Sunday, July 31, 2011

German Fighters 1916-1918

Starting August with a Bang

I decided to post a few of the new profiles I have done. When I look at my search query stats one thing is obvious. People are looking for German paint schemes. So your wish is my command. These examples were chosen because they were easy on the eye and gave me a hook to hang some commentary on. I hope you enjoy them, and I brightened your Monday.

This Albatros D.III was assigned to Jasta Boelcke. The Jasta was the second Jasta formed; however the name Jasta 2 is seldom used. The pattern of yellow dots on a dark green background served as a dazzle camouflage scheme. It is a pattern unique to this plane.

This Albatros was flown by Ernest von Altaus in 1917. Many of the aircraft assigned to Jasta 10 were painted yellow. In some cases you will find yellow spinners and details instead.

The Fokker Dr.I shown above is a plane flown flown by Rudolph Stark. His personal markings always consisted of lavender stripes. The "b" suffix on the Jasta number denotes a Bavarian unit. During the First World War Germany was still divided into old feudal states who demanded their own units. You will see units with w for Westphalia Württemberg, and s for Saxony, as well as b for Bavaria.

The Fokker D.VII shown above is another plane flown by Rudolph Stark. His personal markings always consisted of lavender stripes. Several replicas are in museums around the world.

Britain - 1917 Port Victoria PV.8

The End of the Line for the Kittens.

My final post on the Port Victoria Marine Experimental Aircraft Depot which deals with the final "Kittens" designs. Even though the design unit was not a profit driven commercial venture, eventually they were forced to closed up shop.

The Port Victoria P.V.8 Eastchurch Kitten was a prototype British fighter aircraft of the First World War designed and built by the Port Victoria Marine Experimental Aircraft Depot on the Isle of Grain. It was a small and light biplane with a conventional wheeled undercarriage intended to operate from platforms on small ships, but while it had good handling, an unreliable and underpowered engine meant that the aircraft did not enter production, only the one prototype being built.

In 1916, the British Admiralty produced a requirement for a small single seater fighter landplane intended to fly off short platforms on the forecastle of the Royal Navy's Destroyers and other small ships to provide a widely distributed airship interceptor. Orders were placed with the RNAS Experimental Flight at Eastchurch and the Marine Aircraft Experimental Department at Port Victoria on the Isle of Grain for single prototypes to meet this requirement.

G.H. Millar, the chief technical officer of the Eastchurch flight, designed a small, angular, single-bay biplane, named the Eastchurch Kitten, powered by the required 45 hp (34 kW) ABC Gnat engine. It was larger and heavier than the Isle of Grain design, with equi-span upper and lower wings, which had bracing wires that ran from the wings through the undercarriage axle to the opposite wing. Initially it had no fixed horizontal tailplane, being fitted with a balanced elevator. Armament was a single Lewis gun mounted to the top wing.

The Eastchurch Kitten was part built when Harry Busteed, the commander of the Eastchurch Experimental Flight, was posted to the Isle of Grain to take command of the Marine Aircraft Experimental Department, taking Millar and the part built Eastchurch Kitten with him to Port Victoria for completion.

The Eastchurch Kitten was given the designation P.V.8, with the competing Port Victoria designed P.V.7, named the Grain Kitten, flying first in June 1917. The Eastchurch Kitten did not fly until 7 September 1917, powered by a 35 hp (26 kW) ungeared Gnat engine, as the originally planned engine was unavailable. After this first flight, when it was found to be unstable, it was fitted with a small fixed tailplane with revised elevators. Thus modified, it had superior performance and handling to the Grain Kitten, but was similarly plagued by the terrible unreliability of the Gnat. Official testing praised the view for the pilot and the handling but considered the aircraft too fragile for regular use.

No orders followed, with adapted versions of the Sopwith Camel, operating both from aircraft carriers and from lighters towed behind destroyers being used instead. The Eastchurch Kitten was packed for dispatch to the United States of America in March 1918 for evaluation, but it is uncertain whether it was actually dispatched.


  1. "Port Victoria P.V.8". (2010, September 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 00:32, November 9, 2010, from
  2. Bruce, J.M. "War Planes of the First World War: Volume One Fighters". London:Macdonald, 1965.
  3. Collyer, David. "Babies Kittens and Griffons". Air Enthusiast, Number 43, 1991. Stamford, UK:Key Publishing. ISSN 0143 5450. pp. 50–55.
  4. Green, William and Swanborough, Gordon. "The Complete Book of Fighters". New York:Smithmark, 1994. ISBN 0-8317-3939-8.
  5. Mason, Francis K. The British Fighter since 1912. Annapolis, Maryland:Naval Institute Press, 1992. ISBN 1-55750-082-7.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Britain - 1917 Port Victoria PV.7

A Failed Carrier Based Aircraft

The Port Victoria Marine Experimental Aircraft Depot on the Isle of Grain also designed naval aircraft which were not float planes. They produced several sleek aircraft in 1917.

The Port Victoria P.V.7 Grain Kitten was a prototype British Fighter aircraft of the First World War designed and built by the Port Victoria Marine Experimental Aircraft Depot on the Isle of Grain. A very small and light biplane intended to fly off platforms on Royal Navy Destroyers, it was unsuccessful, only a single prototype being built.

Following Royal Navy experience in operating land planes from platforms on ships, in late 1916, the British Admiralty came up with the idea of a lightweight fighter aircraft, capable of flying off short platforms on the forecastle of Destroyers in order to provide large numbers of aircraft at sea capable of intercepting and destroying German Airships. It therefore instructed the Marine Aircraft Experimental Department at Port Victoria on the Isle of Grain, and the RNAS Experimental Flight at Eastchurch to each produce a design to meet this requirement.

The Port Victoria aircraft, designed by W.H. Sayers, was designated P.V.7. It was a very small single bay tractor biplane, of sesquiplane configuration, with its lower wing much smaller than its upper wing. The wings featured the same high-lift section as used in previous Port Victoria aircraft, and were fitted with ailerons only on the upper wing. It was intended, as was the competing Eastchurch design, to use a 45 hp (34 kW) geared ABC Gnat two cylinder air-cooled engine. Armament was a single Lewis gun mounted above the upper wing.

While the Port Victoria design was design and built, the commander of the Experimental flight as Eastchurch, Harry Busteed took over command of the Port Victoria Marine Aircraft Experimental Department, taking the designer of the Eastchurch competitor and the part built prototype with him to the Isle of Grain, with the Eastchurch design gaining the Port Victoria designation P.V.8. The P.V.7 acquired the name Grain Kitten to distinguish it from the P.V.8, which was named the Eastchurch Kitten.

The P.V.7 first flew on 22 June 1917, powered by a 35 hp (26 kW) ungeared Gnat engine, as the geared engine was unavailable. The P.V.7 proved to be tail heavy in the air and difficult to handle on the ground, with its sesquiplane layout and high lift wings being considered unsuitable for such a small aircraft. The Gnat engine proved to be extremely unreliable, with test flights being forced to remain within gliding distance of an airfield.

When the P.V.8 first flew in September, it proved superior, although similarly hamstrung by the 35 hp Gnat. The P.V.7 was rebuilt with new wings of conventional airfoil section, a modified tail and a new undercarriage to eliminate some of the problems found in testing.[4] The low power and unreliability of the Gnat, however, prevented either aircraft being suitable for the intended use, and the P.V.7 was not flown after it was rebuilt.


  1. "Port Victoria PV7 Grain Kitten - airship interceptor" Virtual Aircraft Museum Retrieved 01:03, November 9, 2010, from
  2. "Port Victoria PV7 Grain Kitten (1917) (England)", Retrieved 12:03, October 19, 2010, from
  3. "Port Victoria P.V.7". (2010, September 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 00:35, November 10, 2010, from
  4. Bruce, J.M. "War Planes of the First World War: Volume One Fighters". London:Macdonald, 1965.
  5. Collyer, David. "Babies Kittens and Griffons". Air Enthusiast, Number 43, 1991. Stamford, UK:Key Publishing. ISSN 0143 5450. pp. 50–55.
  6. Mason, Francis K. "The British Fighter since 1912". Annapolis, Maryland:Naval Institute Press, 1992. ISBN 1-55750-082-7.

Britain - 1917 Port Victoria P.V.9

Britain's Final Float Plane

TGIF you say? Well here we are. Another Friday and we are looking forward to the end of another week. I hope you have a great weekend.

Today I am continuing with the aircraft developed by the RNAS Marine Experimental Aircraft Depot at Port Victoria. This is the last float plane of the development arc they produced. Britain changed naval aviation concept and moved to naval planes launched by the new batch of ships converted into earlier carriers. Unlike the Germans who continued producing several line of successful float planes; British float plane development ended in 1917.

The Port Victoria P.V.9 was a British single-seat biplane float plane fighter of the First World War. Although claimed to be the best aircraft of its type yet to be tested, only a single prototype was built.

In mid-1917, the RNAS Marine Experimental Aircraft Depot at Port Victoria on the Isle of Grain was instructed to build a new single-seat float plane fighter as a possible replacement for the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS)'s Sopwith Babys. The new aircraft was to combine the good maneuverability and pilot view of Port Victoria's earlier P.V.2 float plane with superior speed.

Like the P.V.2, the new design, the Port Victoria P.V.9 was a single-engined sesquiplane (i.e. a biplane with its lower wing much smaller than its upper wing) braced with faired steel tubes. The fuselage, wider than that of the P.V.2, was mounted between the upper and lower wings, almost filling the inter-wing gap, giving an excellent view for the pilot. Armament was a Vickers machine gun synchronized to fire through the propeller disc, with a Lewis gun mounted above the upper wing firing over the propeller. Power was provided by a Bentley BR1 rotary engine. While the designers had hoped to use the same high-lift aerofoil section as used in the P.V.2, this was rejected by the Admiralty, who demanded the use of the more conventional RAF 15 aerofoil, which resulted in a larger aircraft with a reduced climb rate and ceiling.

The P.V.9 made its maiden flight in December 1917, but trials were delayed by engine troubles and by a collision of the aircraft with a barge, which resulted in a propeller not matched properly to the aircraft being fitted, further reducing performance. Despite this, when the P.V.9 was officially tested in May 1918, the P.V.9 was said to be the best seaplane fighter tested up to that time. No production followed, however, as the availability of Sopwith Pup and Camel land planes which could operate from platforms aboard ships, removed the requirement for a float plane fighter.


  1. "Port Victoria P.V.9". (2010, September 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 00:02, November 9, 2010, from
  2. "Port Victoria P.V.9 1917" Virtual Aircraft Museum Retrieved 00:03, November 9, 2010, from
  3. "Port Victoria PV.9" (in Russian)
  4. Bruce, J.M. British "Aeroplanes 1914-18". London:Putnam, 1957.
  5. Collyer, David. "Babies Kittens and Griffons". Air Enthusiast, Number 43, 1991. Stamford, UK:Key Publishing. ISSN 0143 5450. pp. 50-55.
  6. Mason, Francis K. "The British Fighter since 1912". Annapolis, Maryland:Naval Institute Press, 1992. ISBN 1-55750-082-7.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Britain - 1917 Port Victoria P.V.5

More Aircraft from The Isle of Grain Part 2

Shortly after the Depot initiated work on the P.V.4, it was asked to develop a single-seat fighter seaplane also capable of performing light bombing tasks with two internally-stowed 30kg bombs. To meet this requirement, two different aircraft were designed and built, the P.V.5 and the P.V.5a. The former was developed from the P.V.2bis and employed a similar sesquiplane wing cellule devoid of flying wires and braced by struts to the float undercarriage. The wings employed a high-lift aerofoil section, the armament comprised a single synchronized 7.7mm machine gun plus the two 30kg bombs specified and power was provided by a 150hp Hispano- Suiza engine. Fitted with pontoon-type floats rather than the Linton Hope floats for which it had been designed, the P.V.5 was flight tested in mid-1917 with promising results, but the original requirement had been overtaken and development was discontinued.


  1. "Port Victoria P.V.5 1917" Virtual Aircraft Museum Retreived from
  2. Mason, Francis K. "The British Fighter since 1912". Annapolis, Maryland:Naval Institute Press, 1992. ISBN 1-55750-082-7.
  3. Green, William and Gordon Swanborough. "The Complete Book of Fighters". London: Salamander Books, 1994. ISBN 0-83173-939-8.
  4. Bruce, J.M. "British Aeroplanes 1914-18". London:Putnam, 1957.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Britain 1916 Port Victoria P.V.2

Brainstorming on the Isle of Grain

The Royal Naval Air Service's Port Victoria Marine Experimental Aircraft Depot was a research facility assigned the task of innovating new aircraft designs for service in the RNAS. The idea did have merit since it was a centralized operation that was not producing redundant designs which were being offered by a flock of small companies with no aviation experience. They did produce interesting designs whether they entered production or not. As with many aircraft design companies, Port Victoria had to deal with what in many cases contradictory requests in the Admiralty's design specifications.

The Port Victoria P.V.2 was a British prototype floatplane fighter of the First World War, designed and built at the Royal Naval Air Service's Port Victoria Marine Experimental Aircraft Depot on the Isle of Grain. Only a single aircraft was built, with the type not being chosen for production.

The Port Victoria Depot's second design, designated Port Victoria P.V.2 was a floatplane fighter intended to intercept German Zeppelins. The P.V.2 was a small single engined biplane, powered by a Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine driving a four blade propellor. It was of wood and fabric construction, and of sesquiplane configuration, i.e. with its lower wing much smaller than its upper wing (both of which used the high-lift wing sections pioneered by the P.V.1). Unusually, the aircraft's wing bracing struts also carried the aircraft's floats, forming a "W" shape when viewed from the front. The upper wing was attached directly to the top of the fuselage, giving a good field of fire for the intended armament of a single 2-lb Davis gun recoiless gun.

The P.V.2 first flew on 16 June 1916, and demonstrated good performance and handling. The upper wing, however, while giving excellent upwards view to the pilot, gave a poor downwards view of the pilot, particularly during landing, while the Davis gun had lost favor with the Admiralty as an anti-Zeppelin weapon. The P.V.2 was therefore rebuilt as the P.V.2bis with a revised, longer span upper wing mounted 12 inches (0.30 m) above the fuselage and the Davis gun replaced by two Lewis guns mounted above the wing, firing over the propeller. The modified aircraft first flew in this form in early 1917.

While the P.V.2bis again showed excellent handling, the RNAS's requirement for a floatplane anti-Zeppelin fighter had lapsed, and no production was ordered.


  1. "Port Victoria P.V.2". (2010, September 15). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:34, November 8, 2010, from
  2. "Port Victoria P.V.2 1916" Virtual Aircraft Museum Retrieved 23:33, November 8, 2010, from
  3. Bruce, J.M. "The Sopwith Tabloid,Schneider and Baby: Historic Military Aircraft No.17 Part IV". Flight, 29 November 1957. pp. 845—848.
  4. Collyer, David. "Babies Kittens and Griffons". Air Enthusiast, Number 43, 1991. Stamford, UK:Key Publishing. ISSN 0143 5450. pp. 50—55.
  5. Mason, Francis K. "The British Fighter since 1912". Annapolis, Maryland:Naval Institute Press, 1992. ISBN 1-55750-082-7.

The Albatros Project part 7

A Change of Plans

The best laid plans can often go awry, so the old saw goes. This is the case today, I had planned on posting an article on Jagdgeschwader Nr.2, however the research has taken a detour and I was not happy with the article as is. So I am tabling it while I take time researching and rethinking some issues. In the mean time I will just post some pretty pictures of Albatros D.V aircraft.

Jasta 12 aircraft were identified by white noses and either black or white rear sections. When Jasta 12 ws incorporated into Jagdgeschwader Nr.I in 1918 Rudolf Berthold who was the commander at the time set the main fuselage color to blue with a white nose.

Jasta 17 used a white empanage and tail plane as their identifier. Many examples use a contrasting color for the rear section of the rudder. The lightening bolt has been used on other Albatros D.V aircraft, Most notibly Joachim von Hippel from Jasta 5, although that aircraft' insignia was black with a white border on a silvery gray fuselage

Jasta 76b was a Bavarian unit which used distinctive blue and white stripes or the Bavarian checked pattern. This is one of the Albatros D.V's flown by Walter_Boning.

Jasta 77b was a Bavarian unit. Jatsa 77b was easily identified by their blue empanage many had a white stripe just ahead of the rudder which the white border of the cross touched. This example has a unique black and white design which is very distinctive.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Jagdgeschwader Nr.I

The First Flying Circus

During early 1917 , it became apparent to the German High Command that they would always be outnumbered in air operations over the Western Front. The average Jasta could only muster some 6 or 8 aircraft in total for a patrol, and would often face a succession of Allied patrols. In order to maintain some impact and local command of the air the Jastas began (unofficially) to fly in larger, composite groups. By mid 1917 the first official grouping of Jastas saw JG 1 formed. Its role was to simple; to achieve localized air superiority where ever it was sent and to deny Allied air operations over a location for a specified period. The unit was mobile, and JG 1 and its logistic support traveled by train to whatever part of the front-line where local air superiority was needed, often at short notice.

Jagdgeschwader Nr.I was formed in June of 1917. The unit consisting of Jastas 4, 6, 10 and 11. JG.I was the prototype for the "Flying Circus" concept. The name did not refer to their colorful aircraft. It ws due to the rail operated train car system which provided the unit with the speed to shift from one part of the front to another as needed. The circus could provide aerial superiority over the Allies by concentrating their aircraft on a single sector of the front.

This is Udet's iconic red and white Fokker D.VII. The upper wing was painted with diagonal candy stripes. The lower surface of the wings was covered with lozenge pattern cloth. LO was the nickname of his childhood sweetheart.

Janzen's Fokker Dr.I started with the streaked camoflauge pattern, and then decorated with with white stripes and a black aft section of the fuselage. The original iron cross appears to have been overpainted with a dark circle and the Maltese cross was painted on the black section.

Heldman's Albatros D.V was painted in a yellow scheme which was used by many of this Jasta's aircraft. In some cases the yellow was only applied on the propeller spinner, in other cases the entire aircraft was yellow.

This is an early aircraft of Lothar von Richtofen. The Albatros D.III has red flash and a yellow rudder and a natural varnished finish which would be used in different degrees on his later airplanes. In the late years of the war his Fokker D.VII was painted yellow with a red cowling.

The History of Jagdgeschwader Nr.I

The first commander of Jagdgeschwader Nr.I was the famous ace, Manfred Frhr. von Richthofen. Initially based at Marke ( Jasta 11), Cuene (Jasta 4), Bisseghem (Jasta 6) and Heule (Jasta 10), Richthofen had carte blanche to select his unit commanders and recruit individual pilots into JG 1, and alternately to transfer out any pilots he did not feel were up to standard. Thus 9-kill ace Lt.Eduard von Dostler and the rising Lt.Hans von Adam were soon posted to Jasta 6, and Lt.Werner Voss into Jasta 10. This policy had the effect of making the Jagdgeschwader an elite unit, but by robbing lesser Jastas of their best pilots also reduced the overall standard of the average Jasta. JG 1 itself also suffered a dilution of talent when competent members were posted away to command their own Jastas in late 1917, when the number of Jastas were doubled from 40 to 80.

JG 1 was soon flying intensively over the Flanders battlefield above the Allied offensive started in June 1917.

Richtofen was severely wounded in the head on 6 July, leading elements of JG 1 in an attack on 20 Squadron F.E.2d's. Oblt. Kurt von Doering, CO of Jasta 4, took over temporary command and Jastas 4 and 11 shot down 9 Allied aircraft the next day. Richthofen resumed command on 25 July, until a period of convalescence leave on 6 September.

JG 1 was the first unit to operationally trial the new Fokker Dr.I triplane, the first two examples of which were received on 21 August 1917. Jasta 10's Werner Voss would be the triplane's greatest exponent, scoring 10 victories with it in just 21 days before his death in combat.

Richthofen returned to JG 1 on 23 October, and around this time a number of fatal crashes involving the Fokker Dr.I saw JG 1 Technical Officer Lt. Konstantin Krefft ground the unit's triplanes until modifications were carried out in early December. The unit meantime soldiered on with the Albatros D.V.

JG 1 was rushed from Ypres to Cambrai by 23 November 1917, following the launch of the British offensive, and did much to stabilize the air war over the battlefield when the bad weather permitted.

Poor weather in early 1918 saw little opportunity for JG 1 to score, although the unit were in the forefront of defensive fighter operations during the major German offensive launched on 21 March 1918. By April 1918 the formation was flying from Harbonnieres, the most south westerly airfield they were to ultimately occupy. The newly formed RAF however maintained a degree of air superiority, with heavily escorted artillery observation and reconnaissance two-seaters operating effectively over the rapidly moving ground battle below. Most of JG 1's victims at this time were the low flying fighter bombers, particularly Sopwith Camels.

After von Richthofen's death in April 1918, Hauptmann Wilhelm Reinhard became JG 1 Commanding Officer. On 10 May JG 1 claimed its 300th victory while on 20 May the unit received the honorary title of JG 1 'Richthofen'. Soon after JG 1 moved to the 7th Army front to support the forthcoming Aisne offensive, commencing on 27 May. JG 1 moved to Guise, and then Puiseux Ferme, operating primarily against the French and the newly arrived American Air Forces.

By mid-June JG 1 was fully equipped with the Fokker D.VII, the first having been tested operationally in May. After Reinhard was killed in a flying accident on 3 July 1918, Oberleutnant Hermann Göring became JG 1's third and last commander of the war on 14 July.

The Geschwader moved again on 19 July to Soissons, claiming its 500th victory on 25 July. Yet another move followed on 10 August, to the 2nd Army front west of Saint Quentin. JG 1's then top scorer, 53-kill Lt.Erich Lowenhardt, was killed in an air collision on this day.

Having been subjected to intensive operations over the Amiens battle in August 1918, by mid-September an exhausted JG 1 was withdrawn from the British part of the front, having lost all four Jasta commanders by the end of August; Lowenhardt of Jasta 10 was killed, Jasta 6's Co Lt. Paul Wenzel and Lothar von Richthofen of Jasta 11 both wounded and hospitalized, and Lt. Ernst Udet (Jasta 4) exhausted and sent on leave. JG 1 scored just 17 claims during September, despite the month seeing the highest losses for the Allied Air Forces of the war (The Jasta force claiming some 721 victories for the month). For the next three months the likes of Lt. Friedrich Noltenius in Jasta 11, Jasta 6's CO Ulrich Neckel and Lt. Arthur Laumann (Jasta 10) did the majority of the scoring.

Thereafter until the end of the war shortages of fuel and spares, increasing Allied numerical air superiority and continual retreats in the face of Allied ground advances meant JG 1 struggled to emulate earlier successes.

From June 1917 until November 1918, JG 1 claimed 644 Allied aircraft destroyed, while losing 52 pilots killed in action.


  1. Jagdgeschwader 1 (World War I). (2011, July 2). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 05:16, July 25, 2011, from
  2. Peter Kilduff, "Richthofen - Beyond the Legend of the Red Baron" 1993
  3. Franks, Norman; Frank Bailey, and Russell Guest. "Above the Lines". London: Grub Street, 1998.
  4. Franks, Norman; Frank Bailey, and Russell Guest. "Bloody April, Black September" 1995

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Germany - 1918 Hansa-Brandenburg W.33

The Final Version

The final war-time development of the Hansa-Brandenburg floatplanes reached maturity in the last days of the Great War. The basic design of the W.29 was refined and expanded on with the advent of the W.33. The W.33 was larger, heavier and faster than the W.29. The service ceiling was the same, however the endurance of the W.33 was greater by 30 minutes, giving it an edge in range. During it's operational life a total of approximately 181 examples were built.

Hansa-Brandenburg W.33 was a German two-seat, low-wing single-engined seaplane, which had been designed by Hansa und Brandenburgische Flugzeugwerke in the 1920s. Although the W.33 was built in relatively small numbers, the design was widely recognized as successful and numerous copies and license built versions were built by the hundreds after World War I.

The Hansa-Brandenburg W.33 aircraft was designed in 1916 by Ernst Heinkel and entered German service in 1918. 26 aircraft were built of this design, but only six before the collapse of the German empire. Noticeably superior to the FF.33L, it proved to be an excellent aircraft. The Hansa-Brandenburg monoplanes considerably influenced German seaplane design; several copies appeared in 1918, such as the Friedrichshafen FF.63, the Dornier Cs-I, the Junkers J.11, and the L.F.G. Roland ME 8. After the war a version of the W.29 was used by Denmark, while Finland obtained a license for to manufacture of the W.33.

Finland purchased a number of W.33 and W.34 aircraft from Germany. In 1921, Finland also obtained the manufacturing license for the W.33. The first Finnish-built Hansa made its maiden flight on 4 November 1922, and was called IVL A.22 Hansa. This aircraft was the first industrially manufactured aircraft in Finland. During the following four years a total of 120 aircraft were manufactured. The Finnish Air Force used the aircraft in maritime service until 1936.


  • Hansa-Brandenburg W.33: 26 built
  • IVL A.22: Hansa: Finnish license manufactured W.33, 120 built
  • Hansa-Brandenburg Make: Norwegian license manufactured W.33, 41 built:
  • Make I: 6 built
  • Make II: 24 built
  • Make III: 11 built at Kjeller Flyfabrikk and known as Kjeller F.F.8 Make III.


  1. Hansa-Brandenburg W.33. (2010, December 3). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:56, January 8, 2011, from
  2. Hansa-Brandenburg W.33 1918 Virtual Aircraft Museum Retrieved 12:15, January 8, 2011, from
  3. W.Green, D.Swanborough The Complete Book of Fighters, 2000
  4. Keskinen, Kalevi; Niska, Klaus; Stenman, Kari; Geust, Carl-Fredrik: Suomen museolentokoneet, Forssan kirjapaino, 1981, ISBN 951-9035-60-5.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Germany - 1918 Hansa-Brandenburg W.29

The Elegant W.29 Takes to the Air

In the last year of the Great War German Floatplane design reached a high level of sophistication. Hansa-Brandenburg had carved out a reputation for producing excellent naval aircraft including both floatplanes and flying boats. The designs produced at this time served into the 1920-1930⅝s. Finland, Norway, Denmark were some of the countries who flew the Hansa-Brandenburg W.29 and W.33 after the war.

The Hansa-Brandenburg W.29 was a German monoplane fighter floatplane manufactured by Hansa und Brandenburgische Flugzeug-Werke, which served in 1918 in the closing months of World War I. The Hansa-Brandenburg W.29 had its first flight on March 27, 1918. The fighter was deployed from bases on the North Sea coast.

The German naval air service asked for an aircraft with increased speed and firepower to counter the heavily armed Felixtowe flying boats used by the British in the North sea. In response to this request, Hansa und Brandenburgische Flugzeug-Werke designed the W.29 which was based on the aging W.12 biplane. The W.29 was specifically designed by Ernst Heinkel to replace early W.12 biplane. The monoplane configuration created much less drag, giving the W.29 a higher rate of speed.

There were several production batches of W.29's. Batch 2507-2536 were powered by the 150 hp Benz III inline water-cooled engine. Armament was a pair of Spandau guns synchronized for the pilot and a Parabellum on a ring for the observer.

The first combat for the Hansa-Brandenburg W.29 took place on July 4, 1918. Oberleutnant Friedrich Christiansen lead a flight of four W.29's which intercepted and attacked three Felixtowe flying boats. They shot down all three without a loss. Christiansen's use of the W.29 in July of 1918 was exceptional. On July 6 1918, Christiansen lead a flight of five W.29's who located and damaged the British submarine C 25. On July 31, 1918 Christiansen downed another Curtiss flying boat. By the end of the war he had 13 confirmed victories.


  1. Hansa-Brandenburg W.29. (2009, November 8). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:04, August 29, 2010, from
  2. Jackson, Robert, "The Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft", Parragon, 2002. ISBN 0-75258-130-9
  3. Gray, Peter and Thetford, Owen. "German Aircraft of the First World War". London: Putnam, 1962.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Germany-Austria 1916 Hansa-Brandenburg KDW

A Central Powers Float Plane

I seem to have put the cart before the horse. I should have posted this article first. As I stated in the previous article Hansa-Brandenburg produced a line of excellent float planes. The first of the line designed by Ernst Heinkel was the Hansa-Brandenburg KDW. The aircraft had clean lines. The notable feature is the gun pod mounted on the upper wing. It is an Austrian invention containing one or two Schwarzlose MG M.07/12 machine guns and the ammunition.

The Hansa-Brandenburg KDW was a German single seat fighter floatplane of World War I. The KDW - Kampf Doppeldecker, Wasser ("Fighter Biplane, Water") - was an adaptation of the Hansa-Brandenburg D.I landplane and was designed to provide coastal defense over the North Sea and Adriatic.

The Hansa-Brandenburg KDW was manufactured by Hansa und Brandenburgische Flugzeug-Werke, from a designed Ernst Heinkel. The KDW was introduced in 1916 and approximately 60 were built.

The wingspan was 30 ft 4 in (9.25 m). The length was 26 ft 3 in (8 m) with a height of 11 ft 0 in (3.35 m). The KDW's loaded weight was 2,293 lb (1,040 kg). The armament for the KDW was 1 or 2 Schwarzlose MG M.07/12 fixed forward-firing 0.312 in (7.92 mm) machine guns

Powered by a single Benz Bz.III water-cooled inline engine, producing 150 hp (112 kW), with a maximum speed was 93 kn, 107 mph (172 km/h) at sea level. It had a service ceiling of 13,123 ft (4,000 m) and an endurance of 2 hrs 30 mins

It was produced under license by the Austrian manufacturer Phönix from 1916 in five batches, each with different engines, around 60 aircraft in total being produced.


  1. Hansa-Brandenburg KDW. (2009, November 8). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:39, August 22, 2010, from
  2. Jackson, Robert, "The Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft", Parragon, 2002. ISBN 0-75258-130-9

Germany - 1917 Hansa-Brandenburg W.12

A Reliable German Naval Fighter

The German Designer Ernst Heinkel had the ability to "think outside of the box". He produced a series of successful float planes which had an outstanding service record. Several of his designs flew long after the war ended.

The Hansa-Brandenburg float planes are a fun subject for profiles. They are a sleek but slightly odd mix of elements such as inverted rudders, and a slightly bowed fuselage. The series has both biplanes and monoplane. All of them enjoyed success in war and many went on to serve in civilian aviation.

The Hansa-Brandenburg W.12 was a German biplane fighter floatplane of World War I. It was a development of Ernst Heinkel's previous KDW, adding a rear cockpit for an observer/gunner, and had an unusual inverted tailplane (which instead of standing up from the fuselage, hung below it) in order to give an uninterrupted field of fire. The aircraft's first flight was in early 1917.

The W.12 was powered by a Mercedes D.III 6-cylinder inline engine, producing160 hp (119 kW). The maximum speed of the W.12 was 99 mph (160 km/h) with a service ceiling of 16,405 ft (5,000 m). The aircraft's range was 320 mi (520 km) with an endurance 3 and a half hours. The armament consisted of 1 or 2 fixed forward 7.92 (0.312 in) LMG 08/15 machine guns and a single 7.92 (0.312 in) Parabellum MG14 on a flexible gun mount in rear cockpit.

The W.12's (under the Naval designation C3MG) served on the Western Front, based at the Naval air bases at Ostend and Zeebrugge. The aircraft had some success, and one shot down the British airship C.27. During the time it was operational, a total of 181 Hansa-Brandenburg W.12 were built. The aircraft served in the Kaiserliche Marine and Marine-Luchtvaartdienst.

In April 1918, a W.12 made an emergency landing in the neutral territory of the Netherlands, where it was interned and flight tested by the Dutch. In 1919 the government of the Netherlands bought a license to build the aircraft. Thirty-five Hansa-Brandenburg W.12's were subsequently manufactured by the Van Berkel company of Rotterdam as the W-A, serving with the Dutch Naval Air Service until 1933.


  1. Hansa-Brandenburg W.12. (2010, August 29). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:01, August 29, 2010, from
  2. Jackson, Robert, "The Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft", Parragon, 2002. ISBN 0-75258-130-9

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Project Albatros Part 6

Classic Black

While working on the Albatros project I found several aircraft serving in Jasta 37 during 1917. All of them are black with white markings. The top wing is covered in a dark lozenge pattern and the underside of the wings was covered in a lighter lozenge pattern. I had not done any all black aircraft before them, and it is more difficult than it seems.

Ernst Udet served in many Jastas during his career. Note the chevron design near the nose and an early version of LO (For his childhood sweetheart, Eleanor "Lo" Zink.) on the mid fuselage, identifying it as his plane. Udet flew this aircraft from February - March 1918.

The tilted pentagram is worth note as is the absence of any marking on the forward fuselage. Even though it is not numbered several sources refer to it as "White One"

This is another aircraft bearing another variant of the shooting star or comet insignia. The forward fuselage bears a white 7 as it's unit identifier.

The white swastika is an ancient good luck symbol used by both sides during WWI. Once again there is an identification number on the forward hull.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Germany - 1917 Jasta 11 Fokker Dr.I

Some Fokker Dr.I Triplanes of Jasta 11

Recently I have been busy producing a lot of a Fokker aircraft profiles. I have reached 36 Dr.I and 24 D.VII with more on the way. I have been working on fleshing out different Jasta so I can set up articles on their history. Here are a few of the new profiles.

Jasta 11

Jagdstaffel 11 (11th Fighter Squadron) was founded on September 28, 1916 from elements of Keks 1, 2 and 3 and mobilized on October 11 as part of the German Air Service's expansion program. THe program created permanent specialised fighter squadrons, or "Jastas". Jasta 11 became the most successful fighter squadron in the German Air Service.

Jasta 11's first commander was Oberleutnant Rudolf Lang, from its mobilization at Brayelles, until January 14, 1917. Jasta 11's first months of operations were not distinguished.

It was not until the appointment of Manfred von Richthofen on January 16, 1917 as Commanding Officer that the unit became a legendary fighting force. Von Richthofen was already an able tactical pilot and ace during several months of service in Jasta 2 and became a highly effective unit commander who led his pilots by example. He already had 16 victories and was awarded the Pour le Merite just before he assumed his command of Jasta 11.

The unit was first based at Douai-Brayelles and then Roucourt for operations over the 6 Armee on the Arras front, the Jasta were equipped with various models of Albatros fighters. Between January 22, 1917 and the end of March the Jasta claimed some 36 victories. The beginning of the Battle of Arras in early April Jasta 11 logging 89 claims for aircraft out of a total of 298 made by all German fighter units for the month. This decimation of the Royal Flying Corps became termed "Bloody April".

On July 26, 1917, Jasta 11 became part of Jagdgeschwader 1 - a collection of four Jastas into one administrative and highly mobile tactical force. Richthofen was promoted to command JG I. It became known as "Richthofen's Flying Circus" because it mimicked a circus's logistics by using dedicated railway trains to transport it to forward airfields, and because of its vividly painted aircraft.

In September 1917, Jasta 11 would be equipped with Fokker Dr.I triplanes. It would operate these until April–May 1918, when it received the Fokker D.VIIs it would use until war's end.

Manfred von Richthofen remained Jasta commander until June 26, 1917, when his deputy, Leutnant Karl Allmenroeder took over. Following the latter's death the next day, former Jasta 11 pilot Leutnant Kurt Wolff took over after his transfer back from Jasta 29. After Wolff was wounded in September, Oberlt. Wilhelm Reinhard took charge until Wolff returned. Soon after Wolff was killed in action on September 15, Lothar von Richthofen took command. Jasta 11 would then have a bewildering succession of other temporary commanding officers, especially when Lothar was frequently away from the front recovering from wounds. Oberleutnant Erich Rüdiger von Wedel was the last Staffelführer, from September 1918 until the end of the war. The Jasta was demobilised at Darmstadt on November 16, 1918.

Jasta 11 eventually became the highest scoring German Jasta of World War I, with 350 claims. The first was scored on 23 January 1917, the 100th on 23 April, the 200th on August 17, the 250th on April 2, 1918, and the 300th on June 28, 1918. (By comparison, the British 56 Squadron claimed 427.)

It numbered no fewer than twenty aces among its ranks, and "graduated" pilots to command numerous other Jastas in the German Air force. In return it suffered 17 pilots killed, 2 POW, and 2 killed in flying accidents. Its loss rate was thus less than one-tenth of its opponents, although it also suffered 19 wounded in action.


  1. Jagdstaffel 11. (2011, May 3). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 08:20, July 19, 2011, from
  4. Above the Lines Franks, Bailey & Guest , (grub street, 1993)
  6. Greg VanWyngarden, Harry Dempsey. Richthofen's Circus: Jagdgeschwader Nr 1. Osprey Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-84176-726-3, 9781841767260.