Corgi AA37809 German Albatros D.V Fighter - 2059/17, Manfred von Richthofen, Jagdgeschwader 1, Marckebeke, Belgium, Late August 1917 (1:48 Scale)
"The important thing in aeroplanes is that they shall be speedy."
- Baron Manfred Von Richthofen
The Albatros D.V was a German fighter airplane used during World War I. In April 1917, Albatros received an order from the Idflieg (Inspektion der Fliegertruppen) for an improved version of the D.III. The resulting D.V featured a new fuselage with an elliptical cross-section. The flat fuselage sides of the D.III were eliminated. The D.V also used the enlarged rudder of the Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke (OAW) D.III. The upper wing was repositioned 4 inches closer to the fuselage, while the lower wings attached to the fuselage without a fairing. The wings themselves were similar to those of the standard D.III, except for a revised linkage of the aileron cables. Early examples of the D.V featured a large headrest, which was typically removed by pilots because it obstructed the field of view. Aircraft deployed in Palestine used two wing radiators to cope with the warmer climate.
The D.V entered service in May 1917 and, like the preceding D.III, immediately began experiencing structural failures of the lower wing. Indeed, anecdotal evidence suggests that the D.V was even more prone to wing failures than the D.III. Furthermore, the D.V offered very little improvement in performance. This caused considerable dismay among frontline pilots. Manfred von Richthofen denounced the D.V as "obsolete" and "ridiculously inferior" to Allied scouts such as the Camel and S.E.5a. Nevertheless, 400 D.Vs were ordered in May and 300 more in July.
In October 1917, production switched to the D.Va, which reverted to the D.III's aileron cable linkage to provide a more positive control response. The wings of the D.III and D.Va were in fact interchangeable. In an effort to resolve continuing problems with wing flutter, the D.Va also featured a metal sleeve to strengthen the lower main spar, as well as a small brace connecting the interplane struts to the leading edge of the lower wing. These modifications increased weight while failing to cure the flutter problem.
While most D.V aircraft were equipped with the 170 hp Mercedes D.IIIa, late D.V and almost all D.Va aircraft used the high-compression 180 hp Mercedes D.IIIa.
The D.Va was the final development of the Albatros D.I family, and the last Albatros fighter to see operational service during World War I. Despite its well-known shortcomings and general obsolescence, Albatros and OAW produced approximately 900 D.V and 1,612 D.Va aircraft. Service numbers peaked in May 1918; 131 D.V aircraft and 928 D.Va were on the Western Front at that time. Numbers declined as production ended and the superlative Fokker D.VII entered service, but the D.Va remained in widespread use until the Armistice.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale replica of a German Albatros D.V fighter that was piloted by Manfred von Richthofen, who was attached to Jagdgeschwader 1, then deployed to Marckebeke, Belgium, during late August 1917.
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Release Date: September 2019
Historical Account: "Bloody April" - As the most famous fighter pilot in the history of military aviation, the name Manfred von Richthofen is familiar to many people and despite the Great War claiming his life more than 100 years ago, the exploits of the Bloody Red Baron continue to be a source of fascination to this day. Originally joining the Luftstreitkrafte as an aerial observer, his fighting ambitions would lead von Richthofen to be selected for fighter training, where he would later become a legend of the air, being credited with more aerial victories than any other pilot of the Great War. He is inextricably linked with the red Fokker Triplane fighter in which he scored his final victories and indeed met his death, however, it would be the famous Albatros series of fighters which would bring him the majority of his victories.
During April 1917, in a period referred to by Allied airmen as "Bloody April", von Richthofen and his fellow Luftstreitkrafte pilots would take a heavy toll of British aircraft, with his personal tally standing at an impressive 21 victories. Von Richthofen sustained a significant head wound which almost cost his life whilst engaged in combat with the RFC on July 6th, 1917, and although it is reported he was never quite the same person following recuperation and his return to duty, he would go on to score a further 23 victories. One of the aircraft used after his return to combat and before converting to the Fokker Triplane was Albatros DV 2059/17, which he used to claim his 58th and 59th victories. As his unit were converting to the new Triplane and this Albatros was damaged at around this same time, it is thought that this particular machine was repaired and sent for museum display in Germany, the prized aircraft of the world's greatest fighter pilot.