German Fokker E monoplane
Type: single-seat fighting scout.
Anthony Fokker’s Eindecker (literally ‘one wing’) monoplanes were the manifestation of his design philosophy combining manoeuvrability with a synchronized machine-gun of acceptable reliability. The original M5k prototype was in effect an approximate copy of the pre-war French Morane-Saulnier Type H monoplane and was first flown in 1914, entering production early in 1915 as the Fokker E I. In this Fokker incorporated the LMG 08/16 7.92-mm machine-gun with a mechanical interrupter gear designed by the engineers Luebbe, Heber and Leimberger.
Fokker himself flew a number of demonstrations with operational units in May 1915, and by mid-July 11 service pilots of Feldfliegerabteilung (FlAbt) 62 at Douai were flying the E I, among them Lieutenant Oswald Boelcke. Another pilot soon to be instructed on the E I was Immelmann.
The E I was something of a makeshift aircraft, rushed into production with an 80-hp (60-kW) Oberursel rotary, and was joined in service by the E II which had wings of reduced area in an attempt to increase speed, but this resulted in the aircraft being more difficult to fly and so was less popular.
The main version was the E III, of which the first example reached the Western Front in August with a 100-hp (75-kW) Oberursel U I, and it was at the controls of this version that plots such as Boelcke, Immelmann, von Althaus, Buddecke, Parschau and Wintgens were to create the legend of the monoplane’s invincibility.
Indeed it was only the fast-growing number of victories being gained by the front-line pilots that reversed an order grounding the Fokker following a number of fatal crashes back in Germany. One further version, the E IV, was produced in small numbers, this being powered by a 160-hp Oberursel two-row rotary, and a special example was prepared for Immelmann equipped with three synchronized guns.
It has been suggested that only when a Fokker E III fell intact into British hands on 8 April 1916 could an antidote be developed to counter the ‘Fokker scourge’. This is not correct as the Fokker’s decline in fact began as early as January that year with the arrival in service of the excellent little Nieuport XI, and with the arrival in service the following month of the RFC’s first D.H.2 unit, No. 24 squadron, under Lanoe Hawker.
Moreover, contrary to general tradition, the Fokker’s gun armament was far from reliable, its ammunition not being wholly suitable for aircraft use, while the gun itself was prone to freezing. Be that as it may, the Eindecker was certainly good enough to hold sway over France fo almost a year.
Pictures Fokker Eindecker
Specifications Fokker Eindecker
|Specification||E I.||E II.||E III||E IV|
|Type||single-seat fighting scout|
|Powerplant||80-PS Oberursel U.O 7-cylinder rotary piston engine||100-PS Oberursel U I 9-cylinder||100-PS Oberursel U I||160-PS Oberursel 14-cylinder|
|Span||8,53 m||8,00 m||9,52 m (31ft 2.75in)|
|Length||6,75 m||7,1 m||7,3 m|
|Height||3,12 m||2,6 m||2,79 m (9ft 1.75in)|
|Wing area||?||?||16.00 m² (172.8 sqft)|
|Weight empty||c.500 kg||c.500 kg||400 kg (882 lb)||?|
|Max weight take-off||562 kg||609 kg (1345 lb)||635 kg|
|Max speed||132 km/h||140 km/h (87.5 mph)||134 km/h|
|Service ceiling||3100 m||3650 m||3500 m|
|Endurance||?||1.5 h||2.75 h||?|
|Armament||1 x 7.92-mm-Spandau LMG synchronized forward-firing||some with 2||some with 3|
|First flight||May 1915||July 1915||Sep 1915||?|