To fulfill a new German requirement for an "improved D.III", Albatros delivered its D.V model (the sequential "D.IV" designation was used on a cancelled Albatros fighter development) which became a lighter version of their D.III with a slightly lowered upper wing among other refinements. However, the structural issue remained and maneuverability was not improved to the point that even fabled German ace, Manfred von Richthofen, penciled a scathing review of the mount - citing it as even inferior to the D.III which it was to replace. Regardless, German authorities were desperate for fighters and ordered 900 of the type.
Albatros engineers returned to the drawing boards with their D.V to attempt another improved form. This work gave birth to the D.Va off-shoot which was given revised wing assemblies that were reinforced with heavier ribbing and strong spars against a stronger fuselage. Cabling was modified to create a more responsive fighter platform. However, these changes led to an increase in operating weight so a high-compression Mercedes D.IIIau engine was installed to help counter the gains. Despite the promising work, the aircraft's structural issues were never fully ironed out and the new engine did little to help improved performance and maneuverability against the latest fighters being fielded by Britain and France.
The German Empire was quick to order the D.Va to help stock its depleted aircraft inventories and find more modern replacements for its outmoded Fokker Dr.I and Pfalz D.III series fighters. The D.Va was delivered to German aerodrome units beginning in October of 1917 and a total of 1,662 were ultimately purchased. The type soldiered on with front line units up until the end of the war to which hundreds were still in active service in the final year (1918). On paper, the D.Va was formally replaced by the Fokker D.VII and the D.Va became the last of the "D-series" fighters for Albatros - a series that started with so much promise back in 1916 and ultimately doomed to history due to its inherent limitations by the end of the war - such was the power of technology in World War 1 where gains made one month could be lost just as quickly.
In the post-war world, the D.Va stocked the inventory of the newly-formed Polish Air Force. Beyond the German Empire and Poland, there were no other global operators of the D.Va. Only two D.Va series aircraft survived the war and are in the charge of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Australian War Memorial respectively.
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