So desperate were the Germans of finding a counter to the French Nieuport 17 biplane fighter that they eventually ordered an exact, reverse-engineered copy of the aircraft through Siemens-Schuckert as the "D.I". Captured specimens allowed for a first-hand look at the intimate workings of the design and the Germans proceeded to reproduce the aircraft with German materials, weaponry, and powerplant. The German offshoot was as close to the French design as possible - its only problem being that it was that the French design was now more or less obsolete by the time the Germans were able to fly their version.
The D.I retained much of the external appearance settled by the Nieuport 11 models, yielding only subtle changes to the profile. German armament was 1 x 7.92mm LMG 08-15 machine gun (sometimes two guns) synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades. The biplane wing assembly was faithful to the French design, incorporating a low upper section with a small-area lower section. Struts were of the V-style, The pilot's position was immediately behind the upper wing unit and directly aft of the engine installation. All other facets of the design mimicked that as found on the French fighter.
When introduced in 1916, the D.I was already an outclassed fighter in both German and Allied camps and was thusly forced as a trainer platform for the duration of its short career. The D.Ia was a one-off model with increased wing area. The D.Ib were two examples given Siemens-Schuckert Sh.I engines with high compression. The D.II served as a prototype platform and was outfitted with the Siemens-Halske Sh.III rotary engine of 160 horsepower within an enlarged fuselage design. Larger propeller blades were also fitted. This then spawned the D.IIa prototype followed by the D.IIb prototype before two examples of the D.IIc arrived in both "short" and "long" wingspan forms. The D.IIe was yet another prototype model before the D.III came online with its upgraded Siemens-Halske rotary engine of 160 horsepower. The line culminated with the D.IV which arrived late in the war. The D.V designation was for a proposed sesquiplane variant and D.VI was a parasol monoplane variant eventually becoming the E.I.
In any case, the Siemens-Schuckert contributions made little difference in the outcome of the war on the whole. Indeed the D.IV offshoot is considered by some as the best fighter of the whole war but only 123 were produced in 1918, arriving much too late. Production of the D.I mark included perhaps as little as 95 D.I aircraft - all manufactured under the Siemens-Schuckert Werke brand label of the German Empire.
D.I dimensions included a length of 19.7 feet, a wingspan of 24.6 feet and a height of 8.5 feet. Empty weight was 948lbs with a Maximum Take-Off Weight of 1,488lbs listed. Power was through a single Siemens-Halske Sh.I geared rotary engine developing 110 horsepower while driving a two-blade propeller assembly at front. Performance specifications included a maximum speed of 96 miles per hour and service ceiling of about 26,245 feet.
The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com 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 gmail.com.
Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft, and SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane.