Carousel 1 CAR7123 German Fokker Dr.I Triplane Fighter - Ernst Udet, The Somme, 1918 (1:48 Scale)
"When you march into France, let the last man on the right brush the Channel with his sleeve."
- General Alfred von Schlieffen, referring to the Schlieffen Plan just prior to his death in 1913
The Fokker Dr.I Dreidecker (triplane) was a World War I fighter aircraft built by the company of Anthony Fokker, and designed by Reinhold Platz. It became most famous as the plane of the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen.
In April 1917, the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) introduced the Sopwith Triplane. Their debut was sensational and they swiftly proved to be superior to the Albatros and Halberstadt scouts then in use by the German Air Service. Soon the German pilots were clamouring for a triplane of their own. The majority of the German aircraft manufacturers, including Pfalz, AEG, DFW, Schatte-Lanz, and Euler, responded with new triplane designs. Most displayed little promise, though limited production of the Pfalz Dr. I was undertaken.
Fokker responded with the V.3, a small rotary-powered triplane with a tubular steel frame fuselage and thick cantilever wings. Fokker found several deficiencies in the V.3, particularly regarding control forces. Instead of submitting the V.3 for a type test, Fokker produced a revised prototype designated V.4. The most notable changes were horn-balanced ailerons and elevators, as well as wings of increased span. The V.4 also featured interplane struts, which were not necessary from a structural standpoint, but which had the effect of minimizing wing flexing. The V.4 proved highly maneuverable and much superior to the triplane prototypes submitted by other manufacturers. The rudder and elevator controls were powerful and light. Rapid turns were facilitated by the triplane's directional instability. The ailerons were also light, but not very effective.
After a type test, an immediate production order ensued. The V.4 prototype was intentionally destroyed in static structural tests. The two pre-production examples, designated F.I, were delivered in the middle of August 1917. These were the only machines to receive the F.I designation. Delivery of production machines, designated Dr.I, commenced in October of that year.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale German Fokker Dr.I dreidecker (three wing) fighter, which was piloted by Ernst Udet over the Somme during 1918. Only 600 pieces produced. Sold Out!
Release Date: April 2007
Historical Account: "Pour le Merite" - Born on April 26th, 1896, Ernst Udet was the second-highest scoring German flying ace of World War I. He was one of the youngest aces and the highest scoring German ace to survive the war (at the age of only 22). His 62 victories were second only to Manfred von Richthofen, his commander in the Flying Circus.
Udet's success as an airman during the War attracted attention for his skill, earning him an invitation to join the Flying Circus, Jagdgeschwader 1, an elite unit of German fighter aces under the command of the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen, and later Hermann Goring.
Udet's enthusiasm for Richthofen was unbounded. In contrast, he had little to say about Goring. Richthofen demanded total loyalty and total dedication from his pilots, cashiering immediately anyone who did not give it. At the same time he treated them with every consideration.
Udet considered Richthofen scientific in battle and cold in his own combats, mentioning his blue eyes and the sun shining off his blonde hair. Richthofen liked to strafe enemy columns in squadron formation, all guns firing, killing large numbers. He was the first to invent the forward base.
When Richthofen fell in April 1918, Udet was not at the front. He had been invalided out with a painful ear infection, which he avoided having treated as long as he could. While at home he reacquainted himself with a childhood sweetheart, Lo. Notified that he had received the Pour le Merite, he had one made up in advance so that he could impress her. Her name was painted on the side of his Fokker D VII. On the tail was the message "Doch du nicht" ("Definitely not you").
Concerning the death of Richthofen, Udet said, "He was the least complicated man I ever knew. Entirely Prussian and the greatest of soldiers." Udet returned to JG.I against the doctor's advice and remained there to the end of the war, commanding Jasta 4. He scored 20 victories in August alone, mainly against the British. Udet would become a national hero with 62 confirmed kills to his credit. Privately, he would question Goring's own achievements during the war.
Udet was one of the early fliers to be saved by parachuting from a disabled aircraft. On June 29th, 1918 he jumped after a clash with a French Breguet. His harness caught on the rudder and he had to break off the rudder tip to escape. His parachute didn't open until he was 250 feet from the ground causing him to sprain his ankle.