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Pfalz D.III Biplane Fighter Aircraft

The Pfalz D.III excelled in dive attacks on Allied observation balloons.

 Entry last updated on 5/18/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Pfalz D.III  
Picture of Pfalz D.III Biplane Fighter Aircraft

The Pfalz D.III was an exceptional aircraft produced in large numbers by Bavaria for Bavarian forces and; later, Imperial German air forces. The D.III biplane was a agile fighter capable of high-speed diving attacks and excelled at attacking Allied reconnaissance balloons and aircraft alike. Two 7.92mm machine guns complimented the system well and production ballooned by 1918.

Bavarian forces were the first to receive the highly-acclaimed Pfalz D.III's as control of the factories was Bavarian to begin with. Ultimately, German pilots would receive the units and they would begin to play a role on the Western Front, though appearing in large numbers to little too late to effect the outcome of the war.

The success of the Pfalz D.III system produced variants and an offshoot that improved upon the base system in the Pfalz D.XII, which reconfigured the radiator closer to the engine and featured other minor improvements to capabilities.

Pfalz D.IIIa

Service Year: 1917
Type: Biplane Fighter Aircraft
National Origin: Imperial Germany
Manufacturer(s): Pfalz Flugzeug-Werke GmbH - Germany
Total Units Built: 600

Structural (Crew, Dimensions, Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 1
Overall Length: 22.80 feet (6.95 meters)
Overall Width: 30.84 feet (9.40 meters)
Overall Height: 8.76 feet (2.67 meters)

Weight (Empty): 1,532 lb (695 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 2,061 lb (935 kg)

Power / Performance (Engine Type, Top Speed)

Engine Type: 1 x Mercedes D.III 6-cylinder liquid-cooled inline engine developing 160 horsepower.

Top Speed: 89 knots (103 mph; 165 kph)
Service Ceiling: 16,995 feet (5,180 meters; 3.22 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 820 feet-per-minute (250 m/min)

Armament / Mission Payload

2 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 Spandau machine guns

Global Operators (Customers, Users)

Bavaria; Imperial Germany

Pfalz D.III Variants

D.III - Base Production Model Designation
D.IIIa - Guns repositioned to upper decking to assist pilot in clearing weapons of jams; subtle changes to horizontal stabilizer and wingtips; appearing in November of 1917; at least 430 examples produced.
D.XII - Further development of the D.III featuring reconfiguration of radiator placement; improved engine performance.

Pfalz D.III Images