ACE-33 Albatros D.III (OAW), D.5154/17, Jasta 46, Ascq. Lille, February 1918
Another colourful Albatross from Jasta 46!
The Albatros D.III was a biplane fighter aircraft used by the Imperial German Army Air Service (Luftstreitkräfte) during World War I. It was the pre-eminent fighter during the period of German aerial dominance known as “Bloody April” 1917. Early D.IIIs featured a radiator in the center of the upper wing, where it tended to scald the pilot if punctured. From the 290th D.III onward, the radiator was offset to the right, on production machines while others were soon moved to the right as a field modification. Aircraft deployed in Palestine used two wing radiators, to cope with the warmer climate.
Von Richthofen and most other German aces won the majority of their victories on the D.III, and it even turned out to be more successful than its alleged successor, and continued in production for several months after the introduction of the D.V. Peak service was in November 1917, with 446 aircraft on the Western Front. 1,866 Albatros D.III planes were produced. The D.III did not disappear with the end of production, however. It remained in frontline service well into 1918.
As late as March 1918, there were still nearly 200 D.IIIs in service on the Western Front, eight months even after the introduction of its successor.