Fokker D. XXI

Fokker D. XXI

First flight27 March 1936

The Fokker D.XXI fighter was designed in 1935 by Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker in response to requirements laid out by the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force (Militaire Luchtvaart van het Koninklijk Nederlands-Indisch Leger, ML-KNIL). The D.XXI was designed as an inexpensive, rugged, and compact fighter aircraft that would possess respectable performance for its era. Entering operational use in the early years of the Second World War, it provided yeoman service for both the Luchtvaartafdeling (Dutch Army Aviation Group) and the Finnish Air Force. Additionally, a few examples were constructed by the El Carmolí factory before it fell into rebel hands during the Spanish Civil War. Following the invasion and occupation of the Netherlands in May 1940, several captured Dutch D.XXIs were subsequently placed into service with the Luftwaffe.

Source: Fokker D. XXI on Wikipedia

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The Fokker D.XXI was a Dutch fighter aircraft that was designed in 1935 by Fokker for the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force. It was a low-wing monoplane with an enclosed cockpit, a steel tube fuselage and a wooden wing structure. It was powered by a radial engine, usually a Bristol Mercury, and armed with four machine guns. The Fokker D.XXI was intended to be a cheap and rugged fighter that could operate from poorly equipped airfields. It entered service in 1938 and saw combat in several conflicts, including the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War and the Winter War.
The Fokker D.XXI was first used in combat by the Finnish Air Force during the 1939–1940 Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland. Upon the war’s outbreak, a total of 41 aircraft were in Finnish service, all powered by the Mercury VIII engine. The Fokker D.XXI proved to be a capable fighter against the Soviet bombers and fighters, especially at low altitudes. It had a good maneuverability and a sturdy structure that could withstand heavy damage. The Finnish pilots also developed tactics to exploit the D.XXI’s strengths, such as using surprise attacks and diving attacks. The Fokker D.XXI claimed 190 Soviet aircraft shot down during the Winter War, while losing 12 in combat.
The Fokker D.XXI also fought in the Battle of the Netherlands in May 1940, when Germany invaded the Netherlands. The Dutch Army Aviation Group had 28 operational D.XXIs at the time, mostly powered by the Mercury VIII engine, but some with the less powerful Mercury VI engine. The Fokker D.XXI faced a superior enemy in terms of numbers and technology, as the German Luftwaffe had more modern fighters such as the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Bf 110. However, the Fokker D.XXI still managed to put up a brave resistance and scored some victories against the German bombers and fighters. The Fokker D.XXI claimed 48 German aircraft shot down during the Battle of the Netherlands, while losing 23 in combat.
The Fokker D.XXI continued to serve with the Finnish Air Force until 1948, undergoing several modifications and upgrades over the years. Some of these included installing new engines, such as the Pratt & Whitney R-1535 Twin Wasp Junior or the Bristol Pegasus XXII, adding more machine guns or replacing them with cannons, adding armor plates and ski landing gear, and applying different camouflage schemes. The Fokker D.XXI also participated in the Continuation War (1941–1944) and the Lapland War (1944–1945) against the Soviet Union, but by then it was outclassed by newer Soviet fighters such as the Yakovlev Yak-1 and Yak-9. The Fokker D.XXI claimed 269 Soviet aircraft shot down during these wars, while losing 34 in combat.
The Fokker D.XXI was a remarkable fighter for its time, combining simplicity, reliability and performance. It was well-liked by its pilots and respected by its enemies. It was one of the most successful designs of Fokker and one of the best fighters of its generation.

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