Fokker DR.1 Dreidecker 155/17 Lt. Eberhard Mohnicke, Jasta 11, von Richthofen’s Flying Circus, Lechelle, 1918
As the air war above the trenches of the Western Front became almost as bloody as the carnage taking place on the ground, Allied and German air forces vied to gain supremacy of the skies. Just as one side introduced an aircraft that proved superior to those used by their adversaries, its dominance would be short lived, as new aircraft would quickly be introduced to counter it. The Sopwith Triplane provided British airmen with a fast and agile fighter aircraft that gave them a slight advantage for a period, but seemed to hold a particular fascination for the Germans, who immediately instructed their aircraft manufacturers to develop their own triplane designs.
Amongst the designs which progressed to production, the Fokker DR.1 series of fighters were arguably amongst the most famous of the entire war and were the chosen mount of many of the Luftstreitkrafte’s most accomplished aces. Possessing an impressive rate of climb and superb dogfighting manoeuvrability, the Fokker Dreidecker was an exceptional fighting machine at lower altitudes, but for an aircraft that enjoyed such widespread notoriety, comparatively few actually saw service over the Western Front.