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Fokker E.I
Max Immelmann of Feldflieger Abteilung 62 in the cockpit of his Fokker E.I.
Role Fighter
Manufacturer Fokker-Flugzeugwerke
Designed by Anthony Fokker & Martin Kreutzer
First flight Early 1915
Introduced June 1915
Primary user Luftstreitkräfte
Produced 1915-1916
Number built 54

The Fokker E.I was the first successful fighter aircraft to enter service with the Luftstreitkräfte in mid-1915. Its arrival at the front marked the start of a period known as the "Fokker Scourge" during which the E.I and its Eindecker successors achieved a measure of air superiority over the Western Front.

Contents

Design and development

The E.I was essentially an armed version of the Fokker M.5K single-seat reconnaissance aircraft[1](military designation A.III), which was in turn very closely based on the design of the 1913 French Morane-Saulnier Type H. Like the Morane, the Fokker was an externally braced mid-winged monoplane with a vertically tapered box section fuselage, with fully movable horizontal and vertical stabilizing surfaces, also known as "flying" surfaces, giving the pilot the usual tail control functions - roll control was achieved through controlled wing warping, as was conventional in contemporary monoplanes. [2] Wing warping was achieved through external cables attached to the surface and running through a king post located in the front of the cockpit. The fuselage structure was fabric covered welded steel tubing - this constituted the biggest difference between the Fokker and the Morane, which had an entirely wooden framework. Welded steel tube provided the basis for the structure of all Fokker aircraft for many years.

This unremarkable and derivative design was, however, transformed into a formidable fighter when it was fitted with the newly-developed synchronizer gear, the Fokker Stangensteuerung, firing a single 7.92 mm (.312 in) Parabellum LMG 14 or Spandau LMG 08 machine gun through the spinning propeller.[1] Indeed the first five E.Is had been ordered and were under construction as A.IIIs but were completed as M.5K/MG aircraft, retaining the earlier "shoulder-wing" placement of the A.III type. Subsequent production E.Is had their wings lowered slightly from the M.5's shoulder configuration, which improved pilot visibility. (These were designated by Fokker as the M.14 which was also used for the following two Eindecker variants.)

All Fokker E.I aircraft had a 68.5 l (18.1 US gal) capacity, single gravity fuel tank. located forward of the cockpit, with a fuel gauge protruding from the sheet metal upper nose paneling, usually offset slightly to port.

Operational history

Leutnant Kurt Wintgens' "E.5/15" Eindecker, the first fighter aircraft in history to use a synchronized machine gun to down an opposing aircraft

Two German pilots, Leutnants Otto Parschau and Kurt Wintgens,[3] worked very closely with Anthony Fokker in early 1915 during the introduction of the M.5K/MG aircraft to evaluational service. Parschau was given the first production M.5K/MG, serial number E.1/15. Wintgens received the last aircraft, serial number E.5/15. Wintgens was flying this aircraft when he scored the first true fighter victory in aviation history on July 1, 1915, over a two-seat Morane-Saulnier Type L parasol monoplane. Due to WIntgens' first victim landing behind the Allied lines, the victory was never confirmed by the German authorities, but on the fifteenth of the month, following his downing of another Morane Parasol in similar cumstances three days after his first unconfirmable success, Wintgens finally had a confirmed victory with E.5/15, over another Morane Parasol while he was flying from Mulhausen in Elsaß,[4] the earliest known confirmed aerial victory for anyone flying a Fokker E-series monoplane in combat. The M.5K/MG usually used the Parabellum MG14 machine gun for the synchronized armament, which could prove to be a troublesome fitment, and the five M.5K/MGs built by the Fokker factory in Schwerin/Gorries retained the "shoulder-wing" position of the M.5k for the monoplane wing. Parschau's E.1/15 aircraft later had its wing mount placement lowered to what would become the "mid-wing" position that production E.Is had, and would be standardized on the Fokker E.II and later Eindeckers, while the remaining four examples were not known to have ever had their wing placement changed while in service. Future German master aerial tactician Oswald Boelcke was issued the third produced M.5K/MG, with IdFlieg number E.3/15, which he flew numerous times during July 1915 while serving with Feldflieger Abteiling 62, based near Douai.[5] - this was after he used one of the very first operational Albatros C.I armed two-seat observation aircraft to achieve his own first aerial victory on the fourth of that month, and on August 19, 1915, Boelcke scored his first single-seater victory with E.3/15, over a B.E.2c British two-seater near Arras.[6]

The E.I was mainly flown by the ordinary Fliegertruppe, later known as the Luftstreitkräfte, of the German Army - the formation of specialised fighter squadrons in the German air service was still to come. Two were supplied to the Austro-Hungarian air force and five to the Kaiserliche Marine in April 1916. The E.I was soon joined by the improved Fokker E.II and, as the first E.Is were entering service in June 1915, the first of the E.II type was being demonstrated by Anthony Fokker. However, E.I production continued in parallel with the E.II and output of the types depended on the availability of the Oberursel engines; the 60 kW (80 hp) U.0 copy of the Gnôme Lambda rotary engine for the E.I and the 75 kW (100 hp) U.I copy of the Gnôme Monosoupape for the E.II. In fact, E.Is were still being produced in 1916 well after E.II production had ceased, having been superseded by the Fokker E.III. By 1916, a total of 54 had been manufactured and delivered to the German Army, Navy and the Austro-Hungarian army.[7]

Operators

 Austria-Hungary
 German Empire

Specifications (E.I.)

General characteristics

  • Crew: one, pilot
  • Length: 7.22 m (23 ft 7 in)
  • Wingspan: 8.85 m (29 ft 0 in)
  • Height: 2.9 m (9 ft 5½ in)
  • Wing area: 15.9 m² (172.2 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 360 kg (789 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 563 kg (1,241 lb)
  • Powerplant:Oberursel U.0 7-cylinder air-cooled rotary engine (clone of Gnôme Lambda engine) using various makes of 2-blade propellers, from 2.3 to 2.5 meters (7.55 to 8.20 ft) diameter, 80 hp (60 kW)

Performance

Armament

See also

Related development

Related lists

References

  1. ^ a b Winchester, Jim (2006). Fighter - The World's Finest Combat Aircraft - 1913 to the Present Day. barnes & Noble Publishing, Inc. and Parragon Publishing. p. 15. ISBN 0-7607-7957-0.  
  2. ^ Winchester, Jim (2006). Fighter - The World's Finest Combat Aircraft - 1913 to the Present Day. barnes & Noble Publishing, Inc. and Parragon Publishing. pp. 15–16. ISBN 0-7607-7957-0.  
  3. ^ Grosz, Peter M., Windsock Datafile No. 91, Fokker E.I/II, Albatros Publications, Ltd. 2002. ISBN No. 1-902207-46-7.
  4. ^ vanWyngarden, pg.12
  5. ^ vanWyngarden, Greg (2006). Early German Aces of World War I. Osprey Publishing Ltd.. p. 13 & 14. ISBN 1-84176-997-5.  
  6. ^ vanWyngarden, pg.16
  7. ^ Winchester, Jim (2006). Fighter - The World's Finest Combat Aircraft - 1913 to the Present Day. barnes & Noble Publishing, Inc. and Parragon Publishing. p. 16. ISBN 0-7607-7957-0.  







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