Military Factory logo
Icon of F-15 Eagle military combat fighter aircraft
Icon of Abrams Main Battle Tank
Icon of AK-47 assault rifle
Icon of navy warships
Icon of a dollar sign
Icon of military officer saluting
National Flag Graphic

Albatros D.V

Biplane Fighter Aircraft


The Albatros D.V biplane fighter continued where the preceding D.III design left off, though it also brought along with it inherent structural issues that were never fully resolved.

Detailing the development and operational history of the Albatros D.V Biplane Fighter Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 7/31/2019. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
At the time of its inception, the Albatros D-series of fighter aircraft (beginning with the D.I model) was a stellar gunnery platform in service with the Imperial German Army Air Service. The type was slightly improved in the D.II to follow and highly modified to become the D.III. While the D.III was the first of the Albatros D-series fighters to introduce the "Vee" inter-wing struts, it also brought about inherent deficiencies in the new wing design that led to in-flight break-ups or structural failings. The cause of the break-ups was found to be the main wing spar being set too far to aft on the fuselage, causing unacceptable twisting of the wing assemblies when attempting to take the aircraft into a dive or some other high level wing stress action. As such, a new reinforced lower wing section was introduced during production of the D.III series that attempted to solve the issue and pilots were dutifully warned of the serious drawback. While the situation was never fully ironed out of the design, the D.III presented a good showing for itself in its limited usage on the Western Front. However, the wing issue was present for the entire remaining life of the D-series that was to still include the upcoming D.V and D.Va production models.

The D.V served as the direct successor to the D.III (the logical "D.IV" designation covered an abandoned Albatros design whose experimental Mercedes engine proved too temperamental). The D.V was brought about from an April 1917 German requirement looking for an improved derivative of the D.III fighter series. Albatros got to work immediately and produced a prototype within the month, naturally borrowing much of what made the D.III a success (and failure for that matter). As such, the new design was fitted with the same Mercedes D.IIIa series inline, liquid-cooled engine of 170 horsepower as the D.III. Top speed of the new mount was listed at 116 miles per hour with a service ceiling of 18,045 feet and an endurance of 2 hours. An all-new fuselage design was introduced with reduced weight. The propeller was capped with a larger, aerodynamically refined spinner and the ventral fin was enlarged for more surface area. The upper wing assembly was lowered nearly five inches to bring it ever closer to the top of the fuselage and therefore increase the pilot's views from over the upper wing. The wing roots of the lower wings now lacked the fairings found on the D.III but both upper and lower wing assemblies were essentially identical to that of the preceding model in most respects. The standard fitting of 2 x 7.92mm Spandau machine guns were retained for their lethal effectiveness and set to fire synchronized from their fixed mounts through the spinning propeller blades.

While the D.III was only introduced in January of 1917, the D.V was contracted for production by April of that same year and manufacture quickly followed in May of 1917 - such was the changing face of technology and warfare during this period of aviation history. However, by this time in the war, the once-excellent D-series was more or less an obsolete airframe compared against her Triple Entente contemporaries but its production and subsequent usage by the Imperial German Army Air Service nonetheless continued. Even with the arrival of the "improved" D.V model, the D.III continued production (out of the Schneidemuhl facility) and operation. An initial order for the D.V constituted some 200 examples and this was followed in May by a further 400 aircraft. July saw a contract for 300 more aircraft signed and, in all, approximately 900 D.V production models would be completed and all were delivered from the Johannisthal facility.

Albatros D.V (Cont'd)

Biplane Fighter Aircraft

Albatros D.V (Cont'd)

Biplane Fighter Aircraft

Once in service, the standard issue headrest was formally removed after pilots complained that it obscured their critical rearward vision. Those D.V production airframes sent to fight in the arid climate of Palestine were further produced with two wing radiators to help keep the engine from overheating in the higher operating temperatures. Despite all of the work to get the D.V to the front lines, the prevailing lower wing issue begun in the D.III continued to be a lethal stain on the D-series legacy as a whole and some even suggested the situation was actually made worse in the D.V than in the D.III. Pilots were quick to show their disappointment and added that the D.V offered little in the way of improvements over the D.III it was suppose to replace. Even famed World War 1 ace and aviator Manfred von Richthofen openly criticized the new mount as "inferior" to the new British offerings. To help stem the tide of wing-related accidents, additional bracing and cabling was added but the D.V still proved a hard-to-handle airframe in operational practice, unsuitable for the face-paced activity of modern dogfighting. In all respects, little more could actually be done to help extend the airworthy nature of the aircraft.

The critical reviews of the D.V product quickly pushed Albatros to revised the design further and development ultimately culminated in a D.V off-shoot designated as the "D.Va". The D.Va was fitted with a new reinforced wing structure as well as a stronger overall fuselage assembly. Once again, the costly additions did not formally and completely resolve the inherent wing stability issues and resultied in a heavier fighter aircraft whose performance suffered. A Mercedes D.IIIau engine of 180 horsepower utilizing a high compression system was installed to help counter the increased weight though this yielded with little performance effects. Regardless, the German Air Service elected to order some 1,612 total examples of the type (these beginning service in October of 1917) due to the desperate and deteriorating war situation experienced by 1918. The Albatros D-series ended her operational tenure with the D.Va.

The newly-founded Polish Air Force became a post-war operator of the D.V series and the only other use of the aircraft type.


YEAR: 1917
STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Albatros Werke GmbH - Germany
LENGTH: 24.61 ft (7.5 m)
WIDTH: 29.69 ft (9.05 m)
HEIGHT: 8.76 ft (2.67 m)
EMPTY WEIGHT: 1,515 lb (687 kg)
MTOW: 2,066 lb (937 kg)
POWER: 1 x Mercedes IIIa 6-cylinder, liquid-cooled inline engine developing 180 horsepower and driving a two-bladed wooden propeller unit at the nose.
SPEED: 116 mph (186 kph; 100 kts)
CEILING: 18,698 feet (5,699 m; 3.54 miles)
RANGE: 217 miles (350 km; 189 nm)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 820 ft/min (250 m/min)
OPERATORS: German Empire; Poland

2 x 7.92mm Spandau LMG 08/15 fixed, forward-firing synchronized machine guns.
Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Variants / Models

• D.I - Base D-series.
• D.II - Lowered top wing; Fundamental and minor aerodynamic changes.
• D.III - V-shaped struts introduced.
• D.V - Streamlined fuselage.
• D.Va - Slightly modified D.V model.

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.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 120mph
Lo: 60mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (116mph).

Graph average of 90 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Albatros D.V's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (900)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

Site Disclaimer  |  Privacy Policy  |  Cookies  |  Site Map Site content ©2003-, All Rights Reserved.

The "Military Factory" name and logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, and, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft.

Facebook Logo YouTube Logo