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Albatros D.V

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Albatros D.V
Type Fighter
Manufacturer Albatros-Flugzeugwerke
Designed by Robert Thelen
Maiden flight May 1917
Primary user Luftstreitkräfte
Number built approximately 2500

The Albatros D.V was a fighter aircraft used by the Luftstreitkräfte (Imperial German Air Service) during the First World War. The D.V was the final development of the Albatros D.I family, and the last Albatros fighter to see operational service. Despite its well-known shortcomings and general obsolescence, approximately 900 D.V and 1,612 D.Va aircraft were built.

Development and production

Captured Albatros D.V (serial D.1162/17) with British roundels
Manfred von Richthofen's Albatros D.V (serial unknown)

In April 1917, Albatros received an order from the Idflieg (Inspektion der Fliegertruppen, Inspector of Flying Troops) for an improved version of the D.III.

The resulting D.V featured a new fuselage of elliptical cross-section, which was 70 lbs (32 kg) lighter than that of the D.III. The prototype D.V retained the standard empennage of the D.III, but production examples used an enlarged, rounded rudder (also seen on some D.IIIs) and an extended ventral fin. The upper wing was repositioned 4.75 inches (12 cm) closer to the fuselage, while the lower wings attached to the fuselage without a fairing. The wings themselves were similar to those of the standard D.III, except for a revised linkage of the aileron cables. Early examples of the D.V featured a large headrest, which was usually removed because it interfered with the pilot's field of view. Aircraft deployed in Palestine used two wing radiators to cope with the warmer climate.

The D.V offered a slight performance advantage over the D.III through the use of more powerful engines. Most D.V aircraft were equipped with the 170 hp Mercedes D.IIIa, but late D.V and almost all D.Va aircraft used the high-compression 180 hp Mercedes D.IIIaü.

Operational use

Dogfight, 1930s magazine illustration of a Great War aerial battle between S.E.5a and Albatros D.V fighters
Albatros D.Va (serial D.5629/17)

The D.V entered service in May 1917 and, like the D.III before it, immediately began experiencing structural failures of the lower wing. Indeed, anecdotal evidence suggests that the D.V was even more prone to wing failures than the D.III. Furthermore, the D.V offered very little improvement in performance. This caused considerable dismay among frontline pilots. Manfred von Richthofen was particularly critical of the new aircraft. In a July 1917 letter, he described the D.V as "so obsolete and so ridiculously inferior to the English that one can't do anything with this aircraft."

In October 1917, production switched to the D.Va, which reverted to the D.III's aileron cable linkage to provide a more positive control response. The wings of the D.III and D.Va were in fact interchangeable. In an effort to resolve continuing problems with the wing structure, the D.Va also featured a metal sleeve to strengthen the lower main spar, as well as a small brace connecting the interplane struts to the leading edge of the lower wing. These modifications made the D.Va 50 lbs (23 kg) heavier than the D.III, while failing to entirely cure the structural problems of the type.

The structural problems of the Fokker Dr.I and the mediocre performance of the Pfalz D.III left the Luftstreitkräfte with no viable alternative to the D.Va until the Fokker D.VII entered service in the summer of 1918. As of May 1918, 131 D.V and 928 D.Va aircraft were in service on the Western Front. Numbers declined as production ended, but the D.Va remained in widespread use until the Armistice.

Survivors and modern reproductions

Today, two D.Va aircraft survive in museums. Serial D.7161/17 is displayed at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C., and serial D.5390/17 is displayed at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australia.

A small number of Albatros D.V reproductions have been constructed in recent years. One of the most notable flyable examples, finished in the colors of Eduard Ritter von Schleich, is operated by the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. It is powered by a modified six-cylinder Fairchild Ranger engine, fitted after the original liquid-cooled Mercedes D.III engine sheared its crankshaft.


Template:Country data German Empire

Specifications (D.V)

General characteristics

  • Crew: one, pilot
  • Length: 7.33 m (24 ft 1 in)
  • Wingspan: 9.04 m (29 ft 8 in)
  • Height: 2.70 m (8 ft 10 in)
  • Wing area: 21.20 m² (228.5 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 687 kg (1,515 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 937 kg (2,066 lb)
  • Powerplant:Mercedes D.IIIaü 6-cylinder water-cooled inline engine, 134 kW (180 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 187 km/h at sea level (101 knots, 116 mph)
  • Service ceiling: 3,000 m (9,8400 ft)
  • Time to climb: 4.35 min to 1,000 m (3,600 ft)
  • Endurance: 2 hours


  • 2 × forward-firing 7.92 mm LMG 08/15 machineguns

  • References

    • Connors, John F. Albatros Fighters In Action (Aircraft No. 46). Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1981. ISBN 0-89747-115-6.

    See also

    Designation sequence
    D.I - D.II - D.III - D.IV - D.V - D.VI - D.VII - Dr.I - D.VIII - D.IX - D.X - Dr.II - D.XI - D.XII Related lists

    Template:Idflieg fighter designations

    cs:Albatros D.V de:Albatros D V es:Albatros D.V fr:Albatros D.V hu:Albatros D.V pl:Albatros D.V sv:Albatros D

    This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
    It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Albatros D.V".