Fokker D.VIIf Late
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On the Autumn 1917 German's Idflieg (inspection of aviation troops) fixed a date of nearest Fighter Competition with the aim of fighter aviation park replacing. After appearing of Sopwith Camel and SPAD XIII all German scout planes, firstly Albatros DV become obsolete and allies now dominated on the sky. The most modern German design, Fokker F.I ("Triplane") arrived to the Front on August 1917 but it had many technical problems.
At the end of September 1917 Anthony Fokker gave order to prepear the new project V.11 - new aircraft must be biplane with cantilever wings (without external bracing, which put up additional resistance to air) and powered by 160 h.p. liquid-cooled Mercedes D.III.
On the 21st January 1918 fighter competition began in Adlershof thirty new types were proposed among them was V.11, which showed impressive, flying characteristic since first test fight. Famous "Red Baron" Manfred von Richthofen after testing V.11 praised new aircraft but he had some remarks about V.11. This remark was taken into account when V.11 modified yet before competition in Adlershof ended on 12th February. Fokker's construction won competition German's commanding planned offensive against allied troops on March 1918 and obviously need support from the sky. Serial production of Fokker D.VII (official name of the V.11) immediately began on Fokker plants together with the license production on the Albatros and OAW factories.
Early-build's Fokker D.VII began arriving to the Front at the and of March 1918. Quantity of the new type was minimal and these D.III assigned one each single Jasta (hunting squadrons). Usually, D.VII intended for best aces and most experienced pilots. Manfred von Richthofen received his own D.VII on April but he preferred his "Lovely" Dr.I - probably, this decision was fatal just be fore the day of death.
On July 1918 more than thirty Jastas operated this type, total account of D.VII on the Front was 407 aircrafts. First combat experience proved that D.VII is the best among all fighters of this time: D.VII was better than any allied fighter in all performances expert maximum speed. Construction was very strong - some aircrafts returned after the battle without struts or cables!
775 planes of this type reached to the Front till November 1918. Majority of them was equipped with more reliable and powerful Mercedes D.IIIau or BMV IIIa engines.
More than 3000 Fokker D.VII were built in total only in Germany; about 200 aircrafts, powered 200 h.p. Austro Daimler engine, were built in Austria Hungary under License. After the war Holland built D.VII, many aircrafts reached to Belgium some planes in Denmark, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania and others. Soviet Russia purchased 50 aircrafts. Confiscated D.VII delivered to the USA, used in many "aero circus" as well as on the Hollywood movies.
Reparation of the Fokker D.VII as the best fighter of Great War was confirmed in article IV of Versailles Treaty about Armistice: "... surrender in condition by the Germans armies of the following war material: ...1700 airplanes, fighters, bombers - firstly, all of the D-7's - and all the night bombing machines ...".
These lines fully reflecting the characteristics one of the best WWI planes which become symbol of most advanced achievements and engineer of genius by Anthony Fokker.