Fokker D.VII

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Fokker D.VII
Fokker D.VIIF
Type: Fighter plane
Design country:

German EmpireThe German Imperium German Empire


Fokker Flugzeugwerke, Schwerin

First flight:

January 1918


April 1918

Production time:


Number of pieces:


The Fokker D.VII was a fighter aircraft made by the Fokker Flugzeugwerke that was used by the German air force during the First World War . The construction of the Fokker Flugzeugwerke in Schwerin was considered to be the best fighter aircraft of its time. The excellent controllability even at great heights and its stable structure - both of which were not a matter of course 15 years after the Wright brothers - put a large part of the Allied machines as well as their own machines in the shade. The Allies considered the Fokker D.VII to be so important that under point four of the armistice, which regulates the handover of arms, they expressly made the handover of all "D 7'S" a condition.


By late 1917, the Entente Air Forces, with their new SPAD S.XIII and SE5 fighters, had achieved air superiority over the Western Front . The German side then announced a competition for a new high-performance combat single-seater. At the end of January 1918 a comparison flight was held in Berlin-Adlershof . 31 new aircraft took part in this competition.

The winner of the comparison flight was the prototype V.18 by Fokker , which had been designed by Reinhold Platz , the chief designer of the Fokker-Werke. Antony Fokker himself had flown the machine in and made detailed changes right up to the competition. In series production, the machine was called the Fokker D.VII. Manfred von Richthofen , the commander of JG I, was one of the pilots who had flown and recommended the machine during the comparison flight. (Richthofen was killed in a Fokker Dr.I triplane before the D.VII was deployed at the front.)

Initially 400 machines were ordered, and since Fokker could not cope with the production alone in the required time, the competitor Albatros produced the machine under license at the instruction of the inspector of the aircraft (IdFlieg) , including one manufactured by the Albatros aircraft factory in Johannistal (Fok. D.VII (Alb.) 541/18) with a wooden hull instead of the usual hull made of welded steel tubes.

A total of around 3200 D.VII are said to have been manufactured - 1000 of them at Fokker in Schwerin and a total of 2200 at Albatros Flugzeugwerke in Berlin-Johannisthal and the East German Albatros Works (OAW) in Schneidemühl .


The aircraft was constructed conventionally - a braced biplane with rigid landing gear, a water-cooled engine and two synchronized MG 08/15 machine guns . Under the fabric covering of the fuselage was a stable, welded tubular steel frame, as it was also used in earlier Fokker constructions. The wings were made of wood, also covered with fabric and braced against each other and towards the fuselage (the bracing between the wings supposedly only had a "psychological" function). The rudder and horizontal stabilizer were also made of steel tubes and covered with fabric.

The aircraft was powered by a Mercedes D III or BMW IIIa engine.

The BMW elevator engine performed much better than any other German aircraft engine used in the First World War. The BMW engine was a so-called oversized engine, in which the crankshaft etc. were designed for a lower power than the engine could provide close to the ground. This meant that it could only be operated at full throttle from an altitude of 3200 m, but had the advantage of still having high reserves available at high altitudes. The designation of the machines with BMW engines was supplemented with an "F" for the engine designer Max Friz , ie Fokker D.VIIF . Together with the thick wing profile, the BMW engine played a major role in the good performance of the DVIIF at high altitudes.

The aircraft was light and stable, extremely manoeuvrable in combat in curves and offered the pilot very good visibility. In addition, there were general flight characteristics that were easy to master even for less experienced pilots. This makes it one of the best fighters of the First World War.


First World War

In April 1918 the first D.VII appeared on the Western Front - machines from Jagdgeschwader I (JG I) - and proved their worth. At first, the Allied pilots did not have too much respect for the new aircraft, as it made a rather poor impression, especially in comparison to the elegant lines of the Albatros aircraft. Very soon, however, his excellent fighting skills became apparent, which quickly earned him the reputation of a feared opponent.

The climb performance of the D.VII was such that, even at high altitudes, with slow climbs and extreme maneuvers, the flow on the wings only broke off relatively late. The D.VII was particularly feared for its ability to apparently "hang on the propeller" and fire at the enemy from below.

It was said that the D.VII was capable of "turning mediocre pilots into aces". In fact, a large number of the top German pilots scored their kills with the D.VII, although it was only used in the last six months of the war. One of the pilots with numerous kills on the D.VII was Ernst Udet .

As the year 1918 progressed, however, new allied aircraft models came to the front with more powerful engines, which put the advantage of the D.VII into perspective. Pilots now tried to get one of the D.VIIFs with the 226 hp BMW IIIa engine. However, this model was only produced in small numbers.

In September 1918 around 800 Fokker D.VIIs were on the front in 48 Jastas. About 800 D.VII and 200 D.VIIF are said to have reached the front before the armistice. Eight machines were delivered to the Bulgarian aircraft department in September 1918.

Performance comparison

Performance comparison of single-seaters in the front line at the end of the First World War :

Surname Country First flight Commissioning Engine power Max. speed Takeoff mass Armament ( MG ) Summit height number of pieces
Albatros D.III German EmpireThe German Imperium German Empire 1916-08-01 1917-01-15 170 hp 165 km / h 886 kg 2 5,500 m 1352
SE5a United Kingdom 1801United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom 1916-11-22 1917-03-15 200 hp 222 km / h 880 kg 2 5,185 m 5205
Sopwith Camel United Kingdom 1801United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom 1916-12-31 1917-06-15 130 hp 185 km / h 659 kg 2 5,791 m 5490
Sopwith Dolphin United Kingdom 1801United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom 1917-03-23 1918-02-15 200 hp 211 km / h 890 kg 2 6,100 m 2072
Albatros D.Va German EmpireThe German Imperium German Empire 1917-04-15 1917-07-15 185 hp 187 km / h 937 kg 2 6,250 m 2562
Palatinate D.IIIa German EmpireThe German Imperium German Empire 1917-04-15 1917-08-15 180 hp 181 km / h 834 kg 2 6,000 m 750
SPAD S.XIII Third French RepublicThird French Republic France 1917-04-30 1917-05-31 220 hp 222 km / h 820 kg 2 6,650 m 8472
Nieuport 28 Third French RepublicThird French Republic France 1917-06-14 1918-03-15 160 hp 195 km / h 740 kg 2 5,200 m 300
Fokker Dr.I German EmpireThe German Imperium German Empire 1917-07-05 1917-09-01 130 hp 160 km / h 585 kg 2 6,500 m 420
Sopwith Snipe United Kingdom 1801United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom 1917-10-31 1918-08-30 230 hp 195 km / h 955 kg 2 6,100 m 497
LFG Roland D.VIa German EmpireThe German Imperium German Empire 1917-11-30 1918-05-15 160 hp 190 km / h 820 kg 2 5,500 m 353
Siemens-Schuckert D.IV German EmpireThe German Imperium German Empire 1917-12-31 1918-08-15 160 hp 190 km / h 735 kg 2 8,000 m 123
Fokker D.VII German EmpireThe German Imperium German Empire 1918-01-24 1918-04-15 180 hp 189 km / h 910 kg 2 6,000 m 800
Fokker D.VIIF German EmpireThe German Imperium German Empire 1918-01-24 1918-04-15 226 hp 205 km / h 910 kg 2 7,000 m 200
Palatinate D.VIII German EmpireThe German Imperium German Empire 1918-01-24 1918-09-15 160 hp 190 km / h 740 kg 2 7,500 m 120
Palatinate D.XII German EmpireThe German Imperium German Empire 1918-03-31 1918-07-15 160 hp 180 km / h 902 kg 2 5,640 m 750
Fokker D.VIII German EmpireThe German Imperium German Empire 1918-05-31 1918-07-31 110 hp 204 km / h 605 kg 2 6,300 m 289

Post-war use

Some D.VIIs served the United States Army Air Service as training aircraft for many years. (D.VII 1920 over Lower Manhattan )

In the Compiègne armistice , the Fokker D.VII is the only aircraft specifically mentioned in the provision that 1,700 aircraft - especially all "D 7'S" (English: firstly, all of the D 7’S ) are to be delivered to the winners - proof of this how much it was feared. Most of the planes went to the USA, some also to Switzerland . Many of the aircraft delivered were destroyed, others served the United States Army Air Service as training aircraft for many years.

Immediately after Germany's defeat, Fokker relocated its business to the Netherlands. He smuggled parts for 120 machines D.VII and CI and 300-400 engines across the border and continued to build the D.VII there. The aircraft was used in several air forces, including the Netherlands, Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, the Soviet Union, Denmark and the USA. The Belgian armed forces used captured planes, converted to two-seaters, as training planes until 1926. The Dutch Air Force flew them until 1931, and in 1928 Switzerland ordered eight new machines of this type.

Technical specifications

Fokker D.VII
Parameter Fokker D.VII Fokker D.VIIF
crew 1
length 6.95 m
span 8.90 m
height 2.75 m
Wing area 20.20 m²
Empty mass 684 kg
Takeoff mass 910 kg
liquid-cooled six - cylinder in - line engine : Mercedes D IIIa
takeoff power 130 kW / 180 PS
BMW IIIa ( high altitude engine )
takeoff power 166 kW / 226 PS
Top speed 189 km / h at an altitude of 1000 m 205 km / h at an altitude of 2000 m
Climbing time to 1000 m 5:48 min 2:24 min
Ascent time to 3000 m 8:12 min
Ascent time to 5000 m 31:30 min 15:18 min
Summit height 6000 m 7000 m
Range 350 km
Flight time 1:30 h
Armament 2 × lMG 08/15

Received aircraft

Seven Fokker D.VII are preserved and exhibited in museums:

There are also other replicas of the Fokker D.VII, e.g. B. in the Military History Museum in Berlin-Gatow .


See also


  • Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi: The planes. From the beginning to the First World War . Falken-Verlag, Wiesbaden 1976, ISBN 3-8068-0391-9 , ( Falken manual in color ).
  • Karlheinz Kens, Hanns Müller: The aircraft of the First World War 1914–1918 . Heyne, Munich 1973, ISBN 3-453-00404-3 .
  • Günter Kroschel, Helmut Stützer: The German military aircraft 1910–1918 . Lohse-Eissing, Wilhelmshaven 1977, ISBN 3-920602-18-8 .
  • Kenneth Munson: Warplanes. Fighter and training aircraft 1914–1919 . 2nd revised edition. Orell Füssli Verlag, Zurich 1976, ISBN 3-280-00824-7 , ( Airplanes of the World in Colors ), pp. 24, 121–122.
  • Heinz Nowarra: The Development of Airplanes 1914–1918 . Lehmanns, Munich 1959.
  • Heinz Nowarra: Richthofen's three-decker and Fokker D VII . In: Waffenarsenal, Volume 67, Podzun-Pallas-Verlag GmbH - 6360 Friedberg 3 (Dornheim), 1981, ISBN 3-7909-0146-6
  • AR Weyl: Fokker. The Creative Years . Reprint. Putnam, London 1987, ISBN 0-85177-817-8 .

Web links

Commons : Fokker D.VII  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Text of the Armistice Condition on Wikisource
  2. a b Heinz Nowarra: Richthofens Dreidecker and Fokker D VII. P. 20ff
  3. probably clearly excessive figure
  4. RAF Museum Aircraft Collection: INDIVIDUAL HISTORY FOKKER DVII OAW 8417/18 / 9207M
  5. ^ Deutsches Museum: Fokker D.VII , accessed on February 13, 2013
  6. ^ NASM: Fokker D.VII
  7. ^ Brome County Museum: Fokker D VII
  8. Canada Aviation and Space Museum: Fokker D.VII