Pfalz D.IIIa – Luftstreitkrafte JG 2, Rudolf Berthold, 1/72
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Wings of the Great War WW11001; 1/72 scale Pfalz D.IIIa Luftstreitkrafte JG 2, Rudolf Berthold, 1918.
The Wings of The Great War range presents affordable, ready-made resin models of WWI aircraft in 1/72 scale. Each model is crafted and painted by hand and features a unique pivoting stand that allows the model to be displayed at a variety of different attitudes.
Wings of The Great War display airplanes feature:
Molded resin construction with no assembly required.
Fixed, non-rotating propellers and wheels.
Poseable presention stand to display the aircraft “in flight”.
Hauptmann Oskar Gustav Rudolf Berthold (24 March 1891 – 15 March 1920), commonly known as Rudolf Berthold, was a German flying ace of World War I. Between 1916 and 1918, he shot down 44 enemy planes—16 of them while flying one-handed. Berthold had a reputation as a ruthless, fearless and—above all—very patriotic fighter. His perseverance, bravery, and willingness to return to combat while still wounded made him one of the most famous German pilots of World War I.
The Pfalz D.III was a fighter aircraft used by the Luftstreitkräfte (Imperial German Air Service) during the First World War. The D.III was the first major original design from Pfalz Flugzeugwerke. Though generally considered inferior to contemporary Albatros and Fokker fighters, the D.III was widely used by the Jagdstaffeln from late 1917 to mid-1918. It continued to serve as a training aircraft until the end of the war.
Deliveries to operational units began in August 1917. Jasta 10 was the first recipient of the new aircraft, followed by Jasta 4. While markedly better than the earlier Roland designs, the D.III was generally considered inferior to the Albatros D.III and D.V. German pilots variously criticized the Pfalz’s heavy controls, low speed, lack of power, or low rate of climb compared to the Albatros. The D.III slipped in turns, leading to crashes when unwary pilots turned at very low altitudes. Moreover, the Pfalz stalled sharply and spun readily. Recovery from the resulting flat spin was difficult, though some pilots took advantage of this trait to descend quickly or evade enemy aircraft.
The Pfalz’s primary advantage was its strength and sturdiness. The Albatros scouts were plagued by failure of their single-spar lower wings. The Pfalz, however, could safely dive at high speeds due to its twin-spar lower wing. For this reason, the Pfalz was well-suited to diving attacks on observation balloons, which were usually heavily defended by anti-aircraft guns trained to the balloon’s altitude.
The most pressing complaint about the new Pfalz was that the guns were buried in the fuselage, preventing pilots from clearing gun jams in flight. This feature had been carried over from the earlier Roland designs. In November 1917, Pfalz responded by producing the slightly modified D.IIIa, which relocated the guns to the upper fuselage decking. The D.IIIa was distinguishable by its enlarged semicircular horizontal stabilizer and cropped lower wingtips. It also featured a more powerful version of the Mercedes D.III engine.
Pfalz built approximately 260 D.III and 750 D.IIIa aircraft. Most were delivered to Bavarian Jastas. Once Pfalz completed the final batch in May 1918, production shifted to the D.IIIa’s successor, the D.XII. Some aircraft from the final D.IIIa batch were delivered to Turkey.
As of 30 April 1918, 433 D.IIIa scouts were still in frontline use. By 31 August, that number had declined to 166. Many serviceable aircraft were sent to advanced training schools, but approximately 100 aircraft remained in frontline use at the time of the Armistice.