The Albatros D.I was a German fighter aircraft used during World War I. Although its operational career was short, it was the first of the Albatros D types which equipped the bulk of the German and Austrian fighter squadrons (Jagdstaffeln) for the last two years of the war.
The D.I was designed as an answer to the latest Allied fighters, such as the Nieuport 11 Bébé and the Airco D.H.2, which had proved superior to the Fokker Eindecker and other early German fighters, and established a general Allied air superiority. The D.I had a relatively high wing loading for its time, and was not particularly maneuverable. This was compensated by its superior speed and firepower, and it quickly proved the best all-round fighter available.
A total of 50 D.I aircraft were in service by November 1916, replacing the early Fokker and Halberstadt D types, giving real "teeth" to Germany's new Jagdstaffeln. Further production of D.Is was not undertaken, however; instead, a reduction in the distance between the top and bottom wings in order to improve the pilot's forward and upward vision resulted in the otherwise identical Albatros D.II, which became Albatros' first major production fighter.
Source: Wikipedia, "Albatros D.I", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
As Described In
Dawn Patrol: The first Albatros DIs entered active service on September 17th 1916. They were given to the elite Jagstaffel of which Oswald Boelcke's Jasta 2 was the most famous. During the Summer of 1916, the Allies Nieuport Scout and DH2 pusher had gained aerial superiority over the Fokker Eindekker. The Albatros was introduced to redress the balance. The powerful engine fitted to the Albatros enabled it to carry the load of twin-fixed Spandau manchine guns. The Albatros was therefore a heavy machine which resulted in it being less manoeuvrable than its contemporaries. Throughout the winter of 1916-17, the DI and DII were able to maintain aerial supremacy. Against the Albatros, the BE2c was almost defenseless and the numbers destroyed became a national scandal.