Albatros Flugzeugwerke GmbH were responsible for some of the most graceful and effective fighters of the Great War. Their twin gun, semi-monocoque plywood Albatros D.1 powered by a 160PS Daimler Mercedes D.III engine arrived at the front in September 1916 and achieved instant air superiority over its main opposition of Nieuport 11 and DH.2 fighters. Followed immediately by the slightly improved D.II and in December by the much improved D.III with its V strutted sesqiplane wing, greatly influenced by the successful Neiuport fighters. The D.III was more maneuverable than the D.II and its single spar lower "half" wing afforded greater visibility for the pilot but was also the cause of numerous, and usually fatal, structural failures. Despite much effort this problem was never fully resolved. Nevertheless the D.III remained in production well into late 1917.
Even as the excellent D.III went into production plans were underway for its successor, the Albatros D.V. Retaining the wings of the D.III but with aileron controls routed through the upper wing and with a redesigned fuselage completely oval in section, the D.V was arguably the best looking of all Albatros designs. Unfortunately it inherited the lower wing structural failure problem of the D.III and turned out to not be any real improvement over it performance wise either. Despite this, the Albatros D.V and the D.Va (with aileron controls cables reverted to D.III configuration), was manufactured in greater numbers than any previous German fighter of the war (only surpassed later by the Fokker D.VII, of which Albatros manufactured the great majority). One must presume, given the D.V"s apparent shortcomings, this was because Albatros could produce enough to fulfill the requirements of the rapidly expanding number of Jagdstaffelin required by the Amerika Program. And it was available.
Appearing in May 1917 and shortly outclassed by the improved SE.5a, Sopwith Camel and SPAD fighters being fielded by the allies at the time, in the hands of a talented pilot the beautiful (and plentiful), Albatros D.V and D.Va were more than capable of holding their own. Flown by most of Germany"s top aces of the time, Albatros D.Vs continued to provide good service even when outclassed by the newer Fokker Dr.1, Pfalz D.III and IIIa fighters. Even after the introduction of the superb Fokker D.VII, Albatros D.Vs could still be found equipping front line Jastas right up to the armistice, though most had been relegated to training duties. Any history of this important aircraft here is of necessity very brief, therefore we encourage you to seek out any, or all, of the reference books mentioned below for a more thorough understanding.