Fokker D.VII

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Fokker D.VII of Oberleutnant Hermann Dahlmann (7 victories), Adjutant of Jagdgeschwader III (Fighter Wing III, or JG III) under Bruno Loerzer (de), who's wingman he was, St. Amand, September 1918

The Fokker D.VII was a German World War I fighter aircraft of the Fliegertruppe designed by Reinhold Platz of the Fokker-Flugzeugwerke. Germany produced around 3,300 D.VII aircraft in the second half of 1918 replacing mostly the Albatros D.V. In service with the Luftstreitkräfte, the D.VII quickly proved itself to be a formidable aircraft. The Armistice ending the war specifically required the German Empire to surrender all D.VIIs to the Entente Powers. Surviving aircraft saw continued widespread service with many other countries in the years after World War I.


Leutnant Franz Büchner, Jagdstaffel 13 (Jasta 13);

While there are a number of contenders for the best Allied aircraft of the First World War, most aviation experts would agree that Germany’s Fokker D. VII was truly its best, despite having a relatively short wartime career. It was introduced in May 1918, less than six months before the war ended, but 1,000 were still completed and most saw service.[1]
Leutnant Carl Degelow, Royal Saxon Jagdstaffel Nr. 40 (Jasta 40)

The D.VII entered squadron service with Jasta 10 in early May 1918. When the Fokker D.VII appeared on the Western Front in April 1918, Allied pilots at first underestimated the new fighter because of its squarish, ungainly appearance, but quickly revised their view. The type quickly proved to have many important advantages over the Albatros and Pfalz scouts. Unlike the Albatros scouts, the D.VII could dive without any fear of structural failure. The D.VII was also noted for its high maneuverability and ability to climb at high angles of attack, its remarkably docile stall, and its reluctance to spin. It could literally "hang on its prop" without stalling for brief periods of time, spraying enemy aircraft from below with machine gun fire. These handling characteristics contrasted with contemporary scouts such as the Camel and SPAD, which stalled sharply and spun vigorously.

When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils. (Luke 11: 21-22) The above words taken from the Gospel according to St. Luke perfectly reflect the conditions in which a defeated Germany was put by the victorious Allied powers. Item 4 of the Armistice of November 11, 1918 demanded immediate demobilization of Germany's air force and the surrender of 2,000 military aircraft, particularly Fokker D.VIIs. The Fokker D.VIl was the only type listed by name – for what reason? Why should this machine have been of such particular importance to those dictating the armistice conditions? The answer is simple and obvious: the Fokker D.VII clearly outclassed the machines operated by the victorious coalition's air forces. It was a design that was to influence many fighters conceived in the inter-war period and was good enough to remain in service with various air forces until the mid-thirties.[2]

Manfred von Richthofen, who flew the prototype and then enthusiastically recommended it, died days before the D.VII began to reach the Jagdstaffeln and never flew it in combat. Other pilots, including Erich Löwenhardt, Gerhard Hubrich, Oliver Freiherr von Beaulieu-Marconnay, Sigurd Freiherr von Beaulieu-Marconnay, Gotthard Sachsenberg, Gerhard Bassenge, Otto Christian Schmidt, Karl Wilhelm Plauth, Karl Thom, Ernst Udet, Hermann Göring, and many others, quickly racked up victories and generally lauded the design. Aircraft availability was limited at first, but by July there were 407 on charge. Larger numbers became available by August, when D.VIIs achieved 565 victories (Luftsiege). The D.VII eventually equipped 46 Jagdstaffeln. When the war ended in November, 775 D.VII aircraft were in service.


  • Fokker V 11
    • Prototype
  • Fokker V 21
    • Prototype with tapered wings
  • Fokker V 22
    • Prototype with four-bladed propeller
  • Fokker V 24
    • Prototype with 240 hp (180 kW) Benz Bz.IVü engine
  • Fokker V 31
    • One D.VII aircraft fitted with a hook to tow the Fokker V 30 glider
  • Fokker V 34
    • D.VII development with 185 hp (138 kW) BMW IIIa engine
  • Fokker V 35
    • Two-seat development with 185 hp (138 kW) BMW IIIa engine and undercarriage fuel tank
  • Fokker V 36
    • D.VII development with 185 hp (138 kW) BMW IIIa engine and undercarriage fuel tank
  • Fokker V 38
    • Prototype Fokker C.I
  • D.VII
    • Production aircraft from Fokker; either from their wartime Schwerin/Görries headquarters, or post-Armistice, in the Netherlands.
  • D.VII (Alb)
    • Production aircraft from Albatros Flugzeugwerke in Johannisthal, Berlin
  • D.VII (MAG)
    • Production by Magyar Altalános Gepgyár RT - (MAG) at Mátyásföld, near Budapest[3]
  • D.VII (OAW)
    • Production aircraft from Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke in Schneidemühl.
  • MAG-Fokker 90.05
    • The Fokker V 22 powered by a 200 hp (150 kW) Austro-Daimler 200hp 6-cyl.
  • Fokker D.VII Lithuanian versions
    • 1 D.VII powered by Siddeley Puma, produced in 1928; 2 D.VII, powered by Mercedes D.III, produced in 1930. Both types featured larger engine cowling and radiator under the nose.


  1. Fokker D. VII: The Best Fighter Plane of World War I? (Archive)
  2. Tomasz J. Kowalski / Szymon Grzwocz / Damiam Majsak: Fokker D.VII – Kaiser's Best Fighter, 2013
  3. (2002) Austro-Hungarian Army Aircraft of World War One. Boulder: Flying Machine Press, 351–353. ISBN 1-891268-05-8.