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1998 Closed threads from 1998 (read only)

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Old 29 December 1998, 08:54 PM   #1
Dave Watts
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It has been written that MvR flew the Fokker D.VII prototypes, (V.11/I, V.11/II, and V.18), at the Adlershof fighter competition, but I think that he very well may have flown a D.VII at the front, possibly only for a day or two. The army had accepted 21 D.VIIs by the end of March. A further 69 were accepted in April. The "records" show a front line inventory of 19 in April. I'm guessing the 19 were mostly from the 21 accepted in March. I do not believe the 19 were all at a flugpark awaiting distribution. I feel that some must have been in active duty by April 21st and the Baron had to be pretty high on the "who gets one" list. I'm guessing that the first frontline deliveries went to JG I Jagdstafflen 4, 6, 10, 11. Does anyone have information with regards to the distribution of the first 20 or so D.VIIs to specific Jastas?
Old 29 December 1998, 09:16 PM   #2
Michael Dailey
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Wow. Interesting. I can tell you that I have read 'Hunting with Richthofen' which is a translation of 'Jagd im Flanderns Himmel' (Jan Hayzlett did the translation) This source comes from the records of Karl Bodenschatz, who was the Adjutant of JG1 for its entire WWI existence; according to this source the pilots of JG 1 began to familiarize themselves with the DVII during the week of 20 to 26 May 1918.

I don't remember who, I think it was Hannes who mentioned that pilots of JG1 had their aircraft types and numbers recorded when they scored victories so he may have something more substantial to add..


Old 30 December 1998, 03:02 AM   #3
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Didn't he like the Fok DVII at the airshow. I believe he gave it a favorable review. If that Fok DVII were issued to him don't you think he'd be flying it when he was shot down? Or actually May would have never made it across the lines and MvR may have survived the war.
Old 30 December 1998, 03:06 AM   #4
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Every source I have seen on this matter agrees with what Michael has stated. It would seem unwise to dispute as this information comes directly from Bodenschatz. In the spring of 1918, there is no question that JG1 was the elite of the IGAF and that they would be first to receive the new plane.

On another note, I find it interesting that, as early as September 1917, with the structural deficiencies experienced with the Dr1, von Richthofen was already discussing Fokker's new "stationary engine biplane" with his friends at Kogenluft. This is eight months before the plane arrived at the front. I think that the major reasons why this plane was not available earlier than May 1918 were: (1) The new triplane was already in the production mode and to hurry along the DVII, still being developed and not yet ready for production, would disrupt the delivery of any plane. This of course is unacceptable to a country at war. (2) Due to the early problems and deaths with the triplane, Fokker was sensitive to criticism about his designs. His staff had apparently prototyped several alternative designs for the new stationary engined plane. Even at the time of Aldershof competition he had not yet decided which design was best. Too bad for MvR that he never got to fight with the DVII.
Old 30 December 1998, 05:31 AM   #5
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This raises a question: who scored the first kill for the D-VII? Undoubtedly JG.I, but...
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Old 30 December 1998, 06:31 AM   #6
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I have two comments. The first addresses the statement made about MvR possibly surviving the war if he had been flying the D-7. MvR chose the tripe over other combat a/c for its maneuverability. He may even had an opportunity to fly the D-7 that fatefull day, although I have no proof of that. MvR was NOT shot down because he was flying a triplane! He was shot down because he violated a primary rule of air combat; he got tunnel vision! He fixated on his victim, and the rest is history.
Second. I would like once again to come to the defense of the Fokker triplane. The PRIMARY and ONLY reason the triplane had structural failures was due to the incompetence of the Fokker factory workers! NOT THE DESIGN!!!!!!
The wings had several problems; improperly fitted componants, lack of varnish on exposed wood parts, lack of proper venting grommets, and poor gluing and nailing procedures. All of these problems combined to cause catastrophic failures early in the triplane's production run.
I am not aware of any such failures in replica triplanes today. The structure is extremely solid and simple and has a very light wing loading.
The changes made in 1917 were to production procedures at the Fokker factory. NOT the aircraft design.



Old 30 December 1998, 06:32 AM   #7
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I remember one source also stating that the first new Fokker came in April to JG1 but some days after MvR's death. Problem: I am unable to remember the name of the source.

Gröhler wrote in his 730 pages-book "Geschichte des Luftkriegs" (THE communist air war book) the "D.VII came in April to the western front".
Additional Gröhler mentioned 4000 (!) produced Fokker D.VII but I guess this number counted also the Dutch-or licence produced Fokkers after WWI.

Gröhler said in his book he got the production numbers and other info especially from the "Zentrales Staatsarchiv Potsdam" which is named now "Bundesarchiv-Militärisches Zwischenarchiv Potsdam" and from Freiburg. A lot of the documents (Prussian Army since 1867, Kaiserliche Marine, Reichswehr, Wehrmacht) moved after the change to the "Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv Freiburg/ Breisgau".

Asking there or even writing Gröhler, who is still writing aviation history books, could be helpful.

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Old 30 December 1998, 04:31 PM   #8
Dave Watts
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In reply to what Mark posted,
You spoke of MvR speaking of Fokker's new stationary engine biplane in Sept. 1917. This makes sense from the standpoint that when Fokker made a design, he always made it in a rotary format, and a in-line motor format, basically the D.VI and the D.VII. I have made copies of the delivery log books (from Daimler-Benz in Stuttgart) showing every motor delivered to Fokker from Daimler-Mercedes. The logs show 2 motors delivered in May of 1917, 1 in June, 2 more in Sept., 1 in January, and then 10 motors in February. By the time the 10 motors were delivered in Feb., this was for the army contract of 300. The earlier deliveries were for various experimental aircraft. (I'll start another thread on the motors.) I'm not certain where you're going with the disruption of production. The first group of 10 motors in Feb. went into the aircraft that were accepted by the army by the end of March or sooner and were on their way to the flugparks. The acceptance records for Feb. and March are missing, but we know that 21 D.VIIs were accepted somewhere in that period. The army acceptance logs before and after that period survive in the Aviodome museum.
The thing I was interested in was the source for the 19 D.VIIs in the frontline inventory as quoted in the back of Windsock datafile Nr.9. It sounds like the information may now be in Potsdam.
Old 31 December 1998, 05:32 AM   #9
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Hi Dave,

look at!
The author is stating also (in German):
"The JG1 ... got the first D7 in April 1918."
Send this man a mail and ask for his source!

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Old 23 January 1999, 06:42 PM   #10
Dave Watts
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I found this interesting passage on page 285 of "Fokker the Creative Years", by A.R. Weyl.
"The Fok. D.VII at the front
The first example of the Fok. D.VII to go to the front went to Manfred von Richthofen's unit, Jagdgeschwader I, early in April 1918. Von Richthofen was seen flying it when visiting neighbouring aerodromes. Against the enemy, however, he flew his Fok. Dr.I until his death on April 21."
It would be interesting to know what Weyl's source was. I will have to check with Pete Grosz, since he now owns Weyl's archives. I know that Pete has not only cast doubts over some of Weyl's statements in the book, but has proved some to be false.


mvr, fokker dvii

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