Fokker EI-IV

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Fokker EI-IV
Fokker E.III.jpg
Replica of a Fokker E.III in Gatow
Type: Fighter plane
Design country:

German EmpireThe German Imperium German Empire


Fokker Aeroplanbau GmbH

First flight:




Production time:


Number of pieces:


The Fokker monoplane was a tensioned combat monoplane with twist control, which was initially developed and produced by Anthony Fokker for the German air force during the First World War , but was later also used by the Austro-Hungarian naval pilots , the Bulgarian and the Ottoman air force . The aircraft were further developed over several types and were mainly used until mid-1916 under the names Fokker EI to E.IV.

Fokker AI to III

The two-seat Fokker AI monoplane corresponded to the Fokker M.8 monoplane built in 1914, which Fokker had produced in a small series at its own risk. This machine was based on the Morane-Saulnier H , which Anthony Fokker and his competitor, aviation pioneer Bruno Hanuschke , had sketched at an exhibition and which his engineer Martin Kreutzer had replicated. Fokker later bought a damaged morane to copy. The result was a single-engined mid-wing aircraft with transverse control by twisting the wings , which Fokker himself used for public flight demonstrations in the summer of 1914. In contrast to the Morane-Saulnier, the fuselage at Fokker was made of covered steel tubing, and the chassis and engine installation had also been modified. The engine was supplied by a gravity tank that had to be filled by the pilot via a hand pump during the flight about every seven to eight minutes from the main tank behind the cockpit. Due to the twist control and the fully movable rudder and elevator, the aircraft reacted very sensitively to steering movements; an advantage for the experienced pilot, but also a risk in the hands of inexperienced pilots.

After the outbreak of war, Fokker received an order for its monoplane, which was now classified as Fokker A.II and carried the factory designation M.5L; the "L" stood for "long" in relation to the span. Fokker also supplied the kuk aviation troops with it . The Fokker A. III finally was another variant, the factory called because of their shorter span than M.5K and also by the Halberstadt aircraft works as Halberstadt AI manufactured under license. In contrast to the two-seater AI / M.8, the two M.5 types were single-seater, but could also take a passenger behind the pilot in an emergency seat. The problem with the A-Types was the unreliable engine, which repeatedly forced German pilots to make an emergency landing behind enemy lines.

The synchronization gear

Main article: Interrupter gear

When on April 18, 1915, the well-known French pre-war aerobatic pilot Roland Garros made an emergency landing with a Morane Saulnier L single-seater on the German side and his plane was captured undamaged, Anthony Fokker received the order to immediately carry it through the propeller circle for the first time worldwide to copy or recreate a machine equipped with a firing machine gun. Fokker's attempts to attach baffles to a German aircraft propeller, as in the Morane, had proven unsuitable because of the penetration of the German steel jacketed projectiles; Fokker's technicians Lübbe, Heber and Leimberger took up an invention patented in 1913 by Franz Schneider , the technical director of the airline company (LVG) , to install an interrupter gear for an MG synchronized with the engine. Fokker took one of his A.IIIs with the 80 hp type U 0 rotary engine from Motorenfabrik Oberursel , equipped it with the synchronized MG, attached the aircraft to his sports car, drove from Schwerin to Döberitz airfield and personally led its development General Staff of the Imperial Air Force .

Fokker EI

A few days later, Fokker had a production order in its pocket. In Mannheim , the front-line pilots Kurt Wintgens and Waldemar von Buttlar took over the first machines for testing. Fokker, supported by Lieutenant Otto Parschau , went on a front tour with the combat single-seater: The first stop was the headquarters of the German Crown Prince (5th Army) near Stenay on June 13, 1915 , followed by the 6th Army on June 23 and 24. Army, where Fokker demonstrated the machine in the presence of the Bavarian Crown Prince . The two front-line pilots Max Immelmann and Oswald Boelcke from Feldfliegerabteilung 62 in Douai carried out test flights and were enthusiastic: The rigidly built-in machine gun that fired through the propeller circle enabled the pilot to keep a close eye on the enemy, to pursue him with the whole Aiming an airplane at him and then shooting with full firepower - a technique that revolutionized fighter aircraft construction.

The aircraft, now known as the Fokker EI , is now considered to be the first series-produced fighter aircraft .

Fokker E.II

The EI could only be an emergency solution, because the basic model of the Fokker A.III was clearly overloaded with the additional weight of the MG. In order to increase the performance of the machine sufficiently, a 100 HP 9-cylinder rotary engine UI Oberursel was installed. This enhanced machine was called the Fokker E.II (M.14); it was manufactured in parallel with the EI, as the new motors were not yet sufficiently available - the Oberursel motor factory suffered from production bottlenecks - and attempts with alternative motor types such as Siemens & Halske or Goebel did not go well.

Fokker E.III

The E.II also remained a temporary solution: the most popular variant was the Fokker E.III with the same engine but a larger wingspan. A larger gas tank increased the flight time by an hour. While production was still running, some E.IIs were converted to E.III or later upgraded for repair work. The successful E.III was delivered in small numbers to the Navy and to allies: three were delivered to the Bulgarian, 22 to the Ottoman and 18 to the Austro-Hungarian air forces; the latter armed him with 8 mm Schwarzlose machine guns .

As an experiment, at least one Fokker E.III was covered with "invisible" cellon instead of canvas , but this did not prove successful. This cover , a celluloid- like plastic, reflected sunlight and changed its expansion depending on the temperature.

Fokker E.IV

The Fokker E.IV (factory designation M.15) was presented to the Idflieg in September 1915 as the last, once again enlarged and significantly modified version of the Fokker monoplane with two MGs and a 14-cylinder 160 HP rotary engine Oberursel U.III. Oswald Boelcke carried out a test flight in Schwerin in November 1915 and reservedly stated that a more powerful engine alone does not mean a better aircraft. The newly developed synchronization gear caused difficulties, and after complaints from the front units, the Fokker had to revert to the simpler design. The MG arrangement that was changed in the E.IV. - the barrels of the MGs were arranged at an angle of 15 ° to each other - has also been withdrawn. As a result of these modifications, the E.IV only came to the front in large numbers around April 1916.

The further development of the E.IV, the M.17E, was no longer ready for the front.

It was not until 1918 that Fokker returned to the monoplane principle with the completely differently designed Fokker EV .


The first eleven EI reached the front in June 1915, followed by the E.II in July, the E.III in August and the E.IV in October. The monoplane was considered a secret weapon that was not allowed to fall into enemy hands and was therefore initially used purely as a defensive escort for unarmed scouts; it was strictly forbidden for pilots to fly over enemy lines. Despite the element of surprise, the success initially remained low, even though the aerial reconnaissance was improved again for the first time under the fire protection of the faster and more agile combat single-seater.

On July 1, 1915, Kurt Wintgens and his EI forced a French Morane Parasol to land. He achieved another recognized aerial victory on July 15. On August 1, 1915, Immelmann and Boelcke attacked an enemy formation of nine British aircraft over Douai airport . Boelcke had a jam and had to turn away, but Immelmann's MG fell victim to an enemy aircraft for the first time. In autumn 1915, more and more Fokker pilots, meanwhile grouped into powerful combat single-seater commands (KEK), followed the example of daring pilots like Immelmann, the “Eagle of Lille” and Boelcke, the “father of the German fighter pilots” everywhere from defense Attack over. They developed the process of aerial combat to perfection: the looping- like counterattack against a chasing enemy aircraft became the " Immelmann " standard program for German fighter pilots. Allied casualties soon piled up, and in the winter of 1916 the German Fokkers finally ruled the skies on the Western Front. The " Fokker plague " triggered the "Fokker syndrome" in the Allied pilots, who called their aircraft "Fokker fodder". For British machines that had to cross the front, an escort of one or two escort fighters was ordered.

In April 1916 173 monoplane were in use, the peak of their spread. But in the meantime the principle of the monoplane was already exhausted; The monoplane seldom succeeded in turning the more maneuverable enemy aircraft. Partly equipped with three MGs, their synchronization gearbox also reached the limit of its performance. On June 18, 1916, Immelmann and three other pilots patrolled the front at Annay. He did not return from this flight. At first it was suspected that the interrupter gear would have failed and Immelmann destroyed his own propeller , but this was later refuted. Immelmann died in an aerial battle between Sallaumines near Douai and Avion when his own anti-aircraft defenses were fired . His crash happened in front of soldiers of the "Lübeck" infantry regiment (3rd Hanseatic) No. 162 .

In the summer of 1916 the hard-won air superiority was lost again; superior Allied fighters like the Nieuport 11 , the Airco DH2 and the Royal Aircraft Factory FE2b dominated the skies over the battlefields of Verdun and the Somme . By late summer 1916, the monoplane was withdrawn from service on the Western Front, but they remained in service successfully on the Eastern Front , in Macedonia , Mesopotamia , Palestine and on the Dardanelles, in some cases until 1917.


Technical specifications

Parameter AI (M.8) A.II (M.5L) A.III (M.5K) EI (M.5K / MG) E.II (M.14) E.III (M.14) E.IV (M.17)
Construction year Oct. 1914 Apr. 1914 1914 1915 1915/16
number of pieces 60 20th 10 56 23 258 about 40
Intended use spotter Fighter plane
crew 2 1-2 1
span 9.52 m 9.55 m 8.53 m 8.95 m 9.52 m 10.00 m
length 7.20 m 7.24 m 6.76 m 6.75 m 7.20 m 7.50 m
height 2.75 m 2.90 m 2.40 m 2.70 m
Wing area 16.0 m² 14.1 m² 14.4 m² 15.4 m² 16.3 m²
Empty mass 363 kg 366 kg 358 kg 350 kg 370 kg 400 kg 460 kg
Takeoff mass 645 kg 571 kg 563 kg 560 kg 580 kg 610 kg
Top speed 135 km / h 129 km / h 132 km / h 130 km / h 132 km / h 140 km / h 160 km / h
Climbing time to 1000 m 7 min 5 min 3 min
Climbing time to 2000 m 20 min 15 minutes 8 min
Ascent time to 3000 m 40 min 30 min
Climbing time to 4000 m 45 min
Service ceiling 3000 m 3600 m 4500 m
Range 400 km 200 km 220 km 240 km
Flight duration 1:30 h 2:30 h
an air-cooled rotary motor Oberursel UI with 100 hp Oberursel U.0 with 80 hp Oberursel UI with 100 hp Oberursel U.III with 160 hp
Armament - - - 1 MG 1 MG 1-2 MG 2-3 MG

Received monoplane

Only the E.III 210/15 of the historic monoplane has survived: On April 8, 1916, a German pilot set off with a new aircraft from Valenciennes to Wasquehal and then mistakenly set off at the British field airfield near Saint-Omer (Pas-de-Calais ) landed. The undamaged machine was subjected to a comparison flight with a Morane-Saulnier N on site and, to the relief of the British, was clearly inferior to the Morane. The aircraft was then sent to Upavon in Wiltshire for further testing . This machine is on display today in the Science Museum in London.

Immelmann's Fokker EI was exhibited in the Saxon Army Museum, but destroyed in the air raids on Dresden .

See also


  • Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi: Airplanes from the beginnings to the First World War. Wiesbaden 1976, ISBN 3-8068-0391-9 .
  • JM Bruce: The Fokker Monoplanes. (Profile No. 38), Profile Publications Ltd., 1965.
  • Peter L. Gray, O. Thetford: German Aircraft of the First World War. Putnam 1962, 3rd edition, London (1987), pages 49-52, ISBN 0-85177-809-7 .
  • Peter M. Grosz: Fokker EI / II. (Windsock Datafile No. 91). Berkhamsted, Herts, UK: Albatros Publications, 2002. ISBN 1-902207-46-7 .
  • Peter M. Grosz: Fokker E.III. (Windsock Datafile No. 15). Berkhamsted, Herts, UK: Albatros Publications, 1989. ISBN 0-948414-19-7 .
  • Phillip Jarrett: Database: The Fokker Monoplane. Airplane Monthly, December 2004.
  • Karlheinz Kens, Hanns Müller: The aircraft of the First World War 1914–1918. Munich 1973, ISBN 3-453-00404-3 .
  • Günter Kroschel, Helmut Stützer: The German military aircraft 1910–1918. Wilhelmshaven 1977.
  • Lamberton / Cheesman / Russell: Fighter Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War. Harleyford Publ. Ltd., Letchworth (1964), page 112/113, ISBN 0-8306-8350-X .
  • Kenneth Munson: Warplanes 1914-1919. Orell Füssli Verlag, 2nd edition, Zurich (1976), page 24 & pages 121/122, ISBN 3-280-00824-7 .
  • Heinz Nowarra: The Development of Airplanes 1914-18. Munich 1959.
  • Karl Pawlas: German aircraft 1914–1918. Nuremberg 1976, pages 63-65, ISBN 3-88088-209-6 .
  • Michael Sharpe: biplanes, triple decks & seaplanes. Gondrom, Bindlach 2001, ISBN 3-8112-1872-7 .

Web links

Commons : Fokker Monoplane  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. According to the classification of the Idflieg (inspection of the flying troops), the A stood for unarmed monoplane
  2. The abbreviation "M" stood for "military"
  3. Uwe W. Jack: An engine and an airplane revolutionize military aviation. Working group Daedalus, archived from the original ; accessed on April 23, 2018 .
  4. German Imperial Patent 276.396
  5. the Oberursel U 0 was the license to build the French Gnôme rotary engine with seven cylinders
  6. the "E" was the Idflieg classification for armed monoplane
  7. There under the designation A.III series 03 and 04 with the army and with the identification numbers A.4 – A.9 with the sea pilots
  8. ^ The first machine with the serial number E 1/15 was given to Lieutenant Otto Parschau
  9. The first E.IV received again Fokker's friend Oberleutnant Otto Parschau
  10. Serial number 'E.5 / 15', i.e. the fifth serial machine
  11. no official aerial victory, as the machine fell on the opposing side
  12. Immelmann achieved 15 victories in the Fokker monoplane
  13. Boelcke achieved 19 of his 40 aerial victories on Fokker monoplanes. Boelcke, Immelmann and Wintgens received the “Pour le Mérite”, the highest German war award, while flying Fokker monoplane.
  14. Eleven fighter pilots achieved five or more aerial victories with their monoplane.
  15. engl. "Fokker scourge"
  16. engl. "Fokker fodder"
  17. ^ German loss lists (Prussian loss list No. 613) of August 22, 1916, p. 14258: Feldfliegertruppe. Oblt. Max Immelmann - Dresden - fatally crashed.
  18. ^ Otto Dziobek: History of the Lübeck Infantry Regiment (3rd Hanseatic) No. 162 ; first edition 1922, chapter 7. Spring 1916
  19. Information mainly in accordance with Günter Kroschel, Helmut Stützer: The German military aircraft 1910–1918. Wilhelmshaven 1977
  20. here information according to Heinz Nowarra: The Development of Airplanes 1914-18. Munich 1959
  21. Caliber 7.92 × 57 mm, initially type MG 14 Parabellum, later type MG 08/15 Mauser
  22. ^ Science Museum, London: Fokker E III Monoplane , c 1915