Pfalz D.III

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.


Pfalz D.III


Pfalz D.III


Pfalz D.III


Pfalz D.III


A Pfalz D.III captured by France




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.




Technical specifications:

Designation: Pfalz D.III
Country: German Empire
Typ: Fighter plane
Length: 6,95 meters
Span: 9,4 meters
Height: 2,67 meters
Mass: 695kg empty
Crew: Max. 1
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
Reach: 400 kilometers
Armament: 2 x synchronized machine guns 7,92 mm LMG 08/15






You can find the right literature here:


Fokker Dr I Aces of World War 1 (Aircraft of the Aces)

Fokker Dr I Aces of World War 1 (Aircraft of the Aces) Paperback – Bargain Price, August 25, 2001

Undoubtedly the most famous fighter type to see service on either side during World War 1, the Fokker Dr I was a revelation when it entered service on the western front in 1917. Manfred von Richthofen’s JG 1 ‘circus’ was the first Jasta to completely re-equip with the new fighter, and in the skilled hands of its numerous aces the Dr I proved a formidable opponent. The Dr I remained in service on the Western Front until replaced by the superior Fokker D VII in May 1918. Just weeks prior to that, however, Germany’s leading ace, the great ‘Red Baron’, had been killed at the controls of a Dr I.

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Friedrichshafen Aircraft of WWI: A Centennial Perspective on Great War Airplanes (Great War Aviation) (Volume 21)

Friedrichshafen Aircraft of WWI: A Centennial Perspective on Great War Airplanes (Great War Aviation) (Volume 21) Paperback – February 16, 2016

This book describes and illustrates the development of Friedrichshafen aircraft of WWI with text, 540 photos, 18 in color, 37 color profiles, production quantities and serial numbers of aircraft, and aircraft dimensions and performance specifications. In addition, there are 26 official SVK drawings and 11 aircraft are illustrated in scale drawings to 1/48 (4) or 1/72 (7) scales. The book has 312 pages and is of interest to aviation historians, enthusiasts, and modelers alike.

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German and Austro-Hungarian Aircraft Manufacturers 1908-1918

German and Austro-Hungarian Aircraft Manufacturers 1908-1918 Paperback – December 15, 2010

Much has been written about the British aircraft of the First World War, but little has surfaced about the aircraft of the Axis powers, Germany and Austria. Here, Terry C. Treadwell tells the story of the aircraft from companies such as Fokker, builder of the famous triplane, as fl own by Baron von Richthofen's Flying Circus, AEG, Albatros, Junkers and Hansa. From reconnaissance aircraft to state-of-the-art bombers that could reach London, this is the definitive guide to aircraft of the Axis powers during the First World War. The aircraft are explained in detail and a history of each company is provided, making this an excellent source book for aircraft enthusiasts, model makers and those interested in the air war over the trenches of France and Belgium, as well as further afield in the Italian campaign.

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The Zeppelin in Combat: A History of the German Naval Airship Division

The Zeppelin in Combat: A History of the German Naval Airship Division Hardcover – January 9, 1997

The standard reference now revised and expanded. Dr. Robinson has opened up his vast photo archives to enhance this new edition of his classic work. Much of the new photographic material is published here for the first time.

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