Messerschmitt Me 163          Fokker DR1


The Eindecker was designed around the Fokker M.5K Scout which itself was designed around the French Morane-Sauliner.

The Eindecker was manufactured from a steel tube fuselage and fitted with a Stangensteuerung synchronizer mechanism to allow a Parabellum MG14 machine gun to fire through the propeller.

The Eindecker was fitted with a gravity fuel tank which had to be filled by operating a hand pump from the main fuel tank up to eight times an hour.

The Eindecker had an aerodynamically balanced rudder and elevator with the whole of the tail unfixed. This led the aircraft to be extremely sensitive to pitch and yaw making it very difficult for inexperienced pilots to fly straight and level.

The roll of the Eindecker was controlled by wing-warping rather then ailerons giving a poor roll rate.

The Eindecker E.I was fitted with a seven-cylinder Oberursel U.0 rotary engine producing 80hp. The E.I was upgraded to the E.II with the main difference being the engine which was upgraded to a nine-cylinder Oberursel U I engine producing 100 hp.

The definitve version of the Eindecker was the E.III, which had a narrower-chord wing (71 inch) than its predecessors, entered service at the end of 1915. The E.III was fitted as standard with a single 7.92mm 'Spandau' Light Machine Gun, however a few were fitted with twin machine guns for experimental purposes.

The final variant of the Fokker Eindecker was the E.IV. It was fitted with a Oberursel U.III which was a 14 cylinder, twin-row rotary engine producing 160hp.

The E.IV was originally designed to accomodate 3 'Spandau' machine guns but after unsucessful trials it was fitted as standard with twin machine guns as standard.

Specifications (E.III): -
Length:23ft 6in (7.2m)
Wingspan:31ft 2in (9.52m)
Height:7ft 9in (2.4m)
Empty Weight:882lb (400kg)
Max. Weight:1,345lb (610kg)
Engine:Oberursel U.I 1 Rotary
producing 99 hp.
Max. Speed:87 mph (140 km/h)
Range:223 miles (359 km)
Armament: - (Refer to Variants for fitment)
Machine Guns:1 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15*
* Synchronised to fire through propeller

Variants: -

Fokker M.5K/MG
Pre-production batch, with /MG suffix for maschinengewehr - machine gun, 5 built.

Fokker E.I
Production armed scout aircraft powered by a 80hp Oberursel U.0 rotary engine, 68 built.

Fokker E.II
Improved production armed scout aircraft powered by a 100hp Oberursel U.I rotary engine, 49 built.

Fokker E.III
The major production variant also powered by a 100hp Oberursel U.I rotary engine with improved structure and equipment, 249 built.

Fokker E.IV
The final version of the Eindeckers was slightly enlarged, fitted with a 14-cyl. Oberursel U.III engine and two machine guns above the forward fuselage, 49 built.

Messerschmitt Me 163          Fokker DR1
Fokker Eindecker
©Dave Key Fokker Eindecker (Cosford 1993)

The Eindecker was designed by Anthony Fokker and was developed in early 1915. It was the first German monoplane fighter to be fitted with a synchronised machine gun allowing it to shoot through the propeller.

The Eindecker gave the Germans air superiority from mid 1915 until early 1916, this period known as the 'Fokker Scourge'.

Fokker Eindecker E.III replica, photographed at Cosford 1993.
Photographs © Dave Key, Click thumbnail to enlarge.
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