Junkers J.4

In 1917-18 the German Army’s “stormfliers” were a potent element in warfare in the Western Front. These death-defying aircrews flew in close support of infantry, descending low over the trenches during heavy ground-fighting to attack enemy troops with strafing, fragmentation bombs, and grenades. The armoured, all-metal Junkers biplane was their favourite mount; although heavy and
cumbersome, it could carry them unscathed through a storm of grotindfire.
Dr Hugo Junkers specialized in all-metal aircraft construction, which he had pioneered with his  J.1 and J.2 military monoplanes in 1915-16. The 1917 biplane – known to Junkers as the J.4 but confusingly given the official designation J.I –  had a corrugated aluminium alloy skin that was riveted to a metal frame.
The engine and crew were enclosed in an armoured nose capsule of 5mm-chrome-nickel sheet steel, with an armoured bulkhead at its rear. To this was attached the fabric-covered rear half of the fuselage, carrying the tail surfaces. The only wooden component in the whole aircraft was its tailskid.
A total of 227 J.4s were built. production continuing up to the end of the war.

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