Amid the ongoing quest for aerial superiority during World War I, the late spring of 1917 saw two competing attempts to refine proven designs. The Royal Aircraft Factory SE 5a incorporated improvements to the original SE 5 airframe along with 50 more horsepower to produce a fast, reliable ace-maker. The Albatros D V, a sleeker development of the deadly D III of 'Bloody April' notoriety, proved to be more disappointing as it suffered a rash of lower wing failures. Nevertheless, Albatrosen remained the most numerically important fighters available when the Germans launched their final offensive on March 21 1918. Despite its shortcomings, German tactics and skill made the Albatros D V a dangerous foe that SE 5a pilots dismissed at their peril. This title tells the story of the design and development of these two fighters and concludes with their dramatic fights in the last year of World War I.
"The author provides a very interesting account of what it was like to fly these airplanes in combat, embellished by firsthand accounts by the pilots themselves. Short biographies are provided of some of the better known aces, along with photographs of their airplanes. It is a good read, especially if you are interested in how the airplanes were flown, and you will gain respect and admiration for the men who flew these airplanes in combat, knowing that only a small amount of battle damage could result in that long dive into oblivion...
The photos are excellent, the drawings informative, and the price is reasonable. I have a number of these books already, and reading them has definitely added to my understanding of what it would have been like to actually fly combat in World War I. I'm glad I didn't have to do it. Highly recommended. This one is definitely worth getting." -Brian R Baker, IPMS/USA (December 2009)
""A solid pick for such [military history] collections... Jon Guttman's SE 5a vs Albatros D V, telling of two competing attempts to refine proven designs for aerial combat." -The Bookwatch (January 2010)
"In this book, as in all the Duel series, we get a look at the development of both aircraft, their specifications and how their pilots were trained. We also learn of some of the more famous pilots and their experiences flying the various types. 'I was there' stories and snippets from official squadron diaries give us some insight as to how well these folks did and the situations in which they often found themselves. Of course, we are also treated to a statistics section that shows how well each type did and how the success or not of these aircraft led to other types. As with others in this series, it has a nice selection of period illustrations in addition to excellent artwork and diagrams done specifically for this book. It is a first rate read and one that I most highly recommend." -Scott Van Aken, Modeling Madness/modelingmadness.com (December 2009)
"The Albatros put the Germans at a real disadvantage in any sort of one-on-one encounter - yet somehow, as the author explains, they manage to hold their own ... For the true airplane lover." - Walter J. Boyne, Aviation History (July 2010)
"...a wonderful book highlighting the pilots [and] designs of these two aircraft that dueled in epic air battles. Archival photographs, color artowrk and detailed technical information make this series of publications indispensible to the amateur historian as well as the modeler alike." -Jim McCloskey, Aerodrome (#158)