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1998 Closed threads from 1998 (read only)

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Old 28 December 1998, 05:55 PM   #1
Dave Watts
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Hi all!

* I got to thinking about what was the most "successful" German fighter.* Many may first react by saying the Fokker D.VII.

* Well, maybe....maybe not.

I pulled production numbers from Windsock Datafile Nr.9 for the Fokker D.VII, and it appears that roughly 2539 may have been accepted, and some

certainly would have seen very limited service before cessation of hostilities.* I next pulled numbers for the Albatros D.V and D.Va from

Windsock Datafile Nr.3.* It appears that 2562 D.V-Va's were delivered, and saw more than their fair share of active duty, many being utilized far into 1918.

* I'm thinking by the sheer numbers, and length of service the Albatros had, that it may very well stand a good chance of having brought down more aircraft than the Fokker, but that's where I'm asking for anyone's opinion on this.* I don't know if there are documented listing records showing how many victories are attributed to what type of aircraft.

Happy New Year,

Dave Watts*

PS:Another interesting way to look at it, would be to consider what aircraft shot down the most, for how many were produced. Something akin to; a built to kill ratio. My bet may be on the Fokker Dr.I.
Old 28 December 1998, 07:22 PM   #2
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I recall Dr. Frank Olynyk's statement that his list of German aerial victories for WW I showed something like THREE THOUSAND kills credited to the D-VII. Since the Camel reportedly had fewer than 1,300 for a year longer in combat, that's an awesome figure. Frank, if you're looking, please confirm or correct my memory...
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Old 29 December 1998, 12:12 AM   #3
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I'm certainly a believer in the abilities of the DVII, but for Pete's sake... that's 40% of all the combined Allied aircraft on the entire western front at any given time. Then, of course, you also get into the discussion of German overclaiming - which DID happen on a regular basis and significantly skewed their final kill results, regardless of the theories of German perfection that so many still hopelessly cling to.

I would rate the Albatros series as a more successful aircraft, but on an entirely different basis... longevity. The DVII was nearing the end of it's viability toward the end of the war. Hence, the development of the Schuckert series, the Junkers and the Fokker DVIII. It was still a dominant and effective aircraft, but the end was in sight after less than 9 months in combat. Not so for the Alb series, which went from late '16 until the end of the war, when it was still a servicable aircraft that could put up a decent fight when well handled. From the standpoint of the servicability and viable service life of the aircraft, the Albatros was king of WWI for the Germans. Somewhat akin to the F-4 Phantom, which IMHO, is the greatest (by that definition) combat aircraft of all time. They should STILL be flying that thing.
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Old 29 December 1998, 02:22 AM   #4
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Stephen, The longevity issue aside, remember that MvR was already @#$%ing about the Alb D's being inferior to the new British fighters (Tripehounds, Camels, SE-5's) EARLY in 1917. Undoubtedly the Alb series remained in service only because no one in Deutchland could envision a better ride.
Old 29 December 1998, 06:51 AM   #5
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Most successful?....mmmmmm?
I guess that would depend on what determines success in a fighter a/c; longevity, kill ratio, popularity (with pilots), safety record, maintainability, etc.
The question is too broad for me, sorry! However, if we are allowed to catagorize, then here is my opinion:

Longevity - Albatross series

Kill ratio - Don't know!

Popularity - Fok. D-7 (easy to fly, good performer)

Safety Record - Fok. D-7 (low numbers lost to ground handling accidents, and in-flight failures)

Maintainabilty - mmmm!....tough one, but I would have to say one of the Fokker products for sure. I know that the construction process for the Albatross and Phaltz series was detailed and time consuming with their plywood fueselages. I can only imagine field maintenance on these machines was probably not the easiest. However, with the Fokker products, simplicity was of great importance. Self supporting wings, and simple steel tubing fuselages made these planes strong and easy to maintain. Yup...that about does it!

Old 29 December 1998, 07:11 AM   #6
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I have the figures in a file at home, as part of my forthcoming German WW1 Victory List. I will fish it up tonight, and supply it tomorrow. May have to e-mail it direct to Scott for him to handle, depending on the length.

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Old 29 December 1998, 08:50 AM   #7
Leo Sweeney
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The Allies must have considered the DVII as the most to be feared if not the most successful. The Treaty of Versailles specified that all be surrendered. "In erster Linie alle apparate DVII"
Old 29 December 1998, 09:12 AM   #8
John G
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If your talking most successful (which is pretty vague) couldn't you make a strong case for the Fokker E series. Despite being a mediocre aircraft they dominated the skies for a time and changed the shape of fighting tactics. Not many fighters are labled a scourge after all. If your talking best - different story but most successful - maybe the early Fokker.
Old 29 December 1998, 09:26 AM   #9
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You make a good point John, but imho the success of the Eindecker had alot more to do with the fact that it carried synchronized guns its opponents didn't have. I've never seen any complimentary comments about this plane by its pilots for any reason other than its revolutionary weapon.
Old 29 December 1998, 09:30 AM   #10
John G
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Excellent point debating the Fok E.I's merits - just its impact...I guess we just need to define "successful". Successful it was in its role at the time (as you pointed out thanks to the weapons it carried) but best aircraft -hardly.


most, quotsuccessfulquot, german, fighter

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