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WORLD WAR 1

LFG Roland D.II (Shark)


Single-Seat Biplane Fighter Aircraft (1917)


Aviation / Aerospace

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Image from the Public Domain; Two-seat fighter prototype pictured.

Jump-to: Specifications

Introduced in early 1917, the LFG Roland D.II biplane fighter saw production reach 300 units before the end of World War 1.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/31/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
LFG Roland of Germany built a healthy, deep stable of combat aircraft for the German Empire during World War 1 (1914-1918) and this included fixed-wing types as well as airships. A development of 1916 became the D.II - later known as the "Shark" - a single-seat, single-engine biplane fighter that was adopted for service in early-1917 and produced to the tune of 300 examples by both LFG Roland and competitor Pfalz. The D.II was developed from the earlier D.I biplane which, itself, was a further evolution of the two-seat C.II reconnaissance mount. The D.II was fielded by the German Empire and Bulgarian air services.

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.

Specifications



Service Year
1917

Origin
Imperial Germany national flag graphic
Imperial Germany

Status
RETIRED
Not in Service.
Crew
1

Production
300
UNITS


Luft-Fahrzeug-Gesellschaft GmbH (LFG Roland) / Pfalz - Imperial Germany
National flag of Bulgaria National flag of the German Empire Bulgaria; German Empire
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.


Length
22.8 ft
(6.95 m)
Width/Span
29.4 ft
(8.95 m)
Height
10.2 ft
(3.12 m)
Empty Wgt
1,576 lb
(715 kg)
MTOW
2,105 lb
(955 kg)
Wgt Diff
+529 lb
(+240 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the LFG Roland D.II production variant)
Installed: 1 x Mercedes D.III 6-cylinder in-line water-cooled piston engine developing 160 horsepower and driving two-bladed wooden propeller in nose.
Max Speed
112 mph
(180 kph | 97 kts)
Ceiling
16,404 ft
(5,000 m | 3 mi)
Range
224 mi
(360 km | 667 nm)
Rate-of-Climb
715 ft/min
(218 m/min)


♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030


(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the LFG Roland D.II production variant. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database. View aircraft by powerplant type)
2 x 7.92mm LMG08/15 machine guns over nose synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.


Supported Types


Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun


(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 0


D.II - Base Series Designation; initial production model; fitted with Mercedes D.III piston engine of 160 horsepower.
D.IIa - Fitted with Argus As.III series engines of 180 horsepower.
C.V - Single two-seat prototype; fitted with Mercedes D.III engine of 160 horsepower.
D.II (Pfal) - Production of D.II aircraft by Pfalz
D.IIa (Pfal) - Production of D.IIa aircraft by Pfalz


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