The Junkers D.I was one of the few all-metal aircraft that came to the end of the war from the Junkers-Fokker A.G. were built. Relocated to the front in October 1918, these aircraft came too late to intervene in the air war.
Development and construction:
Based on the experience of the Junkers J 7 in early 1918, the development of a successor model was worked on. Previously, under pressure from the German government, the two companies Fokker Aeroplanbau and Junkers & Co. merged into the Junkers-Fokker Werke AG, so that both Junker and Fokker themselves participated in the development.
The special thing about the D.I was the duralumin corrugated iron, which covered the plane almost completely. The experience with this material showed that these aircraft were much better protected against shelling and weathering and thus were superior to the usual wooden constructions. However, this development also led many pilots and high-ranking military leaders to be skeptical about these aircraft and consider them unsustainable.
In April 1918, the first flight of the prototype took place, in May this was registered for the flight competition in Berlin Adlershof. At this time still equipped with the 185 hp BMW IIIa engine, the aircraft could convince only a few present. Successful pilots such as Bruno Loerzer or Hermann Goering considered the aircraft more suitable for fighting balloons than as a fighter plane. One of the few advocates was the naval officer Gotthard Sachsenberg.
Despite the reservations, initially 20 aircraft were ordered, by October 1918, a total of 28 aircraft were brought to the front.
Use in the First World War:
In October 1918, the 28 built Junkers D.I reached the western front near Flanders. Nothing is known about their missions.
A few weeks later, the German Reich had to agree to the terms of the truce. Some of the remaining aircraft were still used until 1919 in the Baltic States in the fight against the Communists.
The only surviving copy of a Junkers D.I is today in the Musée de l 'Air et de l'Espace. This plane fell into the hands of the French troops when the German army had to withdraw from Belgium and left the aircraft at the airfield.
|Engine:||Water-cooled 6-cylinder inline engine Benz Bz IIIaü 185 hp|
|Maximum speed:||220 km/h|
|Armament:||2 x synchronized machine guns 7,92 mm LMG 08/15|