An outstanding fighter, the Fokker D.VII was greeted with relief by hard-pressed German pilots when it entered service on the Western Front in April 1918. It proved lethally effective in combat sensitive,
delightful to fly, and highly manoeuvrable.
The new biplane had been rushed into production niter its prototype won a German military competition for single-seat fighting scouts in January 1918. By the autumn it had equipped over 40 Jastas (fighter squadrons).
The D.VII’s fabric-covered Fuselage had a welded steel tube frame. Its wings were wooden cantilever structures based on box spars, with plywood-covered leading edges.
The system of interplane struts meant that bracing wires could be dispensed with.
Highly responsive, the D.VII could “hang on its propeller”, enabling its pilot to fire the twin Spandau machine-guns when other aircraft might have stalled into a spin. One of the many notable D.VII pilots was Hermann Göring, a war hero who later become second in command in Nazi Germany; Göring had his aeroplane custom-painted, choosing an overall white finish. Although the D.VII initially had a Mercedes engine, later models were fitted with a BMW powerplant that radically improved its performance, especially its rate of climb. By the time of the Armistice some 760 D.VIIs had been delivered.