Fokker D.VII – the lethal weapon

[3d by Marek Rys]

Fokker V.38 was a two-seater prototype powered by the BMW IIIa engine. It featured a lengthened fuselage with the observer position’s located behind the pilot’s cockpit. It had both greater wing span and larger wing area. The fuel tank was again located inside the undercarriage axle fairing, but a smaller gravity tank was also installed forward of the pilot’s cockpit. The plane was armed with one pilot’s forward-firing LMG 08/15 and observer’s machine gun on a flexible ring mounting. This machine served as the prototype of the Fokker C.I, which was mass-produced postwar. Prior to the Armistice Idflieg ordered 60 planes. Fokker transported the unfinished planes to Holland.
Fokker C.I was a multi-purpose two-seater mass-produced in the Netherlands after the war. First planes were assembled from the components that had been brought from Germany. It was armed with one fixed machine gun operated by the pilot and another one on the flexible ring mount operated by the observer. In the 1920s approximately 250-300 planes were manufactured. They were powered by 118 kW (160 hp) BMW, 162 kW (220 hp) Mercedes or 118 kW (160 hp) Oberursel engines. The Fokker C.Is were exported to the Soviet Union and other countries. In 1932 Denmark obtained a licence for the construction of this plane. In 1940 the last Fokker C.I in Denmark was still in service.

Stark new-0002


In 1929 the Fokker C.Is were being equipped with 147 kW (200 hp) Armstrong Siddeley Lynx radial engines. This variant was designated Fokker C.Ia.
Fokker C.I-W was the single floatplane variant built in 1919.
Fokker C.II was a three-seater, passenger plane development of the Fokker C.I, powered by the BMW IIIa engine, with an enclosed cabin for two passengers located behind the pilot’s cockpit. In the years 1919-1920 at least a dozen Fokker C.IIs were built. The later C.IIs were powered by 165 kW (230 hp) Armstrong Siddeley Puma engines.
Fokker C.III was a two-seater trainer with two sets of flying controls, powered by 161 kW (220 hp) Hispano Suiza engine.
Fokker D.VII (MAG) – Since March 1918, the Fokker D.VII planes were being built by Magyar Általános Gépgyár (MAG) in Budapest. As opposed to their German counterparts, they were powered by 154 kW (210 hp) Austro-Daimler engines driving Jaray four-bladed wooden propeller and armed with two 8 mm Schwarzlose machine guns. The Fokker D.VII (MAG) planes were modeled after the Fokker V.22 (Wn 2342), which was designated as 90.05. That plane, powered by the Austro Daimler engine no. 19245 driving a twin-bladed propeller and armed with Schwarzlose machine guns no. 34511 and 34537, was sent for trials in Aspern on April 24, 1918. On August 27, 1918, Austria-Hungary also received a single Fokker D.VII with a wooden fuselage for 30 000 marks. The Austro-Hungarian aircraft industry had a seriously limited potential, therefore the implementation of the Fokker D.VII (MAG) production was planned in five months.
Launching of the production encountered difficulties caused by the lack of experience in working with welded steel structures. In October 1918 six complete fuselages (serial numbers 3861, 3863-3867) were delivered from Germany in which the Austro-Daimler 19.500 series engines were installed. The wooden wings were manufactured on site. The planes received series number 93 and were assigned consecutive numbers from 93.01 to 93.06. Their radiators were different from the German planes, since the MAG used radiators installed in the Berg D.I planes which were also manufactured by that company. The price for a single aircraft delivered from Germany was 23 500 marks. Decision was taken to import complete components without engines, radiators and fittings including control instruments. Prior to the Armistice a single, complete Fokker D.VII (MAG) was test-flown at the MAG. Apart from the MAG, 150 Fokker D.VIIs, series number 132, were to be manufactured by Osterreichische Ungarische Flugzeugfabrik Aviatik G.m.b.H, but it never went beyond the preparation phase.
The end of October saw the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and therefore the end of the Fokker D.VII’s wartime service with the KuK air force.
On November 11, 1918 Germany signed the Armistice, which stipulated the immediate demobilization of its air force and surrender of 2,000 combat aircraft to the victorious coalition. Actually only 700 operational aircraft were handed over, while further 1,000 given up to the victors were useless wrecks. Only the western front units were disarmed. The revolution that broke out in German and military operations in the east only limited aircraft production, but were unable to stop it. New customers interested in the purchase of military equipment emerged, including newly formed countries, such as Poland, Lithuania, Finland, Czechoslovakia, Latvia and Estonia.
Only the signing of the Treaty of Versailles imposed more severe restrictions on Germany. Articles 198 and 201 stipulated that Germany must neither possess any military or naval air force, nor manufacture or import aircraft for the period of six months. The treaty was signed on January 10, 1920, but the Aeronautical Inter-Allied Commission of Control did not begin the supervision of its obligations until February 22, 1920. Therefore, the Germans had 15 months (from the signing of the Armistice) for unrestricted trade and production of aircraft equipment.
Anthony Fokker put this time to good use, dispatching six trains to Holland, hauling approximately 350 wagons full of equipment and unfinished aircraft components.

 

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