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During World War I the Fokker D-VII proved to be so superior to anything else in the air that it was still being flown by the Dutch armed forces at the outbreak of World War II. Happily for the Allies, the D-VII was introduced too late in First World War to give the Germans a victory they might have otherwise achieved.
For more than three years the German Imperial Air Service fought the war with a variety of fighter aircraft. Then a competition among aircraft manufacturers was conducted in January of 1918 to select a single fighter plane with which the Kaiser's jastas could sweep the Allied Forces from the skies and carry the war to a successful conclusion. The D-VII, designed by Reinhold Platz and built by a flamboyant young Dutchman named Anthony Fokker, proved superior in every categories of competition, and all German aircraft factories were ordered into production of new Fokker plane.
The D-VII was usually powered by the extremely reliable Mercedes 160-horsepower engine. Its wings required a minimum of external bracing, giving the D-VII exceptional maneuverability, stability, and a very high rate of climb. The plane's fuselage was constructed of lightweight but very strong welded metal tubing.
By early September 1918, over 800 D-VIIs were in service . They were equipped with twin 7.92 mm Spandau guns mounted in front of the cockpit. Many famous pilot flew the D-VII, including Germany's great ace, Ernst Udet. Throughout the summer and autumn of 1918, Allied pilots became well aware of the power and durability of the D-VII, the latest addition to "Fokker Terror."
Under the terms of the armistice, Germany was required to turn over all of its D-VIIs to the Allies. While the German complied with this requirement, the resourceful Fokker was able to sprint the parts of some 120 D-VIIs across the border into neutral Holland.
Not only did the D-VII remain operational for many years in Holland, but
it was purchased by several other Europeans countries as well. The US military
confiscated 142 D-VIIs, many of which remained in active service in the United States
until the mid-1920s.
The preceding information was extracted from the pamphlet,
"The Great Airplanes Sterling Silver Miniature Collection", published by The Franklin Mint, 1979.
Permission was granted to ALLSTAR by The Franklin Mint to use the preceding materials.
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Updated: March 12, 2004