“The important thing in aeroplanes is that they shall be speedy.”
– Baron Manfred Von Richthofen
Most people tend to equate WWI aerial combat with biplanes, zeppelins or even balloons, never truly considering the low wing monoplane as a viable candidate for dogfighting until years later. Well, several manufacturers, such as Junkers, would dispel that myth toward the end of the war, as airplane design advanced from the flimsy double or even triple wing design to a more durable single wing type.
The Junkers D.I (factory designation J 9) was a monoplane fighter aircraft produced in Germany late in World War I, significant for becoming the first all-metal fighter to enter service. The prototype, a private venture by Junkers designated the J 7, first flew on September 17th, 1917, going through nearly a half-dozen detail changes in its design during its tests. When it was demonstrated to the Idflieg early the following year it proved impressive enough to result in an order for three additional aircraft for trials. However, the changes made by Junkers were significant enough for the firm to redesignate the next example the J 9, which was supplied to the Idflieg instead of the three J 7s ordered.
Look for Wings of the Great War’s rendition of the German Junkers D.I Monoplane Fighter (WW11701) this coming December.