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Halberstadt D.IV

The Halberstadt D.IV was one of the final single-seat fighter models produced by the Halberstadter Flugzeug-Werke company during the war. While the company's D.I and D.II models (produced in 1916), were relatively maneuverable and enjoyed a period of superiority over the available Allied aircraft of the time, they were reported to be somewhat underpowered.

Approximately 110 Halberstadt D.II and D.III's were built during 1916 and 1917, but only three D.IV's were produced.  Photo: © Historical Aviation Film Unit

The D.II was eventually fitted with a larger 120hp Argus As II engine, and after a few additional minor modifications was renamed the D.III. This type was used throughout 1917, but as numbers of the better performing Albatros fighters became available to frontline units, the Halberstadts' were withdrawn and relegated to a training role.

The D.IV was Halberstadts' attempt to improve the design, with a larger engine, and twin machine-guns, in order to compete with these newer Albatros fighters.

This very rare aircraft is now based in the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre in Blenheim (New Zealand).  

A report from early 1917 illustrates that this was not successful:

The model IV bears the same classic design of the earlier single seat Halberstadts in this series. In keeping earlier elements within the design, the Halberstadt D-IV has fallen behind the times and can no longer compete with the others that have advanced passed this technology. This model has been given a new engine of 150 H.P. That is 30 more than the D-III, but also too little and too late.

After the failure of the D.IV to gain acceptance, the company reverted to a modification of the D.II design which they labeled the D.V. Around 57 examples of this model were produced, which provided better forward pilot vision than the D.II, and which used the same Argus AS.II engine as found in the D.III model. These and other minor technical changes (to the D.II design) slightly improved the aircraft, but not enough to make it a successful competitor to the other German manufacturers. Over half of the D.Vs built (31 examples) were sent to Turkey, who was one of Germany's major Allies.

Produced in 1917 the Halberstadt D.IV was designed as a successor to the Halberstadt D.II/D.III models which had proved to be relatively successful on the Western Front.

This short video of the Halberstadt D.IV shows it taxying and doing a couple of touch and goes at Omaka Aerodrome in Blenheim. This aircraft is now on static display in the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre in Blenheim (New Zealand).

In mid-1917 Halberstadt changed tack somewhat and went on to produce the two-seat Halberstadt CL.II, based on their earlier single-seat designs. A report from mid-1917 shows that this aircraft was received much more favourably than the earlier fighters:

The production orders have been placed within just days of it passing the acceptance tests. This new model of aircraft is destined to place the Halberstadt Flugzeugwerk company close to the top once again. This was no easy task considering the dismal showing of the model D.IV fighter that just preceded it. This aircraft is a combination of the successful multipurpose C-class with qualities of the all fighter D-class mixed in. The CL.II is not a fighter, but is reported to handle like one. The hope is that this will allow the rear seat gunner to engage an enemy fighter on more equal terms. The first aircraft are due to arrive at the front in August (1917).

Only three examples of the D.IV were built before it was rejected by the German authorities due to its poor forward field of view for the pilot. This is the only representative example of this aircraft type in the world.

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