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Roland DII - Jastaschule

8" x 10"
Oil on Canvas - 2001

Roland DII - Jastaschule

$400 USD


Roland DII - Jastaschule
(8" x 10Ē Oil on Canvas Ė2001)

In mid-1918 while Germany still held hopes of winning the First World War, a lone Roland D.II overflys the German countryside. By the time of the last great German Offensive in 1918, the Roland was a war weary fighter. First introduced in 1916, itís promising looks and shark-like profile masked mediocre performance. By the time it reached the front in any substantial numbers, it was inferior to most Allied aircraft. In the early morning sun, a single student pilot tests his wings as he prepares for his final tests and eventual transfer to the front Ė and a better aircraft.

Unlike itís successful two seat predecessor, the Roland C.II, the D.II was a disappointment as a fighter. The semi-monocoque fuselage was built up of diagonally arranged ply strips over a light frame and then covered with fabric. The robust structure was admired by pilots, but poor climb performance and a slow rate of roll kept the airplane from meeting the expectations of itís pedigree. Engines originally allotted to the Roland were diverted to more promising aircraft once itís poor handling characteristics manifested themselves. The Roland was long retired from front-line service by 1918, only 6 on active service in October of 1917. Relegated to less active sectors and the eastern front squadrons, the aircraft proved a serviceable fighter in a limited role, but was not up to the rigorous requirements of a fighter on the western front.

When retired from itís brief combat career, the Roland served well as trainers in the JastaSchules Ė Fighter Pilot Schools. Many of the fighter pilots trained towards the end of the war, cut their teeth on the type before moving on to front line units.