Fabric from Albatros DVa D.7161/17
Fabric from Albatros DVa D.7161/17. During the early 1970s the Smithsonian Museum's Albatros DVa D.7161/17 fabric was deteriorating as a result of age. The fabric was removed for the aircraft's restoration and subsequently sold on posters to raise money for the museum. The sample is 51mm X 53mm and is mounted to one of those posters.
The Albatros DVa belonging to the National Air and Space Museum is painted with the original markings that it carried while in combat. The origin of the word "Stropp' remains unknown, but is typical of individualized markings created by the German pilots. The yellow and green tail stripes identify this aircraft as having belonged to Jasta 46. Albatros DVa D.7161/17 entered service sometime around February 1918, and it appears to have ended its operational life ended shortly after April 15, 1918, primarily based on the unchanged Iron Cross markings that were to be changed to the straight-sided Balkan cross by that date. Battle damage to the museum's Albatros caused by a single bullet penetrating the fuel tank and engine was left unrepaired during its 1979 restoration.
History of the Albatros DVa
The German Albatros D.Va fighter was widely used and well known in its time, though not considered one of the best World War I fighters. It fought on all fronts and was flown by nearly all of the principal German aces. The series of famous Albatros fighters that concluded with the D.Va began in the summer of 1916 with the Albatros D.I Scout. Powered by a 160-hp Mercedes engine, it was soon followed by the D.II model, with only slight structural modifications. By early January 1917, the advanced D. IIIs were in production and joining front-line units. This model was basically a modified DII with a narrow-chord lower wing similar to the French Nieuport. It met with immediate acceptance as the finest fighter the Germans had seen and consequently much was expected of it. The D.V. was the next in the line of Albatros fighters. To improve performance, the prototype, completed in early 1917, was designed as a lighter airplane than the D,III. It was described as having the same wings as the D.III and a redesigned, more oval fuselage. Its initial weight margin of 70 pounds was soon lost because of modifications to correct structural weaknesses. Since both were powered by the 160-hp Mercedes six-cylinder water-cooled in-line engine, the performances of the two quite similar. Albatros D.Vs began reaching front-line units in May 1917 and one or both types served in nearly every German fighter unit. For the average pilot the Albatros was easy to fly, without bad traits and, above all, effective in combat. An improved model, the Albatros D.Va was only slightly different from the D.V in that it incorporated a few structural improvements. Later models were equipped with the higher powered 180-hp Mercedes engine that improved the airplane's performance. Many notable airmen flew D.Vs and D.Va's, Erich Loewenhardt (fifty-three victories), Ernst Udet (sixty-two victories), and Werner Voss. (forty-eight victories). Manfred von Richthofen scored most of his eighty victories in the Albatros and not in the Fokker Triplane as legend implies. Manufacture of the Albatros was discontinued around April 1918 after approximately 4,800 Albatros fighters of all types had been produced. Of the D.V and D.Va series, there is evidence that 2,505 or more were ordered, yet only two examples of Albatros Fighters of any model survive. One at the Smithsonian is Washington USA, and the other is in the Australian War Memorial Museum in Canberra.