The Albatros D.V was a fighter aircraft used by the Luftstreitkräfte (Imperial German Air Service) during World War I. The D.V was the final development of the Albatros D.I family, and the last Albatros fighter to see operational service. Despite its well-known shortcomings and general obsolescence, approximately 900 D.V aircraft were built before production halted in early 1918.
Ernst Freiherr von Althaus was born in Coburg; he was the son of the Adjutant to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. He joined the 1st Saxon Husaren-Regiment Nr. 18 as an ensign in Grossenhain in 1909 and was serving in that unit at the outbreak of war. He was a bon vivant who enjoyed poker and women.
At the start of war, von Althaus was a leutnant with his unit. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Military Order of St. Henry on 27 January 1915 for an action when he led a patrol of 15 hussars into a French village which led and captured twenty-two prisoners. In the spring of 1915 he transferred to the Fliegertruppen and trained at FEA 6 at Grossenhain.
He was promoted to Oberleutnant on 6 August 1915 before being posted to FA 23 on 20 September where he led long distance flights. He also served in KEK Vaux, KEK Sivry, and KEK Jamitz.
On 3 December 1915, he shot down a Royal Aircraft Factory BE.2c near Roye. In February 1916, he scored twice more, in March again, and on 30 April became an ace. He was wounded in the process. During his stay in hospital, he met the nurse who would become his wife.
During the early summer of 1916, he was awarded the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern. On 22 July 1916, he notched his eighth win, thus earning the Pour le Mérite. He continued with KEK Vaux when it became Jasta 4, and was wounded in action with them on 4 March 1917. Althaus then transferred to Jasta 14. Manfred von Richthofen personally requested Althaus's transfer to Jasta 10. Althaus took command on 6 July 1917. He made a bit of a splash, marking his Albatros D.V's chrome yellow fuselage with the five dots and a dash that Morse Coded his nickname initials of 'H A'.
He scored one last victory here, after a year's break, on 24 July 1917. However, four days before, at the Red Baron's request, he had relinquished command of Jasta 10 to Werner Voss. Althaus's failing eyesight caused his removal from command and combat; he also seems to have been regarded as a scandalous gambler. He shifted to commanding Jastaschule II, but that assignment was also ended by his diminishing vision. In a reversal of the usual system of transfers, Althaus shifted back into the command of an infantry company at Verdun. After a battle in which his company was reduced to fifteen men, he was captured by Americans on 15 October 1918, and not repatriated until September 1919.
History adapted from the pages
This is the excellent Wingnut Wings kit, converted to an early mark D.V using the Karaya conversion kit