Polish Aviation Museum: World War One Era Albatros & Aviatik

Following on from my previous posts of the historic German Aviation Collection at the Polish Aviation Museum in Krakow, there are other German origin World War One era aircraft on display at the museum that were operated postwar in number by the Polish Air Force. As with other aircraft of that period, they are mostly displayed in a nostalgic setting which adds a great atmosphere to the collection.

Trainer

Albatros B.IIa (factory number 10019) two seat training aircraft with no fixed armament. 100 B.II and B.IIa were operated by the Polish Air Force between 1918 and 1927. The B.II was originally operated by Germany from 1914 to 1915 as a reconnaissance aircraft and then as training aircraft until 1918.

Albatros B.IIa (factory number 10019) two seat training aircraft painted to represent B.II B.1302/15 which was operated by the Polish Air Force Aviation Observers Officer School in 1920 in Toruń - Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow 2017
Albatros B.IIa (factory number 10019) two seat training aircraft painted to represent B.II B.1302/15 which was operated by the Polish Air Force Aviation Observers Officer School in 1920 in Toruń – Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow 2017
Polish Air Force Albatros B.IIa two seat training aircraft - Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow 2017
Polish Air Force Albatros B.IIa two seat training aircraft – Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow 2017
Imperial German Air Service Albatros B.II (Photo Source: Airwar.ru)
Imperial German Air Service Albatros B.II (Photo Source: Airwar.ru) – a number of different engine configurations existed

A major design issue in the reconnaissance role was that the observer sat in front of the pilot. Not great for all round visibility, with his view below and in front obscured by the wings and engine. This seating arrangement was ideal in the training role though and Germany operated the improved B.IIa trainer from 1917 to 1918. The lack of armament obviously also made the aircraft highly vulnerable to air attack.

160 hp 6 cylinder Mercedes D.III inline engine of the Albatros B.IIa - Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow 2017
160 hp 6 cylinder Mercedes D.III inline engine of the Albatros B.IIa – Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow 2017

Approximately 3,000 B.II and 600 B.IIa were produced. During World War One they were operated by the Imperial German Air Service and Navy, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire. Postwar, in addition to Poland, the type was operated by Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden.

The museum example was produced post war in 1919 in Poland and flew on in civilian service until 1940! Restored in Germany in 1986, the white tyres are an interesting touch!

It is painted to represent B.II B.1302/15 which was operated by the Polish Air Force Aviation Observers Officer School in 1920 in Toruń. It was named Ada and features suitable artwork after Ada Sari, a famous Polish opera singer of the period.

Polish Air Force Albatros B.IIa two seat training aircraft with the unique artwork of the Polish Air Force Aviation Observers Officer School - Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow 2017
Polish Air Force Albatros B.IIa two seat training aircraft with the unique artwork of the Polish Air Force Aviation Observers Officer School – Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow 2017
Albatros B.IIa (factory number 10019) two seat training aircraft painted to represent B.II B.1302/15 which was operated by the Polish Air Force Aviation Observers Officer School in 1920 in Toruń. It is named Ada after Ada Sari, a famous Polish opera singer - Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow 2017
Albatros B.IIa (factory number 10019) two seat training aircraft painted to represent B.II B.1302/15 which was operated by the Polish Air Force Aviation Observers Officer School in 1920 in Toruń. It is named Ada after Ada Sari, a famous Polish opera singer – Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow 2017

Reconnaissance

Aviatik C.III (C.12250/17) single engine, two seat reconnaissance biplane operated by Germany from 1916 to 1918. The aircraft was powered by a 160 hp 6 cylinder Mercedes D.III engine and armed with a single 7.92 mm Parabellum machine gun ring mounted in the rear observers cockpit. Only 80 were produced – the 1917 museum example is the only survivor and is displayed in German Imperial Air Service livery and markings.

1917 Imperial German Air Service Aviatik C.III (C.12250/17) single engine, two seat reconnaissance biplane - Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow 2017
1917 Imperial German Air Service Aviatik C.III (C.12250/17) single engine, two seat reconnaissance biplane – Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow 2017
1917 Imperial German Air Service Aviatik C.III (C.12250/17) single engine, two seat reconnaissance biplane - Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow 2017
1917 Imperial German Air Service Aviatik C.III (C.12250/17) single engine, two seat reconnaissance biplane – Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow 2017
World War One Imperial German Air Service Aviatik C.III two seat reconnaissance biplane (Photo Source: Airwar.ru)
World War One Imperial German Air Service Aviatik C.III two seat reconnaissance biplane (Photo Source: Airwar.ru)

The museum example was one of 7 commandeered by Poland in 1919 from annexed Prussian territory. Postwar at least 3 Aviatik C.III aircraft were operated by the Poznań Pilot’s School in Poland until at least 1920.

1917 Imperial German Air Service Aviatik C.III (C.12250/17) alongside a LVG B.II trainer - Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow 2017
1917 Imperial German Air Service Aviatik C.III (C.12250/17) alongside a LVG B.II trainer – Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow 2017
160 hp 6 Cylinder Mercedes D.III engine of the 1917 Aviatik C.III (C.12250/17) two seat reconnaissance biplane - Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow 2017
160 hp 6 Cylinder Mercedes D.III engine of the 1917 Aviatik C.III (C.12250/17) two seat reconnaissance biplane – Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow 2017
160 hp 6 Cylinder Mercedes D.III engine of the 1917 Aviatik C.III (C.12250/17) two seat reconnaissance biplane - Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow 2017
160 hp 6 Cylinder Mercedes D.III engine of the 1917 Aviatik C.III (C.12250/17) two seat reconnaissance biplane – Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow 2017

Once again, if you happen to be in Krakow, I cannot recommend enough a visit to the Polish Aviation Museum!

References:

Polish Aviation Museum

Wikipedia – Albatros B.II

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