Author Topic: Aviatik D1 - Berg - Series numbers and different gun and cockpit configurations  (Read 150 times)

Offline lawqbarr

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The Aviatik DI Berg presents a puzzle

There are three basic armament configurations - paired "buried" guns - paired exposed guns and angled single gun over wing .
Cockpit combing configurations differ depending on whether the guns are buried or placed as exposed pairs (a la Fokker Albatros) in front of the pilot

Where I get confused is the lack of correspondence between series numbers and gun configurations - In the principal series 38, 115, 138 and 238 you get examples all three gun configurations but there does seem to be any rhyme or reason to it .
I don't see a lot of correspondence between gun placement/ configuration and manufacturers.

Has anyone such as Martin O'Connor done a learned article pulling this puzzle apart ? 
I have the JaPo monograph ( Aviatik Di and DII ), the Windsock Datafile but not the Berg " At War " monograph.  I also have O'Connor and Haddow's magnum opus " Austro-Hungarian Aircraft of the First World War"  but the topic set out above does not get a good airing in any of the above .

O'Connor and Haddow deal with major types by individual manufacturer Aviatik, Lohner, Lloyd etc ... rather than a "type" overview ...

I don't have access to "Cross & Cockade" or "Over the Front", so if there was ever an article in either of those ( perhaps by Dr O'Connor) and anyone can share it, I'd be very grateful

I'm content to proceed with a current project on the basis of modelling particular Berg aircraft based on photographic evidence, but I'm still puzzled by the above

I'd be grateful if anyone responding to this request keeps away from the Pandora's Box which is Berg camouflage variations - That's a whole subject by itself ! For those who are interested in the subject of Berg camouflage variations the JaPo book covers this subject pretty well

regards
David 

Online krow113

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Is it possible that individual pilots determined the armament for their specific airframe?

Offline NigelR

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I've got all the C&C articles, and all of the other A-H references you have. I've done a fair bit of research into the D.I. The C&C articles don't mention armament because it was not consistent (for reasons given below).

It wasn't possible for pilots to change or specify the configuration of the guns because there were major differences in the airframe for the raised and "buried" guns. The fuselage for aircraft with the raised guns had cutouts which were not present on those with the buried guns, and also the gun butts were visible in the cockpit, whereas you cannot see them on planes with the buried guns. They came from the factory in the way the factory made them.

In general terms, there were three different types of armament configuration:

- Single Schwarzlose with no synchronization fitted over the top wing and angled to fire over the propellor. This wasn't popular with pilots (understandably).

- Twin synchronized Schwarzlose guns "buried" deep inside in the cockpit. Again, these were unpopular because it was difficult to clear the guns if they jammed. 

- Twin synchronized Schwarzlose guns "raised" up to the pilot's eye level.

The very earliest aircraft had the single overwing gun, which was then replaced by the twin "buried" guns. Later aircraft had the raised guns, but production of the earlier style of fuselage for the "buried" guns continued and it's not possible to say what series of aircraft had what style of armament. The different series numbering related primarily to the engine rather than the armament or other configuration, or the date of production. Also, there were five different manufacturers of D.I aircraft and there could be variants within those.

Bottom line is that the only way to be sure of the armament configuration for any D.I is to find an original photograph of it. Given the references you have, you have a lot of the available pictures. You need to look at them to either see the scalloped cutouts in the fuselage for the raised gun versions. If you can't see the fuselage, you can look at where the blast tubes exit the radiator to see if it has raised or buried guns. If you can't see either, your guess is as good as mine. So if you have photographic evidence, that's all you need.

I will say that it is highly unlikely that aircraft with the early war finish (varnished fuselage and mottled wings or the hand applied streaking) had the raised guns. According to the Datafile special, the raised guns were first tested in January 1918 and were in general use after the summer of 1918, and by that time D.Is were being finished in painted lozenge or serrated bands. But never say never when A-H aircraft are concerned....

     
« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 10:24:31 PM by NigelR »

Offline lawqbarr

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Hi Nigel

Thanks for the detailed reply

That's pretty much what I arrived at - It's quite a schmozzle really

Thanks for pointing out the significance of early1918 - Just having that date pointed out does help organise a lot of otherwise confusing and, apparently, self-contradictory material.

As a fellow Berg aficionado have you turned up any source material that explains the huge variety of lozenge colours in A-H a/c  ?

The end of the A-H Empire was called  "Die Farbenfolleundergang" (The Colourful Sunset) and the kaleidoscopic choices you have for Berg lozenge camouflage really captures that mood, doesn't it  ?

David

Offline NigelR

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The intriguing designs used in A-H aviation and the wide variety of colour schemes are what I find so interesting but sadly I don't have any source material. So I am relying only on secondary sources and interpretations of b&w photos. 

The C&C articles are interesting but they don't really add anything significant to the references you have. Most of the knowledge in those articles has made its way into later things like the Datafiles and others. They are really the first attempt to categorize the different A-H camouflage schemes. You can download them all from the C&C website if you are interested, they are worth having.

I know that Aviattic were doing some work on A-H tarnstoff and Richard Andrews is likely to have better access to source materials. I know he is meticulous in his research, so I am waiting with bated breath to see if they come up with anything. I have the HPH kit in the stash and it needs some good decals....