Carousel 1 CAR7122 German Fokker Dr.I Triplane Fighter - Werner Voss, The Somme, 1917 (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, Schütte-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 manueverable 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 Werner Voss over the Somme during 1917. Only 600 pieces produced. Sold Out!
Release Date: March 2007
Historical Account: "Boelcke's Dicta" - Born April 13th, 1897, Werner Voss was a World War I German fighter pilot and ace. Born in Krefeld, Germany, the first son of a Jewish industrial dyer, Voss was at one time a friend and rival of the renowned Manfred von Richthofen, but lacked the Red Baron's aristocratic background.
Enlisting in the 2nd Westphalian Hussar regiment Nr. 11 in 1914, like many cavalrymen he eventually transferred to the Luftstreitkrafte or German Air Service, learning to fly at Egelsberg near his home town.
Evidently a natural pilot, upon graduating he was immediately enrolled as an instructor, before departing to the front where he had to serve with Kampfstaffel 20 of Kampfgeschwader IV as an observer before he could earn his pilot's badge. Transferring to scout aircraft, he was posted to Oswald Boelcke's Jasta (Jagdstaffel) 2 where he flew as Manfred von Richthofen's wingman. At the age of only 18 years, he scored his first victory on November 27th, 1916.
Flying an Albatros D.III scout aircraft decorated with an Iron cross and heart motifs (for good luck), he achieved 38 credited victories.
He was subsequently promoted to temporary commands at Jastas 5, 29, and 14 before moving to a permanent command at Jasta 10 as part of Richthofen's Jagdgeschwader I (JG I) (or "Flying Circus" as it later became known to the Allies). Having tested one of the F.1 prototypes (103/17, Wk. Nr.1730) of the Fokker Dr.I triplane scout for Anthony Fokker, Voss evidently adapted his flying style to the rotary engined triplane, being credited with a further 10 victories with this new aircraft, bringing his total to 48 aircraft. He adorned the cowling of his new aircraft by painting two eyes, eyebrows, and a moustache (a face motif thought by some to derive from Japanese kites). Voss was known for being a loner and an inspirational, rather than effective, leader (modern writers often describe him as 'mercurial').
He was finally shot down after single-handedly engaging in combat with up to eight Royal Aircraft Factory SE5s of 60 and 56 Squadrons of the Royal Flying Corps on September 23rd, 1917, over Poelcappelle. Although the SE5's were flown by some of the RFC's best aces (James McCudden, Richard Maybery, Keith Muspratt, Reginald Hoidge, Arthur Rhys Davids and Hammersley) by exploiting the triplane's superior rate of climb and its ability to slip turn, Voss continually out flew his opponents and fought bravely, before succumbing to an attack generally credited to Lieutenant Arthur Rhys Davids of 56 Squadron. His aircraft crashed near Plum Farm north of Frezenberg in Belgium. Only the rudder, cowling, and parts of the undercarriage were salvaged and the aircraft was the subject of a report by 2nd Lieutenant G. Barfoot-Saunt.