Siemens-Schuckert D.I

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SSW D.I in snow.jpg
Role Single-seat biplane fighter
Manufacturer Siemens-Schuckert Werke
First flight 1916
Introduction 1917
Primary user Luftstreitkräfte
Number built 95
Developed from Nieuport 17

The Siemens-Schuckert D.I was a single-seat fighter built by Siemens-Schuckert Werke in 1916. It was a German copy of the French Nieuport 17 that was obsolete by the time it was available in numbers, so that it served mainly as an advanced trainer.

Design and development[edit]

The French Nieuport 17 fighter, which reached the front in March 1916, established such ascendency over existing German fighters that captured examples were supplied to several German aircraft manufacturers with a request to "study" the type.[1] The Siemens-Schuckert Werke produced the D.I, based very closely on the Nieuport. The most important difference from the Nieuport 17 was the powerplant - instead of the Le Rhone 9J of the Nieuport (licenced and un-licenced versions of which were actually available in Germany at the time), Siemens-Schukert chose to use their own 110 hp (82 kW) Siemens-Halske Sh.I rotary engine - in which the cylinders and the propeller rotated at 900 rpm in opposite directions: producing an effective 1800 rpm. Visually, the effect of this was that in place of the Nieuport 17's circular, fully "closed" cowling the D.I had a small, close fitting, semi-circular cowling with an open bottom, to allow adequate cooling for the slow revving Siemens-Halske. This gives some photographs of the type the appearance of the earlier Nieuport 11.

The wing area (14.4m²) was a little less than the famous 15m² of the Nieuport - the gap between the wings was reduced slightly, and the interplane struts were of steel tube, with broad wooden fairings, in place of the well-known tape bound struts of the original.

Production history[edit]

An order for 150 aircraft for the Luftstreitkräfte was placed on 25 November 1916,[1] but initial deliveries were slow, due to production difficulties with the complicated geared engines,[2] so that the type was not available for service until well into 1917, by which time many Jagdstaffeln were already equipped with the very much superior Albatros D.III. A backup order for a further 100 machines, placed on 21 March 1917, was cancelled, and only 95 were produced in total.[1]

Late production models were fitted with modified tailskids, and had large pointed spinners on their propellers.

Operational History[edit]

The S.S.W. D.I was obsolete before it was available in numbers, so that most of the examples produced were sent to the fighter training schools, although a few Jastas received one or two examples during 1917.[1]

The type is poorly documented - in particular no reliable details are available for its performance: the published figures are essentially those of the Nieuport 11, whereas such a close copy of the 17, with a powerplant of similar output, might have been expected to have a performance roughly equivalent to that of the original from which it was derived.


A single D.Ia was produced with a greater wing area - two examples of the D.Ib had a higher compression version of the Siemens-Halske Sh.I. Neither was ordered into production. Development continued through a series of D.II prototypes to the Siemens-Schuckert D.III.


 German Empire


Data from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985), German Aircraft of the First World War [1][3]

General characteristics


  • Maximum speed: 155 km/h (84 knots, 97 mph)
  • Endurance: 2 hr 20 min
  • Climb to 4,000 m (13,125 ft): 24 min 18 sec



  1. ^ a b c d e Grey, Peter; Thetford, Owen (1962). German Aircraft of the First World War. London: Putnam. 
  2. ^ a b Green, W; Swanborough, G (1994). The Complete Book of Fighters. Smithmark. ISBN 0-8317-3939-8. 
  3. ^ The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). Orbis Publishing. 


  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). Orbis Publishing. 
  • Grey, Peter & Thetford, Owen (1970). German Aircraft of the First World War (rev.edition). London: P:utnam & Company.