For the 100 year anniversary commemorating WWI Warbirds Online visits the AWM to view the second of two genuine original WWI German aircraft in the collection of the AWM, the Pfalz D.XII Scout . Previously we covered the Albatros D.Va single engine biplane scout/fighter aircraft, serial no. D5390/17. However, the second aircraft is even rarer and more obscure Pfalz D.XII Scout serial no. 2600/18.
This aircraft is a WWI war veteran, however its service history is obscure having been one of 175 of the type surrendered at the end of WWI and sent to the RAF 2 Aircraft Salvage Depot in France. It was then allocated to Australia as a War Prize. The aircraft was then shipped to Australia via the UK in 1919. Upon arrival in Australia the Pfalz was displayed at various venues in Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney until the 1940s when it was noted as being on display at the AWM. The aircraft was fitted with a Mercedes D.IIIa 180hp engine (currently it is fitted with the original type of engine fitted to the AWM Albatros D.Va and its original engine is currently in storage).
The aircraft remained on display at the AWM until 2001 when it was removed to storage and subsequently underwent a total restoration at the Treloar Technology Centre in Canberra. In 2008, the aircraft returned to the AWM and is currently displayed as a part of the Knights of the Sky WWI aircraft display. The Pfalz is displayed in a period correct five color lozenge camouflage scheme and the quality of the restoration work is second to none.
The Pfalz was regarded as a generally capable WWI Scout but had the misfortune to be produced around the same time as the Fokker D.VII which was the best German Scout of WWI and thus was derided by the pilots that flew it as it was seen as second best to the Fokker.
4 Pfalz D.XII Scout aircraft are known to exist worldwide. The others being at the Air and Space Museum, Le Bourget France, the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, USA and the Museum of Flight Seattle USA. Warbirds Online has been lucky enough to view all 4 aircraft but the AWM Museum is our favorite and is clearly the most complete and pristine. The Pfalz is armed with its original MG08/16 machine guns; the port was number 9455 and the starboard gun was 9290.
If you are in Canberra and passing by the AWM, the Knights of the Sky WWI aircraft display is well worth the visit in its own right.
© John Parker 2017