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Fokker 2-seater?

Printed From: Cross & Cockade
Category: General Discussion
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Printed Date: 16 May 2021 at 18:16
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Topic: Fokker 2-seater?
Posted By: Adrian Roberts
Subject: Fokker 2-seater?
Date Posted: 15 Dec 2012 at 02:04
Was any 2-seater model of Fokker used over the Western Front?
In the article on Guynemer in the Autumn 2012 edition of CCI [Vol 43/3], a list of his victories is included. This lists three victims as Fokker 2-seaters: on 14/12/15; 23/9/16, and 25/5/17, so spread across a considerable time-frame. Having no idea about any Fokker 2-seaters, I cross-referenced these to the list on, but they just list these as Fokkers or Fokker E, which is not very helpful.

One clue could be that the the C&C list says that on 23/9/16, FA61 lost an observer KIA , and a crew KIA, and on 25/5/17, an FA254 crew was KIA. Does anyone know what types FA61 and FA254 were using on those dates?
I was reminded to ask this question when someone on another forum posted the following:
[Quote]: I have the following combat report description of a Hostile Aircraft encountered by Captain GRM Reid and Lt. LH Scott of 20 Squadron RFC north of Ypres on 31st August 1916, but cannot find a likely candidate to fit their decription:

"Fokker Biplane (apparently) Rotary engine with black cowling, top planes slight antiedral, bottom planes slight dihedral. Firing through propeller and from observer's seat in rear. Speed slightly faster than the FE2D."

The words '(apparently)' and 'antiedral' are exactly as they wrote them. Were it not for the observer I would guess at a DI or DII. Any other likely candidates?[End Quote]
Someone else suggested the Fokker M7 or M10. There is scant information about this, but apparently  Gray and Thetford"German Aircraft of WW1" states that production of the 20 M-7 machines was from Jan. 1915. Maybe a bit early for the August 1916 encounter.
Maybe they were mistaken. Indentification of enemy types was much less certain then than it is now, e.g. the Germans referring to all British pushers as Vickers. Reid and Scott say that it was "apparently" a  Fokker, so they weren't sure. But they probably thought that it could be a Fokker because of the rotary engine.
If it wasn't a Fokker, what could it have been?

Posted By: KK
Date Posted: 15 Dec 2012 at 14:45
There were Fokker two seaters at the front 1914-1915 but the situation gets confused once the E-types arrive circa July 15.l get the impression that the French called lots of enemy planes "Fokkers" the same way the label "Aviatiks" was applied to any German plane .


Posted By: NickForder
Date Posted: 18 Dec 2012 at 16:33

Ref my previous posting : Fokker M8/AI

Just as Morane-Saulnier and Bleriot sought to improve the downward view from their monoplane designs, thus making them more suitable for army co-operation and reconnaissance work, so did Fokker. Instead of developing a parasol, as the French did, Fokker produced a shoulder-wing monoplane with the wings attached to the upper longerons. The M6 parasol prototype first flew in June 1914. Although this crashed, the German Army IdFlieg ordered  twenty developed production variants just before the outbreak of war. These were known as M8s initially, but went in to service as the Fokker A. Later the term AI was used to determine Fokker-built aircraft from licence-built examples.

The M8 was a rotary engine tandem two-seater. It had rectangular cutaways beneath each wing to improve the downward view. The production AI was fitted with clear side screens in these spaces.

IdFlieg had planned the creation of two Flieger Abteilungen for artillery observation and tactical reconnaissance work, each with six aircraft, in August 1914.  The Army increased the order to forty aircraft, but soon realised that Fokker was accepting orders without having the capacity to build the aircraft. In the event the M8 was given priority over both the M7 on order for the Navy and aircraft on order for Austro-Hungary.

Actual production began in September 1914, and the first aircraft was delivered in October.  After FA40 and FA41 were equipped, individual aircraft were supplied to other Flieger Abteilungen, including FA23 and FA54. Brieftauben Abteilungen Ostende (BAO) and Metz (BAM), bomber units still under development with code names, were issued Fokker AI s for target reconnaissance work.

Halberstadt were given an order to produce the aircraft under licence as the F14/AII. These were delivered from late 1914, with five being noted as operational in Spring 1915.

By June 1915, fifteen Fokker M8/AI s were operational, seemingly including A195/14 and A202/14 on the Eastern Front.

Among the ten AI s operational in December 1914 was one issued to Oswald Boelcke in FA13. Boelcke had inspected an AI flown by Leutnant Parshau, a past acquaintance flying with the BAO who visited FA13’s airfield on 11 November. Boelcke found the AI’s speed, rate of climb and manoeuvrability  impressive and regarded it superior for the unit’s main role of artillery observation.

Less impressive was the type’s record of unservicability, resulting in a formal inspection of FA40’s aircraft and then the Fokker factory. A discussion about replacing then steel tube fuselage frame with a more conventional braced wooden structure was undertaken, but the inspection seems to have resulted only in a favourable report on the use of welded steel tubing and the introduction of some quality control testing. It has been suggested that the serviceability issue really rested with the lack of familiarity of ground crew with the 80 h.p. Oberursel UO rotary engine.

The British captured an AI in early 1915 and it seems to have been dismissed as an inferior copy of a Morane with little to commend it. No in-depth flight evaluation seems to have been undertaken, possibly for this reason.  The aircraft was displayed as a war trophy but its ultimate fate is unknown.   

On 5 May Captain GF Pretyman and Captain JHS Tyssen, 3 Squadron RFC, reported a combat between their Morane-Saulnier Type L and a “Morane type/ Fokker parasol” near Don at about 6:0 pm. The German aircraft was seen to land in a ploughed field, near Lille, before a similar German aircraft drove off the 3 Squadron machine.

However, by mid-1915 the type was obsolescent, mainly because its lack of wireless limited its use. The last Halberstadt AII was withdrawn in August 1915. Thereafter, the AI and AII went to training units only, though at least one (A136/14) was issued to a Naval coastal defence unit. The AI was used as a trainer, particularly at the Fokker school Schwerin, until the end of 1917. Similarly the Halberstadt school used the AII.

References :

Fokker : The Creative Years, AR Weyl

German Aircraft of the First World War, Peter Gray & Owen Thetford

Knight of Germany : Oswald Boelcke German Ace, Johannes Werner

Also, Pfalz built the 2-seater Morane-Saulnier L Parasol under licence and this equipped Bavarian units. 

Posted By: Adrian Roberts
Date Posted: 20 Dec 2012 at 01:23
But the one seen by Reid and Scott was a biplane!
Was there any rotary engined biplane two-seater used by the Germans at that date? They were only guessing that it was a Fokker, but seem to be positive that it was rotary engined.

Posted By: NickForder
Date Posted: 20 Dec 2012 at 09:26
Aircraft recognition in the Great War, like all subsequent wars, was of a universally low standard, hence the Germans regarding all pusher types as Vickers; the repeated spotting of Aviatiks when none were operational in theatre (see the recent Journal series on 14 Squadron !); mistaking Moranes for Fokkers etc etc. If you compare Air-Britain books with 'The Sky Their Battlefield' you will see that the same claims appear as 'Fokkers' in one and 'Pfalz' in the other when, presumably, the same source information has been used !
I have come across the story of an observer in a Morane BB pointing a telescope at an attacking German aircraft while the pilot fired the fixed, wing mounted gun. The German pilot broke away with the impression that the Morane had a functioning rearward firing gun...  
Therefore, I would not take as gospel any of the four descriptive statements Reid & Scott made.
Fokker DII ? Didn't one of those have a 'fake gunner' fixed to the rear upper decking to make it look like a 2-seater ?

Posted By: Adrian Roberts
Date Posted: 21 Dec 2012 at 01:00
Yes, I guess what you say is the key to the issue. I had just wondered if the Cross and Cockade article on Guynemer might have had slightly higher standards in identifying the aircraft in the "victory" list, but maybe even for that researcher it was too difficult to make a more precise identification.
Someone in the original thread I was looking at was told by someone on yet another forum that it was Udet who flew a Fokker D.II with a dummy gunner, and apparently a photograph exists of it.

Posted By: Thomas Guinan
Date Posted: 01 Jan 2013 at 14:01
This was Fokker DII 368/16 flown by Vfw Ernst Udet, Jasta 15, Habsheim, October, 1916

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