Design and development
Albatros designers Thelen, Schubert and Gnädig produced the D.II in response to pilot complaints about poor upward vision in the Albatros D.I. The solution was to reposition the upper wing 36 cm (14 in) closer to the fuselage and stagger it forward slightly. Rearrangement of the cabane struts also improved forward view. The D.II otherwise retained the same fuselage, engine installation, and armament as the D.I. Basic performance was unchanged. Idflieg ordered an initial batch of 100 D.II aircraft in August 1916.
In November 1916, Idflieg banned Windhoff "ear" radiators in operational aircraft. This was due to the fact that the Windhoff-manufactured radiators were at a lower level than the crankcase of the engine they were cooling, and a shot into either radiator would likely drain the cooling system of coolant, resulting in engine failure. Late production D.IIs switched to using a Teves und Braun "airfoil shape" radiator (the Teves company still exists in the 21st century) in the center section of the upper wing.
D.IIs formed part of the initial equipment of Jagdstaffel 2 (Jasta 2),the first specialized fighter squadron in the German air service. Famous pilots included Oswald Boelcke and Manfred von Richthofen. With its high speed and heavy armament, the D.II won back air superiority from Allied fighter types such as the Airco DH.2 and Nieuport 11.
Albatros built 200 D.II aircraft. LVG (Luft-Verkehrs-Geselleschaft) produced another 75 under license. Service numbers peaked in January 1917, when 214 machines were in service. The D.II operated well into 1917. As late as 30 June 1917, 72 aircraft were in the frontline inventory, and even in November 11 D.IIs and 9 D.Is were still in service, alongside the by now far more numerous D.IIIs and D.Vs.
Oeffag (Oesterreichische Flugzeugfabrik AG) also built the D.II under license for the Luftfahrtruppen. The Austrian machines used a 138 kW (185 hp) Austro-Daimler engine, and were fitted with a Teves und Braun-style wing mounted radiator. Oeffag produced only 16 examples before production shifted to the Albatros D.III.
Published - July 2009
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