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Albatros D.III

The Albatros D.III served as a biplane fighter aircraft for the Imperial German Army Air Service in World War I.

Oeffag, on the other hand, produced a modified version under licence for the Austro-Hungarian Air Service.

The development of the original D.III prototype commenced in late July or early August of 1916, with the exact date of its maiden flight remaining unknown, though it is believed to have taken place in late August or early September.

Building upon the success of the earlier Albatros D.I and D.II models, the D.III maintained a semi-monocoque, plywood-skinned fuselage.

However, in response to Idflieg’s request, the D.III featured a sesquiplane wing configuration that bore resemblance to the French Nieuport 11.

Notable changes included an extension of the upper wingspan, a redesigned lower wing with reduced chord and a single main spar, as well as the replacement of parallel struts with V-shaped interplane struts.

Due to these modifications, the British aircrews often referred to the Albatros D.III as the “V-strutter.”

Following a successful Typenprüfung on 26 September 1916, Albatros secured a substantial order for 400 D.III aircraft, marking the largest German production contract up to that point.

Subsequently, the Idflieg placed additional orders for 50 more aircraft in February and March of 1917, further solidifying the D.III’s significance in the context of World War I aviation.

Albatros manufactured around 500 D.III airplanes at its Johannisthal facility.

In order to focus on the development and production of the D.V, D.III production was transferred to Albatros’ subsidiary, Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke (OAW), during the spring of 1917.

Between April and August 1917, Idflieg issued a total of five separate orders for 840 D.III aircraft.

The OAW variant underwent its Typenprüfung in June 1917 and production began at the Schneidemühl factory in the same month, continuing until December 1917.

One notable feature of the OAW aircraft was their larger, rounded rudders.

The peak of D.III service occurred in November 1917, when 446 aircraft were deployed on the Western Front.

However, even after production ceased, the D.III remained in active service until well into 1918.

By August 31, 1918, there were still 54 D.III aircraft in use on the Western Front.

Despite the end of production, these aircraft continued to play a role in frontline operations.





7.35 m (24 ft 1 in)

Upper wingspan

9 m (29 ft 6 in)

Lower wingspan

8.73 m (28 ft 8 in)


2.8 m (9 ft 2 in)

Wing area

20.56 m2 (221.3 sq ft)

Empty weight

710 kg (1,565 lb)

Gross weight

987 kg (2,176 lb)


1 × Austro-Daimler 200hp, 6 cylinder water cooled inline piston engine,

150 kW (200 hp)


2 bladed fixed pitch wooden propeller


Maximum speed

188 km/h (117 mph, 102 kn)

Wing loading

48.1 kg/m2 (9.9 lb/sq ft)


0.20 kg/hp



2 × 8 mm (0.315 in) Schwarzlose machine guns.

German & Austro-Hungarian aircraft manufacturers 1908–1918-T C Treadwell.
German Aircraft of the First World War-Peter Gray & Owen Thetford.
Flugzeug Publications, Die Deutsche Luftwaffe 1914 – Heute.


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