German Fighter Planes Deserving Legendary Status

Fokker, founded by Anthony Fokker, a Dutchman, established his factory in Germany where it remained until 1919 when the factory relocated to the Netherlands after the war. The Fokker company produced the Dr I Dreidecker or tri-plane that reached legendary status, the aircraft became closely associated with the even more legendary Manfred von Richthofen a.k.a. the Red Baron, whose skill levels and achievements in the air during dogfights brought fame to both him and his flying machine. This specific model was aircraft he chose to do battle in for the final months before his life ended, the duo accounted for the legend’s last 20 dogfight kills. This design brief demanded it to match the aerial capabilities of the British Sopwith Triplane, it first appeared in service during October 1917 and proved itself to be quite a capable aircraft, but was made even more so by the highly competent pilots that lived with her in the air, rather than by her singularly distinctive three wing and design.

Junkers CL I

In the course of the war the company built a variety of different models, including one that was considered to be Germany’s most accomplished and finest fighter during the First World War the D VII biplane, which actually proved to have had a fairly limited wartime career due to its late introduction to the war during 1918. Its Pilots praised the aircraft’s operational ease and handling in comparison to alternative aircraft types at the time, it was delivered to both German Navy as well as Air Service squadrons with approximately 1000 supplied during the war, with the model continuing in production to eventually manufacture a total of 3300 examples.

The Junkers CL I represented a breakthrough in aircraft design well ahead of its time. The fighter appeared during the later stages of the First World War, and unfortunately due to its production being hampered by difficulties resultant of the war-torn conditions in Germany at the time, this quite special aircraft could have earned itself an enviable reputation. Regrettably the design saw just a limited number manufactured with an eventual production total of under 50 units; the design approach featured a mostly metal construction linked to the low wing assembly. Both these design elements being fairly unique at a time where aero-engineers favoured fabric skins over wooden airframes combined with lower and upper wing assembly architectural styling.

Dr I Dreidecker

The aircraft operated with the standard in-tandem seating arrangement requiring two crew members, with the gunner/observer at the rear and the pilot in a forward positioned open air cockpit, power delivery was accomplished via a Mercedes, liquid cooled, six cylinder engine. The power unit developed 180 horsepower, driving it at a maximum air velocity of 100 miles an hour, towards a service ceiling approaching 19,600 feet. Armament was provided by a set of three 7.92 mm fully automatic machine guns, two of which were forward firing fixed mounting types and its third gun mounted on a swivelling perch in the plane’s rear cockpit. Additionally it arrived with mountings to dispense antipersonnel grenades from underneath its fuselage.