Книги

Centennial Perspective
J.Herris, J.Leckscheid
Fokker Aircraft of WWI. Vol.5: 1918 Designs Part 2: D.VII & E.V/D.VIII
398

J.Herris, J.Leckscheid - Fokker Aircraft of WWI. Vol.5: 1918 Designs Part 2: D.VII & E.V/D.VIII /Centennial Perspective/ (55)

Jagdstaffel 18 arranged their aircraft in tails-up position in front of their hangars at Montingen for a visit by KoGenLuft General Ernst von Hoeppner. Besides this, all props were arranged vertically in order to appear as immaculate as possible. The picture was snapped at the moment when Jasta commander August Raben greets von Hoeppner, with the pilots standing in line to be addressed by their commanding General. In the far distance at right, a captured D.H.4 is parked in front of a tent. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Six early-production Albatros-built D.VIIs head this small lineup of Jasta 40 at their airfield near Lomme in the early summer of 1918. Closest to the camera is the personal aircraft of the Staffelfuhrer, Lt. Carl Degelow. Besides his "white stag" fuselage marking, an oblique white bar has been painted on the center section of the top wing to denote his position as unit commander. Second in line is the heart-marked aircraft of Lt. Rosenstein, carrying a lengthwise white stripe on the upper wing, indicating his status as deputy leader. This was an earlier aircraft than the one seen in side view a few pages earlier. A Pfalz D.IIIa and an Albatros D.Va are obliged to hide at the end of the lineup. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Out with the old - in with the new! In May 1918 Jagdstaffel 27 took delivery of their first examples of the new Fokker D.VII. These would soon replace the old Fokker Triplanes, three of which are also seen in this view, as well as the Albatros D.Va also seen in the photo.
A mixed lineup of Jagdstaffel 45 aircraft, most likely photographed at the units airfield north-east of Arcy-Sainte-Restitue during the second half of June 1918. Closest to the camera are six newly-arrived Fokker D.7. (O.A.W.) fighters, seen behind them are the five remaining Albatros D.Va fighters. The photo documents that that Jagdstaffel 45 was initially only half-equipped with the new Fokker fighter.
Fokker D.VII - Fokker's Triumph

  Fokker had struggled since the eclipse of his Eindeckers, and his famous Triplane was only a partial success. Limited to the same engines and weapons his competitors used, Fokker needed a significant breakthrough to build a dramatically better airplane, and he finally achieved it in the Fokker D.VII with its wing of innovative structural and aerodynamic design.
  Although sharing its engine and armament with the Albatros, Pfalz, and other German designs, the Fokker D.VII introduced important structural and aerodynamic innovations that greatly improved its effectiveness. By far the most important was its thick wooden wing built around a box spar. The thick wing, with its rounded leading edge, offered high lift and exceptional stalling characteristics, making the D.VII maneuverable and easy to fly and enabling it to ‘hang on its prop’ without stalling. These exceptional handling qualities made good pilots out of average ones and made aces out of good pilots. Other designers used thin airfoils because they had somewhat less drag than the thick Fokker wing. However, the strong Fokker wing eliminated the need for the extensive system of bracing wires that thin airfoils required. The combined drag of thin airfoils with their bracing wires was significantly more than the drag of the thick Fokker wing which needed no external bracing wires, and this was the secret to the Fokker’s improved speed and climb with the same power.
  Due to relatively stagnant engine development, upon its introduction to service the Fokker D.VII was powered by the same basic Mercedes engine used in the Albatros scouts in August 1916! It was not until the new BMW engine finally arrived in June/July that the Fokker D.VII fulfilled its full potential and became the premier fighter of the war. The BMW engine was similar to the familiar 160 hp Mercedes D.III engine but developed its 185 hp at 2,000 meters altitude because it was over-compressed. That meant it could not be run at full throttle until reaching the thinner air at 2,000 meters without detonation and engine damage. This design gave it more power at high altitude for increased speed and exceptional climb.
  Mercedes countered with the over-compressed 180/200 hp D.IIIau and finally the 200/220 hp D.IIIavu, the latter having greater bore. The Mercedes 180/200 hp D.IIIau was installed in most D.VIIs, and the 200/220 hp D.IIIavu was installed in a few late examples. The D.IIIavu gave performance equivalent to the BMW.
  Although the BMW-powered Fokker D.VII became a legend in its own time, there were never enough of them to win the air war for Germany. Only about 1/6 of D.VIIs at the Front were powered by the BMW engine.
  Two items were key to Fokker fighter evolution, the engine and the wing design. The above table shows the differences in specifications between types. The D.II(MAG) was a reinforced development of the Fokker D.IV that differed mainly in its use of the more powerful 185 hp Daimler, which gave the aircraft more speed and better climb rate than the D.IV. Unsurprisingly, the Fokker D.VII powered by the 185 hp BMW had better speed and much better climb than the D.VII powered by the 170 hp Mercedes. The D.VII was much stronger than the D.IV.
  All the types were similar in their use of steel-tube fuselage and tail structure, 6-cylinder water-cooled engines, and two machine guns. The D.VII’s use of a nose radiator reduced cooling drag compared to the bulky side radiators of the D.IV and D.II(MAG), an incremental improvement of the design.
  However, the key difference was the wing design.The thick airfoil, cantilever wing of the D.VII was a fundamental advantage in several respects. For one, although it was similar in weight to the thin wing, it was significantly stronger, which made the D.VII much safer and more robust than the earlier D.IV, which was relegated to training due to fragility. In addition, the cantilever wing allowed elimination of most of the drag-producing bracing wires, contributing to the better speed and climb enjoyed by the D.VII. Finally, the rounded wing leading edge gave the D.VII much better stall characteristics.
  The excellent stall characteristics of the D.VII wing gave it important advantages that may not be obvious to readers who are not pilots. First, the air flow separation from the thick, rounded wing is gradual as the angle of attack increases; the resulting turbulence gives the pilot advance warning of the approaching stall. This enables the pilot to either avoid the stall by reducing the angle of attack, or to knowingly enter the stall if that gave a tactical advantage. Also, the wing can fly at higher angles of attack, giving greater lift and another tactical advantage. The behavior during the stall was also more benign and stall recovery was straightforward.
  In comparison, the thin wing with sharper leading edge used by the D.IV and all competing Allied fighters stalled abruptly with little warning for the pilot, and aircraft behavior during the stall was generally dramatic compared to the gentle behavior of the D.VII. For all but expert pilots, the result was that pilots avoided approaching the stall and were not able to fly their aircraft to their limits to get the most performance and maneuverability out of them. This explains the saying that the D.VII made good pilots out of average pilots; they were able to fly the D.VII to its limits and their opponents generally were not. After being re-equipped with the D.VII, German pilots doubled their rate of scoring victories. In January 1917 Fokker received an order for 200 AEG C.IV (240-439/17) two-seaters for use as trainers. This occurred because Fokker had no original designs suitable for production and Idflieg wanted to utilize Fokker’s unused production capacity. In July 1917 Fokker received a second order for 200 AEG C.IV (6500-6699/17) two-seaters.
  Upon the D.VII winning the First Fighter Competition, Fokker needed that production capacity. He asked for cancellation of the AEG C.IV contract for the remaining part of the C.IV contract and Idflieg agreed. The contract for AEG C.IVs 6600-6699/17 were cancelled and the work numbers were not reused.
  Production of the BMW IIIa engine was only sufficient to power about 1/3 of Fokker-built D.VII fighters; the others had to rely on the Mercedes D.IIIa. Far fewer BMW engines went to Albatros and OAW, so perhaps 1/6 of all D.VIIs at the front had the BMW. In July 1918 the new 185 hp Mana Ill was installed in D.VII 4292/18, and post-armistice in 10347/18 and 10348/18. The Mercedes 180/200 hp D.IIIau was installed in most D.VIIs, and the 200/220 hp D.IIIavu was installed in a few late examples.


Fokker D.VII Specifications
Engine: 185 hp BMW IIIa
Wing: Span 8.90 m
Area 20.2 m2
General: Length 6.954 m
Height 2.945 m
Empty Weight 688 kg
Loaded Weight 906 kg
Maximum Speed: 200 km/h
Climb: 1000m 1.8 min
2000m 4.0 min
3000m 7.0 min
4000m 10.2 min
5000m 14.0 min
6000m 18.7 min


Fokker Fighter Evolution
Fokker Type D.IV D.II(MAG) D.VII D.VII
Engine 160 hp Mercedes D.III 185 hp Daimler(MAG) 170 hp Mercedes D.IIIa 185 hp BMW IIIa
Wing Span, m 9.7 10.2/9.70 8.90 8.90
Wing Chord, m 1.25 1.23 1.60/1.20 1.60/1.20
Wing Gap, m 1.32 1.30 — —
Wing Area, m2 22.5 21.4 20.2 20.2
Length, m 6.3 6.70 6.954 6.954
Height, m 2.45 2.55 2.945 2.945
Empty Weight, kg 606 645 654 688
Loaded Weight, kg 841 865 844 906
Max Speed, km/h 160 175 190 200
Climb to: 1,000 m 3 3.1 3.0 1.8
2,000 m — — 6.5 4.0
3,000 m 12 11.0 11.0 7.0
4,000 m 30 — 17.3 10.2
5,000 m — 34.9 22.5 14.0
6,000 m — — — 18.7
Note: Climb times in minutes.


Fokker D.VII Production Orders
Date Quantity Ordered
   Fokker Albatros & OAW
Feb. 1918 300 400
March 1918 — 200
June 1918 100 200
July 1918 200 300
Aug.1918 - 300
Aug. 1918 - 300
Sept. 1918 200 -
Oct. 1918 200 300
Nov. 1918 - 200
Total 1,000 2,200
Note: The above are German orders. 630 Austro-Hungarian-built D.VIIs were ordered in August 1918 as follows: Fokker - 225, MAG - 150, Aviatik - 255. Few were completed.


Fokker D.VII Serial Numbers
Manufacturer Serial Numbers
Fokker 227-526/18
Albatros 527-926/18
OAW 2000-2199/18
OAW 4000-4199/18
Fokker 4250-4449/18
OAW 4450-4649/18
Fokker 5050-5149/18
Albatros 5200-5599/18
OAW 6300-6649/18
Albatros 6650-6899/18
Fokker 7604-7805/18*
OAW 8300-8649/18
Albatros 10050-10100/18**
Fokker 10347-10399/18***
Notes: * Includes two experimental aircraft
** Only two aircraft identified
*** 37 built in this range.
Fokker D.VII 382/18 of Lt. Georg von Hantelmann, flown by Lt. Kurt Wusthoff, Jasta 15, JG II, 17 June 1918. Von Hantelmann scored 25 victories and was recommended for the Pour le Merite but Germany's collapse prevented it.
Fokker D.VII 402/18 of Vfw. Max Holtzem of Jasta 16b, summer 1918.
Fokker D. VII (Alb) 652/18 “L" of Lt. Fritz Krautheim, Jasta 23
Fokker D.VII (Alb) 697/18 of Oblt. Robert Greim, Staffelfuhrer of Jasta 34b
Fokker D.VII(Alb) 817/18 Nickchen IV of Offzstv. Fritz Blumenthal, Jasta 53
Fokker D.VII (Alb) 883/18 of Oblt. Robert Greim, Staffelfuhrer of Jasta 34b
Fokker D.VII (O.A.W.) 2035/18 of Lt.d.R. Rudolf Windisch, Jasta 66. Windisch scored 22 victories and was awarded the Pour le Merite.
Fokker D.VII (Alb) 5278/18 ‘Hertha’ of 21-victory ace Lt. Friedrich Noltenius, Jasta 27. Original markings.
Fokker D.VII(Alb) 5278/18 Hertha., unknown pilot, Jasta 27. Later markings.
Fokker D.VII (Alb) "RK" flown by Lt.d.R. Richard Kraut of Jasta 63
Fokker D.VII(O.A.W.) 6340/18 of Lt. Hermann Becker, Staffelfuhrer of Jasta 12, JG II.
Fokker D.VII (O.A.W.) 6372/18, Oblt. Amandus Rostock, Jasta 76
Fokker D.VII(OAW) “Du doch nicht!” of Ltn. Ernst Udet, who was the highest scoring ace to survive the war with 62 victories. His fiancee’s nickname “Lo!” appeared on his aircraft from mid-1917 until the end of the war.
Interpretation of "Du doch nicht!!" showing the Jasta 4 unit marking of a black nose
"Du doch nicht!!" in the all-red Geschwaderfuhrer scheme
Fokker D.VII "U.10" of Lt. Heinz Freiherr von Beaulieu-Marconnay before capture and as now restored in the NASM.
Fokker D.VII "U.10" of Lt. Heinz Freiherr von Beaulieu-Marconnay after capture and the insignia of the 95th Aero Squadron was applied.
Fokker D.VII (O.A.W.) of Uffz. Alfred Bader of Jasta 65. Bader scored 2 victories.
Fokker D.VII (O.A.W.) of Lt. Hans Besser of Jasta 12. Besser downed at least 2 Liberty planes.
Fokker D.VII of Lt.d.R. Hans Kirschstein, Jasta 6. Kirschstein scored 27 victories and was awarded the Pour le Merite before being killed in a flying accident as a passenger.
Fokker D.VIIF of Lt. Olivier Freiherr von Beaulieu-Marconnay, Jasta 19, JG II, who scored 25 victories and was nominated for the Pour le Merite.
Fokker D.VII(O.A.W.) of Lt. Franz Buchner, Staffelfuhrer of Jasta 13, JG II, September - November 1918.
Fokker D.VII (Alb) of Lt. Carl Degelow, Staffelfuhrer of Jasta 40. Degelow scored 30 victories and was awarded the Pour le Merite.
Fokker D.VII (OAW) in the unit colors of Jasta 18 (vermillion red forward fuselage and white rear fuselage). The additional personal markings of the black skull and crossbones and black framed fuselage are of eight victory ace Ltn. Kurt Monnington. Monnington scored 8 victories.
Reproduction Fokker D.VII displayed in authentic camouflage and markings at the USAF Museum.This D.VII is in the colors of Lt. Rudolf Stark, Jastafuhrer of Jasta 35b ('b' indicating a Bavarian unit), 11 victory-ace, and author of the postwar book Wings of War.
On the left side of the forward “oval” side panel, only a single rectangular service door was provided on the initial production aircraft. A small triangular access hatch, barely visible here, was installed on the upper part of the forward fabric covering of the fuselage sides. No machine gun blast tubes were fitted to this aircraft, at least when this photo was taken. These can be seen in the other photos above the engines.
Jasta 10 was most likely the first recipient of the D.VII, and it is only fitting that the earliest and lowest-numbered production D.VII known to reach the front became the plane of the Staffel commander, Lt. Erich Loewenhardt. He is seen here with his D.VII 232/18 during a visit to Jasta 19 along with fellow Jasta 10 pilot Lt. "Fritz" Friedrichs. No doubt the official reason for this was to introduce neighboring units to the new Fokker, which was actually sometimes confused with the S.E.5a. Besides the leaders streamers, only the yellow nose marking of Jasta 10 appear to have been applied to Loewenhardt's fighter, although it is possible that the rear fuselage decking and horizontal tailplane could have been yellow, too. However, no photographs showing this part of the plane clearly are available at this point, so this detail remains speculative and is based on a photo of his earlier Fokker Triplane. Detailed information about the pilot and his aeroplanes can be found in "Blue Max Airmen Volume 17".
Seen here after arrival at the Armee-Flug-Park in the Area of the 2nd German Army, D.VII 244/18 was another example destined for Jasta 10. The Fokker works number 2329 can be read on the central "N" strut, and the military number "244" has been chalked onto the forward fuselage fabric near the wing root. Details of the Mercedes engine show well in this view. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Some of the very first Fokker-built D.VIIs carried an odd-looking hybrid version of the "Iron Cross" and "Bar Cross" national marking, which was basically an Iron Cross with straight cross arms. Most likely, this was the result of a misinterpretation of Idflieg order 41390, which regulated a new style of national marking. According to this, a straight-lined Iron Cross was to be applied in the usual positions, rather than the previous ones with curved cross arms. One can only assume that the painters at Schwerin received this order without an accompanying illustration of the new cross style, and followed the text of the order in a literal manner.
On these early planes, the bottom of the rudder was also painted in the streaked scheme of the fuselage, and the streaked camouflage applied to the fin extended up to the forward tip of the rudder. The tail cross was then centered on the white background.
On very early D.VIIs, the forward part of the tail fin, up to the edge of the rudder, and the rudder area below the horizontal tail surfaces were also painted in the streaked scheme. On the fuselage, somewhat oddly-shaped Iron Crosses with straight cross arms are present. These may have been a result of a misinterpretation of a directive issued in March 1918 which required a change from the Iron Cross national marking to the Balkenkreuz format. The wing crosses are still the usual Iron Crosses with white outline. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Seen almost from the same perspective but almost four months later, 244/18 is seen here in the markings of Lt. Alois Heldmann. Jasta 10 upgraded to the BMW-powered D.VIIF in late July, so Heldmann's aircraft could be made available to Lt. Lothar von Richthofen when he unexpectedly returned to the Jagdgeschwader on 25 July 1918. He had recovered from a broken jaw, an injury received as a consequence of a crash in a Dr.I on 13 March 1918. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Supposedly these photos were taken on 25 July 1918, after he had scored his 30th aerial victory, which also turned out to be 500th victory credited to JG I. However, this victory was scored at around 7:50 p.m., while the lighting conditions indicate that the photos were not taken around dusk. Also visible in two of these photos is Major Albrecht von Richthofen, his father. His presence suggests that Lothar's return to the front may not have been completely surprising as was reported at the time. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Another unit that received early examples of the D.VII was Royal Wurttemberg Jagdstaffel 28w, and pictured here is 247/18 at the unit's airfield at Iseghem. All crosses on this aircraft show signs of conversion from the Iron Cross to the thick form of the Balkenkreuz marking. The Jasta 28w unit marking of a yellow horizontal tail plane with a black bar centred on each side is visible in the upper photo.
A new pilot pointing at his pilot’s badge, standing next to a very early Fokker D.VII with Maltese crosses changed over. The partially painted fin would indicate that this is a Fokker built machine.
Following his crash of Fokker D.VII 234/18 "Fritz" Friedrichs of Jasta 10 also flew two other D.VII's, 258/18 and 309/18. However, the poor quality of this photo does not provide enough details to identify with which of these two planes he is pictured here, along with two of his mechanics. He fell victim to one of several inflight fires that destroyed numerous Fokker D.VII's in mid-July 1918 due to self-ignition of the phosphorous ammunition. In Friedrich's case, the incident occurred on 15 July 1918 at around 8:45 p.m., while he was flying 309/18. His attempt to take to his parachute in order to escape the flames failed. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Lt. Emil Thuy poses next to his personal Fokker D.VII 262/18 early in its frontline career. The aircraft was accepted at Schwerin on 11 April 1918, and in this photo the fuselage and wing crosses show signs of very careful conversion to the new "midstyle" Balkenkreuz with full white outline. The photo was taken at Iseghem airfield, where the unit was stationed until June 6, 1918. Its tempting to speculate that this photo was taken to commemorate his 20th victory on May 8, 1918. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/ STDB)
Lt Emil Thuy, as commander of Jasta 28 with his Fokker D VII, 262/18. Thuy had been given Jasta 28 after learning his craft with Jasta 21. A Pour Le Merite holder, Thuy survived the war with a confirmed 32 victories.
A later photo of the same aircraft, taken at Aniche airfield, where the unit was based between 17 August and 01 October 1918. The crosses are now converted to the "late-style" Balkenkreuz of 8:1 proportions, the order for which was issued on 04 June 1918. The white fuselage band has received a narrow dark border of unknown color, possibly red, and the rudder cross has been enlarged. The machine guns have received the addition of a telescopic gun sight and streamers are fitted to the rear interplane "N" strut. On 16 September 1918, Thuy scored his 30th victory, and he ended the war with a score of 35 confirmed aerial victories. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/ STDB)
We have to thank the great pioneer of German WWI aviation Alex Imrie for bringing the wartime memories and photographs of Jasta 11 pilot Willi Gabriel to public attention. Gabriel joined Jasta 11 on 17 May 1918, just after the unit converted to the D.VII, coming from Schlachtstaffel 15. Here he proudly poses with his first D.VII, 286/18, which was initially marked with the unit's red nose and his personal markings of light blue and orange stripes. The markings of this plane underwent a bit of an evolution, a lengthwise orange stripe was later added to the fuselage sides. (Alex Imrie Collection)
Five Fokker D.VIIs from Jasta 11 are preparing for a mission at Beugneux airfield in June 1918. At left is 286/18, the personal plane of 11 victory ace Vfw. Willi Gabriel, who is in the process of putting on his flying kit by the left wingtip. By now he had a lengthwise orange stripe added to the fuselage. The third plane in the lineup appears to be that of Lt. Werner Steinhauser, who is known to have had red and golden-yellow stripes applied to the tails of his aircraft. He was credited with ten victories and is thought to be the first pilot of Jasta 11 to be killed while flying the D.VII, crashing fatally at around 8:00 a.m. on 26 June 1918. (Alex Imrie)
Thanks to the research of the much-missed historian Alex Imrie, Willi Gabriel's Fokker D.VII 286/18 was the first Jasta 11 D.VII to be documented in detail. Besides the red nose marking of Jasta 11, he had the tail section painted in light blue and orange stripes. When photographed, a lengthwise orange stripe had been added to the middle of the fuselage and the fuselage decking. Gabriel was credited with ten victories while flying with the Staffel between 19 May and 18 July. Soon after, a row with the new commander of Jagdgeschwader I, a certain Hermann Goring, over the confirmation of a victory claim, caused Gabriel to be transferred to AFP 2. He would not see frontline service again. (Alex Imrie)
On the last 60-or so Fokker D.VIIs in the streaked fuselage scheme the military number was applied in white paint. 332/18 was one of these planes, and it was operated by Jasta "Boelcke". An usual detail applied to the D.VIIs operated by this Jasta was the fact that the streaked forward section of the tail fin of their Fokker-built aircraft was overpainted white. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Fokker D.VII 373/18 was the personal plane flown by Uffz. Heinrich Piel, who served with Jasta 13, which was a component unit of Jagdgeschwader II. The white military number is barely visible below the blue fuselage paint, which was the Geschwader color of JG II at the time. The aircraft was accepted at Schwerin on 11 May 1918. Photographs indicate that Piel flew two different D.VIIs carrying similar stork markings, but it is not known if he was killed on 29 June 1918 while flying 373/18 or the other D.VII. The two small cooling slots, seen on the engine side panel with their openings facing forward, were an innovation of a JG II Werkmeister. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
A rare line-up of Jasta 11 BMW-powered D.VII fighters allows for a highly interesting insight into the application of military numbers on early Fokker-built aircraft. D.VII 377/18F (accepted on 15 May 1918), seen at left, is thought to have been the second-to-last aircraft carrying the white serials, and it still carries the streaked fuselage factory scheme, Right next to it, D.VII 325/18F (accepted on 04 May 1918) appears in a very similar factory scheme, and the application of the "F" behind the number was apparently limited to the planes up to D.VIIF 378/18. The third plane from left, D.VIIF 460/18 (accepted 06 June 1918), is known to have been the personal plane of Lt. Erich Just, and the "F" is now applied between "D.VII" and the military number, which was the usual style of application on all later BMW-powered machines. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Factory-fresh 379/18 was accepted at Schwerin on 10 May 1918 and had been set up to be photographed for posterity in a very careful manner. This was most likely the first D.VII to have the fuselage covered in the by then common polygon-dyed aviation fabric, in this case the four-color variation was applied. The military number has now again been applied in black, and it would continue to be applied to do in this way until production at Schwerin ceased. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The misinterpretation of the previously mentioned order was quickly rectified, and the straight-armed "Balkenkreuz" began to appear. Also decreed by this order was that a white border measuring 15 centimeters was to be applied around the cross. Since the instructions were not very well formulated, a great deal of confusion was caused, and this resulted in the application of crosses that appeared rather "fat". Often, a far bigger white border was applied, and, from a distance, the black crosses would hardly be visible against this white background, this being especially true for the fuselage cross.
On Fokker-built aircraft, the forward part of the tail fin was left in four- or five-color aircraft fabric, only the rear part of the fin was painted white. On all Schwerin-built VIIs marked with the tail Balkenkreuz, this marking was applied in the position shown in the photo, very close to the rudder/tail fin hinge line.
The style of application of the military number is interesting, it reads "Fok.D VII 379/18." on this aircraft. Barely visible at the bottom of the rudder, hidden in the shadow cast by the horizontal tailplane, is the Fokker factory serial number 2466. The aircraft was accepted on 10 May 1918.
Lt. Gustav Fraedrich poses next to Mercedes-powered Fokker D.VII 383/18, which is the third aircraft seen in the line-up.
Ten Fokker-built D.VII's of Jasta 72s are lined up perfectly for the benefit of the photographer at Bergnicourt airfield in July 1918. Closest to the camera is D.VII 401/18 "M"(accepted 17 May), the Mercedes-powered aircraft flown by the unit commander and Pour le Merite ace Lt. Karl Menckhoff. At the time, Menckhoff also had BMW-powered D.VIIF 502/18 (accepted 19 June) at his disposal, this plane being marked in an almost identical way as 401/18. For some reason, it is now seen in this line-up shot. The fourth aircraft from the end of the line-up is D.VIIF 494/18 "F"(accepted on 17 June), which was the BMW-powered D.VII flown by Lt. Gustav Fraedrich. He would take command of the unit on 23 October 1918 and survived the war with a total of six confirmed victories.
Fokker D.VII 402/18 is seen here at the local Armee-Flugpark before delivery to a Jagdstaffel. The aircraft was accepted on 21 May 1918, and it is covered in five-color dyed fabric. At the time, the thick white "Balkenkreuze" were applied at the factory to both the fuselage and wings. On the rear fuselage, below the tailplane, a chalked marking reading "X gut" is visible. This indicated that the aircraft had been checked and was ready to be picked up by a Jagdstaffel pilot. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The recipient of this aircraft was Vzfw. Max Holtzem, who flew with Jasta 16b. Holtzem added his personal marking of a comet to the fuselage sides, which symbolized "Good Hope" to him. The nose was painted Bavarian blue, barely visible in this view, and a white-black-white band was added to the tailplane, these two details being the unit markings. This was one of several D.VIIs which featured an "open" application of the fuselage military number, i.e. the gaps left by the stencil were not filled in with black paint. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Vfw. Max Holtzem is pictured here looping his Fokker D.VII 402/18 over the Jagdstaffel 18 airfield. Holtzem earned his flying license in 1913, served as a test pilot with the Pfalz company in 1915 and eventually joined Jasta 16b in September 1917. He was born in Elberfeld (now Wuppertal) in Prussia, but since his mother was born in Wurzburg, he could claim to be half-Bavarian, enough to join a Bavarian Staffel. While he was not credited with a single confirmed victory, he remained with the Staffel until the end of the war, no doubt due to being a highly skilled pilot. After the war, he became a test pilot for Fokker in America, often flying with Anthony Fokker himself in the 1920s. Holtzem passed away in 1980. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
One of the greatest services Manfred von Richthofen did for Germany was instigating the fighter competitions, and the Fokker D.VII was the greatest result of those competitions. Arriving at the front days after Richthofen's death in his Fokker Triplane, he was not able to fly the D.VII in combat himself. Initially using the 170 hp Mercedes D.IIIa engine, when fitted with the superb 185 hp BMW IIIa it was arguably the best all-around fighter of the war. Here D.VII 406/18, accepted on 18 May 1918, and other D.VIIs are shipped to the front by rail two days later, on Monday, 20 May. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Fok. D.VII aircraft on their way to the front on railway flat wagons, June 1918. The recess in the fuselage underside that accommodated the lower wing can be seen.
Disassembled for transportation, this train load of early Fokker built D.VIIs are being shipped from the Schwerin factory to the front. One of the requirements of the Idflieg was that an aircraft could be easily and quickly disassembled for transporting.
A mix-up of components can be seen on some D.VIIs, and the nose of D.VIIF 460/18 seen here is a good example. This was a late aircraft from the initial batch (227/18 - 526/18) featuring the same trio of louvres seen above on 507/18. The upper panel is an organ transplant donated by an aircraft from the 4250/18 - 4300/18 military numbers sequence. Originally, this aircraft also featured the “low” collector exhaust as seen above. The opening for this exhaust has been carefully faired over, the patch being just visible in the picture. A new exhaust of the “saxophone” design has been fitted as a replacement item, and the replaced upper panel may simply have been a leftover from an aircraft which had this item removed during the summer months and which been lost in combat.
To commemorate special occasions, group photos were taken, and here pilots of Jagdstaffel 15 gather in front of Georg von Hantelmann's plane. He scored his 20th victory on 9 October 1918 at 4:15 p.m., and the lighting indicates that the photo was most likely taken on the next day. Very likely, the aircraft seen behind the men is D.VIIF 465/18, which was one of six BMW-powered D.VIIs delivered to Jasta 15 in July. Von Hantelmann was nominated for the Pour-le-Merite on 30 October but failed to receive the award due to the end of the war. Depending upon source, was credited with 25-26 confirmed and 4-5 unconfirmed victories, all of which were scored while flying D.VIIs.
Being born on 14 April 1883, Oblt. Carl Menckhoff was 35 years of age when these photos were taken in July 1918. He was given command of Jagdstaffel 72 when the unit was formed in early 1918, and was decorated with the Pour-le-Merite on 23 April 1918. The Jasta received the D.VII at an early stage, and Menckhoff had two at his disposal. By early July 1918 he was credited with 35 confirmed victories, and he then had the luxury of having two identically-marked fighters at his disposal: D.VII 401/18 and D.VIIF 502/18, seen behind him in both photos. Menckhoff was brought down on 25 July 1918 after his engine was disabled, and crashed into a tree. He was taken into captivity unharmed, with a total of 39 victories to his credit. Under his command, the Staffel was credited with 33 victories while only a single pilot was killed. (Dr. Hannes Tager)
Two views of D.VII 507/18 show the aircraft in partially-completed factory finish, the metal nose parts and the wheel covers lack paint at this stage. The machine guns also remain to be fitted, and the mix of crosses (fully outlined fuselage cross and wing crosses with 5:4 cross arm proportions) indicated that these components did not receive their national markings at the same time. This aircraft was accepted at Schwerin on 19 June 1918 and was powered by a Mercedes D.IIIa engine with the serial number 41747. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Although slower than many of its competitors, the Fokker V II prototype's easy handling and reluctance to spin endeared the aircraft to the trials pilots, unanimously adjudging it the overall winner of the first of the 1918 Alderhof fighter trials. As there was an urgent need for an initial 400 of these single seat fighters, a figure beyond Fokker's ability to meet on time, contracts were placed simultaneously with Fokker and Albatros, with AEG being drawn in later. Given the military designation Fokker D VII, the machine was powered initially by a 160hp Mercedes D III, this being soon replaced by the 185hp BMW IIIa. This latter engine pushed the top level speed up by 7mph, to 124mph at sea level and had an even more dramatic effect on the fighter's rate of climb, with the time to reach 3,280 feet dropping to 2.5 minutes from 3.8 minutes for the earlier Mercedes powered examples. Rapid as it was, with first operational deliveries being made in April 1917 to JG I, the Fokker DVII's passage into service appears to have been essentially trouble-free. Even more significantly, no subsequent fatal flaws, such as those experienced with Fokker's Dr I, were to emerge. At last Anthony Fokker and his chief designer, Reinhold Platz, had produced a real winner that would not only keep the factory full, but would soon come to earn the respect of the all the Allied pilots who encountered it. Armed with the standard twin 7.92mm Spandaus, over 800 examples of the D VII had been delivered to 48 operational Jastas by the start of September 1918. Showing off its well proportioned lines, Fokker D VII, 507/18, seen here, reportedly served with the famed Jasta Boelcke.
The last 70-or-so examples of the first Fokker production batch received a trio of cooling louvres that were initially positioned relatively far up, as seen here on D.VII 507/18. Plastic kit manufacturers have constantly gotten this detail wrong, showing these openings in the later “low” position that was typical for the final production version. Note that the initial collector exhaust, which exited via an opening in the side panel, was actually slanted backwards. A small rectangular access hatch is positioned below the exhaust.
The rear of the chin panel was now deepened somewhat compared to the photo on the left. In the top two photos the metal nose sections were still unpainted when the photographs were taken. Before shipment to the front, these were painted dark green.
Accepted on 19 June 1918. D.VII 507/18 exhibits a fuselage cross with the correct 15 centimeter border. However, this was outdated by then, since two new orders concerning the application of national crosses had been issued in the meantime. The first, dated 15 May, only concerned the wing crosses, which were now to be applied with 5:4 proportions, resulting in a marking resembling a grave cross. Likely it was this similarity let to the issue of the third - and final - order specifying the application of national markings on 4 June 1918. According to this, the crosses were now to be marked with cross arms of equal proportions, and this resulted in the slim "Balkenkreuz" marking known from the many late-war photos of German aircraft.
Both 379/18 and 507/18 were covered in four-color polygon fabric, but this type of fabric was not applied to all aircraft of the first Fokker D.VII batch (227/18-153/18). Several aircraft were covered in five-color dyed aviatipn fabric, and sometimes fuselages, wings and ailerons were covered in either of these colors.
The second Schwerin production batch was numbered 4250/18 to 4449/18, and pictured here is the most famous aircraft in this batch. Fokker D.VIIF 4253/18, accepted on 04 July, was the personal plane of Ernst Udet, the leader of Jagdstaffel 4, and it was photographed here when elements of Jagdgeschwader I landed at Epinoy airfield on 21 August 1918. The works number 2954 can be read on the bottom of the rudder.
A right-side view of Ernst Udet's Fokker D.VIIF 4253/18 is pictured earlier in this book, and this photo of the plane, taken at FEA 2 in Furth in early October 1918, shows a view of the left side. Eagle-eyed readers will note that the "LO!" monogram was applied further aft on the left side, and the upper cowling panels had not been put back in place after the hot summer period had come to an end. The lower wing crosses remain in the factory-applied 5:4 proportions; nobody deemed it necessary to convert them to the equal proportions that were required for about three months. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Oblt Ernst Udet, seen here standing in front of his Fokker D VII 'Lo' was born on 26 April 1896 and was to become the last commander of Jasta 4, having previously served with Jastas 15, 37 and 11. At the time of the Armistice, Udet was a Pour Le Merite holder, with 62 confirmed victories, which makes him Germany's second highest scoring ace of the war after Baron Manfred von Richthofen. Udet remained prominent in post-war German aviation circles, particularly as an aerobatic pilot and lent his name to an aircraft manufacturer during the 1920s. Along with a number of other former prominent military fliers, Udet rejoined the Luftwaffe in 1935 with the rank of Generaloberst, the equivalent of a four-star general or Air Chief Marshal. Subsequently blamed for shortfalls in aircraft production, Udet took his own life on 17 November 1941.
The first fifty-or-so aircraft from the second production batch mounted upper engine cowlings that featured six to eight cooling louvres. These can be seen here on the two Jagdstaffel 10 aircraft at Metz-Frescaty in late September/early October 1918. The machine nearest to the camera is possibly D.VIIF 4264/18, which was the personal mount of Lt. Alois Heldmann.
Jagdstaffel 4 received BMW-powered Fokkers in September, and seen here is D.VIIF 4275/18 from this batch. While out of the photo, the upper nose cowling panels would have looked very similar to the ones seen in the photo above. This was one of several Jasta 4 D.VIIs marked with colored fuselage longerons, as well as a broad fuselage band. The forward part of the tail fin, which was covered in polygon fabric on Fokker-build machines, has been overpainted in white, with a thin stripe of an unknown light color acting as a division line. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Three days after the death of Jasta 10 commander Oblt. Erich Loewenhardt on 10 August 1918, Lt. Arthur Laumann, who had previously served with Jasta 66, took command of the unit. His personal plane at Jasta 10 became Fokker D.VIIF 4282/18, and he is seen in the cockpit of this plane in this photo, which was published as a "Sanke" card.The fuselage was covered in four-color fabric.
Hermann Goring liked to use white as his personal color on many of his planes, and on Fokker D.VIIF 4283/18 the rear fuselage was painted in this color. The forward fuselage and upper wing surfaces were painted red, in order to ensure easy recognition of the JG I commander in the air, even though he flew very few combat sorties from August 1918 until the end of the war. Again, the cooling louvres in the upper cowling part can be seen. This plane has previously been misidentified as D.VIIF 4253/18, and some writers have concluded that Udet and Goring shared this plane. This is wrong, however, as the Fokker works number 2984 can be clearly seen on the bottom of the rudder in the original print. (Alex Imrie)
Names were fairly often applied to German fighter aircraft, and D.VII 4301/18 "OttO", seen here, flew with Jagdstaffel 71. This was a Mercedes-powered aircraft, accepted at the Schwerin factory on 15 July 1918, and reportedly was the personal mount of Vzfw. Otto Baurose, who served with the unit from 6 February to the end of the war. The photo was taken at Habsheim airfield. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Another unidentified Jasta 10 D.VIIF is seen here in American hands. This photo allows a better view at the cooling louvres described previously, but readers must be warned that the fuselage fabric with the small Balkenkreuz was not original. Apparently, some of the fuselage fabric was "souvenired" after capture and later replaced by the fabric seen in the photo. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
This aircraft from the second batch illustrates a shortlived addition of cooling louvres on the upper metal panel. These are noted in photos of aircraft in the military number sequence 4250/18 - 4300/18. In this photo six louvres can be seen, but this was not always the case. Other photos show eight louvres on the left and/or right side.
The opening seen below the radiator and the prop mounting were a modification carried out at Jasta level, as was the barely visible hole in the forward part of the chin panel.
While the military number of Fokker D.VIIF "5" serving with Jasta 26 cannot be made out, visible details suggest that is was also a plane from the 4250/18 - 4449/18 range. It appears that the fuselage band onto which the "5" has been applied was not white but of some other color that photographs light on orthochromatic film. Visiting nurses take a keen interest in the aircraft, while the Staffel's German shepherd tries to escape the summer heat in the shadow cast by the left lower wing. One must assume the nurses forgot to bring along treats for the dog since the animal seems not to be bothered by the visitors. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Fokker D.VIIF 4330/18, accepted on 25 July 1918, was also assigned to Jagdstaffel 4. The pilot seated in the cockpit might be Lt. Egon Koepsch, who was photographed sitting on the left wheel of this aircraft, thus it was likely his personal plane. The fuselage of this aircraft was covered in five-color dyed fabric. By this time the upper cowling panels were smooth without any factory-applied louvres, which remained the standard for the rest of the Fokker production aircraft. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
A blurred view of the same aircraft, taken at Metz-Frescaty, in late September/early October 1918. The stripes seen on the fuselage longerons of this plane were similar to the ones seen on D.VIIF 4275/18 and some other planes from the same unit. This may have been a Kette marking, although this is speculative at this point.
Fokker D.VIIF 4332/18, accepted on 25 July 1918, was another Jasta 4 aircraft, being the personal mount of Lt Julius Bender. Here two of his mechanics pose next to the plane. Bender joined JG I on 31 January 1918 and was not credited with any victories. He served with Jasta 4 until the end of the war, and was described in "Jagd In Flanderns Himmel" as being one of the backbone pilots of the unit. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Ernst Udet and his groundcrew are pictured here at "Grand Metz" airfield in late September 1918. Just behind them Bender's D.VIIF 4332/18 can be seen, sporting a two-color fuselage band, most likely yellow-red-yellow, the colors of his native Grand Duchy Baden. The fuselage longerons and tailplane are also painted in a dark color, most likely either red or black. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Fokker D.VIIF 4348/18, Werknummer 3049, was accepted on 2 August 1918 and flew with Jagdstaffel "Boelcke" up until the end of the war. The identity of the pilot is not confirmed, but the personal marking of the coat of arms of Berlin was applied to the fuselage sides and decking, behind the cockpit, so one may assume that the pilot, had a connection to the German capitol. The aircraft was one of several Fokker fighters of this unit that were handed over to the RAF at Nivelles after the armistice. (Upper photo: Greg VanWyngarden, lower photo: Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The oblique black and white stripes on the horizontal tail surfaces identify this as a former Jasta 37 machine, now in British hands after the armistice. The fuselage fabric was obviously covered in a single dark color since the fabric polygons and the military number are covered completely, but the letter "Z", painted in an even darker color shows clearly. Barely visible on the fin is the Fokker works number, which appears to read 3095. This would equate to D.VII 4394/18, accepted on 1 August 1918. The tires have been removed, and the fuselage fabric has been cut open below the cockpit, allowing a glimpse at some of the welded fuselage structure. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Fokker D.VIIF 5124/18"K" was another ex-Jagdstaffel "Boelcke" aircraft, seen here in British hands at Nivelles after the Armistice. Both the"K"and the arrow were applied in a somewhat crude manner, the style of both markings being slightly different on both sides. This aircraft was accepted on 20. September 1918 and was powered by a BMW IIIa engine with the serial number 1263. Keeping in mind that shipping time to the front was at least two weeks it can only have seen around a month of frontline service with Jasta "Boelcke" before it was handed over to the RAF. (Upper photo: Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB, lower photo : Greg VanWyngarden)
Командир 1-й истребительной эскадры Герман Геринг в кабине своего "Фоккера" D.VII с фюзеляжем, окрашенным в белый цвет, лето 1918 г.
Anthony Fokker was very keen to maintain good relationships with frontline pilots, even more so if they held key positions. This was apparently the reason why Fokker D.VIIF 5125/18, accepted on 10. September 1918, received such an immaculate paintjob at the factory, being painted completely in Goring's favorite color, white. The neat spinner fitted to this aircraft was manufactured be the Rupp company and was only seen on BMW-powered aircraft. This photo was taken at Marville airfield in October 1918. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
A close-up photo of this aircraft proves that it showed very little signs of use. In the closing months of the war Goring few very few (if any) combat sorties, claiming that "only from the ground he was able to see all events taking place in the air". By then, he was commanding Jagdgeschwader I, Germany's most elite fighter unit, and had been decorated with the "Pour le Merite". There was nothing more he could achieve, and that would be the more logical explanation why he avoided exposing himself to the risks of aerial combat.
Many factory-fresh D.VIIs were handed over to the Entente nations following the armistice, and seen here is D.VIIF 7729/18, along with several curious American servicemen. This plane was accepted on 29 October 1918, and it was probably still on the way to one of the German Armee Flugparks when the hostilities ended. The engine powering this plane was BMW IIIa # 1626. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The fact that aircraft were not accepted in numerical sequence at the Fokker factory at Schwerin is proven by D.VIIF 7732/18. It was accepted on 22 November 1918, three and a half weeks after the plane seen in the previous photo. This was one of the aircraft powered by an Opel-built BMW IIIa engine, serial number 12087. Note the Fokker works number 3584 just above the wing root attachment point. The fuselage is covered in four-color polygon aircraft fabric. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
7756/18 showing the distinctive 'star' on its rudder. The D.VII fighters in the line-up all appear to have their motor cowls removed.
Only 27 D.VIIs in the 7700/18 to 7799/18 range were Mercedes-powered, and Fokker D.VII 7756/18 is one of these powered by the engine with the serial number 41152. Interestingly, this engine had previously been fitted to D.VII 5110/18, which was accepted on 17 September 1918. Either this airframe was lost quickly leaving the engine intact or there were problems with the engine that required removal and the engine was returned for repair and then fitted to the next airframe. 7756/18 was accepted on 26 October 1918, and like the previously shown planes it was one of the many surrendered examples. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STD
Another post-armistice machine was Fokker D.VIIF 7788/18, powered by BMW IIIa # 1674. The small, dark diamond-shaped polygons indicate that the five-colored aircraft fabric covered the fuselage. These pictures perfectly illustrate how different the gray-shades are rendered in photos taken from slightly different angles and under different lighting conditions. When photographed, the machine guns had been removed, and the mud stains on the wheels prove that the plane was flown just recently. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
"Fok.D VII F 7788/18" was one of several aircraft handed over to the American forces as part of the Armistice agreement. The diamond-shaped polygon seen on the fuselage readily identifies the five-color aircraft fabric. Crosses are of the previously-described final version, and when photographed, the rudder was a replacement component; note that the horizontal cross arm is positioned slightly lower. The factory serial number of this plane was 3640, but the number on the rudder appears to read 3584, which in turn was the factory serial of D.VII F 7732/18. This was another one of the late-production aircraft handed over to the victors, and a photo of the fuselage of this particular plane is featured in this book as well. Replacement of the rudder or other components with those coming from other aircraft was common, and contrary to what has been written previously, the major components from the three D.VII manufacturers were interchangeable.
Two Fokker D.VIIs from the final production batch (10300/18 - 10499/18?) are known to have been powered by the Mana IIIa engine, built by the Maschinenfabrik-Augsburg-Nurnberg (MAN). The first of these was 10347/18, and the second one, 10348/18 is pictured here. The performance provided by this engine was comparable to the BMW IIIa engine, although it is not known that any examples of it saw frontline service before the armistice. These are post-war views of the aircraft in American hands showing the aircraft from both sides. The fuselage was covered in five-color dyed fabric. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The final style of Fokker nose design is documented in the lower pair of photos. On the left side, a pair of cooling louvres was added around to the oval forward section of the side panel. The trio of cooling openings on the oval panel has now been positioned lower than before, compare to the position seen on the earlier aircraft above.
A triangular rear metal side panel was added, and this incorporated the previously-seen small triangular access panel in its upper position. Three other large louvres of equal size are present in the lower section of the panel, and two small slots are placed onto the rear of the panel. The upper panel was again of the early plain style.
The radiator filler was now offset to the left side, and in this view the “Rupp-Nabe” is visible. This item was only seen on BMW-powered examples of the D.VII. It was a quick-release propeller hub which was mounted to the airscrew with a single central nut.
The cooling louvres on the right side mirrored those of the left, and the Fokker manufacturer's plate is seen well in this photo. Another small triangular maintenance panel appeared on very late-production machines, seen here above the opening left by the removed lower wing.
In order to photograph the front of the plane, it was simply swung around, and a guard watches the photo session from a distance. Two small identifying details of Albatros-built D.VIIs can be seen in this view: the rectangular wheel valve covers on the wheel hubs and the six hinges on the leading edge of the tow-piece axle wing. For some reason, the tail skid is missing. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The first example of the Albatros-manufactured D.VII, carrying the military number 527/18, can be seen here on the ramp at Adlershof. Faintly visible in the left background of the photo is the factory where it was manufactured. The Albatros company was located just across the field, to the left of the Zeppelin shed, and the plane was likely simply towed across the grass field. The stenciled data applied to the tail surfaces reads "Fok.D7(Alb.)527", while the fuselage has been marked "Fok. DVII (Alb.) 527/18". (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The nose of 527/18, the first Albatros-production D.VII, shows that initially only a single side-panel with an oval shape was fitted on the left side. The basic layout of this panel was very similar to those of early Fokker- and O.A.W.-built planes. The "pimple" on the upper engine panel was seen on Fokker V21, but not adopted on Fokker-built production aircraft. Albatros retained this detail on all their production aircraft, although it became teardrop-shaped very soon. A similar-shaped small bulge can be seen on the chin panel near the prop shaft. These two details are good identifying features of Johannisthal-built D.VIIs.
A closeup of the right side of the nose of 527/18 showing the opening for and the shape of the low collector exhaust. This was typical for the first 130-or-so aircraft. The lower maintenance door seen here was very similar to those seen on planes from the other two manufacturers, while the shape and position of the upper door was unique to Albatros-built planes. The "pimple" noted before was also incorporated on the right side. On this plane, the Albatros manufacturer's plate was still mounted in an oblique manner. Almost all photos of later good enough to show these plates show these mounted horizontally below the lower maintenance door.
A later picture of 527/18, now equipped with tailskid, windshield and a different propeller, but lacking machine guns and the axle wing. Two white fuselage bands have been painted around the fuselage. Markings like these appear unusual on aircraft that were evaluated in the homeland, but they did serve a purpose: during formation flights the neighboring pilot would see he was flying at the correct distance when these two band appeared "closed" to him. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
An even later photo of the same machine, taken at the DFW aircraft factory at Lindenthal near Leipzig. The purpose of this visit may have been to familiarize the staff there with the new Fokker in case the company would be tasked with repair work on planes that were returned from frontline service in damaged condition.
Good photographs showing the earliest factory-applied cross-styles on Albatros-built D.VIIs are currently unavailable, so only two poor-quality views of these are presented here. Seen in the background of a Johannisthal factory-photo is this early-production example. The fuselage cross is fully-outlined, and this was probably also the case on the wing crosses. The rudder cross has been washed out by strong sunlight, but the early small rudder crosses typical for early machines will be featured in the following pages.
One of the first units equipped with Albatros-built D.VIIs in late May/early June was Jasta 18, which was then based at Lille in the area of the 6. Army. When the unit moved approximately 300 kilometers south-east to Montingen (Montigny) near Metz on 14 June, they handed over their still new fighters to other Jastas nearby. One of the units profiting from this donation was Jagdstaffel 30 at Phalempin. Here a very early-production machine is seen, note the traces of converting the big early Balkenkreuz markings on the wings to the later thin version of the marking. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Another nearby recipient of ex-Jasta 18 D.VII (Alb.) fighters was Jasta 43, stationed nearby at Haubourdin. Five very early-production examples can be seen in this view, the first and second from right being former Jasta 18 examples. Seen from the right are the planes flown by: Lt. Josef Keller, Lt. Simons, Lt. Karl Wernicke, Lt. Josef Raesch, and Oblt. Adolf Gutknecht. The small rudder crosses placed in the position seen here were only seen on very early Albatros-built planes. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Photographed in front of the Albatros factory at Johannisthal, 541/18 was a test plane built with a wooden fuselage. This was a precautionary measure to ensure continued production of the type in case a shortage of steel tubes for fuselages would arise at some point during series production. However, this never happened, and it remained the sole wooden-fuselage example built by Albatros. The aircraft was eventually shipped to the front and reached Jasta 30 on 28 July 1918. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Jasta 43 pilot Lt. Simons poses in front of his very early-production D.VII (Alb.), the military number of which may be 554/18. This identification is only tentative, since the last digit of the military number can hardly be deciphered. However, the lower wing cross shows clear signs of conversion from the early thick style, an indication that this was one of the first few dozen aircraft built. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Jasta 43 commander Oblt. Adolf Gutknecht and crew pose in front of his D VII (Alb.) 571/18, the last aircraft seen in the previous lineup. The wing crosses were converted from the early thick style, and the lifting handle on the rear fuselage has been mounted facing upwards, as on O.A.W. machines. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Vfw. Karl Burberg joined Jasta 43 on 16 August 1918, and poses here for a photo in the D VII (Alb.) that was assigned to him. Like the previous planes, this was another very early Johannisthal-built machine on which the fuselage fabric extended up the forward landing gear leg. It must have seen about ten weeks of frontline service or more by the time he joined the unit, as can be seen from the additional cooling vents added to the cowling panels and the various fabric patches. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
A single Fokker-built D.VII, second from right, is shown in line with half a dozen early-production Albatros-built machines from Jasta 30 at Phalempin airfield, circa July 1918. All aircraft are heavily painted, and the plane in the center is apparently the ex-Jasta 18 plane seen previously in two photos. The white rear fuselage has now received additional oblique stripes. The history of Jasta 30 is recounted in the book "Royal Prussian Jagdstaffel 30", also published by Aeronaut books. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The aircraft seen second from left in the previous photo is seen here in a full side view. It must have been one of the last planes built before the introduction of the rear side panel. The military number has been marked on the middle "N" strut, but it is too indistinct to be made out. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The next version of the national insignia on the fuselage and wings was already the Balkenkreuz of 5:4 proportions, seen here on 646/18. The aircraft was photographed just after delivery to Jasta 23b at Epinoy here. Although this was a fairly early-production aircraft, the rudder cross would see hardly any change in the future. Eventually, the fuselage and wing crosses would also be applied with equal proportions. This change was introduced somewhere.
Fok. DVII (Alb.) 652/18 is seen here soon after it arrived at Jasta 23b, which was stationed at Epinoy airfield. The plane is still in factory-fresh condition, and the tail has already been put up on a trestle. A close look at the photo reveals the reason for this setup: a unit member is standing on the other side of the fuselage, applying a marking between cockpit and cross. He himself is standing on a small trestle, too, and the bucket of white paint can be seen to his feet. The bulbous contour of the Albatros-style chin panel shows particularly well in this view.
Detail view of the nose of 652/18 illustrates that by this time some changes had been implemented. A second metal side panel of triangular shape is now mounted behind the first one. This one also features two maintenance doors, the upper almost resembling the outline of an Aztec pyramid. No cooling louvers are yet present on these two components, and the "pimple" is now of the aforementioned shape. The chin panel is noticeably more bulbous than on Fokker- and O.A.W.-built planes. This type of chin panel can be seen on many but not all Albatros-built D.VIIs.
Photographed just moments later, the painter has now stepped down from his trestle in order to paint the bottom of his marking of choice. From this perspective two interesting details of the plane can be made out. A "Morell" tachometer has been fitted to the starboard "N" strut, and the port outer part of the axle wing, outboard the landing gear struts, is missing in order to allow access to the bungee cords of the landing gear. (Bruno Schmaling)
As seen is this view of 652/18 taken soon afterwards, the painter applied an "L" as the personal marking on this Fokker D VII (Alb.). Further upgrades include a rear view mirror, a tubular gunsight, a flare pistol, and a flare cartridge holder. The full story behind this personal marking ('L' for Lotte, his girlfriend Charlotte's nickname), as well as the story of the entire Jagdstaffel, is told in "Royal Bavarian Jagdstaffel 23", also published by Aeronaut Books. (Bruno Schmaling)
Kest 1a operated several Albatros-built D.VIIs, and among these was 666/is seen here.The crank mounted outside the cockpit was used to lower and lift the wireless aerial, the tip of which can be seen below the fuselage. Kest 1a evaluated the use of wireless communication for purposes of home defense. This was one of the last aircraft to be delivered with the low-exiting exhaust. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The second metal side panel of triangular shape was also applied to the right side, as seen here on 666/18. Only the upper maintenance door appeared on this side, and another addition was the circular maintenance door above the lower wing close to the rear cabane strut. This was already noted on 611/18.
Several pilots from Kest 1a took the opportunity to have their picture taken in the cockpit of this aircraft, and here Lt. Dembowski takes his turn. The wrinkles seen in the upper part of the four-color fabric typically appeared on frontline aircraft after short periods of service, as did the oil stains. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The serial of this Jasta 56 plane, flown by Lt. Lutz Beckmann, has been covered by the comprehensive paintjob. But the presence of the rear side panel and the low-exiting exhaust identify this plane as being one from approximately the 600/18 - 676/18 range. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Two Albatros-built D.VIIs roughly from the 668/18 - 787/18 production range are seen here in the markings of Jasta 18 at Montingen (Montigny) in September 1918. The first aircraft seen is that of Staffelfuhrer Lt. August Raben, who extended the application of red paint on the fuselage up to the tail surfaces. He also used a white Raven as his marking, his family name being the inspiration behind the unit marking. The third aircraft is an early-production O.A.W.-built plane. Seen well are the three cooling openings on the chin panel and a large one on the forward upper engine cowling. (Greg VanWyngarden).
Perfectly set up for a side-view photo, 677/18 was one of the first Albatros-built D.VIIs fitted with the high-mounted "saxophone" exhaust, the forward part of which is still covered by the upper side panel. The two side panels still lack any factory-applied cooling louvers, and for some unknown reason the machine guns are missing, but a "Morell" tachometer is fitted to the starboard "N" strut. Fuselage crosses are still of 5:4 proportions. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
This view of the right side of 677/17 may have been taken to document the first Albatros-built example with the "saxophone" style exhaust. On the forward side panel, three small louvers appear aligned with the lower maintenance door, and two taller ones appear just above it. A rigging diagram and a datum line have now been applied to the fuselage fabric as well. The chin panel was now separate from the radiator face and was attached to it with a pair of spring clamps on each side of the prop.
By 788/18, the first cooling louvers on the forward side panel appeared, three small ones in a row in front and behind the lower maintenance door and a taller pair above it. This was to be the standard arrangement on this component for the rest of the Albatros license-built variant. The factory-applied fuselage cross was now of equal proportions. The military number has been marked on the rudder. The aircraft served with Kest 4b at Freiburg im Breisgau, and pictured with his aircraft here is Offzstv. Hermann Pohlmann. (Lower photo: Tobias Weber)
One of the greatest services Manfred von Richthofen performed for Germany was instigating the fighter competitions, and the Fokker D.VII was the greatest result of those competitions. Arriving at the front days after Richthofen's death in his Fokker Triplane, he was not able to fly the D.VII in combat himself. Initially using the 170 hp Mercedes D.IIIa engine, when fitted with the superb 185 hp BMW.IIIa it was arguably the best all-around fighter of the war. Its thick cantilever wings were the secret to its excellent maneuverability and handling. This Albatros-built D.VII flew with Jasta 49.
On 12 August 1918, Jasta 53 pilot Offzstv. Fritz Blumenthal was brought down and taken POW south-west of Proyart, following combat with 41 Sqn. and 209 Sqn., RAF. As on many other D.VIIs, the upper cowlings were removed on the aircraft during the summer, and the Jasta 53 Werkmeister also added three large ventilation holes to the front of the chin panels, similar to those seen earlier on the aircraft of Jasta 18. It is unclear if the rudder cross was painted out by the Jasta or if the plain (white?) fin and rudder shown here was here were applied after capture. According to the evaluation report, it was powered by a Mercedes engine carrying the serial 34358, which was a refurbished engine produced in mid-1917. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Close look at the nose of 817/18 shows that the forward panel was the first component to receive cooling louvers, two small ones in front, then three slightly taller ones a bit higher arranged in the center of the side panel. The circular openings in the chin panel were added by the Jasta 53 groundcrew in order to provide additional cooling for the engine and ammunition compartment during the hot summer months.
Blumethal's Fok. D VII (Alb.) 817/18 is seen here in two motion picture stills, soon after the dismantled aircraft was salvaged. The white tail and oblique fuselage band, bordered with dark blue paint, as well as the "Nickchen IV" moniker, were the personal markings of the pilot. The white nose was the unit marking of Jasta 53. (Greg VanWyngarden).
This aircraft was probably the first intact D.VII to be captured by an RAF unit and was subsequently evaluated by the British, as seen here. As on several Albatros-built D.VIIs, the right outer section of the axle wing has been removed. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The plane closest to the camera in this and the previous photo was either 883/18 or 833/18, both of which he flew between mid-August and late October. This proves that, from early August to late October, he alternated between three different personal D.VIIs. Since 833/18 was recorded to have been powered by a BMW IIIa engine, and the plane seen here appears to mount a Mercedes D.IIIa (note the "tube" mounted on the side of the cylinders, below the exhaust), the aircraft seen here was most likely 883/18. The cooling louvers seen on the triangular-shaped panel are unusual and may have been applied at unit level, while those on the forward side panel are standard for late Albatros-built aircraft from the first production batch. Both aircraft seen in this pair of photos were painted in an identical manner, the only way to differentiate between them is to look for the factory-applied details. (Reinhard Kastner)
Between mid-June 1918 and the end of the war, Jasta 34b commander Oblt. Robert Greim flew seven different Fokker D.VIIs, all of these being Albatros-built planes from the first production batch. The fuselage and rudder crosses on the plane seen in the rear of this photo indicate that the plane seen at rear was most likely 697/18, which he began flying on 3 August, on his first flight after having recovered from an injury suffered in a crash a month and a day earlier. His last recorded flight on the plane was on 22 September. Greim survived the war with a total of 28 confirmed victories, and he was awarded the Pour le Merite on 10 October 1918. After the war, he took part in several demonstration flights with Ernst Udet. (Reinhard Kastner)
One of the last aircraft from the first Albatros batch is seen here at Nivelles after the end of hostilities. The military number was most likely 916/18 (or, less likely, 910/18), and the arrangement of cooling louvers was identical to that seen on 817/18. White "A" previously served with Jagdstaffel 37. (Greg VanWyngarden).
The rear metal nose panel also received louvers soon afterwards. Initially, only one or two such louvers were added, appearing on late aircraft from the first batch, but clear photos showing these are not currently available to the authors. The first aircraft of the second batch featured five louvers arranged in the way seen here. This was pretty much the final layout of these louvers for the rest of D.VII production by Albatros.
On the right fuselage side, five louvers were also added to the rear side panel. Arrangement of these could differ slightly, but the style shown here was very common from the first aircraft of the second batch onwards. The forward part of the exhaust was now also fully exposed to the airstream, and a neat "swung" cutout was seen on late-production Albatros-built machines just in front of it.
While the military number 5220/18 suggests that it was a much later aircraft than the one seen above, there were only about 30 D.VIIs manufactured between them at Johannisthal. The most obvious upgrade is the addition of several ventilation louvers to the triangular rear side panel. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
As a replacement for the O.A.W.-built D.VII that was scorched by the balloon explosion on 14 September, Lt. Friedrich Noltenius of Jasta 11 received Fokker D.VII( Alb) 5278/18. It was named "Hertha" in honor of his sister, and the red/white markings were the Hanseatic colors of Bremen, their home town. The photo here was taken during a visit to Jastaschule II at Nivelles in mid-September. Noltenius scored 21 victories and survived the war. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Noltenius was posted to Jasta 6 on 21 September, and just two months later "Hertha" returned to Nivelles where it was photographed in British hands. Which Jasta 27 pilot picked up the plane in the interim period is not known. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Since the fuselage marking covered the military number, it was re-marked in the upper rear corner of the fuselage cross arms. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Another postwar photo of Fokker D.VII(Alb) 5278/18 Hertha, at Nivelles with a British pilot in the cockpit showing its colorful markings to advantage.
The orientation of the "Bremen" flag on the right side is seen in these views, and it was also applied to the center section of the upper wing. While it is commonly believed that the noses and tails of Jasta 27 aircraft were yellow, this was perhaps no longer true for the tail during the last months of the war. While the early photo of the plane shows the tail in four-color fabric, it is shown here painted white. The rudder fitted now was a replacement item from a late-production OAW.-built aircraft. At least three pilots are known to have joined Jasta 27 after Noltenius left the unit, and any of them could have taken over the plane. Alternatively, it could have been taken over by Jasta 36, a sister unit in JG III. In this case, the nose would have been painted blue at this point, but this is mere speculation. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Dismantled Hertha being transported to a collection center. The "Astra" prop seen in previous photos has been replaced by a different type. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Nivelles was a major post-war collection point for single-seaters of numerous Jagdstaffeln. Seen here is D VII (Alb.) 5298/18 from Jasta 5, showing off the red-bordered green tail unit marking. The lack of personal marking on the fuselage indicates that this was a reserve plane. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Post-war view of unarmed 5322/18, supposedly taken in Bulgaria, allows a look at the cooling louvers from the rear. Note the large "/" seen on this and other late-production aircraft and compare it to that seen on 611/18 and 652/18, pictured earlier in this book. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Unarmed D VII (Alb.) 5477/18 is seen here from both sides in two post-war pictures. Numerous patches are visible on the wing and fuselage fabric, and the nose and tail were painted in an unknown color by the original owners, which remain unidentified at this point. While the engine side panels remain unchanged to earlier aircraft in this batch, the radiator filler neck has now been moved to the left from the previously seen central position. The rectangular openings on the radiator bottom seen on late aircraft of the other two manufacturers now found their way to Albatros-built machines as well. (San Diego Museum Archives)
A lineup of four Albatros-built D.VIIs at Hounslow after the war, with D VII (Alb.) 5524/18 "RK" heading the quartet. This plane has previously wrongly been identified as 5924/18, and this photo may have been the origin of this mistake. A blemish on this grainy print has caused the second digit to appear like a "9". However, this number was not part of the second Albatros-built D.VII batch, and the true military number of this plane must have been 5524/18. The other candidate, 5324/18, was found in Bulgaria after the war. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Fokker D VIIs, with which the majority of Jagdstaffeln re-equipped during the summer and autumn of 1918.
For some reason, the first two aircraft in this lineup 5524/18 and 6769/18, as well as 6822/18 at the far end, have been fitted with O.A.W.-built fins and rudders. D VII (Alb.) has the central radiator filler neck, while the other ones have the offset one. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
"RK" was originally flown by Jasta 63 pilot Lt. Richard Kraut, who joined this unit on 25 October, coming from Jasta 4. The background color of this personal marking on this aircraft is unconfirmed. In Jasta 4 he used black for this, but for the color profile grey has been chosen since the background color is lighter than the re-marked serial on the lower rear fuselage. The horizontal tailplane may also have been a replacement item, since the rear part of the fuselage decking shows remnants of a two-color stripe marking.
The Canadian pilot entering Richard Kraut's Jasta 63 D.VII, (Alb) 5524/18, at Hounslow, UK, in 1919, has not been identified for certain.
D VII (Alb.) 6666/18 shows up in many photos taken by American personnel after the war. The Jasta operating it previously applied a two-color lozenge pattern to the nose and tail sections of the fighter. In the upper photo, this tail marking illustrates that the fuselage cross was positioned further forward on Albatros-built planes. On this aircraft, the rib tapes were cut from the polygon-dyed aircraft fabric. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Photographs of Albatros-built D VIIs powered by the BMW IIIa engine are rare, but 6786/18 shown here was one of them. The pointed Rupp-Nabe spinner, seen above, was an identifying feature for aircraft powered by this engine. As far as it is possible to determine, all other photos of Albatros-built DVIIs shown in this book show aircraft powered by the Mercedes engine. Again, the British maintenance crew has fitted O.A.W.-built fin and rudder components to this aircraft. Otherwise, it remained in factory finish. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The metal side panels on all D.VIIs quickly showed wear and tear, and those seen here on 6816/18 are no exception. Removal of the inner cover of the right wheel exposes a look at the spokes.
Group photo of RAF personnel at Hounslow, 6822/18 being the aircraft closest behind them. This lineup was taken from the other end of the lineup headed by 5524/18 "RK"seen previously. All four fighters are fitted with airspeed indicator pitot tubes on their starboard "N" strut. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The name and unit of the pilot of D VII (Alb.) 6825/18, Lt. Franz Bacher, Jasta 3, were applied to the side of its fuselage before handing them over to the new French owners. The aircraft most likely only arrived at Jasta 3 shortly before the armistice. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
One of the factory-new D.VIIs handed over to the French was Fok. D VII (Alb.) 6852/18, which was exhibited in Paris along with other captured and surrendered military equipment. The unusual perspective of the photo above allows a rare look at the upper surfaces of late Albatros-produced D.VIIs.
Jasta 33 Staffelfuhrer Karl-August von Schonebeck is pictured here very late in the war in his personal Fok. D VII (Alb.) 6880/18. As far as can be seen, this was another rare BMW-powered Fok. D VII (Alb.). (Bruno Schmaling)
A rare example of the final Albatros D.VII batch. Fok: D VII (Alb.) 10087/18 of Polizeistaffel Hannover was photographed in 1919. Compare the subtle differences in the application of the military number and weights table in this and the above photo. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The close-up frontal view of the radiator shows the way the right upper engine cowling wraps around the top of the radiator. The two small inspection windows on the bottom of the upper wing, were peculiar to Albatros-built examples, and the angled exhaust. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
After both Albatros and O.A.W. received orders to build the D.VII under licence, pattern aircraft were sent to both manufacturers from Fokker. Reportedly, Fokker had no pattern drawings available that could be provided to both factories, and much has been made of this in the past. But, realistically, why would he have prepared those? Until then, no previous Fokker type had been manufactured under license by another company, let alone two! Fokker D.VII 230/18 was the pattern machine that went to O.A.W. for study, where it was stripped of its fabric to closely examine the complex weld joins of the fuselage and struts, as well the cantilever wing. Both Albatros and O.A.W. had built wooden-fuselage aircraft with rigged wings before, so manufacturing details of Fokkers ground-breaking new design had to be studied. In this photo, D.VII 230/18 is seen at Adlershof after it had been re-covered at O.A.W. in their initial production outfit. Four-color aircraft fabric has been applied to the airframe, the military number "Fok.D.7 230/18" has been applied in the new O.A.W.- style but without including O.A.W. - after all, this was still a Fokker-built machine. The position and style of application of the fuselage and wing crosses was identical to that seen on initial O.A.W.-built production aircraft. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Fokker D.VII (O.A.W.) 2001/18 is seen here just after delivery mid-May 1918. The blended application of the mauve nose patches shows well in this view, and this pattern was also applied to the wheel covers. The photo also allows a look at the position and the style of application of the Balkenkreuz on the lower wing. The propeller fitted to this aircraft is manufactured by Axial, but lacks the well-known company decal. Barely visible is the military number applied in white on the upper central section of the prop, which was common on O.A.W.-built aircraft. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
More details of the aircraft can be seen in this view of the factory-fresh aircraft, especially the high position of the military number "Fokker D.7. (O.A.W.) 2001/18" close to the cross is unusual. The fuselage military number would move several times during production. The fact that individual components were often interchanged between aircraft is also illustrated by the photo: the wheel hub is marked with the serial 2005/18! Both aircraft are known to have served with Jagdstaffel 66. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
While the image is too blurred to allow deciphering the military number, comparison of the fuselage fabric polygons and the mauve patches on the nose with the previous two photos confirms that this image shows D,7. (O.A.W.) 2001/18 in flight. Very likely the image was snapped at the same time as the previous pictures. Obviously pilots serving both at the Armee Flugparks and the first Jagdstaffeln to receive the first examples of the revolutionary new biplane fighter were eager to test-fly the new plane as soon as they had a chance to do so.
Fok. D.7. (O.A.W.) 2009/18 was the first D.VII to fall into Entente hands intact. This photo taken by its new owners reveals some interesting details of the early O.A.W.-built machines. The nose was painted dark green with mauve patches, and it appears the mauve was blended into the green when the paint was still wet, resulting in a “cloudy” appearance.
The military number has been painted in black on the rear cabane strut and in white on the base of the prop blade. The maintenance access doors on the right side panel were similar in shape to those used by Fokker, as was the low-exiting dual exhaust. Unlike Fokker, O.A.W. did not mount a manufacturer's plate onto the side panel.
The light-colored wing rib tapes are usually referred to as being light blue. However, they may have been cut from plain linen in order to use up remaining stocks of this material.
O.A.W. never adopted the “streaked” fuselage appearance. Aircraft from the first production batch were, as far as can be determined, predominantly covered in four-color fabric.
This very clear picture of newly-delivered D.7. O.A.W. 2010/18 shows that O.A.W. followed Idflieg regulations in exemplary fashion. The military number was to be applied to all major components, and it is seen here in black - on the forward landing gear strut, rear cabane strut, the bottom of the rudder and the forward "N"-strut. The fuselage number has already been re-located - compared to 2001/18 it is applied further behind the cross, but still positioned somewhat high. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Photographed just after delivery to the front in mid-May 1918, the left side of the nose of Fok. D.7. (O.A.W.) 2010/18 shows a user-friendly innovation that remained exclusive to O.A.W.-built aircraft. On the left upper cowling panel, a narrow rectangular maintenance door was installed to allow easy access to the inside without removal of the panel. The cloudy nose painting shows well here, and the military number was also painted onto the forward landing gear strut. In Jasta service, the nose and struts were often covered with paint, making identification of individual aircraft fairly challenging.
The three-quarter rearview of the plane shows the orientation of the four-color fabric on the fuselage. On this plane, the military number was applied to the rudder but not to the fin. O.A.W.-built aircraft had the lifting handles on the rear lower longerons, seen below the military number, were curved upwards. The other two manufacturers mounted these downwards, but in service sometimes the maintenance crews adapted the O.A.W. style on D.VIIs from the other two manufacturers. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The first examples of the O.A.W.-built D.VIIs that reached the front in mid-May 1918 carried national markings that were similar to those of the Fokker-built machines of the same vintage. The rudder cross was placed in a similar position, but O.A.W. always painted the entire tail fin white - though a few very early examples may have had these components covered with plain varnished linen. The works number was applied to the lower section of the rudder, here on the left side, and the weights table, datum line and military number on the fuselage were applied in white. The white “Fok. D.7.(O.A.W.) 2010/18” behind the fuselage cross was positioned fairly high, the "/18” being aligned with the horizontal arm of the cross. Just visible is the upper wing cross which, on early O.A.W.-built aircraft, did not touch the aileron.
Fokker D.VII (O.A.W.) 2035/18 of 22-victory Pour le Merite ace Rudolf Windisch, Jasta 66. Vzfw. Erich Sonneck is in the foreground. The aircraft carries the Weisser Hirsch Sanatorium stag insignia and yellow shield. The red/white/black markings on the tail shown in the profile were the Jasta 66 unit markings. (Greg VanWyngarden)
27-victory ace Karl Thom is seated here in his new D.VII (O.A.W.) 2052/18 after his personal "T" and the unit marking of a black and white fuselage band had been applied to the aircraft. The nose and tail were also painted in a dark color thought to have been black. His writings imply that he scored his last 13 victories (plus one unconfirmed) flying this plane between 11 June and 4 August 1918. A week later, he was severely injured in the hip during aerial combat but brought the plane down in a safe landing. He only returned to his unit on 6 November, and found the plane still waiting for him. Not wanting to hand over his trusted "horse", as he called it, to the Entente as required by the Armistice agreement, he deliberately crashed it on 9 November, and was wounded again in the process. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
A close view of the tail of Karl Thom's D.VII (O.A.W.) 2052/18 reveals a few early changes in factory markings: The fuselage cross has already slimmed down somewhat - compare it to the one seen on D.VII 402/18. The (partially overpainted) military number on the fuselage was now centered with the horizontal cross arm - it would remain in this position as long as the serial was applied in white. Rarely seen in photos is the application of the military number on both the fin and rudder, and the “Albatros” logo on the upper corner of the rudder was often seen on early-production aircraft.
An early aircraft from the first O.A.W. batch is seen here serving with Jasta 27, likely photographed in July or August 1918. The crosses show signs of modification, initially they were probably similar to those seen on Thom's aircraft. The military number cannot be deciphered in the photo, the white /18 on the rear fuselage is barely visible, but this was an aircraft approximately from the 2050/18 - 2080/18 range, and it most likely reached the unit in early to mid-June 1918. The pilot seen on the right, leaning against the left lower wing and holding his walking stick, is Lt. Friedrich Noltenius, who only joined the unit on 15 July 1918, coming from Jastaschule II. This indicates that the plane was "pre-owned", and his personal markings of the red and white Hanseatic stripes probably covered an earlier marking. These stripes were a reference to his hometown Bremen. Seen next to him is his brother Armin, who was not a member of Jasta 27 but merely visited his brother in his new unit. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Almost exactly two months after joining the Jasta, on 14 September, Noltenius brought down an observation balloon as his seventh confirmed victory. His personal diary recorded that this balloon went up in flames about 50 meters in front of him during the attack, and he actually flew right through the explosion. This photo was taken after his safe landing at Aniche airfield following the event, and vividly documents what happened. Shreds of balloon fabric got caught in the struts and on the tailplane, and the fuselage fabric of his D.VII had suffered considerable damage as well. In that condition, the aircraft could no longer be considered airworthy, and it was probably soon returned to the nearest Armee Flugpark or a repair facility in Germany for a thorough overhaul. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
If the difficult to decipher military number on the wheel cover is anything to go by, this photo shows Fokker D.7. (O.A.W.) 2090/18. By that number, the factory at Schneidemuhl had begun to apply the thin Balkenkreuz markings with 5:4 cross arm proportions to their products. The smiling pilot standing next to the plane is Jasta 45 pilot Lt. Ulrich Konnemann, who joined the unit on 23 May 1918. The photo was probably taken some time in late June, right after he had received his new plane and had it painted in his personal colors. Konnemann served with the Staffel right up to the Armistice and was credited with four confirmed victories. His last personal victory was also the 113th and final victory of Jagdstaffel 45, which he scored at around 11:05 a.m. on 30 October 1918. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
A mixed lineup of Jagdstaffel 45 aircraft, most likely photographed at the units airfield north-east of Arcy-Sainte-Restitue during the second half of June 1918. Closest to the camera are six newly-arrived Fokker D.7. (O.A.W.) fighters, seen behind them are the five remaining Albatros D.Va fighters. The photo documents that that Jagdstaffel 45 was initially only half-equipped with the new Fokker fighter. Konnemann's aircraft is seen third from left, and in this halftone picture the two-color fuselage band appears in a different tonality when compared to the photo above. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
A post-war image of D.7. (O.A.W.) 2113/18 with a group of Entente pilots posing around the tail, offering a good look at the application of the military number on the tail fin and rudder. The stripes on the horizontal tailplane identify it as an aircraft formerly operated by Jagdstaffel 71, and in fact it was the personal mount of the Staffelfuhrer, Lt.d.R. Hermann Stutz. A bracing wire connects the tail fin and the forward horizontal tailplane. These steel-tube components sometimes went a bit out of shape as a result of violent combat maneuvers. The light-colored rib tapes seen here and on many O.A.W.-built D.VIIs are usually interpreted as being light blue, but they may have simply been plain linen. This would have allowed to use up remaining stocks of this material for a useful purpose without the need to paint it. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Again the military number on the wheel cover is almost impossible to decipher, but in combination with available unit documents, this photo most likely shows D.7. O.A.W. 2141/18. The plane flew with Jagdstaffel 75, and thanks to the research by Bruno Schmaling we know that it was the personal mount of Lt. Lothar Haussler. His personal marking consisted of his ornate "LH" monogram and a pair of butcher's cleavers - his parents ran a butcher shop! The large cooling slots on the triangular rear side panels could be mistaken as coming from a late-production, but the arrangement and style of the slots and the missing circular maintenance door on this component indicate that this panel was likely modified by the Jasta 75 maintenance crew. (Bruno Schmaling)
Although the military numbers of this airplane have been covered by the blue and white paint used by Jagdstaffel 12 during the summer of 1918, the crosses of 5:4 proportions indicate that this plane was a late example from the first O.A.W. production batch. The fully-cowled high-mounted saxophone exhaust was now becoming common. The tents in the background indicate that the photograph was taken at Mesnil-Bruntel aerodrome, where Jasta 12 remained until 12 July 1918. The broom on the fuselage was the personal marking of Lt. Hans Besser, who joined the unit around this time. "Besen ist Besser" ("broom is Besser'' - one should keep in mind that the family name means "better" in German!) was a popular keyword amongst the pilots of Jagstaffel 12 in the summer of 1918. Besser is known to have flown at least two other D.VIIs later. He was credited with two victories over American D.H.4s in September 1918 and remained with the unit until the end of the conflict. (Alex Imrie)
The second O.A.W. batch was numbered 4000/18 - 4199/18 and pictured here is 4006/18 at Adlershof. Idflieg regularly picked random aircraft fresh out of the factory in order to check them thoroughly, and seems to have been the case in this instance. The position and 5:4 proportions of the crosses were typical for the early aircraft from this batch. Serials on the horizontal tail surfaces were still applied with the "D.7" prefix. On O.A.W.-built aircraft, the military number on the tailplane was usually only applied on the left side. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Fokker D.7 O.A.W. 4068/18 is seen here on the Kest 1b airfield at Karlsruhe in the summer of 1918. The crosses are still applied in a manner identical to 4006/18, and besides the personal "M" marking the aircraft is still in factory finish. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Although the personal "Mercedes Star" marking of Jasta 60 pilot Lt. Karl Waldemar Ritscherle has obscured the first two digits of the works number, the absence of the circular maintenance panel and the cross-arms of equal proportions are enough to identify this as "Fok.D VII.(O.A.W.) 4198/18". Three French and one British cockade were painted over the fuselage fabric bullet hole patches. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB; also Bruno Schmaling)
The cloudy painting of the nose quickly made way to a more pragmatic style of applying the dark green and mauve colors. This resulted in a “giraffe”-like appearance, and probably less cleaning of the brushes at the factory paintjob. This unidentified D.VII was most likely a late aircraft from the second O.A.W. production batch (4000/18 - 4199/18). Upgrades included the high-exiting, “saxophone” style exhaust which was still fully enclosed by the upper cowling panels. The large side panel gained ten small cooling louvres resembling a cheese grater, and a small circular maintenance door was added to the lower fuselage side for the same purpose, a triangular access door was mounted a bit higher, and this had a single ventilation opening.
Fok. D VII.(O.A.W.) 4464/18 was an early aircraft from the third O.A.W. batch. It was the personal plane of Lt. Hans Jungwirth, Jasta 78b at Buhl. This is one of the D.VIIs powered by an overhauled example of a 1917-built Mercedes D.III engine, note the rocker arm boxes being located above the cylinders. This explains also why a propeller from an O.A.W.-built Albatros D.Va has been fitted in the original of the above photo the white "AWS D5a" inscription can be discerned. Both the pilot and his aircraft survived the war. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB; also Bruno Schmaling)
Jagdstaffel 35b received six O.A.W.-built Fokker D.VII on 24 August 1918, and 4487/18 became the personal plane of Lt. Friedrich Stoer. The story behind the markings of this plane is told in "Jasta Colors Volume 1", also published by Aeronaut books. (Bruno Schmaling)
The numerically next aircraft was 4488/18, and it was operated by Jagdstaffel 71. It is seen here in a post-war photo. The different quality of factory paint versus that used in the field is vividly illustrated: while the factory-applied black and white show no signs of wear at all, the white marking applied on the tailplane and fuselage has flaked off considerably.
D.VII (O.A.W.) 4488/18 in American hands. The fighter is fully armed and appears to be in original colour scheme. Spad XIII fighters of the 138th Aero Squadron are in the background.
The Jagdstaffeln were constantly on the move, and when they were transferred to a more distant location aircraft were disassembled for transport by rail or truck. Here, the fuselage of Fok.D VII.(O.A.W.) 4489/18 from Jagdstaffel 32b "E" is seen next to Pfalz D.XII 2454/18. The small circular maintenance door that was introduced on the third O.A.W. batch can be seen well here, below the "cheese grater" cooling louvers. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Vizeflugmeister Franz Mayer and two of mechanics pose in front of what must be his Fok. D VII. (O.A.W.) 4499/18. The colors of the aircraft are described by his combat report from 5 September 1918: A white fuselage with black stripes and yellow nose and tail surfaces. Not doubt the wheels were yellow as well, and the fuselage may also have been yellow, too. A close look reveals that the cross is lighter than usual, compare with 4488/18, for example, and shows streaks that indicate some sort of overpainting. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Another Fok.D VII.(O.A.W.) delivered to Jagdstaffel 35b on 24 August was 4523/18, which was the plane flown by the Staffelfuhrer Lt. Rudolf Stark. He chose lilac as his personal color, and the tail and nose were painted accordingly, and to the fuselage band a narrow black outline was added. (Reinhard Kastner)
Line up of Jasta 35b aircraft, showing Stark’s machine closest to the camera, in the middle stage of it's markings.
At some point during production of the second half of the second O.A.W. production batch (4000/18 - 4199/18), the fuselage military number was placed ahead of the fuselage cross and was, as well as the datum line and weights table, applied in black. The Arabic “7” made way to the Roman “VII” used by the other two manufacturers. The crosses were slimmed down considerably during manufacture of the second and third batches, and eventually matched the prescribed 8:1 proportions. During production of the third batch (4450/18 - 4649/18) the tail cross began to be applied onto the rudder only, and both styles of crosses can be seen in this lineup of Jasta 35b D.VIIs from this batch. On these aircraft, the wing crosses were positioned far outboard, the horizontal cross arms touched the wingtips.
View of Jasta 35b fighters lined up in perfect position on the occasion of the visit of General von Bruck on 14 September 1918, Lieu-Saint-Amand airfield. The uniform angled arrangement of the props was only arrived at after much discussion, according to Rudolf Stark. He also wittingly remarked that there was no regulation concerning this detail - yet! Five OAW.-built D.VIIs head the lineup, 4523/18, the personal plane of Staffelfuhrer Lt. Rudolf Stark being the plane closest to the camera, heads the row of aircraft. Additional cooling louvers have been cut into the upper engine cowlings by the mechanics of the Stoffel. The five Pfalz D.XII seen at the far end were delivered to the unit on 1 September, and were only accepted after much discussion. Additional D.VIIs were delivered to the unit in the coming weeks, as new pilots arrived at Jasta 35b. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Following the grounding of the Fokker E.V in late August, Jagdstaffel 6 received a shipment of O.A.W.-built D.VIIs to replace the "Parasols". Here Lt. Werner Noldecke poses with 4532/18; the military number has been re-marked on the forward fuselage fabric. Again, additional information on the plane and pilot can be found in in "Jasta Colors Volume 1". (Bruno Schmaling & Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Black and white striped D.VIIs also flew with Jagdstaffeln 5 and 52, and seen here is the famous example from the former unit. Fokker D.VII (O.A.W.) 4598/18 was the personal plane of 35-victory ace Lt. Otto Konnecke. He was decorated with the Pour le Merite on 26 September 1918, and while he went on the usual leave that was granted along with the awards, his fellow comrade Josef Mai borrowed the plane. The latter promptly scored his victories # 29 and 30 while flying it on 27 and 29 September. Mai survived the war and passed away on 18 January 1982 at the age of 94 years. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
After returning to Jasta 5, Konnecke resumed his scoring by being credited with his 32nd victory on 18 October. He added another victory on 01 November, and took part in the last major engagement that Jasta 5 was involved in. On 4 November, a trio of 57 Sqn RAF D.H.4s were brought down by Jasta 5 at around 11:45. Two of these opponents were credited to Konnecke, and most likely he was again flying 4598/18 during this combat. Konnecke died on 25 January 1956, aged 63. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
His aircraft was amongst several Jasta 5 Fokker D.VIIs that were handed over to the RAF after the armistice. It must be pointed out that this plane did not carry the usual unit markings of a green tail with a narrow red outline. This marking can be made out on several aircraft that were photographed at Nivelles after the war, and the lack of this marking indicates the status that Konnecke must have had at Jasta 5 at the time.
On 9 November 1918, Jasta 65 pilot Heinz Freiherr von Beaulieu-Marconnay landed his Fokker D.VII (O.A.W.) 4635/18 " U.10"close to the 95th Aero Squadron airfield near Verdun. At its landing point, the plane was disassembled and then transported to the nearby USAS fighter unit. As shown in these views, the original fuselage cross on both sides, as well as the 95th AS unit marking on the left side were souvenired at an early stage, and were quickly patched over. The fuselage cross has been re-applied in an undersized manner. Heinz was a very experienced pilot with more than two years of service with FA 2, Jasta 7, and Kest 5 before he was posted to Jasta 65 on 27 August, coming from AFP C ."U.10" is now on display in the NASM.
After the plane had been re-assembled at the airfield of the 95th Aero Squadron, the "kicking mule" insignia of the unit was applied below the cockpit. In this photo, the large original fuselage cross is still in place. Heinz was the brother of the Pour le Merite-decorated ace Olivier von Beaulieu-Marconnay, who died on 26 October from injuries suffered from friendly fire on the 10th of the same month. It was variously reported that Heinz defected, lost his way in poor weather, or simply became disillusioned by the course of the war and simply landed "somewhere". In any case, his aircraft survives in restored shape at the NASM to this day.
A closeup view of "U.10" soon after capture allows a closer look at the level of detail with which the "kicking mule" insignia was applied by the 95th Aero Squadron painter. The fuselage side fabric is still in its original form.
The original large fuselage cross on the right side was also souvenired while in possession of the 95th, and then patched over. A smaller Balkenkreuz was then applied in an identical manner as the one on the left. An inscription denoting the date of capture as well some other details was added between the "10" and the kicking mule. The white outline of the upper wing crosses has almost worn off, which was rarely seen on the D.VII and other German fighters.
Fokker D.VII "U.10" is being unloaded at the 95th AS airfield. The original style of application of the "U.10"marking, applied as"U.10". on the upper wing, is clearly visible.
Fokker D.VII "U.10" before restoration on display at the NASM annex.
"U.10" on display in its first guise at the NASM before restoration. The patched-over fabric below the cockpit and the replacement fuselage cross can be made out well in this side view.
Fokker D.VII "U.10" on display at NASM.
Uffz. Alfred Bader and two of his mechanics pose by the nose of the aircraft. The military number 4649/18 can be read clearly on the wheel hub and struts in this wonderful photo. The two other Jasta 65 D.VIIs that can be seen in the background lack personal markings on the fuselage. Thus it seems that the "Sieben Schwaben" is newly applied. (Tobias Weber)
D.VII (O.A.W.) 4649/18 was the last aircraft of the third O.A.W. production batch and flew with Jagdstaffel 65, where the nose and fuselage were fully overpainted. The nose panels gained another eight cooling louvres on its forward section. The circular access door can just be seen behind the shoulder of the pilot. On this aircraft, the upper cowling panel considerably overlaps the side panels, almost touching the forward and rear cabane struts. This detail was also noted on some other O.A.W.-built D.VIIs, but it remained fairly rare. The radiator filler neck was still centrally positioned, and openings have been added into the radiator matrix in order to improve cooling of the forward engine cylinder.
Bader joined Jagdstaffel 65 on 31 August 1918, coming from Jastaschule II, just four days after Lt. Heinz von Beaulieu-Marconnay arrived. The photographs on these two pages were taken in October 1918 at La Ferte airfield. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
We have to thank historian Tobias Weber for correcting an old mistake concerning the pilot of the famous "Die Sieben Schwaben". It was actually the personal plane of Uffz. Alfred Bader. (Tobias Weber)
It seems fitting that, being the last aircraft of the third O.A.W. production batch, 4649/18 received some of the most spectacular personal markings seen. This view of the left side of the fuselage proves that the design of the artwork differed from the one seen on the right. The cowling chin panel looks considerably lighter than in the previous photo. Jasta 65 ended the war at Tichemont, and the background suggests this duo of photos was taken shortly before the Armistice. Bader was credited with two victories over Salmson two seaters, the first one on 2 October and the second one on 8 November. This was also the 34th and final victory credited to the unit. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The Fokker D.VII was the best German fighter in widespread use and a contender for the best WWI fighter. It had excellent performance, was robust and maneuverable, and its thick airfoil wings gave it exceptional handling characteristics. Additionally, its engines were very reliable compared to most Allied engines.
On 20 October Jasta 65 transferred to Tichemont airfield where this and the photo on the opposite page were taken. It may be interesting to note that the upper engine panel overlapped the side panel, almost touching the forward interplane strut. Late aircraft from the third O.A.W. batch typically carried the number and arrangement of cooling louvers seen here. The fuselage and nose shown in the profile are unconfirmed. They are based on the colors recorded for "U. 10." of the same unit. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Jasta 75 pilot Lt. Heinrich Lux and his mechanic pose with Fok.DVII. (O.A.W.) 6316/18 at Habsheim airfield. The most visible upgrade to the fourth batch is the long cooling louvers, and on the first few dozen examples those on the forward panel had a flat profile. Those on the triangular-shaped panel already had the later, more pointed shape. The fuselage (and presumably the wings) are covered in five-color fabric. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Three mechanics of Jasta 12 dressed up as pilots pose next to the personal aircraft of the Staffelfuhrer, Lt. Hermann Becker. The military number marked on the wheel cover reads Fok.D VII.(O.A.W.) 6340/18, and the photo was likely taken in October 1918 at Carignan or Florenville. The left aileron was repaired or is a replacement part, lacking the lower section of the Balkenkreuz. Two of the rib-tapes have been reinforced. The aircraft survived the war and appears on a list of D.VIIs inspected at Coblenz dated 1 January 1919. From this we learn that it was in unserviceable condition and was powered by Mercedes D.IIIau 43025. Hermann Becker survived the war with a total of 23 confirmed victories. (Alex Imrie)
Oblt. Amandus Rostock took command of Jasta 76b on 7 October 1918, and is seen here joining up with his groundcrew, who are conducting maintenance on his new Fok.DVII. (O.A.W.) 6372/18. The airframe was covered in five-color fabric, and the tail of Uffz. Josef Bauer's Fok.DVII. (O.A.W.) is just visible in the background.
Rostock's Fok.D VII. (O.A.W.) 6372/18 is seen here after it was fully painted in his personal scheme. Note the outboard position of the upper wing crosses. (Bruno Schmaling)
Uffz. Josef Geyer is smiling happily into the camera from the cockpit of his new D.VII. The serial visible on the forward landing gear strut identifies this as O.A.W.-built 6381/18, seen here after it was fully painted in his personal scheme. The fuselage of this plane was covered in four-color fabric, and the lower wing crosses are now located further inboard. More information on the history of Jagdstaffel 76 and the aircraft of this unit can be found in "Royal Bavarian Jagdstaffel 76", also published by Aeronaut Books. (Bruno Schmaling)
Fok.DVII. (O.A.W.) 6428/18 was the personal plane of Jasta 71 pilot Hans-Joachim von Hippel. The aircraft was covered in five-color fabric, and the outboard position of the wing crosses may be noted. He received this plane on 2 October 1918, and this photograph seems to have been taken soon after the striped tail unit marking and his personal "Lude" inscription had been applied. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Also photographed on the same occasion at the Jasta 71 airfield at Habsheim was Fok.DVII. (O.A.W.) 6467/18 "Ede", the personal plane flown by Lt. Fritz Oppenhorst. The fuselage was also covered in five-color fabric, and it has won the wheel from 6454/18 in the components lottery. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Fok.DVII. (O.A.W.) 6520/18, seen here in the hands of the 1st Aero Squadron after the war, likely at Trier. This plane had seen previous service with Jagdstaffel 67 and likely reached the unit just a few weeks before the end of the war. The small circular maintenance door is seen opened in this picture.
This frontal view of Fok.D VII. (O.A.W.) 8425/18 nicely shows a detail typical to many O.A.W.-built D.VIIs: the half green, half mauve-painted axle wing. The wheel covers were painted in these two colors, too, both on the inside and outside. As seen here, the radiator filler neck was offset to the left on late-production aircraft of all three D.VII manufacturers. (Greg VanWyngarden)
On the snow-covered airfield at Koblenz, Fok.D VII. (O.A.W.) 8425/18 poses for the camera. The fuselage of the aircraft is covered in four-color fabric, while the wings are covered in the five-color variant of the material. Beginning early in the fourth batch, O.A.W. began to discontinue the use of light-colored rib tapes and used four- or five-color fabric instead, as seen here. No military number has been applied to the fin or rudder on this plane. By coincidence, the wheel fitted to this plane is that of 8331/18, which heads the above lineup photo. (Greg VanWyngarden)
The cooling louvres on O.A.W.-built aircraft from the fourth and fifth production batch were almost identical, and those on the left side almost mirrored the layout of the other side of the nose. One exception was the taller maintenance door on the forward side panel, which usually featured a single louvre. The rectangular maintenance door on the upper panel was a feature of all D.VII's from this manufacturer. On most late-production aircraft the radiator filler neck was positioned on the left, as seen here in a post-war view of D.VII O.A.W. 8520/18.
This lineup of aircraft from the last production batch in American hands post-war shows the final application method of the crosses. The small cross centered on the rudder was applied in a way that exactly complied to the official Idflieg requirement which demanded exactly that. Fokker and Albatros did not apply in in this position, but this may have been accepted by the authorities in order to allow a quick “first look” identification of the origin of a specific aircraft to those who knew what to look for. The wing crosses were now applied further inboard in a position that matched that of late Fokker- and Albatros-built planes.
On O.A.W.-built aircraft from the fourth and fifth production batch the “saxophone” style exhaust was exposed to the slipstream. The mauve patches remained to be painted on the dark green nose parts, and the upper panel seen here in a post-war photo of 8539/18 came from a different aircraft - the green seems darker, and the patches don't match. This also happened during service with the Jagdstaffeln. The final two batches featured cooling slots of various sizes, and another identifying feature was the lack of a manufacturer plate below the rectangular maintenance door on the forward side panel. The circular access door in front of the three cooling louvres on the lower rear panel was also unique to O.A.W.-built aircraft, but the side panels were interchangeable between manufacturers.
This aircraft "made the rounds" in order to familiarize nearby Jastas with the new biplane fighter. Here it is pictured on the airfield of Jasta Mat Phalempin on 23. May 1918, the Triplanes operated by Jasta 14 can be seen in the distance. Also stationed at this airfield at this time, but not in the photo, was Jagdstaffel 30, which was then operating the Pfalz D.IIIa.
Another rare case of decorating an aircraft is documented in the case of Lt. Josef Veltjens' early-production Fokker-built D.VII. While the "24" invited suggestion that a victory number is celebrated here, the photo was actually taken on 2 June 1918 in order to celebrate the 24 birthday of the pilot. The nose of the plane was painted red, while the rest of the fuselage was dark blue, the usual Jasta 15 unit coloring. It appears that the upper wing surfaces were also painted in a uniform color, most likely the aforementioned dark blue, and the wing crosses still have the broad white outline at this point. His personal marking was a winged arrow marked on the fuselage sides. Veltjens was credited with 35 victories and received the Pour le Merits on 16 August 1918. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
One of several pilots who took a while to get into their stride was Lt. Kurt Monnington. He had been a fighter pilot for almost eleven months before scoring his initial victory on 11 May 1918. Then the D.VII arrived at Jasta 18, also dubbed Jasta "Raben" (Raven) as a reference to the name of their commander, and his scoring began to pick up. Between June and October he added another seven victories, and very likely the bulk of these were scored while flying this skull and crossbones marked early-production D.VII (O.A.W.). Monnington survived the war but died of pneumonia in Hamburg on 17 February 1939. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Jasta 4 converted to the D.VII in mid-June 1918, being equipped with O.A.W.-built machines. Here is an early Fokker-built example from Jasta 4 carrying the personal marking of Lt. Richard Kraut, who joined the unit on August 3, 1918. This aircraft may have seen previous service with Jasta 11 and was handed over to Jasta 4 after Jasta 11 converted to the BMW IIIa-powered D.VIIF in late June 1918. It is also possible that this was an ex-Jasta 6 aircraft. In any case, the nose, wheel covers and struts were now painted black, the Jasta 4 unit marking at that time. The personal marking applied to this plane was a white shield with a black cross, the coat of arms of the "Deutschordenstaat" (State of the German Order), which approximately extended over the territory that is now the three Baltic states, from the 15th to 16th century. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Jasta 6 converted from the Triplane to the D.VII around mid-May 1918, and this poor-quality image shows the personal aircraft of Lt. Richard Wenzl. Jasta 6 previously used black & white stripes applied to the horizontal tail plane as their unit marking, and on the D.VII this was extended to the nose section and wheel cover. Wenzl's personal marking was the inverted version of the 'Iron Cross' ribbon. The aircraft features a detail more commonly associated with the Dr.l: the lower fuselage longerons show a narrow light blue border, at least behind the personal marking. (Greg VanWyngarden)
The leader of Jagdgeschwader III, Oblt. Bruno Lorzer, flew with his old unit Jagdstaffel 26 and applied an expanded version of the black and white fuselage stripes of this unit on his personal D.VII. To allow immediate identification in the air, these stripes were also applied to the top of the upper wing and the bottom of the lower wing. Streamers are attached to the bottom of the rear interplane "N" struts as an additional recognition feature, and a tear in the upper wing fabric allows for a glimpse at some of the upper wing internal structure.
Besides the famous von Richthofen brothers Manfred and Lothar, a third member of the family flew with Jasta 11 in 1918, their cousin Wolfram. He was credited with all of his eight victories while flying the D.VII, between June and the end of the war. The photo shows him in front of his D.VIIF in August or September 1918. For the last six days in August, he was acting commander of Jasta 11, continuing a family tradition. He died of cerebral hemorrhage on 12 June 1945. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Initially flying as an observer, Otto Schmidt was credited with his victory as early as 20 June 1916. His career as a fighter pilot began with Jasta 7 in March 1917, and he took command of Jasta 5 on 3 July 1918. He retained this position until the end of the war, being credited with 20 or 21 confirmed victories, depending upon source. Here he is pictured in front of an O.A.W.-built D.VII. The aircraft shows details that are identical to those of Konnecke's 4598/18, and both aircraft were probably delivered to Jasta 5 at the same time. Seen in the background is the tail of an Albatros-built D.VII. Schmidt died in his native city of Neunkirchen on 24 July 1944. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Lt.d.R. Willi Nebgen joined Jasta 7 on 14 June 1918, arriving from Jastaschule I. Just two days later he claimed an S.E.5a for his initial victory, but failed to get confirmation for it. Yet another two days later, he was more lucky and his claim over a 3 Sqn. Sopwith Camel was allowed, and its pilot Lt. O.H. Nicholson was taken prisoner. His early-production Fokker-built D.VII was painted black on all surfaces, and his personal marking was a slanted green and white fuselage band, as noted by a German interwar-researcher on the back of this photo. On 22 October, after being credited with a total of four victories, he was killed in combat near Gontrode, the last of three pilots of Jasta 7 killed while the unit operated the Fokker D.VII. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Lt. Carl Degelow was another pilot who massively increased his score after receiving the Fokker D.VII. Flying with Jastas 7 and 40, he scored five victories from September 1917 to mid-June 1918. Then jasta 40 received the first examples of the new Fokker fighter, and he would be credited with another 25 victories between late June and early November 1918. He was given command of Jasta 40 on 10 July, and remained in charge until the end of the war. On 9 November 1918 he was decorated with the Pour le Merite, the last Jasta pilot to receive the award. This photo was likely taken to commemorate his award of the Hohenzollern House order, which he proudly shows off. His D.VII (Alb.), marked with his jumping white stag marking, is undergoing some major maintenance on the ammunition and fuel compartment.
Lt. Olivier Freiherr von Beaulieu-Marconnay initially served with the 4th Dragoon Regiment, being promoted to the rank of Leutnant in July 1916, two months short of his 18th birthday. In December 1917 he joined Jasta 18 and kept the "4D" horse branding marking of his former cavallery unit as the personal identifier on his aircraft. Here he poses alongside his Fokker D.VIIF, most likely after taking command of Jasta 19 on 2 September 1918. His aircraft was a late example from the first Fokker-built batch. The hole in the side panel for the early exhaust has been faired over and the later "saxophone" exhaust with matching panel has been installed. This aircraft was likely taken over by him from Hptm. Rudolf Berthold after he was wounded on 10 August 1918. Remnants of Berthold's winged sword insignia can be made out beneath the"4D" marking, the top surfaces of both wings were painted in blue paint that has weathered considerably, and some repair work has been carried out on the right side of the upper wing. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Royal Bavarian Jagdstaffel 78b received several aircraft from the second D.VII production batch, and here is the personal plane flown by Lt. Gerhard Ungewitter, marked with a lightning bolt. He served with the unit from 22 April 1918 to the end of the war, and was credited with a single victory over a DH 9 from 55 Squadron IAF on 13 August 1918. During the same combat Oblt. Benz, the commander of Jasta 78b, was killed, and Ungewitter served as the deputy commander of the Jasta for a month afterwards.
Oblt. Karl Bolle took command of the legendary Jagdstaffel Boelcke on 20 February 1918, and it was due to his leadership that the unit was credited with 138 confirmed victories (out of a total of 336) in the last six months before the end of the war. His own score at this time stood at 36, and here is pictured in front of his BMW-powered Fokker D.VIIF.
Jagdstaffel 46 was one of the units formed under the "Amerika-Programm" which rapidly increased their score after introduction of the D.VII. During the last four months of the war, the unit scored 33 out of their total of 49 confirmed victories, while having only two pilots wounded in combat. The most successful pilot of the Stoffel was Vfw. Oskar Hennrich, pictured here next to his Fokker D.VII (O.A.W.). Visible details indicate that this was an early aircraft from the 6300/18 production batch. Hennrich was credited with 18-20 confirmed victories, 13 of these were scored against observation balloons. His overdue decoration with the Golden Military Merit Cross finally came on 3 November.
Lt. Wilhelm Leusch joined Jasta 19 on 15 April 1917 and remained with the unit until the end of the war. Here he is photographed at Stenay airfield in October 1918, and his aircraft is one of several O.A.W.-built planes from the 6300/18 range that were supplied to the component units of JG II. The wings are covered in five-color fabric with light-colored rib tapes. Leusch was one of those pilots who frequently changed their personal markings, and on this one he chose the flame-breathing dragon used by the metal-casting company "Unterberg & Helmle" in their 1918 adverts. The dragon was applied in a highly detailed manner, and the plane was handed over to the French after the war. Being credited with five victories, Leusch was given command of Jasta 19 following the death of Olivier von Beaulieu-Marconnay on 26 October. He survived the war but was tragically killed in a glider crash at the Wasserkuppe mountain on 14 August 1921.
JG II commander Hauptmann Rudolf Berthold resumed flying in late May 1918 after a recovery period of seven and a half months. Even then, his right arm was only under partial control, with bone splinters still working their way through the scar tissue. The light control forces needed to pilot the D.VII made return to flying for him much easier, and he resumed scoring on 28 May 1918, being credited with his 29th victory on that date. He would add a total of 16 claims to his tally at the controls of at least three different D.VIIs before yet another injury ended the war for him on 10 August 1918. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Under the command of Lt. Degelow, Jasta 40 adopted black fuselages as a unit marking, and initially the tail was all-white. Personal markings were applied to the fuselage sides, and on his Fokker D.VII (Alb.) Lt. Willi Rosenstein adopted a white heart as his symbol, and it was apparently bordered in a color interpreted as red. Further information about Rosenstein can be found in "Jasta Colors Volume 1". (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Another similar aircraft from this batch operated by Jasta 78b was the "EP" marked Fokker flown by Offz. Stv. Emil Prime. The military number is applied to the "N" strut but is not legible in the photo, preventing exact identification of the airframe. The blue paint used by the unit was only applied to the fuselage fabric, leaving the metal nose parts in factory finish. Two narrow white bands ahead of the tail section completed the unit marking. Being credited with three confirmed victories (as well as three claims that were not confirmed to him), he was the most successful pilot of the unit. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Franz Buchner's famous O.A.W.-built D.VII was one of the first aircraft from the 6300/18 - 6649/18 batch. The most noticeable external upgrade to this batch was the introduction of the long cooling louvers, and on the first few dozen examples the louvers on the forward panel had a flat profile. Those on the lower triangular-shaped panel already had the later, more pointed shape. The wings are covered in five-color fabric. The fuselage of this example was painted in a shade of blue that was considerably lighter than that of other JG II D.VIIs. Buchner had flown two or three other D.VIIs previous to this one, and it is likely that he scored 38 of his 40 victories on D.VIIs, which would make him the highest scoring pilot on the type. Buchner was awarded the Pour le Merite. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The aircraft survived the war, and the one-piece intake manifold on the engine indicates it was powered by a BMW IIIa engine. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Buchner's D.VII (O.A.W.) was decorated with a large floral wreath to commemorate his 40th victory. Unfortunately, this obscured the military number on the base of the propeller. The "40" was drawn into the photo. The location where this photo was taken appears to be Stenay, and this indicates the picture was taken on 8 October when Buchner-claimed a pair of two-seaters. However, he did not get confirmation for these, and was only officially credited with his 40th and last victory on 22 October, when Jasta 13 was based at Carignan. Three days later, he was finally awarded the well-deserved Pour le Merite. A Pfalz D.XII is parked in the hangar behind the men. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Pilots of Jasta 4 at Escaufort aerodrome in front of a Fokker D.VII of their unit, 5 September 1918, exemplify the best of late-war German fighter aviation. The Fokker D.VII became the main German fighter as soon as its production could reequip the Jastas. Left to Right: Lt.d.R. Richard Kraut, Lt. Hildebrandt, Flieger Rohde, Lt.d.R. Adolf Hildebrandt, Lt. Joachim von Winterfeld, Lt. Egon Koepsch (acting CO), Lt.d.R. Heinrich Maushake, Lt. Heinz Graf von Gluszewski, and Lt.d.R. Julius Bender.
Vzfw. Christian Donhauser joined Jasta 17 around July 1918, having previously flown two-seaters in Fliegerabteilung 10. He scored his first victory with the Jasta on 20 August and ended the war with around 16 confirmed and 3 unconfirmed victories, making him the most successful pilot of the Staffel in the summer of 1918. He was awarded the Golden Military Merit Cross, commonly known as the "NCO Pour le Merite", on 9 October. Here he poses for the "Sanke" card photographer in front of his Albatros-built D.VII.
Photographed at Stenay in late September/early October, the two cooling louvers above his head face forward, thus acting as air intakes. This was a modification seen on several early D.VIIs serving with JG II. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
As was the case with Wilhelm Leusch earlier, Lt. Ulrich Neckel also frequently picked new personal markings for each of his new aircraft. After scoring 24 victories with Jastas 12,13, and 19, he was given command of Jasta 6 on 1 September 1918, where he would add six further victories to his scoreboard. At Jasta 6, he adopted the all-over black and white striped scheme previously used by Hans Kirschstein, seen here on his O.A.W.-built D.VII in September. Towards the end of the month, the unit received Fokker-built D.VIIFs, and this scheme was carried over on the pair of D.VIIFs he is known to have flown later. Neckel was the last German fighter pilot to be decorated with the Pour le Merite on 6 November, having risen through the ranks swiftly and being commissioned only in April 1918. Having survived 14 months of aerial fighting, he fell victim to Tubercolosis at the age of 30 on 11 May 1928 in Italy. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Jagdstaffel 6 traded their Mercedes-powered O.A.W.-built D.VIIs, which they received as immediate replacement for their grounded Fokker E.Vs, for D.VIIFs. The one of the Staffelfuhrer Lt. Ulrich Neckel has already been painted with his black and white-striped fuselage marking, and the one seen to the right of it also carries the Jasta 6 unit marking and a personal marking of an arrow on the fuselage. The plane at left appears to be an as-yet unpainted new arrival, while the three at right may have belonged to another component Jasta of JG I. The photo was taken at Marville, likely in early October. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Proudly wearing the Pour le Merite that was awarded to him on 24 June, Lt. Hans Kirschstein poses in front of his Fokker D.VII at the airfield at Beugneux. Very likely the photo was taken in early July after his return from the Second Fighter Competition in Berlin, where he was informed about the bestowal of the award on 25 June. (L. Bronnenkant)
A lineup of Jasta 6 Fokker D.VII fighters apparently taken at Beugneux airfield. Kirschstein's plane heads the lineup, the usual position for the aircraft of the officer in charge, indicating the photo was snapped on or after 10 June, when he took over command of the Staffel. Parked next to it is a captured, all-white Spad VII still carrying the unit marking of Esc. Spa. 62, its original owner. (Bruno Schmaling)
Kirschstein joined Jasta 6 on 13 March 1918, and scored his first victory five days later. He managed to score his total of 27 victories within 14 weeks at the front. His all-over striped fighters were dubbed "optical illusion” by his comrades, an effective scheme that resulting in him only ever getting hit in the right wing, if at all. Tragically, he was badly injured on 16 July in a two-seater crash in which he was the passenger, and died the next morning. The photo is an enlargement of the lineup seen below. (Bruno Schmaling)
Lt.zur See Gotthard Sachsenberg flew this spectacularly-marked Fokker D.VII while serving as the commander of Marine Land Feld Jagdstaffel I. The aircraft was powered by a Mercedes engine. The fuselage was yellow, and black checkers covered the fuselage fabric. The patches on the yellow-painted upper wing may simply have been reinforcement tape that strengthened the fabric on the centre-section area. The upper-wing crosses appear to have been applied with with 5:4 cross arm proportions, indicating that this may have been a late aircraft from the first Fokker production batch. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Sachsenberg's D.VII shows up in the background of a Fokker E.V photo taken in mid-August 1918, allowing us a view of the left side. In this view the unit marking of MFJ I, a single black stripes on the elevators, can also be seen for once. The patches on the upper wing look too irregular to be a marking and may possibly just signify repair work on the center section. Sachsenberg was decorated with the Pour le Merite and survived the war with 31 victories to his credit. Aged 69, he died on 23 August 1961. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
OffzStv. Friedrich Altemeier served with Jasta 24 from its formation on 1 December 1916 until the end of the war, when his score stood at 21 victories. Rather fittingly, he was credited with the second victory of the unit on 3 March 1917 as well the 88th and final one on 10 November 1918. Here he is pictured in front of his heavily overpainted early-production Fokker D.VII in the summer of 1918. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
To allow for a more natural look at the plane, the famous photo has been horizontally aligned. By Udet's own accounts, the photo was taken just one day before he was shot down in it and barely managed to bail out from low altitude. The frontline life of the aircraft was a mere 16 days. Note that the D.7 in the background has its upper cowling panel in place.
Lineup of Jasta 4 Fokker D.7 (O.A.W.) fighters photographed in August 1918. Note the the upper cowlings are removed now, after the in-flight firers that occurred in mid-July. Udet is the third man from right, looking into the camera over his right shoulder. The "LO!" marked D.7 at far right was most likely his Mercedes-powered replacement backup machine. This could be interpreted as the successor to "Du doch nicht!!", but since he did not use it much it only received a simplyfied paint job. His article in "Motor" describes that he scored all his victories in August (# 41 to #60) while flying D.VIIF 4253/18, pictured previously in this book. He praised the reliability of the BMW engine to a great extend in the article, so there was hardly any need for him to resort to the less-powerful machine.
After JG II departed the Giraumont/Tichemont airfield complex on 28 September, Jasta 64w remained the sole unit stationed there for a while. Here the unit is working up eleven newly-arrived O.A.W.-built D.VIIs from the 6300-6649/18 production batch. All aircraft seem to carry personal markings already, but the application of the unit markings is only partially complete. The third and fourth aircraft from left still feature the factory nose camouflage pattern, while the other planes already have received the "Pfalz silver grey" nose marking. The fuselage overpainting has so far only been completed on "Rudi" and "Ali" on the right, as well as the second aircraft on the left. Another D.VII (O.A.W.) with a tarp cover over its engine can be seen at far right, in front of the hangar. Finally, on 20 October, Jasta 65 also moved to the location, and both units would remain there until the end of the war. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Six early-production Albatros-built D.VIIs head this small lineup of Jasta 40 at their airfield near Lomme in the early summer of 1918. Closest to the camera is the personal aircraft of the Staffelfuhrer, Lt. Carl Degelow. Besides his "white stag" fuselage marking, an oblique white bar has been painted on the center section of the top wing to denote his position as unit commander. Second in line is the heart-marked aircraft of Lt. Rosenstein, carrying a lengthwise white stripe on the upper wing, indicating his status as deputy leader. This was an earlier aircraft than the one seen in side view a few pages earlier. A Pfalz D.IIIa and an Albatros D.Va are obliged to hide at the end of the lineup. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Jasta 13 parade their new Fokker D.VIIs in June 1918 at Mesnil. Ten of the fighters are seen in this view. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Six D.VIIs from Jasta 36 are set up for the camera at Aniche in late August/early September 1918. The"N"-marked plane is an early Mercedes-powered Fokker-built machine that may have been handed over from Jasta "Boelcke" after the unit received D.VIIFs in August. Jasta 36 still had Fokker Triplanes and Fokker E.Vs when the photo was taken, and the mixed equipment no doubt made daily operations pretty challenging. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Photographed at their airfield at Habsheim, Jagdstaffel 71 shows off their 14 Fokker D.VIIs in October 1918. By this time, the shortage of aircraft that plagued many Jagdstaffeln in the summer, during transition from the old types to the D.VII, was a thing of the past. Even a unit operating on a quiet sector of the front, such as Jasta 71, could now be brought up to the nominal strength of fourteen aircraft. The lineup consists of nine O.A.W.-built, four Albatros-built, and one Fokker-built example. Third from left is D.VII (O.A.W.) 4488/18, and sixth from left is D.VII (O.A.W.) 2113/18, the aircraft of Lt. Hermann Stutz, the Staffelfuhrer. At right, at the far end of the lineup, are “Lude" (D.VII (O.A.W.) 6428/18) and "Ede" (D.VII (O.A.W.) 6467/18). Individual views of these four aircraft can be found in previous pages of this book. (Tobias Weber)
Out with the old - in with the new! In May 1918 Jagdstaffel 27 took delivery of their first examples of the new Fokker D.VII. These would soon replace the old Fokker Triplanes, three of which are also seen in this view, as well as the Albatros D.Va also seen in the photo.
Jagdstaffel 18 arranged their aircraft in tails-up position in front of their hangars at Montingen for a visit by KoGenLuft General Ernst von Hoeppner. Besides this, all props were arranged vertically in order to appear as immaculate as possible. The picture was snapped at the moment when Jasta commander August Raben greets von Hoeppner, with the pilots standing in line to be addressed by their commanding General. In the far distance at right, a captured D.H.4 is parked in front of a tent. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Nine Fokker E.V fighters of Jasta 6 lined up for the camera in early August, with five D.VIIs barely visible at the far end. These photos have previously been identified as having been taken at Bernes but it seems more likely that they were taken at Chambry around 5 August. The tall building visible seen in the background strongly resembles L'Eglise St-Pierre-St-Paul at Chambry.
Fokker D.VII without fabric covering shows details of the aircraft's welded steel tube structure, engine installation, and thick airfoil wooden wings.
A glimpse inside the manufacturing halls at the Fokker works in Schwerin is provided in this pair of photos, taken in August 1918. The conditions can only be described as overcrowded. In the upper view twenty fuselages can be counted. A stencil used for the application of the fuselage cross is resting on the middle aircraft in the left row.
A glimpse inside the manufacturing halls at the Fokker works in Schwerin is provided in this pair of photos, taken in August 1918. The conditions can only be described as overcrowded. In the upper view twenty fuselages can be counted.
Two views documenting the chaos at the Fokker assembly hall in Schwerin after the war. Numerous Fokker D.VII and D.VIII fuselages can be seen, as well as several D.VIII wings, D.VIII cowlings, and numerous Oberursel engines. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
By contrast, the production hall at Albatros in Berlin-Johannisthal is far more spacious and has far better lighting conditions. Even though the aircraft in the foreground are in the final stage of assembly, the fuselage military number remains to be applied. Note that on the first aircraft on the left the upper wing crosses have not yet been extended onto the ailerons.
By contrast, the production hall at Albatros in Berlin-Johannisthal is far more spacious and has far better lighting conditions. The aileron control cables are being routed through the opening in the wing. Wooden wheels were used to move the aircraft around the factory building, but of course the usual standard wheels were later mounted for the acceptance flight before delivery of the aircraft. No stencils showing the factory or military number are in sight.
Another unidentified "Parasol" with a light-colored engine cowling is seen in this head-on photo. The heavy castor-oil stains on the axle wing indicate that the plane has been well used, and the Fokker D.VII being pushed out of the picture by the groundcrew and the two-seater seen on the left indicate do not help with identification either. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Available records indicate that Jagdstaffel 10 was the first unit to receive the D.VII. Reportedly the type reached the unit in the second half of April and replaced its Albatros D.Va and Pfalz D.IIIa fighters, the oldest types of aircraft operated by one of the four component Jastas in JG I. By 20 April 1918, the other three Jastas in JG I were operating the Fokker Dr.I. As a consequence, Jasta 10 was the perfect candidate to receive the D.VII. However, soon after arrival of the new type, Lt. Fritz Friedrichs crash-landed his D.VII 234/18 at Cappy. When photographed, his plane only carried the new Balkenkreuz marking on the rudder and fuselage, the wings retained the factory-applied Iron Crosses. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The landing speed of the D.VII was somewhat higher than that of earlier types, and this may have been a contributing factor in the accident. Two other of the new Jasta 10 fighters were also affected by the incident, suffering damage to their wings. The welded steel-tube fuselage of the D.VII was very sturdy, and the damage to the other two planes was probably repaired once replacement wings became available. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Lt. Kurt Wusthoff, a 27-victory ace, joined Jasta 15 on 16 June 1918 after being away from the front for three months. On the very next day, he was forced to land after aerial combat against several S.E.5a's, while flying D.VII 382/18. The crashed aircraft is seen here in British hands after its capture, and again the translucent blue color used by JG II is in evidence, allowing the fuselage cross to shine through. The two cooling slots seen on Piel's Jasta 13 aircraft are also seen here, indicating that this modification was not confined to a single unit in JG II. Wusthoff's career is covered in detail in the book The Blue Max Airmen Vol.11. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
A view of the right side of Wusthoff's D.VII is presented here, showing that the skull and crossbones insignia was positioned further towards the rear of the fuselage on this side. Wusthoff was credited to three RAF pilots, and a fourth also put in a claim for him. By his own accounts, he had come under fire by 20 enemy aircraft, causing him to go down badly wounded. According to several sources, his aircraft, Fokker D.VII 382/18, was borrowed from Georg von Hantelmann. But whether this information was purely based on the assumption that von Hantelmann was a former Death Head Regiment hussar or some actual contemporary account is difficult to determine. Certainly Wusthoff had used the skull and crossbones markings on the spinner of one of his previous Albatros fighters. Hantelmann was recommended for the Pour-le-Merite but did not receive it due to Germany's collapse. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Some early-production O.A.W.-built D.VIIs served right until the end of the war. An example was 2024/18 seen here after the Armistice standing on its nose in front of one of the Zeppelin hangars at Cognelee, north-east of Namur. The early thick fuselage and wing crosses were carefully converted to the late "thin" Balkenkreuz style. The stains left by almost six months of frontline service on the inner lower wings may be of interest to the modeler.
As far as is known, Uffz. Buder of Kest 4b walked away from the crash of Fokker D.7 (O.A.W.) 4071/18. The welded steel-tube fuselage and landing gear of the D.VII offered good protection in case of a crash; a wooden Albatros fighter would have looked far worse after such a mishap. In the lower photo, the white O.A.W.-style weights table is shown to advantage. Four-color fabric covers the airframe. (Upper photo: Reinhard Zankl, lower photo; Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
In the early afternoon of 3 October 1918, Jasta 67 pilot Lt. Hans Heinrich Marwede was brought down by groundfire near Montfaucon just after scoring his fifth victory over a balloon. His plane was Fok. D.7. (O.A.W.) 4092/18, and his plane was heavily souvenired even before the first pictures of it could be taken. The unusually thick rudder cross was seen on a few aircraft in this military number range. The upper photo allow a good view at the rear fuselage structure and the reverse side of the four-color fabric. The upper engine panel was apparently removed before the nose of the plane was painted. By the time of the crash, it had been re-fitted to the plane, no doubt due to the cooler fall temperatures. As a result, the factory "giraffe" pattern is still visible on this component. (Upper photo: Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB, lower photo US Signal Corps)
Whenever the circumstances allowed, crashes were documented by photographs, and here we see "Fok.D VII.(O.A.W.) 4197/18" after a fairly mild mishap. Late aircraft of the second O.A.W. batch now had the military number applied in black between the cockpit and the fuselage cross. It would remain in this position until production was terminated at Schneidemuhl. Note that the small circular maintenance door on the fuselage, close to the wing root, is still not present on this plane. It would only be introduced with the third production batch. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Uffz. Harbers of Jasta 73 crashed Fok. D VII (Alb.) 611/18, perhaps as a result of an imperfect landing at night, since his unit regularly intercepted French night bombers in the summer of 1918. This plane carried the first noticeable major airframe upgrade in the form of the triangular rear metal side panel, as well as the small circular maintenance door above the lower wing root. The rudder is a replacement item, and two bracing wires have been installed to the fin and horizontal tail surfaces. Five-color fabric covers the fuselage of the fighter. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The breathtaking artwork by Steven Anderson depicts Udet's "Du doch nicht!!" in the Red-White-Black interpretation. The upper cowling panel was probably still in place on 25 June 1918.
Fokker D.VII (O.A.W.) "Du doch nicht!!" of Lt. Ernst Udet
Fokker D.VII "U.10" of Lt. Heinz Freiherr von Beaulieu-Marconnay before capture and as now restored in the NASM.
Fokker D.VII (O.A.W.) 6372/18, Oblt. Amandus Rostock, Jasta 76
Fokker D.VII(Alb) 5278/18 Hertha. of Lt. Friedrich Noltenius, Jasta 27. Original markings.
Fokker D.VII(O.A.W.) 6340/18 of Lt. Hermann Becker, Staffelfuhrer of Jasta 12, JG II.
Fokker D.VII of Lt.d.R. Hans Kirschstein, Jasta 6. Kirschstein scored 27 victories and was awarded the Pour le Merite before being killed in a flying accident as a passenger.
Fokker D.VII (O.A.W.) 2035/18 of Lt.d.R. Rudolf Windisch, Jasta 66. Windisch scored 22 victories and was awarded the Pour le Merite.
Fokker-Built Fokker D.VII
Fokker D.VII Fokker-Built, Mercedes Engine
Fokker D.VII Fokker-Built, Mercedes Engine
Fokker D.VII Fokker-Built, Mercedes Engine
Fokker D.VII Fokker-Built, Mercedes Engine
Albatros-Built Fokker D.VII
Fokker D.VII(Alb) Albatros-Built, Mercedes Engine
Fokker D.VII(Alb) Albatros-Built, Mercedes Engine
Fokker D.VII(Alb) Albatros-Built, Mercedes Engine
Fokker D.VII(Alb) Albatros-Built, Mercedes Engine
OAW-Built Fokker D.VII
Fokker D.VII(OAW) OAW-Built, Mercedes Engine
Fokker D.VII(OAW) OAW-Built, Mercedes Engine
Fokker D.VII(OAW) OAW-Built, Mercedes Engine
Fokker D.VII(OAW) OAW-Built, Mercedes Engine
Fokker D.VII, BMW Engine
Fokker D.VII, BMW Engine
This aircraft "made the rounds" in order to familiarize nearby Jastas with the new biplane fighter. Here it is pictured on the airfield of Jasta Mat Phalempin on 23. May 1918, the Triplanes operated by Jasta 14 can be seen in the distance. Also stationed at this airfield at this time, but not in the photo, was Jagdstaffel 30, which was then operating the Pfalz D.IIIa.
Out with the old - in with the new! In May 1918 Jagdstaffel 27 took delivery of their first examples of the new Fokker D.VII. These would soon replace the old Fokker Triplanes, three of which are also seen in this view, as well as the Albatros D.Va also seen in the photo.
Fokker E.V/D.VIII

  During the Second Fighter competition, held at Berlin - Adlershof in May-June 1918, Fokker entered two new Oberursel UR.II-powered monoplane prototypes with cantilever wings, the V25 and the V28.
  An airframe offering even better overall performance than the Fokker D.VI was required, and it was to be compatible with both the 110 hp UR.II engine as well as the more powerful UR.III eleven-cylinder engine, which was expected to replace it on the Oberursel production line soon.
  Other companies also entered similarly-powered prototypes, such as Pfalz with their D.VI and Kondor with their D.II. But the Fokker designs stole the show, especially these two monoplanes.
  Of all the rotary-powered prototypes evaluated at this competition, the Fokker V.28 was decided to have the best overall performance. Fokkers other entry in the category, the low-wing V25, was rejected due to the limited downward visibility, in spite of its excellent performance. Oddly, the mid- and low-wing layout of the early Fokker E-types caused no reservations three years earlier.
  The V28 was flown with both the nine-cylinder UR.II, which later powered most production examples, as well as eleven-cylinder UR.III. Tests were also conducted with the Goebel Goe.III and Siemens-Halske Sh.III engines.
  Very quickly the V.28 was ordered into production under the official designation Fokker E.V after the mandatory type-tests were successfully passed in early July 1918. Interestingly, the first five examples of the type were accepted as early as 3 July, before frontline pilots at the competition came to the decision that the type should be put into production. The E.V had impressed pilots at the competition so much that half of the production order that had been placed for the Fokker D.VI was cancelled in order to free manufacturing capacity for the new monoplane fighter. The E.V not only had much better performance, it was also easier to build, and the plywood-covered wing saved linen fabric that was needed to cover the airframes of almost all aircraft then in production in Germany.
  Unlike the D.VI, the Fokker E.V was obviously intended right from the start to serve at the most active sectors at the front with some of the most prolific fighter units. The component unit of choice in Jagdgeschwader I was Jagdstaffel 6. The Staffel received nine or ten examples on 5 August. Jagdstaffel 19 (JG II) was selected to receive the E.V in early August as well, and in Jagdgeschwader III the component unit of choice was Jagdstaffel 36. It is worth noting that these three units had all operated the Fokker Dr.I until fairly recently. In fact, Jagdstaffel 36 was still operating a few Triplanes as late as August, Jasta 19 flew them until mid-June, and Jasta 6 until mid-May. Consequently, many of the pilots in these Jastas were still accustomed to the rotary engine, as were the ground crews. And all three Staffeln mentioned had operated the Fokker D.VII before they received the E.V. This fact is clear evidence that the overall performance of the new monoplane was not considered to be inferior to the D.VII in any way.
  Further examples of the E.V were delivered to the Marine Feld Jagdstaffeln, as well as to some of the component Jastas of Jagdgruppe 1 and Jagdgruppe 12. Considering that, a large number of the new fighters were delivered within a few weeks, it is likely that single examples found their way to other Jagdstaffeln as well.
  The Fokker “Parasol”, as it was quickly dubbed by the Jasta pilots, left a lasting impression on those flew them and encountered them in combat.
  It is not known for sure which Jasta was the first to receive the new fighter. The aircraft delivered to Jasta 6 are well documented, and it is known that many of the E.Vs delivered to the unit on 3 or 5 August were accepted at Schwerin between 13 and 19 July. However, 14 examples were accepted between 3 and 12 July, and logic would imply that these were delivered a bit earlier to other units than Jasta 6. One of the five aircraft accepted on 3 July was 107/18, which crashed at Jasta 19, indicating that this unit may have been the first recipient of the E.V. Details reporting on the frontline use of the aircraft at Jasta 19 are unfortunately not available. It is known that Lt. Hans Pippart crashed to his death on 11 August 1918 flying a Fokker D.VII, following a balloon attack. But the new Parasol would probably not have been the first choice for such a mission beyond enemy lines at the time. So it is possible, though unconfirmed, that the two victories that Ulrich Neckel was credited with on 13 and 14 August may have been claimed while flying the E.V.
  Fortunately, Lt. Richard Wenzl left some interesting insight into the use of the plane at Jasta 6 in August 1918. According to him, the new aircraft were picked up on 5 August from the Park at Clermont, while the Jasta 6 war diary notes that they arrived on 3 August. Wenzl noted that the performance of the type powered by the 110 hp Oberursel engine was exceptional, although it was designed for the 140 hp engine. Being the technical officer of Jasta 6, Wenzl was fairly well informed about the higher-horsepower engine, and he may have gotten this information from one of the JG I members who attended the Second Fighter Competition at Adlershof just recently.
  He goes on to report that the ground forces were not informed about the new type of aircraft and greeted them with a hail of ground fire during initial trial flights along the front. Again, according to the Jasta 6 war diary, Lt. Paul Wenzl came under heavy fire from all German positions during a test flight of the E.V on 3 August, even though all German units in the area had been informed about the fact that JG I was to operate the parasol now. This is more evidence that the information about the drastically new-looking fighter was not properly distributed to everybody pulling a trigger on the German side.
  Familiarization visits to neighboring units soon followed, and thanks to these a surprisingly large number of photographs of Jasta 6 Fokker E.Vs is now available to us. At the outbreak of the British offensive on 8 August, Jasta 6 pilots initially kept flying their Fokker D.VIIs rather than the new type for understandable reasons.
  After the unit moved to Bernes on 12 August, they finally brought over their E.Vs from Chambry, and worked them up for combat use.
  Unfortunately, the old Fokker illness of shoddy workmanship had its final wartime outbreak with the E.V. On 16 August, Lt. Riedel, Jasta 19, demonstrated the recently-arrived E.V 107/18 to several of his comrades on the ground by putting the plane through some extreme low-level aerobatics. A simplified eye-witness report by Jasta 12 pilot Lt. Hans Besser reported that “suddenly a wing came off”, indicating that a large section of the wing broke off in flight. Riedel reportedly tried to bail out, but he was flying at too low an altitude to escape. He was killed in the ensuing crash.
  Just three days later, a very similar accident occurred at Jasta 6. Lt. Emil Rolff, who had scored the first victory on the E.V at Jasta 6 on the day of Riedel's fatal crash, fell victim to an identical form of wing failure. At 9:50 a.m., while conducting a test flight, the wing failed at low altitude, variously reported as being at 300 or 800 meters. Like Riedel before him, Rolff could not escape from the plunging aircraft in time and lost his life.
  At just the same time, other pilots of Jasta 6 were engaged in a fierce fight against Sopwith Camels at the front, flying their new “Parasols”. Lt. Richard Wenzl reported that he had forced one of their opponents from 5500 meters down to 200 meters when engine failure forced him to break off pursuit. He only just made a safe landing with a standing propeller. During the same combat, Lt. Matzdorf was credited with a Sopwith Camel at the time of Rolff's crash, and this may have been the second victory scored by Jasta 6 pilots on the “1918-monoplane”.
  If that was the case, it was also the last one, since the acting commander of JG I, Ernst Udet, took immediate action and grounded the type in the Geschwader. The news of the second fatal crash quickly made the rounds, and as a consequence the order to ground the type in all units was issued quickly. On 24 August production and acceptances at Schwerin were halted until the cause(s) for the fatal accidents had been identified and rectified.
  Engine failure was also a common problem for the pilots of Jasta 6, just as before on the Fokker Triplane. Wenzl reported that 30 forced landings occurred over a period of ten days of use of the E.V, but not one of them resulted in a crash. Rightfully, he and his men were proud of this accomplishment, and it also speaks highly of the handling qualities of the aircraft in unpowered flight.
  Jasta 35 commanding officer Rudolf Stark was another witness of the E.V, albeit under somewhat unusual circumstances, directly related to the above mentioned events. He left an interesting recollection of the plane in his book “Die Jagdstaffel Unsere Heimat” (published in English under the title “Wings of War”).
  By late August 1918, Jasta 35 was one of the few remaining Jagdstaffeln to be fully equipped with worn-out and outdated Albatros D.Va, Pfalz D.IIIa, and Roland D.VI fighters. On 24 August, the long-awaited call from the local Armee Flug Park came in, informing Stark that six new Fokker D.VII were ready to be picked up by Jasta 35 pilots. The six pilots that had seen the longest service with the Staffel were selected to receive these treasures, and in exchange the six worst performing aircraft (three Rolands, two Albatros, and one Pfalz) were returned to the Park.
  After the pilots had processed the paperwork that came along with picking up the new aircraft they still had some time left to tour the Park. There they came across a new type of fighter which immediately caught their attention. Stark wrote: “Amongst the single-seaters are a few new machines we don't know yet: Fokker monoplanes with rotary engines. Strikingly beautiful things. The latest Fokker has brought out. Jagdgeschwader I was scheduled to receive them, but currently the type is still banned since a few improvements have to be implemented.
  Those are great prospects for the future. Fokker stays Fokker. Each new type by him is a major improvement. The other companies are bringing out new types as well, but usually they have only changed their appearance somewhat, the flight- and combat performance has not improved much.”
  This statement is highly interesting in more than one way. To begin with, the fighters were not scheduled to be delivered to JG I, they had been returned by JG I, Jasta 6 to be exact. And Stark and his men must have seen the unit markings that were applied to these monoplanes, denoting previous frontline service. But the exact reason for the aircraft being stored at the AFP, the recent wing failures, are not mentioned by Stark. Either he was not informed about this by the AFP staff in order not to tarnish the reputation of the new type, or Stark wanted to withhold the information from the reader. The admiration he expresses for the new aircraft in his writings suggests the former theory.
  Secondly, apparently the pilots of Jasta 35b had not been informed about the arrival of the new type at the front, around three or four weeks after it was first introduced. This does not speak well for the required circulation of such crucial information amongst the Jagdstaffeln in the summer of 1918.
  Immediately after the plane was grounded, Anthony Fokker himself travelled to the front and visited both Jasta 19 and Jasta 6 in order to learn more about the accidents. And no doubt this trip was also intended to dispel any kind of mistrust against his company at an early stage.
  The exact date of his arrival is unclear, but Jasta 19 still had their examples of the E.V on hand, and Fokker lost no time to demonstrate his faith in the strength of his design. He managed to convince two dozen members of JG II to climb onto the wing of an E.V and even took motion picture footage of this “human load test”. Several photographs were also taken at the event. When he visited Jasta 6 around the same time, he found that their E.Vs had already been returned to the AFP, where Stark then saw these planes. At Jasta 6, Fokker then had himself photographed next to the replacement planes that were delivered to this unit - which were O.A.W.-built examples of the Fokker D.VII. Very likely these were originally intended for Jasta 35b, which, being considered more of a “secondary” unit, now had to make do with just six D.VII (O.A.W.) for the time being.
  Faulty assembly procedures at the Perzina factory, which manufactured wings for Fokker, as well as improper dimensions of some of the wing spars, were found to be the main reasons for the wing failures. Moisture entering the plywood wing structure through breathing holes further added to the problem, and the combination of these factors caused the wing failures.
  These problems could be rectified fairly quickly by ensuring a more careful assembly of strengthened, correctly dimensioned, and fully varnished wooden wing components. Successful load tests of the wing were conducted on 7 September, permission to resume production of the fighter was granted on 24 September and acceptances continued on 8 October. Since Fokker was to blame for the problem, he was required to supply replacement wings for the 139 Fokker E.Vs that were delivered with the faulty wings at his expense. The official designation of the fighter was also changed, probably as a measure to restore faith in the “Parasol”. The “E” designation was dropped and the re-born fighter was baptized Fokker D.VIII.
  In October, a total 61 of the “new” fighters were accepted at Schwerin, but likely a maximum of around 40 of these were accepted in time to be delivered to the front before the armistice. To date, no evidence of delivery of any of these aircraft to a Jagdstaffel in the remaining weeks of the war has been confirmed. But unearthing this kind of information for the last few weeks of the war is very difficult indeed. Several were photographed in the immediate post-war period in Entente hands, but some of these certainly still carried the “E.V” designation, while on others no designation can be made out at all.
  Use of the Fokker E.V at Jasta 36 is also recorded, and available information paints a somewhat mysterious picture here. Photographs indicate that the E.Vs were still on hand at the unit as late as mid-September, well after the type had been officially grounded. Possibly the Staffel was hoping for a quick remedy to the wing problem and kept the planes for that reason. It seems highly unlikely that operational flights were continued after the flight ban, since this would have been in direct disregard of an official order. In any case, this kind of behavior is unusual. Eventually, replacements in form of the unloved Pfalz D.XII arrived at Jasta 36 - someone had to take these - and no record of preferential shipment of the Fokker D.VIII to the unit late in the war has been found.
  It should be pointed out that one Fokker E.V, 113/18, was shipped to Austro-Hungaria for evaluation purposes in early July. It was powered by a 150 hp Steyr rotary engine, and evaluation began on 26 July. The following month, the aircraft was damaged beyond repair as the result of a landing accident.
  While it has been stated that the prospects for the production of the Fokker D.VIII beyond the 335 examples ordered (out of which 289 were completed in Germany) were not good, an important fact should be pointed out. By the end of the war, full-scale production of the Oberursel Ur.III was finally underway, and the engine was fitted to many late-production examples of the D.VIII. At the end of the war, no other German manufacturer had a suitable airframe for the use of this engine in production. It would have been a completely logical choice to continue manufacture of the D.VIII to absorb these engines until a better airframe was available. But the end of the war intervened, and no fifth batch of the D.VIII was ordered by the German authorities.
  Several Fokker D.VIIIs were operated by the German post-war units until the Versailles treaty brought an end to these kinds of activities.
  Besides this, examples of the “Parasol" were flown in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland in the post-war period. Further information concerning the use of the aircraft by these countries can be found in “Fokker Aircraft of WWI, Volume 7”.


Fokker E.V / D.VIII Specifications
Engine: 110 hp Oberursel UR.II
Wing: Span 8.34 m
Area 10.7 m2
General: Length 5.865 m
Height 2.82 m
Empty Weight 405 kg
Loaded Weight 605 kg
Maximum Speed: 200 km/h
Climb: 1000 m 2.0 min.
2000 m 4.5 min.
3000 m 7.5 min.
4000 m 10.8 min.
5000 m 15.0 min.
6000 m 19.5 min.


Fokker E.V/D.VIII Production Orders
Quantity Ordered Quantity Delivered Engine Serials Works Numbers First Acceptance of a Production Aircraft
10 10 110 hp Ur.II 100-109/18 2741-2750 July 3, 1918
200 129 110 hp Ur.II 110-309/18 2751-2950 July 3, 1918
65 62 110 hp Ur.II 500-564/18 3255-3319 October 24, 1918
60 26 145 hp Ur.III 670-729/18 2672-2731(1) October 8, 1918
Note 1: The low works numbers for the last batch of D.VIII fighters ordered is because these numbers were re-assigned to the D.VIII from 60 D.VI biplanes ordered earlier that were cancelled. These aircraft were fitted with the 145 hp Ur.III, which finally achieved production.
Fokker E.V 132/18
Fokker E.V 144/18 of Vzfm. Hans Goerth, Marine Feld Jasta 3. Goerth scored 7 victories flying various fighter types.
Fokker E.V 149/18 of Lt. Friedrich-Wilhelm Liebig, Jasta 1.
The use of red for the cowling is conjectural. The reference photos on the facing page show a dark color that could be black, dark green, red, or ??? Unless we get more information the actual color may never be known.
Fokker E.V 150/18 marked with black & white sunburst on cowling, black & white striped tailplane and wheel covers, the unit markings of Jasta 6. The “Blitz” (Lightning Bolt) was applied as a personal marking.
Fokker E.V 153/18 of Lt. Richard Wenzl, Jasta 6
Fokker E.V 154/18
Fokker E.V 157/18 of Jasta 6
Fokker E.V of Jasta 6
Fokker E.V of Jasta 36.
Fokker E.V of Off.Stv. Friedrich Altemeier, Jasta 24. Altemeier scored 21 victories while flying various fighter types.
Frontal view of the still unarmed plane. The cowling is also still devoid of the usual dark green factory paintjob. The taper of the cantilever wing shows perfectly well from this perspective. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The upper forward fuselage was also still unpainted when the plane was photographed. Fokker aircraft were not accepted in numerical sequence, so this may actually be 100/18, which was only accepted on 25 July 1918, 22 days after the first batch of accepted aircraft. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The thick fuselage cross indicates that this may be the first E.V to be completed at the factory in late June or early July. No works number or military number can be made out anywhere. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Jasta 10 Staffelfuhrer Lt. Erich Loewenhardt was said to have been at the controls of the aircraft when this picture was snapped at Chambry in early August. He was credited with 54 confirmed victories, most of these scored on the Fokker D.VII, and no doubt he was eager to try out one of the very latest Fokker fighters. Unfortunately, his assessment of the "Parasol" remains unknown. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Fokker E.V 132/18 at Romilles in January 1919
Photographed in 1919, the wing of Fokker E.V 132/18 shows no segments of colors. Instead, a fairly even coloring of the wing surface may be noted. This may be a combination of the photo being taken in bright sunshine and the fact that the wing has already aged to a degree at the time.
Fokker E.V 132/18 was one of the monoplanes handed over to the British, and the setting indicates that the pictures were taken in the spring or summer of 1919. The aircraft is still armed, and the left wheel has been mounted inside out. In the right side, an Albatros-style valve patch can be noted. The white bordered horizontal tailplane, dark-bordered rudder and white fuselage cross ban clearly indicate previous use with a Jagdstaffel. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
While the aircraft seen here has previously been identified as 139/18, it is in fact a later view of 132/18 seen on the opposite page. The scratches on the cowling, the missing forward part of the underwing cross arm, and the oval "Fokker" valve patch on the left wheel are identical, as is the outline to the tail section. The fuselage cross has either been souvenired and patched over or has simply been overpainted in the meantime. E.V 132/18 was accepted at Schwerin on 30 July 1918, carried the works number 2773 and was powered by an UR.II engine with the serial.
Seen here on the airfield at Schwerin, also before receiving its machine gun and the full paintjob, E.V also lacks the manufacturer's plate, which was riveted to the left side of the cowling after passing acceptance by the military authorities. Note the wavy, glossy appearance of the bottom surface of the wing. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Now sporting the full factory paintjob and standard armament, E.V 133/18 is seen here after delivery to the front. The plane was accepted at Schwerin on 30 July, its factory works number was 2774. This number is clearly visible on the forward fuselage, just behind the middle "tripod" strut. (Tobias Weber)
Several examples of the new Fokker fighter were also delivered to the Naval units in early August. One example that was photographed extensively was E.V 138/18, Fokker works number 2779. The aircraft was accepted at Schwerin on 19 July, the same day as several other examples that were delivered to Jagdstaffel 6. It is seen here after arrival Marine Land Feld Jasta (MFJ) I, still unpainted but already exhibiting castor oil stains on the axle wing. The Fokker manufacturer's plate shows nicely on the engine cowling, this was often overpainted when markings were applied. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Fokker E.V 138/18
Sachsenberg (second from left) and several other Naval flyers gather for a group shot in front of his new Fokker E.V 138/18. As in the previous photos, the plane is apparently still in factory-fresh condition. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Sachsenberg apparently carried over his scheme of yellow and black checkers to the E.V. These can just be glimpsed in this later view of his plane in the hangar at the MFJ I airfield.The cowling was seems to have been painted yellow, too, and eyes and eyebrows can just be made out on the cowling. It seems that this is 138/18 as well. Sachsenberg is seen second from right with visitors. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Fokker E.V 140/18 was shipped to Australia, and this picture was taken when the plane was being assembled at the Exhibition Building in Melbourne. This is a rare clear view of the bottom surface of the wing, and the Fokker works number 2778 can just be deciphered, although the last digit is difficult to decipher. This would indicate the wing came from E.V 137/18. The streaking on the lower wing is quite apparent, and some narrow patches of these streaks appear darker than others. (Colin A. Owers)
Another set of photos of a newly-arrived E.V, this time featuring 143/18 (w/n 2784, accepted 20 July) and Vzflgmstr. Carl Kuring from MFJ II. This fighter was delivered to the unit on 11 August, and the photos were likely taken on that day. Kuring had joined the Staffel on 6 November 1917. Thus he was one of the most experienced members of the unit, and was an obvious choice as a pilot for the new fighter. In the photo he poses with joined arms with his mechanics, indicating that they clearly had a very good relationship. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The layout of the fuselage fabric polygons is exactly identical to the one seen in the upper photo on the opposite page, and this confirms that this is a later photo of Kuring's E.V 143/18, showing quite a bit of wear. The cowling is now painted yellow, and the castor oil has removed the bottom of the yellow paint, revealing the factory dark green cowling color again. The tires have apparently been patched more than once, and a small access hatch has been installed, just visible above the head of the pilot. This seems to be Kuring in flying gear, and it is quite obvious that the flying helmet distorted the facial features a bit. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Another example shipped to the Naval units is pictured in this series of photos. Fokker E.V 144/18 (w/n 2785), accepted on 23 July, went to MFJ III. At least two pilots from this unit took the opportunity to pose in front of "White 3", and here Flgmt. Hans Goerth takes his turn. By early August, Goerth had three confirmed victories to his credit. By the end of the war, his total score amounted to eight victories. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Vzflgmstr. Franz Mayer from the same unit dressed in his best uniform to pose in front of "White 3" as well. The cowling, wheel covers, and horizontal tail surfaces were already painted in yellow, and some wear of this color on the lower edge of the cowling can already be noticed. Just like Goerth, Meyer was credited with three confirmed victories when the E.V reached MFJ III. At the time, they were the two unit members with the highest victory scores, and one wonders if that was a contributing factor in choosing them to pose in front of the rare new fighter. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Taken a few moments later, the photographer has waited for the marching group in the background to move out of view, and apparently chased the curious crowd away to picture just the new aircraft. Note the light-colored patch on the outer leading edge of the right wing half, this is an identifying feature of 148/18. The plane carried the Fokker Werknummer 2789 and was accepted at Schwerin on 13 July. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
A spectacular take-off view of the very same plane at Chambry. No personal marking was applied at this stage, but without a doubt this was done soon afterwards. It is very likely that the Jasta 6 pilots applied their well-known unit markings to their new planes before taking off on the first familiarization flights in order to provide some additional means of identification for neighboring flying and anti-aircraft units. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Possibly taken after the test-flight pictured above, the groundcrew is moving the plane back to its tent. Although the military number is illegible, the patch on the wingtip identifies this as E.V 148/18. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
A rare example of a frontline Fokker E.V pictured from both sides is 149/18, which nonetheless represents a bit of an enigma. Only the cowling appears painted in a color that rendered darken ortho film, so blacker red are possible candidates. The plane has previously been quoted as being the personal aircraft of Lt. Friedrich-Wilhelm Liebig, Jasta 1. However, this pilot only joined Jasta 1 on 27 September, when the E.V was grounded. The markings shown in the photo do not match the known markings employed by Jasta 1 at the time, and no delivery of the E.V to Jasta 1 or any of Jasta 1's sister units in Jagdgruppen 5 or 10 in August 1918 is known. Liebig previously served with Jasta 22, but no connection of the aircraft to this unit can be made. E.V 149/18 was accepted at Schwerin on 02 August 1918. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
While some of Anthony Fokker's business practices may have been questionable, the one thing he could never have been criticised about was his attitude towards aircraft development. This manifested itself in a prolific string of prototypes that left most other manufacturers gasping. Although largely overlooked today, these prototypes occasionally bore impressive fruit, as in the case of Fokker's last production fighter of the war, his monoplane D VIII. The story of the D VIII begins early in 1918 with one of those Fokker and Reinhold Platz 'What if?' exercises involving removing the lower wing from the one of the two Fokker D VII biplane prototypes. This proved a less than ideal solution, so Platz tried it again with the V 26, a lighter, rotary-powered one-off that used the Junkers-devised thick sectioned wing. This one worked, in fact so successfully, that Fokker set all hands to producing the fully militarised E V to be ready for the second of the 1918 Adlershof fighter trials. Here, in the rotary-powered class fly-offs the lightweight Fokker E V swept the competition aside, very much as its forebear, the D VII had done a few months previously. However, from this date on, the story of the E V, later D VIII, takes on the more sobering tones of the Fokker Dr I saga, for hardly had the first E Vs started to flow to the front in July 1918, than the type had to be withdrawn in August, following a series of fatalities. The problem, it transpired, was a readily remedied one concerning wing glueing practices. Nonetheless, the E V was out of service from the end of July 1918 until cleared in October, robbing the front-line Jastas of a potentially admirable fighter when most needed. Powered by a 110hp Oberursal U II, the newly returned DVIIIs, as they were now known, were only two-thirds the weight of the Fokker D VII, which, coupled to the DVIII's high lift efficent wing, gave the fighter both agility and an admirable rate of climb. Armed with twin 7.92mm Spandaus, the Fokker D VIII's top level speed was 115mph at sea level, rising to 127mph at optimum altitude. The time cited to climb to 3,280 feet was 2 minutes. This is one of the initial batch of E Vs, 149/18, delivered to JG I in July 1918. Around 60 of these machines are reported to have been produced prior to the type's temporary withdrawal, perhaps another 40 may have been completed but not yet delivered at the time of the Armistice. Certainly a number of D VIIIs were among the 143 aircraft that Fokker ensured were removed, along with most of his plant's machine tools, when he fled back to his native Holland.
The parasol-wing Fokker EV, later D VIII, was to be the last of the famed line of Fokker fighters to see action in World War I. Winner of the second 1918 fighter competition, held in April, the EV was considered slightly tail-heavy, but otherwise pilots were well disposed towards its agility, excellent climb and well harmonized controls. Deliveries of this 110hp Oberursal rotary powered single seater, 115mph at sea level, commenced in mid-1918, the first six examples being rushed to the army's 1st Fighter Wing, JG I. Next to receive the EV was the crack Naval Field Wing, with examples going to wing leader Gotthard Sachsenberg along with his deputy, Theodore Osterkamp. These early machines proved to have structural wing flaws and other problems that necessitated their temporary withdrawal from service. Returned to the front in October 1918, the opportunity for this new fighter to make its mark evaporated with the Armistice. Seen here is one of JG I's E Vs, serial 149/18, belonging to Lt Liebig, while that of Lt Osterkamp's was 156/18.
Enlargement of the upper photo on the opposite page shows the narrow border around the lightning in detail. The oil stains around the lower longerons indicate that the plane has already seen good use. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Various views of E.V 150/18 "Lightning" were taken during visits to units stationed in the area of operations of Jasta 6. These show well that the lightning was applied with a dark border, and was repeated on the turtle deck, facing rearwards. Comparison with the lineup photos shows that the square magneto access maintenance door has now been added. (Greg VanWyngarden)
The wing of Fokker E.V 150/18, photographed in August 1918, appears to show a relatively dense, yet somewhat streaky application of color(s) to the upper wing surface. Some single dark streaks can be noted, but no clear division of upper wing colors into segments is apparent. (Greg VanWyngarden)
The left side of the aircraft is shown in this photo is believed to have been taken during one of the familiarization visits to neighboring units, possibly at Fl.Abt.239(A). A Fokker D.VII marked with a lightning can be seen in the Jasta 6 D.VII lineup showing Kirschsteins "optical illusion" D.VII. While the lightning was applied in a different way on this plane, it is believed both planes were flown by the same - currently unidentified - pilot. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Same plane - different pilots. In the upper photo, Gefr. Kurt Blumener takes the seat, while in the lower snapshot Uffz. Hans Reimers poses for a picture in E.V 152/18. On the Parasol, the Jasta 6 mechanics again fitted the square maintenance door behind the engine cowling to enable easier access to the engine magneto, just as they did previously on the Triplane. The cowling of the aircraft remained unpainted when the photo were taken, and it may be a replacement item. The streaky appearance of the upper wing paintjob is in evidence. This example was accepted at Schwerin on 16 July. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Kuring's commanding officer in MFJ II, Lt. Theodor Osterkamp, is seen here in a typical pose seated on the wheel of his new E.V 156/18. The works number of this aircraft was 3797, and it was also one of the group of aircraft accepted on 19 July. Like in all the other photos of MFJ pilots sitting on the wheels of their new E.Vs, the uneven, almost wavy surface of the plywood covering the wing is evident here. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Fokker E.V 157/18, works number 2798, was accepted on 19 July, and is seen here with partially-complete unit markings. The cowling, sporting the manufacturer's plate, has not yet received the "petal" marking. As shown by the next photos, markings applied to an aircraft were sometimes of an evolutionary nature. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Soon afterwards, the observer's badge marking, outlined in white, was applied to the fuselage of 157/18. The works number 2798 can be read at the bottom of the rudder. The pilot seen in front of it is Gefr. Kurt Blumener, whom we saw previously seated in the cockpit of 152/18. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Here Lt. Wolff poses in front of 157/18, now also sporting the Jasta 6 unit marking on its cowling. The pilot only returned to Jasta 6 on 10 August after being hospitalized for almost four months. This and the previous photo are believed to have been taken at Bernes, during the short period when Jasta 6 operated the E.V as their main equipment. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
A full view of 157/18 in its "final" Jasta 6 paintjob. The photo is believed to have been taken during one of the familiarization visits to one of the neighboring units. (Greg VanWyngarden)
A bit of an enigma is this post-war photo of an E.V marked with a Saxon coat of arms. The military number has been re-marked in the upper right corner of the fuselage cross. It is either 157/18 or 167/18, the photo is not sharp enough to read the number clearly. If it was the former, it was the later re-painted version of the "observers badge" Parasol. Besides the Saxon coat of arms, the cowling is of a light color and the Jasta 6 stripes have disappeared as well. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Vzflgmstr. Bertram Heinrich is pictured here seated on the wheel of Fokker E.V 160/18, works number 2801. Just as Sachenberg's aircraft, this one was also accepted on 19 July. The aircraft reached MFJ I on 10 August, and Bertram Heinrich was an obvious choice as the pilot of this plane: At the time, he was the second highest scorer in the unit, right after Sachsenberg. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Curious MFJ I members gather around E.V 160/18 to get a close look at Fokker's very latest creation. The works number 2801 can be seen clearly in the original print, at the bottom of the rudder just above the Fokker company decal, which was also applied to the fin, Sachsenberg's Fokker D.VII marked with the yellow and black "checkerboard" scheme can be seen in the background. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Germany's highest scoring surviving ace, Ernst Udet, is seated in Fokker D.VII 238/18, which he evaluated at FEA 2b, Furth, in 1919. (Reinhard Zankl)
Again Udet is seated in 238/18, this time without flying cap. Compared to the photo above, Fokkers patented axle-wing mounted fuel tank is fitted to the aircraft. Evaluation of this technology obviously continued after the war. The plane was originally accepted as E.V 238/18 on 21 August 1918, a day before acceptances of the E.V were stopped. Fitted with a new wing, it was reborn as D.VIII 238/18.
To complicate matters even further, this clear view of the wing of Fokker D.VIII 238/18, evaluated by Ernst Udet after the war, apparently shows a D.VIII wing finished in a single, opaque color. No streaks are visible at all here. Photos showing the D.VIII wing surfaces are very rare, and when looking at this picture one can't help but wonder if the original depiction of the "Parasol" wing in a single color may have been correct for at least some of the Fokker D.VIII wings? (Reinhard Zankl)
Udet takes off in 238/18 at Forth. From this angle it is impossible to say if this was before or after installation of the axle wing tank system. (Reinhard Zankl)
Fokker D.VIII 274/18 was photographed at Flieger-Ersatz-Abteilung 5 in Hannover on 24 March 1919. The aircraft was accepted on 29 October 1918, and may have been diverted there when the armistice occurred during delivery of the aircraft to the front. (Greg VanWyngarden)
Seen here is Fokker D.VIII 294/18 (w/n 2935), which was accepted on 14 October 1918. In this post-war picture it is unarmed and half a dozen men take a seat on the wing for the photo. (Westermann via Greg VanWyngarden)
Lacking machine guns, tires, and wheel covers, D.VIII 507/18 is seen here in a somewhat imperfect condition. The aircraft was sent to Japan as war reparations, and it was one of the examples purchased by the German government from Fokker after the official acceptances ceased on 30 November 1918.
Fokker D.VIII 553A/18 is another slightly enigmatic aircraft. It is fully armed and set up in the standard manner as all Fokker experimental aircraft, yet it does not appear in any of the available Fokker acceptance records. Judging by the number 1569, the photos were taken in the fall of 1918, around the time of the assembly of the V37. The engine is obviously a nine-cylinder Oberursel, and the only logical explanation for this arrangement is that this aircraft was fitted with an Oberursel UR.IIa. This was a development of the UR.II in which the fuel mixture was fed into the engine via a separate gas chamber. Evaluation of the engine that was projected to deliver up to 160 hp began late in 1918. More information on this engine can be found in "German & Austro-Hungarian Aero Engines of WWI, Vol. 3: M-Z" by Michael Dusing, published by Aeronaut books. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
This frontal view also shows Fokker D.VIII 553A/18, now on a snow-covered airfield, which would roughly date the photo as having been taken between December 1918 and February 1919. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Fokker D.VIII 692/18, shown here without armament, was among the aircraft purchased by the German government to be shipped to other countries as war reparations. Official acceptance flights on these aircraft were not carried out, and in this case no machine guns were fitted. This UR.III-powered aircraft went to Italy, where these photos were taken. The white tail fin is unusual for a Fokker-built fighter. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Acceptances of the D.VIII commenced on 8 October, with just two aircraft being accepted on that day. One of these was the first production D.VIII powered by the UR.III engine, 697/18. Its works number was 2699, and the engine carried the factory serial 2541. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/ STDB)
The first production D.VIII to be powered by the much-delayed eleven-cylinder rotary was obviously a special event for Fokker, since it was carefully set up for a series of photos. Eagle-eyed readers will notice that the "serial" was applied as "D.VIII 697e/18". The significance of the "e" can only be speculated on. Was it merely a joke, abbreviating the German word "endlich" (at long last), as a play on the wing and engine-related delays of the aircraft? (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The poor quality of the photo prevents identifying the military number of the E.V (or D.VIII?) seen in this view. The location or pilot cannot be made out either, but the light color of the cowling suggests that this may be a wartime photo. Any further information concerning this photo would be welcomed by the authors. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Jagdstaffel 24 obviously also received the Fokker E.V in early August, and OffzStv. Friedrich Altemeier, being the most experienced pilot in the unit, was an obvious choice to receive an example. Here he is seen posing proudly with his airplane which has already been marked with his personal marking of three intertwined rings. Before the war, Altemeier was an employee of the Krupp steel works, and he used their company logo as his personal marking. However, to improve visibility, he applied it in white with a black background, which was an inverted version of the usual black rings. The fuselage longerons were bordered in a light color shown as light blue, and the fuselage decking may have been black. Note that the lifting handles on the rear fuselage have been turned upside down, similar to the factory style application of this component on O.A.W.-built D.VIIs. (Bruno Schmaling)
An unidentified D.VIII is seen in this unidentified location, photographed in the spring or summer of 1919. Pilots and ground crew members only leave the "Fok. D.VIII" section of the fuselage stenciling visible but block the view on the military number. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Just like Jagdstaffel 6, Jagdstaffel 36 also received a significant number of E.Vs in August. The blue nose of Jasta 36 shows well here, but the military number of this example had been covered by the fuselage band. The star on this band has previously often been interpreted as red, but by the summer of 1918 this was already a well-known symbol of communism, and applying this to an Imperial German fighter aircraft is unthinkable. More likely, it was golden yellow and was either inspired by a uniform or a coat of arms. Jasta 36 retained their E.Vs even after the type was grounded, the photos were taken at Aniche, where the unit was based in September 1918. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Enlargements of the lineup photos, seen from closest to the camera: Lt Richard Wenzls 153/18 marked with the inverted "Iron Cross" ribbon, the "Arrow"-marked 154/18, the "Waveband"-marked aircraft that may be 116/18, "Lightning''-marked 150/18, and unidentified E.V marked with a broad fuselage band of medium tonality with a dark border.
Nine Fokker E.V fighters of Jasta 6 lined up for the camera in early August, with five D.VIIs barely visible at the far end. These photos have previously been identified as having been taken at Bernes but it seems more likely that they were taken at Chambry around 5 August. The tall building visible seen in the background strongly resembles L'Eglise St-Pierre-St-Paul at Chambry.
Enlargements of the lineup photos, seen from closest to the camera: Lt Richard Wenzls 153/18 marked with the inverted "Iron Cross" ribbon, the "Arrow"-marked 154/18, the "Waveband"-marked aircraft that may be 116/18, "Lightning''-marked 150/18, and unidentified E.V marked with a broad fuselage band of medium tonality with a dark border.
Nine Fokker E.V fighters of Jasta 6 lined up for the camera in early August, with five D.VIIs barely visible at the far end. These photos have previously been identified as having been taken at Bernes but it seems more likely that they were taken at Chambry around 5 August. The tall building visible seen in the background strongly resembles L'Eglise St-Pierre-St-Paul at Chambry.
Another unidentified "Parasol" with a light-colored engine cowling is seen in this head-on photo. The heavy castor-oil stains on the axle wing indicate that the plane has been well used, and the Fokker D.VII being pushed out of the picture by the groundcrew and the two-seater seen on the left indicate do not help with identification either. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Greim was one of the star pilots conducting aerobatics at the "Flugtag Munchen" (Munich Flying Day), held on Sunday, 10 August 1919. His Fokker D.VIII was painted silver all-over, a color he had previously used as the unit color of Jasta 34b on the rear fuselages. His personal marking of two red fuselage bands was also carried over, and this name was applied as well. The "Balkenkreuz" in the wing just barely shines through the silver paint. (Reinhard Kastner)
Greim was one of the star pilots conducting aerobatics at the "Flugtag Munchen" (Munich Flying Day), held on Sunday, 10 August 1919. His Fokker D.VIII was painted silver all-over, a color he had previously used as the unit color of Jasta 34b on the rear fuselages. His personal marking of two red fuselage bands was also carried over, and this name was applied as well. The "Balkenkreuz" in the wing just barely shines through the silver paint. The low level at which the aerobatics were performed is vividly illustrated in the dramatic photo. (Reinhard Kastner)
Low-level in-flight view of an anonymous "Parasol". Judging by the light-colored cowling and the large "rear area" hangar this is most likely a post-war snapshot of a D.VIII at an unknown location. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Again, the details in the photo indicate that the picture of this D.VIII taking of was snapped after the war. The location presently remains unconfirmed. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Perhaps out of respect for the first pilot to be killed by wing failure, Fokker hurried to the front and is seen here during his visit to Jasta 19 in late August. Here 24 men show the strength to the wing, another is standing on the cockpit rim. Fokker has just arranged the men on the airplane and is now walking towards his motion picture camera to film the "human load test".
Taken within moments of the photo on the opposite page, Fokker, now sporting his jacket, and the JG II members pose for a snapshot. Several very similar photos of this event were taken.
One of the E.V wings was eventually tested to destruction at the Jasta 19 airfield. The blur in the photo suggests that the wing could only be destroyed by jumping up and down towards the wingtip.
Anonymous, unarmed Fokker D.VIII postwar without markings. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Anonymous, unarmed Fokker D.VIII postwar. No markings are visible. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Uncovered early-production Fokker E.V forward fuselage showing the fuel tank ammunition storage containers, machinegun mounts, and flexible cables for the machinegun synchronizer. In Fokker photo numbering, this photo is # 1371, the photo before the second photo shown in the E.V/D.VIII section of this book. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Uncovered Fokker D.VIII fuselage showing the fuselage structure. The synchronizer cables have been removed, indicating that this is a view of a post-war aircraft. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Load testing of the new Fokker D.VIII wing in September at the Schwerin factory. Sandbags attached to a wooden framework were used to simulate torsional twisting of the wing in flight. On 24 September, Fokker was authorized to resume production of the "Parasol", which was from then on given the official designation "D.VIII". (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Probably in an attempt to improve the supply of replacement wings for the E.V, the Frankfurt-based Georg Kruck company submitted their own design of a wing for load-testing in December 1918. The outer ribs were arranged in an angled manner, and the square wingtips indicate that the Fokker V.28 wing layout may have served as the basic design pattern for the component. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Two Fokker E.V wings of aircraft serving with Jasta 19 are stacked up in this view. The top surface of the right wing seems noticeably darker than that of the one stored behind it. On both wings, the surfaces seem to have received a relatively dense coating.
Fokker E.V wing production at Perzina. Fifteen wings can be seen being worked on, while the frames of another five wings are stored below the ceiling. The plywood skin was apparently first applied to the leading edge of the wing. The rolled-up sleeves of several workmen indicate that this photo was taken during a warm day in the late spring or early summer of 1918. So this picture most likely documents mass-production of the E.V wings, although assembly of the D.VIII wing would have been an identical procedure.
Two views documenting the chaos at the Fokker assembly hall in Schwerin after the war. Numerous Fokker D.VII and D.VIII fuselages can be seen, as well as several D.VIII wings, D.VIII cowlings, and numerous Oberursel engines. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
This Fokker E.V/D.VIII fuselage sans fabric is thought to have been photographed in Italy long after the war. The exact identity of the airframe cannot be determined from this photo. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
Jasta 19 was the JG II component Jasta that received some of the first Fokker E.Vs to reach the front. They also suffered the first fatal accident when Lt. Ernst Riedel was killed in the crash of E.V 107/18 on 16 August. The sad wreckage of his plane is pictured here. The plane was one of the first five examples that were accepted at Schwerin on 03 July. The fuselage remained in four-color fabric at the time of the crash. (Helge-K. Werner Dittmann)
Fokker E.V Wing Camouflage
Fokker E.V/D.VIII
Fokker E.V/D.VIII
Fokker E.V/D.VIII
Six early-production Albatros-built D.VIIs head this small lineup of Jasta 40 at their airfield near Lomme in the early summer of 1918. Closest to the camera is the personal aircraft of the Staffelfuhrer, Lt. Carl Degelow. Besides his "white stag" fuselage marking, an oblique white bar has been painted on the center section of the top wing to denote his position as unit commander. Second in line is the heart-marked aircraft of Lt. Rosenstein, carrying a lengthwise white stripe on the upper wing, indicating his status as deputy leader. This was an earlier aircraft than the one seen in side view a few pages earlier. A Pfalz D.IIIa and an Albatros D.Va are obliged to hide at the end of the lineup. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
The Jagdstaffeln were constantly on the move, and when they were transferred to a more distant location aircraft were disassembled for transport by rail or truck. Here, the fuselage of Fok.D VII.(O.A.W.) 4489/18 from Jagdstaffel 32b "E" is seen next to Pfalz D.XII 2454/18. The small circular maintenance door that was introduced on the third O.A.W. batch can be seen well here, below the "cheese grater" cooling louvers. (Peter M. Grosz Collection/STDB)
A lineup of Jasta 6 Fokker D.VII fighters apparently taken at Beugneux airfield. Kirschstein's plane heads the lineup, the usual position for the aircraft of the officer in charge, indicating the photo was snapped on or after 10 June, when he took over command of the Staffel. Parked next to it is a captured, all-white Spad VII still carrying the unit marking of Esc. Spa. 62, its original owner. (Bruno Schmaling)
D.VII (O.A.W.) 4488/18 in American hands. The fighter is fully armed and appears to be in original colour scheme. Spad XIII fighters of the 138th Aero Squadron are in the background.