Fokker E. III

Germany’s Fokker monoplanes dominated the skies over the Western Front from July 1915 to early 1916. The key to their
success was a synchronisation mechanism that allowed the pilot to fire a machine gun trought he propeller arc. The first “point-and-shoot” aeroplane was French – a Morane monoplane with crude bullet deflectors on its propeller blades. It was only after examining a captured Morane that the German Army asked Dutch designer Anthony Fokker to devise something similar. As his staff was already working on a proper synchronization gear. Fokker produced the required device in short on order and  fitted it to his latest aircraft, the M5. The resulting  E.I (“E” for “Eindecker”) was quickly followed by the 100-hp E.II and E.III, and finally by the less successful 160-hp E.IV.
All the Eindeckers were wickedly tricky to fly. They could stand up to the strain of a dive, their standard mode of attack – but a pilot undertook elaborate manoeuvres at his peril. Yet in the hands of German “aces” such as Max Immelmann and Oswald Boelcke, they savaged Allied reconnaissance machines, which became known, somewhat bitterly, as “Fokker fodder”.
By the summer of 1916. however, these relatively low-performance monoplanes were being outclassed by the Allie’s newm Airco D.H.2
and Nieuporl scouts.

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