William W. Whitson



Albatros D.1

(Photographs reprinted by permission of the San Diego Air and Space Museum)

The Albatros D.I came out in August, 1916. It was strengthened and streamlined with a unique plywood shell, powered by a 160hp Mercedes engine and armed with twin Spandau machines guns synchronised to fire through the airscrew arc. The D.I proved to be overwhelmingly superior in speed and firepower and otherwise comparable to the Nieuport 17 and other contemporary Allied fighters. Flying D.Is on September 17th, 1916, Hauptman von Boelcke led his picked pilots of Jasta 2 to a stunning tactical victory over British adversaries. An improved model would not emerge until January, 1917, when the D.III reached Jasta 11, commanded by Baron Manfred von Richtofen.

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