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The Fokker Eindecker was a German World War I monoplane single-seat fighter aircraft designed by Dutch engineer Anthony Fokker. Developed in April 1915, the Eindecker ("Monoplane") was the first purpose-built German fighter aircraft and the first aircraft to be fitted with synchronizer gear, enabling the pilot to fire a machine gun through the arc of the propeller without striking the blades. The Eindecker granted the German Air Service a degree of air superiority from July 1915 until early 1916. This period was known as the "Fokker Scourge," during which Allied aviators regarded their poorly armed aircraft as "Fokker Fodder".

The first Eindecker victory, though unconfirmed, was achieved by Leutnant Wintgens on 1 July 1915 when, while flying one of the five M.5K/MG production prototype aircraft, numbered 'E.5/15', he forced down a French Morane-Saulnier L two seat "parasol" monoplane. By this time the first E.Is were arriving as supplementary equipment, one per unit as "attached" aircraft, for the ordinary Feldflieger Abteilung - initially to provide escort protection for their usual quantity of six two-seat reconnaissance biplanes per unit.

Three days after his "unconfirmed" victory, Wintgens would down another "Morane Parasol" with the same E.5/15 aircraft, and a full fortnight after his initial engagement, on 15 July 1915, he became the first Eindecker pilot to be credited with such an official victory.

The two most famous Eindecker pilots were Oswald Boelcke (initially flying M.5K/MG aircraft E.3/15) and Max Immelmann, both of Feldflieger Abteilung 62, who scored their first kills in E.Is in August 1915. Leutnant Otto Parschau, who was instrumental in the introduction of the Eindecker from the very start, flew the M.5K/MG aircraft numbered E.1/15, after the Fokker factory took back his worn-out A.16/15 aircraft.

Boelcke scored the most Eindecker victories; 19 out of his final tally of 40, his last coming on 27 June 1916. Immelmann had the second-highest Eindecker score, having achieved all his 15 victories in the type before being killed when his E.III broke up in June 1916. 11 pilots scored five or more victories in the Eindecker. Boelcke, Immelmann and Wintgens all received Germany's highest military decoration, the Pour le Mérite or "Blue Max", while flying the Eindecker, after each pilot passed the then-required eight victory total for each aviator.

The arrival in early 1916 of the Airco DH.2 and Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2 pusher aircraft, along with the Nieuport 11, brought the dominance of the Eindecker to an end, and with it, the "Fokker Scourge".

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Comment by David S Baker on June 12, 2011 at 7:08pm
Thank you for posting this. The Germans had a second period of dominance when the Fokker DVII(correct Model number?) Triplane Entered Service in August of 1917-(I am recalling this from memory, and as such I deserve to be corrected.) In any case this is a very interesting and informative post. One last trivia-Fokker designed his interrupting gear on the back of a beer bottle label during a train trip from Berlin to his design center.

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