LFG Roland D.II (Shark)
Imperial Germany (1917)
Introduced in early 1917, the LFG Roland D.II biplane fighter saw production reach 300 units before the end of World War 1.
Detailing the development and operational history of the LFG Roland D.II (Shark) Single-Seat Biplane Fighter Aircraft. Entry last updated on 10/27/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
Due to its origins in the C.II/D.I, the D.II carried over similar physical features that included a streamlined, and rather deep, fuselage. A large spinner covered the propeller hub. The biplane wing arrangement showcased single bays with parallel strut works and applicable cabling. The pilot sat aft and under the upper wing assembly - though the wing itself sat low over the forward fuselage and restricted much of the forward-down, forward-side vision from the pilot. A wheeled, tail-dragger undercarriage was featured as was a single vertical tail fin.
Internally, the D.II was completed with a plywood monocoque fuselage construction. The fuselage was essentially made up of two halves joined at a center line (with glue) and the entire structure was skinned over in fabric for added strength. Not only did this provide for the needed clean and aerodynamically refined look of the aircraft it also produced a rather lightweight overall structure.
Armament was conventional for the period - 2 x LMG08/15 (Spandau) series machine guns set over the nose and synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades by way of "interrupter" gear.
As finalized, the D.II design could stay aloft up to two hours and reach a ceiling of over 16,000 feet. Maximum speed was listed at 112 miles per hour.
The initial field variant was known simply as "D.II" and these forms carried the Mercedes D.III piston engine of 160 horsepower. The mark was followed by the "D.IIa" which switched over to an Argus As.III engine of 180 horsepower but, despite the added output power, the aircraft suffered at altitudes beyond 10,000 feet - forcing the type to low-level operations. The C.V existed as a "one-off" two-seat prototype form still carrying the original Mercedes D.III engine (160 horsepower). Pfalz-produced D.II and D.IIa models were designated as D.II (Pfal) and D.IIa (Pfal) respectively to differentiate their factory origins. One hundred of each form were produced by Pfalz Flugzeugwerke.
In service, the aircraft did not prove itself as formidable as its appearance would suggest. Controlling was deemed below average, requiring a steady hand by the pilot and some useful experience in combat, and vision out-of-the-cockpit was poor owing to the placement of the upper wing assembly. Where the D.II did shine was in straightline performance from its Mercedes engine coupled with the sleek fuselage - it could match or outpace contemporary fighters. It was also well-armed and featured a strong internal structure.
Any available statistics for the LFG Roland D.II (Shark) Single-Seat Biplane Fighter Aircraft are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).
Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
This entry's maximum listed speed (112mph).
Graph average of 90 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
Graph showcases the LFG Roland D.II's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.