Camouflage scheme

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Pfalz D.IIIa

Pfalz D.IIIa
Code: 72032

The fighter plane Pfalz D.IIIa made by the Bavarian company Pfalz Flugzeugwerke GmbH in Speyer am Rhein was the immediate successor of the highly successful earlier model Pfalz D.III.

The major difference between the D.III and D.IIIa models is mainly the positioning of weaponry, with the two fixed synchronized Spandau LMG 08115 machine guns now (in D.IIIa model) installed an the upper part of the body, level with pilot's sight, while in the D.III model the machine guns were installed inside the body itself. In addition, the Pfalz D.IIIa model also had larger tail planes and the lower wings of different shape. The engine, which remained the same, was in-line, water-cooled, six-cylinder Mercedes D.IIIa engine generating 160-180 hp.

Prototype of Pfalz D.IIIa fighter plane first appeared probably in the beginning of June 1917, with models from the serial production arriving on the Western Front in the autumn of the same year. Although model Pfalz D.IIIa was probably not as facile as the Fokker Dr.I triplane, it was - just as the earlier Pfalz D.III model, highly valued by the German pilots for its solid and robust construction. German pilots were unafraid to execute high-speed nose-dives without any danger of the wings disintegrating, as was the case of especially the Albatros planes. The Pfalz D.IIIa plane were used particularly for destroying the enemy reconnaissance balloons. Many of the Germany fighter plane units, including the famous squadron such as Jagdstaffel 4 and Jagdstaffel 10, were supplied, either fully or partly, with the Pfalz D.IIIa fighter planes. They were also flown by many famous and lesser known Germany flying aces including, for example, Rudolf Berthold, Rudolf Stark, Hans Böning and others.

The production of the Pfalz D.IIIa models came to an end in May 1918, and it appears that, according to the recently restored list of serial production numbers, between 750-775 of these planes were made. A certain number of planes from the last production series was also delivered to Turkey.

From the very beginning the Pfalz D.IIIa models were used on the Western Front in combat as well as behind the lines for training the pilots. In general, Pfalz D.IIIa fighter planes were of major importance to Germany Air Force.

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