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Dewoitine D.1 (series)

Monoplane Fighter [ 1923 ]

The Dewoitine D.1 representing the first foray into fighter design for the French label - the series encompassing many variations during its lifetime.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 09/21/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

Founded in October of 1920 by Emile Dewoitine of France, the Dewoitine concern would grow to become a notable builder of aircraft during the Interwar Period (the period "Between-the-Wars"). Its most notable product ultimately became the "D.520" (detailed elsewhere on this site) of January 1940, the fighter being built in around 900 examples and operated valiantly during the failed defense of France from the onslaught of German invasion. However, before this all-modern monoplane could be realized in time for war, the company would need to cut its teeth on other evolutionary types - the first entry of the series becoming the "D.1" of 1922.

The aircraft was drawn up to satisfy a new requirement by the French Service Technique de l'Aeronautique - the 1921 C.1 program.

The D.1 was given an all-metal structure with metal-skinning and sported a shoulder-mounted, braced fabric-covered monoplane wing form. It retained the proven and traditional "tail-dragger" undercarriage arrangement common to fighters of the time and the empennage comprised a single, small-area rudder with low-set horizontal planes. The engine was installed at the nose in the usual way to drive the two-bladed propeller. Of all-modern design for its time, the fighter certainly held promise.

For its combat role, the D.1 would carry armament of 2 x 7.7mm (0.303in) Vickers Machine Guns seated over the nose, the units synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.

A first-flight involving the D.1.01 prototype form was recorded on November 18th, 1922 and marked the first fighter to emerge from the company. As built, the aircraft was given a running length of 24.7 feet with a wingspan of 37.8 feet, and height of 9 feet. Empty weight reached 1,810lb with a gross weight of 2,735lb. The 300 horsepower Hispano-Suiza 8Fb inline engine helped the aircraft reach speeds of 158 miles-per-hour, ranging out to 250 miles and reaching altitudes of 26,245 feet. Rate-of-climb was 1,475 feet-per-minute.

In testing, forward visibility was shown to be poor so a 4.76" pylon was set between the wing mainplanes and forward fuselage, providing a gap for the pilot to see through - this change produced the parasol (high-winged) D.1bis of 1923.

While the French Air Force did not move ahead with widespread adoption of the D.1, the French Navy took to the type and contracted for some thirty examples (D.1ter), some of which were featured on the aircraft carrier "Bearn" (detailed elsewhere on this site).©MilitaryFactory.com
Variants of the line beyond the D.1.01 prototype and D.1 pre-series aircraft included the D.1bis with pylon-raised mainplanes, the D.1ter with its wings on cabane (inverted Vee supports) struts, and the record-setting, one-off high-altitude D.8 fitting the Hispano-Suiza 8Fe 8-cylinder engine of 1921. The D.9 of 1924 followed with a Gnome-Rhone 9Ab "Jupiter IV" radial engine of 360 horsepower and larger-area wings - seeing limited production for foreign customers only. The D.12 of 1923 was concurrent to the D.9 and carried the Lorraine-Dietrich 12E W-12 engine of 450 horsepower. The D.19 of 1923 was similar in scope to the D.12 and differed in having the Hispano-Suiza 12Jb V-12 engine of 400 horsepower. Only two prototypes were built and these showcased in Belgium and Switzerland. EKW of Switzerland built two more to the specification and a total of seven D-19s eventually existed.

The export-minded D.21 appeared in the latter part of 1925 and represented the D.12 with a Hispano-Suiza 12Gb W-12 engine of 500 horsepower. These were then sold to Argentina, Paraguay, and Turkey in small numbers - though FMA of Argentina handled production of a further 30 units and took seven from EKW. Czechoslovakia added another 26 aircraft to the line as the Skoda D.1 with production by Skoda Works. A total of 100 D.21 aircraft were built.

The D.25 of 1925 was a twin-seat fighter based in the D.21 but carried the Lorraine-Dietrich 12Eb W-12 engine. Hanriot handled production of four units and were shipped to Argentina when French interest in the type waned. The D.26 was a training-centric development with Hispano-Wright 9Q 9-cylinder air-cooled engine of 340 horsepower. Eleven were formed in Switzerland with kits provided by Dewoitine.

The D.27 became a dedicated fighter and was powered by a Hispano-Suiza 12Mc V-12 engine. This design found favor in Romania where 100 were operated and 97 of the lot were built locally by IAR. EKW built 65 of the 66 operated by the Swiss Air Force. Yugoslavia took on a stock of four while the French Navy trialed the type on carriers as the "D.53".

The fighter was produced locally in the Kingdom of Italy by Ansaldo as the "AC". This became a series beginning with the one-off AC.1 (the improved D.1bis) followed by the reworked AC.2 (based in the D.1ter). As many as 112 units were built for the Italian Air Force. One-hundred fifty AC.3 fighters were built from the D.9 design. The AC.4 of 1927, born from the AC.2 (D.1ter), was another one-off example but carried the local FIAT A.20 V-12 engine of 420 horsepower.

Japan trialed a single D.1bis demonstrator for a time.

Total production of the D.1 series (including all variants) ended with about 500 examples being completed.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Dewoitine - France; Ansaldo - Italy; Skoda Works - Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (Skoda Works D.1); France; Kingdom of Italy (Ansaldo AC); Imperial Japan (demonstrator); Switzerland; Yugoslavia
Operators National flag of Czechia National flag of France National flag of Italy National flag of the Kingdom of Italy National flag of modern Japan National flag of Switzerland National flag of Yugoslavia
Service Year
National Origin
Project Status

General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.
Ability to intercept inbound aerial threats by way of high-performance, typically speed and rate-of-climb.
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
Developed ability to be used as a dedicated trainer for student pilots (typically under the supervision of an instructor).
Used in the aerial training role to cover basics of flight, general handling, take-off/landing actions, and related.

Automatic weapons are synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades via special mechanical gear arrangement.
Inherent ability of airframe to take considerable damage.
Can accelerate to higher speeds than average aircraft of its time.
Can reach and operate at higher altitudes than average aircraft of its time.
Ability to operate over ocean in addition to surviving the special rigors of the maritime environment.
Manual process of allowing its pilot and / or crew to exit in the event of an airborne emergency.

24.6 ft
(7.50 meters)
37.7 ft
(11.50 meters)
9.0 ft
(2.75 meters)
1,808 lb
(820 kilograms)
Empty Weight
2,734 lb
(1,240 kilograms)
Maximum Take-Off Weight
+926 lb
(+420 kg)
Weight Difference
monoplane / high-mounted / straight
Mainplane Arrangement
Design utilizes a single primary wing mainplane; this represents the most popular modern mainplane arrangement.
Mainplanes are mounted at the upper-most position allowable along the dorsal line of the fuselage.
The planform involves use of basic, straight mainplane members.

1 x Hispano-Suiza 8Fb liquid-cooled inline piston engine developing 300 horsepower driving two-bladed propeller at the nose.
158 mph
(255 kph | 138 knots)
Max Speed
134 mph
(215 kph | 116 knots)
Cruise Speed
+25 mph
(+40 kph | 22 knots)
Speed Difference
26,247 ft
(8,000 m | 5 miles)
249 miles
(400 km | 216 nm)
1,475 ft/min
(450 m/min)

MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030

2 x 7.7mm (0.303in) Vickers Machine Guns over the nose synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.


D.1.01 - Initial prototype with Hispano-Suiza 8Fb V8 engine of 300 horsepower; parasol wing structure with wing-supported pylon.
D.1 - Fifteen pre-series aircraft.
D.1bis - Improved variant with pylon supported wing structure for improved pilot vision.
D.1ter - D.1 with cabane strut-supported wing mainplane.
D.8 - High-altitude variant with Hispano-Suiza 8Fe V8 engine of 360 horsepower; 1 examples.
D.9 - 1924 variant; D.1 fitted with Gnome-Rhone 9Ab Jupiter IV radial piston engine of 420 horsepower; 13 examples.
D.12 - Variant of 1923 with Lorraine-Dietrich 12E W-12 engine of 450 horsepower; 2 examples.
D.19 - Model of 1923; powered by Hispano-Suiza 12Jb V12 engine of 400 horsepower; 7 examples.
D.21 - Model of 1925; D.12 variant with Hispano-Suiza 12Gb W-12 engine of 500 horsepower; 100 examples.
D.25 - Model of 1925; twin-seat fighter development of the D.21; fitted with Lorraine-Dietrich 12Eb W-12 engine; 4 examples.
D.26 - Trainer variant with Hispano-Suiza 9Q engine of 340 horsepower; 11 examples.
D.27 - Variant with Hispano-Suiza 12Mc V12 engine of 500 horsepower; mainly foreign operated but serving as D.53 with French Navy for deck testing.
Ansaldo AC.1 - Italian D.1bis; 1 example.
Ansaldo AC.2 - Italian D.1ter; 112 examples.
Ansaldo AC.3 - Italian D.9; 150 examples.
Ansaldo AC.4 - Italian AC.2 with FIAT A.20 V12 engine of 420 horsepower; 1 example.
Skoda D.1 - Skoda Works production of the D.21; 26 examples.

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Image of the Dewoitine D.1 (series)
Image from the Public Domain; D.12 pictured.

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