31 August 1916 – Albatross

British airmen got their first sight of the new German Albatross DI fighter today. Captain John Oliver Andrews was on patrol in his DH2 (5998) with Lieutenant Aubrey Edward Glew (7864) when they were attacked by three enemy aircraft from Jasta 1 near Ginchy. During the 30 minute combat the enemy aircraft stayed above the DH2s, diving to attack and then climbing again. The DH2s were not able to engage them as they could not outclimb the enemy aircraft. Eventually the enemy aircraft flew off eastwards. They reported an aircraft with a “streamlined propeller boss” and a“very large and rounded tailplane”.

Not long after this 27 Squadron felt the full force of the new aircraft when four of their Martinsyde G100s were shot down over Havrincourt Wood by pilots from Jasta 1 and KEG 1. Those lost were 2nd Lieutenants Michael Hamon Strange (7287) and Andrew Joseph O’Byrne (7479) and Captain Oscar Lyon Whittle (7299) taken prisoner, and Captain Alfred Skinner (7482) killed.

imageThe DI uses an unusual construction technique, a semi-monocoque plywood fuselage, consisting of a single-layered outer shell, supported by a minimal internal structure. This is lighter, stronger and more aerodynamic than the fabric-skinned box-type fuselage that most current aircraft use. The aircraft is powered by a 110 kW (150 hp) Benz Bz.III six-cylinder water cooled inline engine. It is not a particularly maneuverable aircraft but it makes up for this with speed.

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One thought on “31 August 1916 – Albatross

  1. sethspeirs Post author

    The lifespan of the DI was short as it was replaced within a few months by the DII. This was a similar aircraft with slightly lower wings set forward to improve the pilot’s view. By this time a slightly better engine with 160hp was available and this enabled two guns to be fitted without loss of performance. This became the standard armament.

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