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Fokker G.I
Fokker G.I (collectie Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie)
Role Heavy fighter
Manufacturer Fokker
Designed by Erich Schatzki and Marius Beeling (after 1938)
First flight 16 March 1937
Primary user Luchtvaartafdeeling[1]
Number built about 50

The Fokker G.I was a Dutch heavy twin-engined fighter plane comparable in size and role to the German Messerschmitt Bf 110 and the British Mosquito.

Contents

Design and development

The G.I, given the nickname "Reaper", le faucheur in French, was designed as a private venture in 1936 by Fokker head engineer Dr. Schatzki. Intended for the role of jachtkruiser, "heavy" fighter or air cruiser, able to gain air superiority over the battlefield as well as being a bomber destroyer, the G.1 would fulfil a role seen as important at the time, by advocates of Giulio Douhet's theories on air power. The Fokker G.I utilized a twin-engined, twin-boom layout that featured a central nacelle housing two or three crew members (a pilot, radio operator/navigator/rear gunner or a bombardier) as well as a formidable armament of twin 23 mm (.91 in) Madsen cannon and a pair of 7.9 mm (.31 in) machine guns (later eight machine guns) in the nose and one in a rear turret.[2] Besides its main mission, the G.1 could be configured for ground attack and light bombing missions (it could carry a bomb load of one 400 kg/882 lb bomb or combinations of two 200 kg/441 lb or 10 26 kg/57 lb bombs).[2]

The design and construction of the prototype (registered as X-2) was completed in just seven months. At its introduction at the Paris Air Show in November 1936, even before its first flight, the G.I was a sensation, appearing in a purple and yellow finish (evocative of the Spanish Republican colors, thought to be Fokker's first export customer).[2]

Like all Fokker aircraft of the period, the G.I was of mixed construction; the front of the central pod and the tail booms were built around a welded frame, covered with aluminium plating. The back of the central pod, however, as well as the wings, had a wooden frame, covered with triplex, a technique also used in Fokker's successful passenger aircraft at that time.[3]

The G.I prototype powered by 485 kW (650 hp) Hispano-Suiza 14AB-02/03 engines had its first flight at Welschap, Eindhoven on 16 March 1937 with Karel Toman-Mares at the controls.[4] (Later, Emil Meinecke took over much of the test flights.)[5] The maiden flight went well, but a subsequent test flight in September 1937 ended with a supercharger explosion that nearly caused the loss of the prototype.[5] The accident prompted a replacement of the Hispano-Suiza engines with 559 kW (750 hp) Pratt & Whitney SB4-G Twin Wasp Junior engines.

Operational history

Replica of the G.I at the Dutch Air Force Museum in Soesterberg, The Netherlands.

During testing, the company received a contract from the Spanish Republican government for 12 G.1 "export" versions with Pratt & Whitney engines. Despite receiving payment, the order was destined never to be fulfilled as the Dutch government placed an embargo on the sale of military equipment to Spain.[5]

Besides the Dutch Luchtvaartafdeling, several foreign air forces showed an interest in the G.I. as either a fighter or dive-bomber. In order to test its potential as a dive-bomber, the G.1 prototype was fitted with hydraulically-operated dive brakes under the wings. Flight tests revealed that the G.1 was capable of diving at over 644 km/h (400 mph) and demonstrated aerobatic capabilities. Swedish Air Force officer Captain Bjorn Bjuggren tested the G.1 in over 20 dives and reported favourably on its effectiveness as a dive bomber.[6] Orders for G.1b aircraft came from Finland (26 ordered), Sweden (18), Denmark (12), Belgium, Turkey, Hungary and Switzerland.

The Luchtvaartafdeeling ordered 36 G.Ias with 541 kW (725 hp) Bristol Mercury VIII engines (the standard engine used by the Dutch Air Force in the Fokker D.XXI fighter), in order to equip two squadrons.[5] Only the first four examples were built as three-seaters intended for ground-atttack, with the remainder being completed as two-seat fighters. During the lead-up to hostilities, a total of 26 G.Ias were operational in 3rd Jachtvliegtuigafdeling (JAVA) at Waalhaven, and 4th JAVA Fighter Group at Bergen. The aircraft were actively involved in border patrols and in order to insure neutrality, on 20 March 1940, a G.1a from 4th JAVA forced down a Armstrong Whitworth Whitley from the RAF's No. 77 Squadron when it strayed into Dutch air space.[7]

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Battle of the Netherlands

On 10 May 1940, when Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands, 23 G.1a aircraft were serviceable while production of Finland's order of the G.1b variant continued with a dozen aircraft completed, awaiting armament.[7]

The German invasion started with an early morning (0350 hours) Luftwaffe attack on the Dutch airfields. While 4th JAVA received a devastating blow, losing all but one of its aircraft, at least two 3rd JAVA G.1a fighters were launched in time to down three of the Heinkel He 111 bombers. The two squadrons continued to fly but with mounting losses bringing their numbers down to three airworthy aircraft by the end of the first day. At the Fokker factory, the embargoed Spanish G.1bs aircraft along with aircraft from the Finnish order were confiscated.[8] All of these aircraft were unarmed but three examples were hastily fitted with a four nose-mounted machine gun armament array.[9] In the "Five-day War", the available G.1 fighters were mainly deployed in ground attack missions, strafing advancing German infantry units but also used to attack Junkers Ju 52/3m transports.[7] Although reports are fragmentary and inaccurate as to the results, G.1 fighters were employed over Rotterdam and the Hague, contributing to the loss of 167 Ju 52s, scoring up to 14 confirmed kills.[10]

Aftermath

At the conclusion of hostilities, several G.Is were captured by the Germans, with the remainder of the Finnish order and G.1bs that the Danish government had ordered in 1939 completed at the Fokker plant by mid-1941 in order for the G.1s to be assigned as fighter trainers for Bf 110 crews at Wiener Neustadt.[11] For the next two years, Flugzeugfuhrerschule (B) 8 flew the G.1b until attrition grounded the fleet.[7]

On 5 May 1941, a Fokker test pilot, H. Leegstra accompanied by P. Vos, an engineer managed to fly a G.1 to England.[7] It was conscripted by Phillips and Powis Aircraft, later Miles Aircraft that designed an all-wooden fighter-bomber, and was interested in the G.1 wing structure and its resistance to the rigours of a British climate. Despite being left outdoors for the remainder of the war, the G.1 survived only to be eventually scrapped after 1945.[12]

There are no surviving G.Is today although a replica is found in the Dutch Air Force Museum in Soesterberg.

Variants

  • G.I : Prototype
  • G.Ia : Two and three-seat models, powered by Bristol Mercury VIII engines
  • G.Ib : Two-seat "export model", powered by Pratt & Whitney SB4-G Twin Wasp Junior engines

Operators

 Netherlands
 Germany

Specifications (Fokker G.Ia)

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two
  • Length: 10.87 m (35 ft 8 in)
  • Wingspan: 17.16 m (56.29 ft)
  • Height: 3.80 m (12.4 ft)
  • Wing area: 38.30 m² ()
  • Empty weight: 3,325 kg (7,330 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 4,800 kg (10,582 lb)
  • Powerplant:Bristol Mercury VIII radial engine, 730 hp at 2,650 rpm for takeoff, 830 hp (618 kW) at 2,750 rpm maximum continuous power (545 kW) each

Performance

Armament

  • 8 × 7.9 mm (0.31 in) forward-firing FN-Browning machine guns in the nose
  • 1 × 7.9 mm (0.31 in) machine gun in rear turret
  • 400 kg (881 lb) of bombs

See also

References

Notes
  1. ^ Netherlands Air Force before World War II
  2. ^ a b c Green 1967, p. 507.
  3. ^ Green 1961, p. 104.
  4. ^ Van der Klaauw 1996, p. 183.
  5. ^ a b c d Green 1967, p. 509.
  6. ^ Green 1967, p. 510.
  7. ^ a b c d e Green 1967, p. 511.
  8. ^ Green 1961, p. 106.
  9. ^ Taylor 1969, p. 280.
  10. ^ Van der Klaauw 1966, p. 186.
  11. ^ Green 1961, p. 107.
  12. ^ Van der Klaauw 1966, pp. 188–189.
  13. ^ Ketley and Rolfe 1996, p. 11.
Bibliography
  • Green, William, ed. "Le Faucheur... Fokker's Formidable G.1". Flying Review International, Volume 22, no. 8, April 1967.
  • Green, William. Fighters: Volume Three (Warplanes of the Second World War). London: Macdonald & Co.(Publishers) Ltd., 1961. ISBN 0-356-01447-9.
  • Hooftman, Hugo. Fokker G-1, Tweede druk (Nederlandse Vliegtuig Encyclopedie, deel 12) (in Dutch). Bennekom, the Netherlands: Cockpit-Uitgeverij, 1981.
  • Ketley, Barry and Mark Rolfe. Luftwaffe Fledglings 1935-1945: Luftwaffe Training Units and their Aircraft. Aldershot, UK: Hikoki Publications, 1996.
  • Taylor, John W.R. "Fokker G.1." Combat Aircraft of the World from 1909 to the present. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1969. ISBN 0-425-03633-2.
  • Van der Klaauw, Bart. The Fokker G-1 (Aircraft in profile number 134). Leatherhead, Surrey, UK: Profile Publications Ltd., 1966.

External links


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