasol-winged LFG Roland D XVIs of mid-1918, other than that they were powered by the 160hp Siemens-Halske Sh III or 170hp Goebels rotaries. Both were entered for the third of the 1918 fighter trials, held in October. This is the first example, the second machine having a taller fin and rudder.
The Roland D.XVI powered by the 160 hp Sh.III rotary
The Roland D.XVI powered by the 160 hp Sh.III rotary competed at the Third Fighter Competition as "an interesting type" despite not using the specified 185 hp BMW.IIIa engine. During most of 1917 Idflieg encouraged designers to try triplanes, but during 1918 monoplanes became increasingly popular for fighter designs due to their greater speed, and the last two Roland fighter designs to be built were monoplanes.
L.F.G. Roland D XVI (second version) powered by the experimental 160 hp Goebel Goe.III 11-cylinder rotary engine.
L.F.G. Roland D XVI (second version) powered by the experimental 160 hp Goebel Goe.III 11-cylinder rotary engine.
Roland D.XVI powered by a 160 hp Siemens-Halske Sh.III
Roland D.XVI powered by a 160 hp Goebel Goe.III
Roland D.XVI
Roland D.XVII

  The Roland D.XVII parasol monoplane was the last fighter built by LFG. Powered by a 185 hp BMW.IIIa, the D.XVII was rolled out on 18 October 1918, in time for the Third Fighter Competition. Armament was the standard two synchronized LMG 08/15 machine guns. During the competition the D.XVII was markedly inferior to the Fokker V29 prototype that used the same engine. During turns the wings of the D.XVII vibrated excessively and landings were difficult because of a tendency to stall abruptly during the landing approach if airspeed was not maintained. The Fokker V29 parasol monoplane and Rumpler D.I biplane were declared joint winners of the Third Fighter Competition.

Roland D.XVII Specifications
Engine: 185 hp BMW.IIIa
The Roland D.XVII fighter powered by the 185 hp BMW.IIIa competed at the Third Fighter Competition.
During the Third Fighter Competition the Roland D.XVII fighter competed against the Fokker V29 parasol monoplane derivative of the Fokker D.VII; both fighters were powered by the 185 hp BMW.IIIa.The Fokker V29 was a superior fighter and was co-winner of the competition with the Rumpler D.I biplane. The Fokker V29 wing design was superior structurally and aerodynamically to the Roland wing and gave better flying qualities with greater strength. Moreover, by late 1918 the competitive situation between German fighter manufacturers was much more difficult than just Fokker's excellent designs. Little-known companies like Kondor designed a new, excellent parasol monoplane, their E.III & E.IIIa, with strong wings and good flying qualities. SSW and relative newcomer Daimler also delivered new parasol monoplane fighters of exceptional performance, with Daimler's V-8 finally reaching production and powering its entry. Aviatik, from whom little had been heard for a long time, had started production with its D.VII biplane powered by the Benz V-8 that also finally achieved production after prolonged development. Rumpler's D.I biplane was in low-rate production as were the all-metal Junkers D.I monoplane and the all-metal, stressed-skin Zeppelin D.I biplane, which had the most advanced structure of any WWI aircraft. And the Pfalz D.XV biplane, considered equal to the famous Fokker D.VII, had reached production and the first aircraft were already arriving at the Armee Flug Parks at the Armistice.This flood of excellent new fighters simply overwhelmed the less creative designers at Albatros and Roland, who were frankly unable to compete despite their intense focus on new fighter development.
L.F.G. Projects

  It is always interesting to explore a company's unbuilt projects; the 'what-if' has a fascination all its own. In that spirit, these drawings of L.F.G. designs are presented both as a curiosity and for insight into company thinking.
  Both the L.F.G. MD14 and the very similar MD15 appear quite similar to the successful L.V.G. C.V general-purpose two-seater. L.V.G. followed their C.V with the similar but more compact C.VI that offered improved performance and maneuverability. The C.VI dispensed with the propeller spinner of the C.V that is part of the MD14 and MD15 designs. The L.V.G. C.VIII two-seater was in development at the end of hostilities to replace the C.VI in production and featured a frontal radiator similar to those used in the Fokker D.VII and Pfalz D.XII. Apparently L.F.G. management realized the MD14/15 designs could contribute little and they were not built.
<...>
The L.F.G. MD14 appears very similar to the L.V.G. C.V.
Like the L.F.G. MD 14, the following L.F.G. MD15 appears very similar to the L.V.G. C.V.
The L.F.G. ME8 was clearly inspired by the Brandenburg W29 and W33.
L.EG. Roland V.19 Putbus

  Despite the fact the V.19 never flew operationally, and in fact may never have flown at all, it is interesting both for its intended mission and its technology. As the German Navy gained experience with submarine warfare, the limited range of visibility from a surfaced submarine, typically only about 8 miles (13 km), was noted as a significant tactical limitation. On the other hand, the German surface raider SMS Wolf made a highly successful voyage during which her embarked Friedrichshafen FF33E, Marine Number 841 and nicknamed Wolfchen (Wolf Cub), was very helpful in finding prey. Based on this experience and the need for submarines to detect targets at longer range, the German Navy formulated a requirement for a small spotter aircraft to be carried by a submarine.
  The aircraft had to be collapsible to fit in the confined space available on a submarine. It had to be simple enough that untrained men could assemble and disassemble and store it with the minimum of tools. In fact, the requirement allowed only a mallet. The assembly must be foolproof enough that the structure was sound and proper connection of the controls was assured. The role of the aircraft was simply spotting targets, not bombing or strafing, and no air to air combat was envisioned. As a result, and to minimize the size, the aircraft was unarmed and had a single crewman. The Navy suggested an 80 hp rotary engine, eliminating the weight and maintenance problems of a radiator, and required an endurance of two hours so it could patrol effectively out to 120 km from the submarine.
  Brandenburg was first to develop such an aircraft, the W20 biplane flying boat of conventional wood and fabric construction. Three prototypes were built and flown before the end of the war, but none were used operationally. Furthermore, their wood and fabric construction was very vulnerable to the elements at sea as Wolfchen had discovered.
  The rapid deterioration of Wolfchen during her cruise on Wolf and the intense maintenance required to keep her airworthy, which was not practical aboard a submarine, led the Navy to suggest Dural construction with steel fittings, and L.F.G. therefore chose these materials for their submarine-borne aircraft.
  Apparently the V.19 was ordered in July 1918 and construction was completed about the time the war ended; the actual date is unknown. Design and construction were done at L.F.G.'s Abteilung Seeflugzeugbau at Stralsund. The V19 was designed by Gotthard Baatz, who listed the requirements as: 1) quick and easy assembly and disassembly, 2) resistance to seawater, heat, and corrosion, 3) robust construction, 4) assembly and disassembly by a crew of about five men, and 5) seaworthiness in moderate sea states with short takeoff and landing.
  All-metal Dural construction was required to meet these requirements, and that was the most technically advanced aspect of the V.19. Its robust, monoplane configuration with thick airfoil was also advanced for its time, when wooden wings using thin airfoils were the norm. The engine is thought to have been a 110 hp Oberursel Ur.II rotary, although other alternatives were mentioned postwar. The fuselage was circular in cross section, and the fuel and oil tanks were located between fire-resistant metal bulkheads aft of the engine. The only part of the V.19 that was wood was its propeller. The wing bracing was clearly inspired by Brandenburg designs, and the aileron controls were automatically connected to the control column when the wings were attached. A strong point on the center of gravity enabled the airplane to be launched and recovered by hoist.
  The detachable wings could be folded in three panels spanwise for storage. The entire aircraft was designed to be stored in five waterproof cylinders 70 cm in diameter. Cylinders 1 and 2 were each 4 meters long and each stored a float and long float struts. The fuselage, control runs, and short float struts were stored in Cylinder 5, also 4 m. long. Cylinder 3, 4.5 m long, stored one wing (folded into thirds spanwise) the tailplane, fin, cockpit, and windshield. Cylinder 4, also 4.5 m long, stored the other wing, the rudder, propeller, and elevator. A spare propeller was planned to accompany each airplane.
  There is no record of the V.19 being delivered for trails at the SVK (Seeflugzeuge-Versuchs Kommando - Seaplane Testing Command) at Warnemunde or of any Marine Number being assigned. Late completion may be the cause. Postwar the aircraft was named 'Putbus' after the town near Stralsund where it was built.
  Baatz claimed the V19 could be unpacked and assembled in 30 minutes and dismantled and packed in 15 minutes, which may have been optimistic in any but the calmest sea state, and would have left th? submarine vulnerable during this time. The engine was to be started before the aircraft was hoisted into the water. The aircraft was too small to carry wireless of the time, and had no navigational aids. The pilot would have had to fly his mission unassisted and return to find the submarine purely by dead reckoning, perhaps the most perilous aspect of the entire concept.

Roland V.19 'Putbus' Specifications
Engine: 110 hp Oberursel Ur.II
Wing: Span 9.56 m
General: Length 6.60 m
Height 2.80 m
Float Track 2.72 m
Empty Weight 480 kg
Loaded Weight 690 kg
Maximum Speed: 170 km/h
Range: 360 km
The LFG V.19 was an all-metal seaplane intended for use from submarines and small surface craft. As a result it was designed to be stored dismantled in five waterproof cylinders and assembled after the submarine surfaced.
The all-metal LFG V.19 seaplane was a remarkable achievement for a company with no previous experience with all-metal aircraft. Not only was the airframe all metal, it was successfully designed to be stored dismantled and quickly assembled at sea for reconniassance flights from submarines.
A portrait of Flieger-Abteilung (Artillerie) 292 (Artillery cooperation aviation unit 292) with two Roland C.II aircraft in the lineup behind the aircrew. The aircraft on the left is an AEG C.IV, and in the center is an LVG C.IV. Like the Roland C.II, the AEG C.IV used the 160 hp Mercedes D.III.The LVG used the rare 220 hp Mercedes D.IV engine, an 8-cylinder engine created by adding two more cylinders to the 6-cylinder Mercedes D.III. Most German two-seater units were equipped with a variety of types optimized for the different roles they performed.
Captured Pfalz D.III 4184/17 stripped bare for inspection. The light fuselage framework supported an outer plywood shell, created by the Wickelrumpf technique.
This Jasta 23b lineup is mostly Roland D.VIa fighters but includes at least two Pfalz D.IIIa fighters.
Building a Pfalz fuselage; minimum framing was needed for the Wickelrumpf fuselage shell.