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Albatros D.I-D.II

by James Miller

In 1916 German aerial domination had been lost to the French and British fighters. German fighter pilots requested an aircraft that was more powerful and more heavily armed, and the Albatros design bureau set to work on what was to become an iconic aircraft design. By April 1916, they had developed the Albatros D.I, that featured the usual Albatros semi-monocoque wooden construction with a 160hp Mercedes engine and two forward-firing machine guns. Alongside the development of the D.I, Albatros had also designed and built a second machine that was similar to the D.I - the Albatros D.II. Although there were several external differences between the two aircraft, it is important to note that these machines evolved simultaneously and that the D.II was not the result of post-combat feedback from D.I pilots. With the inclusion of these aircraft into their reorganized air force, Germany was able to regain control of the skies by autumn 1916. Along with the later designs they inspired, the Albatros D.I and D.II were instrumental in allowing the Germans to prosecute their domination through 'Bloody April' and well into the summer months that followed.

Albatros D.III

by James Miller

In 1916, Imperial German aerial domination, once held by rotary-engined Fokker and Pfalz E-type wing-warping monoplanes, had been lost to the more nimble French Nieuport and British DH 2s which not only out-flew the German fighters but were present in greater numbers. Born-from-experience calls from German fighter pilots requested that, rather than compete with the maneuverability of these adversaries, new single-engine machines should be equipped with higher horsepower engines and armed with two, rather than the then-standard single machine guns. The Robert Thelen-led Albatros design bureau set to work on what became the Albatros D.I and D.II and by April 1916 they had developed a sleek yet rugged machine that featured the usual Albatros semi-monocoque wooden construction and employed a 160hp Mercedes D.III engine with power enough to equip the aeroplane with two forward-firing machine guns. Visual hallmarks of the D.I and early production D.II include fuselage mounted Windhoff radiators and matching chords for the upper and lower wings. Meanwhile, Albatros had already produced the prototype of the D.II's successor, the D.III. Influenced by the French Nieuport sesquiplane design, the D.III featured lower wings of reduced chord and single-spar construction, with the interplane struts now meeting the lower wings in a 'V'. After arriving at the Front en masse in early 1917, the Royal Flying Corps did not possess a fighter that could arrest the Albatros' onslaught against the RFC reconnaissance machines and thus they suffered appalling casualties in a desperate period known as 'Bloody April'. However, despite the D.III's success, the sesquiplane design led to structural flaws that resulted in the deaths of several pilots, which caused the type to be grounded until the lower wings could be strengthened or replaced. Still, even after their return to service, German pilots knew not to prosecute a dive too aggressively lest they invite structural catastrophe.Always chasing performance enhancements, by the time of 'Bloody April' Albatros had already designed and received a production order for the D.V.D.IIIs were manufactured concurrently but production was shifted to the Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke (OAW) in Schneidmuhl, where they received more robust construction. They differed little from their Johannisthal D.III brethren externally, save for a slightly different skin application on the nose and a D.V-type rudder, which had a curved rather than straight trailing edge. They also had Mercedes engines of 175 hp, versus the 160 hp engines of the Johannisthal D.III. Overall they benefitted from the teething experience of the earlier D.IIIs and avoided the structural problems that resurfaced with the Johannisthal-built D.Vs. In all, 500 D.IIIs and 840 D.III(OAW)s were produced and saw heavy service throughout 1917. They extracted a serious toll on the enemy but as the year progressed faced an increasing number of new enemy fighter types, including the Sopwith Pup, Sopwith Triplane, SPAD VII, and SE5a, but remained at the Front in high numbers (446 of both types were recorded on 31 October) until dwindling in spring 1918 (from 357 in February to 82 in June) with the arrival of the Fokker Dr.I and D.VII.

DH 2 vs Albatros D I/D II

by James Miller Jim Laurier

The advent and deployment of the Royal Flying Corps' Airco DH 2 in 1916 effectively eliminated the 'scourge' of aerial dominance enjoyed by the Fokker Eindecker monoplanes. Spearheaded by No 24 Sqn and led by Victoria Cross recipient Lanoe Hawker, the ungainly yet nimble DH 2 - with its rotary engine 'pusher' configuration affording excellent visibility and eliminating the need for a synchronised machine gun - had wrested air superiority from the Germans by the spring and then maintained it through the Battle of the Somme that summer. However, by autumn German reorganisation had seen the birth of the Jagdstaffel and arrival of the new Albatros D II, a sleek inline-engined machine built for speed and twin-gun firepower. Thus, for the remainder of the year an epic struggle for aerial superiority raged above the horrors of the Somme battlefields, pitting the manoeuvrable yet under-gunned DH 2s - which were also plagued by sundry engine malfunctions - against the less nimble yet better armed and faster Albatros D IIs. In the end the Germans would regain air superiority, three squadron commanders - two of whom were considered pinnacles of their respective air forces - would lose their lives, and an up-and-coming pilot (Manfred von Richthofen) would triumph in a legendary dogfight and attain unimagined heights fighting with tactics learned from a fallen mentor.

FE 2b/d vs Albatros Scouts

by James Miller Jim Laurier

World War I aerial combat went through periods of alternating aerial superiority based on technology leaps. Sopwith Camels, Fokkers, and Spads became famous because they dominated later in the war, but this was an ongoing cycle for years. In the spring of 1916 the deployment of the RFC's FE 2 - with its rotary engine 'pusher' configuration affording excellent visibility for its pilot and observer, and removing the need for synchronized machine guns - helped wrest aerial dominance from Imperial Germany's Fokker Eindecker monoplanes, and then contributed to retaining it throughout the Somme battles of that fateful summer. However, by autumn German reorganization saw the birth of the Jagdstaffeln (specialised fighter squadrons) and the arrival of the new Albatros D scout, a sleek inline-engined machine built for speed and twin-gun firepower. Thus, for the remainder of 1916 and well into the next year an epic struggle for aerial superiority raged above the horrors of the Somme and Passchendaele battlefields, pitting the FE 2 against the better-armed and faster Albatros scouts that were focused on attacking and destroying their two-seater opponents. In the end the Germans would regain air superiority, and hold it into the following summer with the employment of their new Jagdgeschwader (larger fighter groupings), but the FE 2 remained a tenacious foe that inflicted many casualties - some of whom were Germany's best aces (including 'The Red Baron').

An Introduction to Music and Art in the Western World (10th edition)

by Milo Wold Edmund Cykler Gary Martin James Miller

An undergraduate introduction to the music, painting, sculpture, and architecture of the Western world, featuring chapter objectives and summaries, pronunciation guides, and chronologies. Covers various periods from the ancient Greeks through the arts today, and includes material on the arts and society and the organization of the elements of art and music. This 10th edition contains increased recognition of women and minority artists, and boxes on selected individual works. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

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