Albatros D.II

The Albatros D.II fighter was a improved version of the Albatros D.I, which was first seen at the front in summer 1916. With its streamlined fueslage and elegant design, the Albatrosses became one of the most build and most successful aircraft during World War I.

albatros-di
Albatros D.I – Note the space between the fuselage and the upper wings.

With a rugged construction of the fueslage, build of plywood, a powerful 160hp 6cylinder Mercedes D.III inline engine and equipped with 2 7.92mm LMG 08/15, the D.I already was the superior fighter aircraft in mid 1916. 50 examples of the Albatros D.I were build until October 1916 when the improved version of the Albatros D.II arrived.

To allow the pilots a better view, the upper wings of the Albatros D.II were place a bit closer to the fuselage and the middle struts were rearranged. The fuselage itself, the engine setup and the armament remained the same as the D.I.

Early Albatros D.II - Note the Windhoff radiator mounted on the side of the fuselage.
Early Albatros D.II – Note the Windhoff radiator mounted on the side of the fuselage.

These improvements were apreciated by the pilots in service at the front and so the German Idflieg (Inspektion der Fliegertruppen – Inspectorate of Flying Troops) ordered a total of 275 aircraft between September 1916 and the appearance of the Albartros D.III in Early 1917.

Even during the running production the aerodynamic unflattering Windhoff radiator was replaced by a Teeves & Braun flat mounted radiator in the upper wings. Sometimes this improved Albatros is referred as the D.IIa or D.II late.

A total of 200 Albatros D.II were build at Albatros Flugzeugwerke GmbH in Johannisthal near Berlin. Another 75 were build in license at LVG. There were also 20 Albatros D.II build by Oeffag for the k.u.k Luftfahrttruppen (Austro-Hungarian Air Force) which were equipped with the powerful 185hp Austo-Daimler engine.

The aircraft first made its appearance in September 1916 at the Western Front, operatingfrom Jasta 2 under the command of Oswald Boelcke and the famous Jasta 11 under command of Manfred von Richthofen who noted his first confirmed airkill in a D.II. When the Albatros D.II arrived the front it was a respectable opponent for the best allied fighter aircraft, the SPAD VII.C1, and superior to all other allied fighters. It was fast, rugged, quite maneuverable and easy to fly. And last but not least, with its two Spandaus firing through the propeller arc, it had a superior armament.

Together with its successor, the Albatros D.III, and the reorganisation of the German Luftstreitkräfte (German Airforce) into fighter squads, called Jasta (short for Jagdstaffel) the Albatros D.II took its part in regaining the aerial superiority at the Western Front in 1917 which led to the infamous Bloody April. However, like other aircraft during WWI it saw service on the Western Front only for a short period while being in service at the Eastern Front and the Middle East until the end of the war in 1918.

Minutes before takeoff – Albatros D.II of Jasta 9 end of February 1917 at Leffincourt Airfield, about 40Km north-east of Reims.

 

 

Technical Data Albatros D.I Albatros D.II Oeffag D.II
Type Single-Seater Fighter Biplane
Powerplant Mercedes D.III
liquid cooled, 6-cyl. Inline
Austro-Daimer
Series 18.000
Power 160hp 160/180hp 185hp
Wingspan top/bottom 8.50m / 8.00m 8.50m / 8.00m 8.50m / 8.00m
Lenght 7.40m 7.40m 7.43m
Height 2.95m 2.64m 2.64m
Wing area 24.90m² 24.90m²
Empty weight 694kg 673kg 690kg
Loaded weight 921kg 898kg 958kg
Maximum speed
(at sea level)
165-175km/h* 165-175km/h* 170km/h
Climb rate
1000m ~4.5min ~4.0min
2000m ~9.3min ~9.1min ~7.0min
3000m ~15.0min ~12.5min ~12.5min
4000m ~23.0min ~26.0min
5000m ~40.0min ~37.0min
Endurance 1.5h 1.5h 1.5h
Service ceiling 5200m 6000m
Armament 2x LMG 08/15 – 7.92mm 2x MG Schwarzlose – 8.0mm
Total build 62 275 20

*depending on source

 

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