WW1 Planes
An encyclopediae of 1914-18 aircraft types

flag Pfalz Planes

Pfalz Flugzeugwerke (PFW) in a nutshell

Pfalz Flugzeugwerke was located at the Speyer airfield, Palatinate state, Bavaria, Southern Germany. The company was created by Alfred Eversbusch, the son of a foundry owner in Neustadt an der Weinstraße. He patiently crafted his own airplane in 1912, and in June 3, 1913, felt confident enough to fund a proper company, Pfalz Flugzeugwerke, registered by his brothers Alfred and Ernst Pfalz, and his brother-in-law Willy Sabersky-Müssigbrodt. Its future was secured by investors Richard and Eugen Kahn and August Kahn. They proposed at first to go for ready-made proven designs of Albatros under licence, but were found unable to obtain a fair deal. They also approached Gustav Otto Flugzeugwerke, and indeed were able to built his pusher-propeller biplane in small quantities. One was sent to Africa and did served after a long tour. But soon the workshop proved too small and the staff decided to move on the new airfield in Speyer. Their attempt to purchased a terrain was at first unsuccessful. But they ended building their pushers in the unused Speyer Festival Hall. On February 6, 1914 at least, the city was convinced to sell to Pfalz 7,000 m² of land to build their factory. It was ready for operation in July 1914, just in time for World War I. From then on, the company quickly specialized on its own series of fighters, the A and E series derived from the French morane, the C types from the Rumpler C.IV; and star models as the Pfalz D.III and Pfalz D.XII which at the time gained as much fame as Fokker and Albatros fighters. It stopped after the end of the war, but the company will return in aircraft construction in the 1970s.

Pfalz D.III
Pfalz D.III, best known of all these Bavarian fighters

But the Versailles treaty bankrupted the company, as the area has fallen under French occupation zone, which confiscated all of the equipment. The factory halls remained and were re-used by various companies until conversion for part manufacturing. Banckrupt in 1932, by October 1937 the company was reborn as Saarpfalz Flugwerke, and aircraft maintenance company. Speyer airport was rebuild by the city, 1938 and the company amounted to 500 personal when the war broke out. During WW2, the company maintained Focke-Wulf Fw 58, Heinkel He 45, He 46, He 51 and He 111, Junkers Ju 52, and Ju 88. From 1954 the company produced some 3,800 Heinkelkabine (bubblecars) and the company went on producing the Transall C-160 during the 1970-80s, and parts for UH-1 Iroquois and CH-53 Sea Stallion, in association with VFW. In went on later as an helicopter repair center for MBB and was merged with Deutsche Aerospace in 1989. From 1997 it was known under the name PFW or Pfalz Flugzeugwerke, now part of DASA.

Pfalz E.II
Pfalz E.II Eindecker, a 1914 model based on the Morane-Saulnier

After Otto early models, time was ripe for mass production with a model that could be purchased in droved by the government. A license to produce Morane-Saulnier L monoplanes was acquired just before the war. This led to the Pfalz E series. But these became obsolete in 1915, and the company swapped to the proven LFG Roland D.I and D.II, although the latter was produced well into late 1916, being obsolete by then. The Pfalz C.I were Rumpler C.IV built under licence with minor improvements (300), renamed in 1917 Rumpler C.IV (Pfal). Meanwhile, Pfalz licensed the patented Roland Wickelrumpf (wrapped-fuselage) plywood strip-covered semi-monocoque fuselage design. Pfalz then tried to combine it with the brand new 160 hp D.III engine from Mercedes. This became the Pfalz D.III, first proper fighter from the company, and a success when it entered service in August 1917. However it was still not on par to the Albatros D.V, but found a niche role against observation balloons and still could escape enemy fighters thanks to a high diving speed. With 600 D.IIIs and modified D.IIIas until the summer of 1918 it marked the era. The D.III cell was adapted with the new Siemens-Halske Sh.III rotary engine. This led to the Pfalz D.VIII which had an amazing rate of climb (shared with the Siemens-Schuckert D.IV) but the engine proved unreliable mainly because of the poor ersatz engine oil used, thus reducing D.VIIIs orders and overall production. Only Jasta 2 (headed by the ace Oswald Boelcke) deployed it in large quantities, but the other few were only spread between Jastas in unknown quantities. This model was further developed into a triplane as the Pfalz Dr.I, Competing at Adlershof in January 1918. But it was powered by same Sh.III engine and trembled when facing its competitors using the Oberursel UR.II, but it won nevertheless. It was due to the fact that was the purpose-built triplane and about a dozen were built and used operationally.

Pfalz Dr.I
Pfalz Dr.I, an amazing triplane that won the 2nd fighter competition of 1918, but only a few saw service.

The last models built by Pfalz were Pfalz D.XII, a development of the D.III with a two-bay wings configuration (and not sesquiplane) rather similar to the French SPAD fighters. It ended #2 on the June 1918 Fighter Competition against the Fokker E.V parasol monoplane and was a match for the excellent Fokker D.VII, albeit considered less agile and easy to fly, difficult to land. Production was rushed nevertheless and about 800 left the factory floor before the Armistice of which some made it to the frontline during the last months of the war. The Allies captured a lot of them and some were featured in movies like Hell's Angels and The Dawn Patrol. The very last Pfalz project were a D.XII project called the D.XIV which stayed at prototype stage and was never officially tested or ordered. The D.XV participated in the Third Fighter Competition and impressed the Idflieg, that ordered it into production just before the Armistice. None became operational but this ultimate model was very promising. The company survived as A.G. Pfalz in 1919 but deprived of everything it was bankrupted in 1932.

Pfalz D.XV
Pfalz D.XV (1918), an excellent fighter that was ordered too late to make a difference

Pfalz Planes models

Here are listed all models produced by the company, prototypes in majority. Production models are in bold, with production records (if known or approximative) between brackets. For a detailed overview of production models see the part under this list, "production models in detail". About Pfalz prototypes: (To come)
  • Pfalz A.I/II reconnaissance monoplane 1914 (60)
  • Pfalz C.I (Rumpler C.IV) reconnaissance armed biplanes 1915 (300)
  • Pfalz E.I monoplane fighter 1915 (74)
  • Pfalz E.II monoplane fighter 1915 (80)
  • Pfalz E.III monoplane fighter 1915 (20)
  • Pfalz E.IV monoplane fighter 1915 (24)
  • Pfalz E.V monoplane fighter 1916 (20)
  • Pfalz E.VI monoplane fighter 1916 (20)
  • Pfalz D type fighter biplane 1916 ()
  • Pfalz D.III & IIIa fighter 1916 ()
  • Pfalz D.IV fighter 1916 ()
  • Pfalz D.VI fighter 1916 ()
  • Pfalz D.VII fighter 1916 ()
  • Pfalz D.VIII fighter 1916 ()
  • Pfalz D.XII fighter 1916 ()
  • Pfalz D.XIV fighter 1916 ()
  • Pfalz D.XV fighter 1916 ()
  • Pfalz Dr.I triplane fighter 1918 (12)
  • Pfalz Dr.II triplane fighter 1916 ()

Production Pfalz models in detail

Pfalz A series 1914, the parasol plane

Pfalz A.I
A Morane L captured with german marking, which was very closed to the Pfalz A.I (1914)

These planes were based on the Morane-Saulnier L licence which was acquired by several German companies just before the war broke out. Three versions were built: The A.I was propelled by an Oberursel U.0 engine, the A.II had an Oberursel U.I engine and the E.III (Known also briefly as A.III) was a variant armed with single synchronised lMG 08 machine gun as a fighter. The Pfalz A.I was a single-engine, parasol unarmed reconnaissance plane under license. It was almost identical to the Morane-Saulnier Type L. Previously 8 Morane LA were manufactured for the Bavarian Flying Service in 1913, one of which was sent to Africa in 1914, used for liaisons and reconnaissance in the colonial territories of German East Africa. With the outbreak of the War, the IDFLIEG ordered a serie of unarmed reconnaissance monoplanes under the A designation (two-seater reconnaissance), the first being the A.I.

An experience report of the Feldfliegerabteilung 4b of 26 October 1914 emphasizes numerous advantages for plane production, such as an easy and quick assembly, small footprint when housed and ample supply of spare parts and tools, plus the best performances and good Communication between pilot and observer. The A.I answered the call and was produced but the too narrow space for the observer and defect of the engine were criticized but 60 were built, of which some were later converted as A-IIs. The Pfalz A.I had two celluloid panels instead of treated canvas on fuselage sides, their transparency, giving greater visibility to the pilot. Also the model used an Oberursel U.0 rotary 7 cylinder air cooled engine rated for 80 PS (59 kW) and close copy of the Gnome Lambda made under license.

Some of the 60 delivered machines were converted in 1915 as fighters. The Pfalz A.II was a reinforced version fitted with the most powerful 9-cylinder Oberursel UI rated for 100 PS (73.5 kW) and apparently armed (austrian source), and true progenitor of the Pfalz E.III, designed as a fighter. Three Pfalz A.II's were used by the Ottoman Empire against the Arab Revolt led by Lawrence of Arabia. The A.I were used by the Luftstreitkräfte aerial observation and reconnaissance units of the western front until 1915, quickly being replaced by more recent models equipped with defensive armament. The Turkish air force received 10 A.Is, and four flew under the command of Captain von Auleck of Baghdad against the Allied Expeditionary Force in Mesopotamia. On July 31, 1915 another plane from the Fliegerabteilung or Bayerische Feldflieger Abteilung 9b bombarded Italian positions in the Alps, although officially no state of war existed between Italy and Germany. From 1915, the majority of these machines were withdrawn from the front and used in flight schools.

Ottoman Type A.Is In Austrian


Dimensions 6,9 m x 11,2 m x 3,4 m, 18,0 m² wing area
Weight 365 kg/595 kg
Propulsion: Oberursel U.0 80 PS (59 kW)
Performances: Top speed 135 km/h, climb in 800 m in 6 min, 4 h autonmy.

Pfalz Eindecker series 1915-1916

Pfalz E.I
Pfalz E.I (1915),

The E.I was based by the second licenced aircraft purchased before the war, the French Morane-Saulnier Type H which was a mid-wing monoplane. This model was less suited for reconnaissance but more as a fighter, armed with a synchronized machine gun. The E.I was the first of a lineage, introduced on the Western front in October 1915. It was propelled by an Oberursel U0 rotary piston engine rated for 80 horsepower. The entire structure was made of wood and canvas, with a fixed, wheeled undercarriage fitted with a skid pointed to the rear, and a single vertical fin wwith low-mounted horizontal planes. A single 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine gun was mounted on the cowling, but some had this armament removed to perform high-speed reconnaissance runs. The E.I prototype was tested by the Idflieg and approved, certified in September 1915. Production went on the next month; By April 1916 37 has been produced. Most flew over the Western front but a few also saw service in the Middle East during the Sinai Campaign (1916). It weighted 345 to 535 kgs fully loaded, and reached 140 kph with a range of 200 km and ceiling of 3500 m. The E.I had a climb rate of 267m/min. It was never as popular as the Fokker E.I.

Pfalz E.I (airwar.ru)

The Pfalz E.II design changed little, but this model received the 100 hp Oberursel. The next E.III revealed in late 1915 had its wings moved to above the fuselage and connected to a central tension mast of trapezoidal section like in the Morane Parasol above the pilot. It was propelled by a 100-hp Siemens & Halske Sh.I engine, fault of available Oberursel engines, in short supply. The types E.IV to E.VI changed little, and relatively few were built. The D.IV was a derivative biplane with stayed only as a prototype. Despite their good performance, the Pfalz Eindeckers stayed in the shadow of the more agile and powerful Fokker E type. They were considered obsolete in 1916 and replaced in the middle of the year. Only in Palestine with the Abteilung 300, on the eastern front and possibly also in the Balkans, thes E types soldiered on as escort fighters for reconnaissance aircraft. A Pfalz E.II was for example send on 17 July 1916 to the k.u.k. Marine, used until 1 March 1917 as an interceptor to protect Pola.

Comparisons of German Eindeckers

Fokker E.I: 56 1915 130
Fokker E.II: 23 1915 132
Fokker E.III: 258 1915 140
Fokker E.IV: 40 1915-16 160
Hanuschke E.I: 6 1915 130
Pfalz E.I: 74 1915 145
Pfalz E.II: 80 1915 145
Pfalz E.III: 20 1915-16 160
Pfalz E.IV: 24 1916 160
Pfalz E.V: 20 1916 165
Pfalz E.VI: 20 1916
Siemens Schuckert E.I. 20 1916 140
Siemens Schuckert E.III 6 1916 140
Total: 641
The E.Is on ww1 aviation heritage

Read more/Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pfalz_Flugzeugwerke Generic - Wikipedia Pfalz
http://flyingmachines.ru/Site2/Crafts/Craft30287.htm Pfalz C.I