The Pfalz D.III was a German, single-seat fighter, which was used at the end of 1917 on the Western Front and proved until the end of the war as a solid aircraft and was flown mainly by the Bavarian Air Force.
Development and construction:
Since the beginning of the war, Pfalz Flugzeugwerke GmbH has been building reconnaissance aircraft and bomber guards for the German Air Force. After the unsuccessful attempt to develop their own biplane, the Roland D.II was initially built under license. When this production expired at the beginning of 1917, work was again carried out on a separate aircraft.
After the designers were also able to assess a captured French Nieuport 11, its characteristics were used for the two prototypes Pfalz D.I and D.II, but only the development of the Pfalz D.III could convince the German army leadership.
While mid-1917 still aircraft of the type Roland D.III had to be produced, the Pfalz D.III could be tested extensively. After 30 Roland aircraft produced, the order for the production of 70 Pfalz D.III aircraft was ordered by the Army Command.
In contrast to most of the other aircraft of the time, the Pfalz D.III were built extremely sturdy thanks to a double spar. This meant that the aircraft showed very good characteristics, especially in a dive.
However, a particular disadvantage proved to be the built-in machine guns, as these were integrated in the fuselage and could thus be very difficult to repair by the pilot himself in case of jamming.
Only when the second series was produced under the name Pfalz D.IIIa, this deficiency was resolved. It was also the water-cooled inline engine Mercedes D III 160 hp against the Mercedes D IIIa 180 hp exchanged and carried out some changes to the wing tips and tail surfaces.
Use in the First World War:
From August 1917, the first Pfalz D.III aircraft were transferred to the Western Front and used there. Since the production site was located in Speyer, Bavaria, the Bavarian squadrons of fighters were predominantly equipped with this aircraft.
The D.III was able to convince the pilots by their great stability, the excellent view from the cockpit, their maneuverability and maneuverability, however, was the modern British aircraft such as the Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a, the Sopwith Camel or the SPAD S.XII partially inferior.
Only in October 1918, the last aircraft of the type Pfalz D.III were withdrawn from the Western Front and served until the war for the training of pilots.
The only surviving example of a Pfalz D.III is the Australian War Memorial Museum.
|Engine:||Water-cooled inline engine Mercedes D III 160 hp, later the Mercedes D IIIa 180 hp|
|Maximum speed:||169 km/h, later 181 km/h|
|Armament:||2 x synchronized machine guns 7,92 mm LMG 08/15|
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