Fokker DXXI / D21

Fokker DXXI / D21

The D.XXI was a monoplane fighter with fixed landing gear, in itself nothing new for Fokker. The D.XXI had an enclosed cockpit and cantilever main wheel struts. Despite inherent obsolesence, the type had considerable success in Finland, but the 39 Dutch D.XXIs had little luck in May 1940. Finland license-built over 140, Denmark 10. Plans to build it in Spain were halted by the falangist victory in the civil war.

The Fokker D.XXI (D.21) fighter was designed in 1935 for use by the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL) air service. As such it was designed as a cheap but rugged small plane, which had respectable performance for the time of conception.

Although the order by the KNIL was cancelled, the Royal Netherlands Air Force (KLu) placed an order of 36 which were all delivered in time to participate in the war against the Germans in May 1940. The Fokker D.XXI, although much slower and lighter armed than the ME 109, performed surprisingly well in dogfights, due to its good manoeverability. Nonetheless, the numerical disparity between the KLu and the Luftwaffe meant that all Dutch Fokker D.XXI fighters were destroyed during the war.

The Fokker D.XXI performed much longer and better in the Finnish Air Force which had acquired a number of these fighters prior to the start of the Winter War. Against the planes of the Soviet Air Force the Fokker was more evenly matched and its rugged design with a radial engine and fixed undercarriage made it very suitable for Finnish conditions. Later in the war, as newer models of Soviet fighters appeared, the Fokker D.XXI was too underpowered and lightly armed (with only four .30 caliber machine guns) to compete.

Type: Fokker D.XXI
Country: The Netherlands ("Holland")
Function: fighter
Year: 1936
Crew: 1
Engines: 1 * 620 kW Bristol Mercury VIII
Wing Span: 11.00 m
Length: 8.20 m
Height: 2.95 m
Wing Area: 16.20 m2
Empty Weight: 1450 kg
Max.Weight: 2050 kg
Speed: 460 km/h
Ceiling: 11000 m
Range: 950 km
Armament: 4*mg 7.9 mm

In 1934 the KNIL (the Dutch army department in Indonesia) had plans for a new fighter and Fokker went to work. On February 17th 1936, just ten days before the first flight of the prototype, the KNIL announced there was more need for a bomber than a fighter. The prototype was then made available for evaluation by the LVA (Royal Netherlands Air Force). At Soesterberg, the LVA tested the D.21 and found it suitable and ordered 36 Fokker D.21's.

Even before the dutch order, the Finnish ordered seven D.21's and later in the war 90 more were build on licence. The Fokker D.21's where used by the Finns during the war with Russia with great success. Denmark ordered two D.21's and build 10 on license, when the Germans attacked Denmark, all D.21's where destroyed before takeoff.

The War

At the first day of the invasion 28 of the 36 D.21's where battleready. Eleven where stationed at De Kooy, eight at Ypenburg and nine at Schiphol airport. 64 sorties where flown by the D.21's that day. On one mission 38 three engine Junkers Ju.52's crossing the Dutch border where shot down. The following four days the D.21's didn't manage to shoot down more Germans because the number of battleready planes decreased rapidly. During the five days of the war 20 Fokker D.21's where lost. Eight in dogfights, eight on the ground, two by friendly anti-aircraft fire and two crash landed. Several D.21's fell into the hands of the Germans.

Fokker D.21
Engine: Bristol Mercury VIII, 9 cylinder radial, air cooled, 830 hp
Wingspan: 11.00 m (36 ft 1 in)
Length: 8.20 m (26 ft 11 in)
Weight: 1835 kg (4045 lb)
Maximum speed: 446 km/h (286 mph)
Ceiling: 11000 m (36100 ft)
Range: 950 km (590 miles)
Armament: four 7.9 mm machineguns
Crew: one

Aviation Top100 Home go back