The Albatros B.II was a wartime development of the Albatros B.I and was an unarmed biplane scout that performed well until the Allies began to arm their aircraft.
The Albatros B.I was the designation given to a three-bay two-seat biplane that had been designed before the war, with some involvement from Ernst Heinkel who at the time was worked for the company.
The B.II was an improved wartime version of the aircraft. It was a two-bay unequal span biplane. The wingspan was reduced by 5ft from that of the B.I. As with most early scouts the observer sat at the front and the pilot at the back, an arrangement that gave the pilot the clearer view. The B.II was powered by a mix of 100-120hp engines.
The B.II was constructed in the same way as most Albatros aircraft. The wings had wooden spars and ribs and were fabric covered. The fuselage had a wooden frame and a plywood covering. The tail had a streamlined fuselage and was fabric covered. The aircraft was well built, robust and reliable. Early its career it set a new altitude record, reaching 4,500m.
The B.II served as a scout and reconnaissance aircraft early in the First World War, but its engines weren't powerful enough to allow it to carry any defensive armament. After Allied aircraft began to carry guns the B.II was withdrawn from the front line and replaced by the Albatros C.I, which had a more powerful engine and could carry a flexibly mounted machine gun. The B.II was then used as a training aircraft.
The B.I was produced by Albatros and under licence by Roland. It was followed by the slightly improved B.III of 1915 but that had a short frontline career before the C class aircraft took over.
The B.II-W was a floatplane version of the B.II and was also known as the Albatros W.1.
The B.IIa had a slightly increased wingspan, a stronger airframe, an improved radiator installation and dual controls and was largely used as a trainer.
Engine: Various including Benz Bz.II and Mercedes D.II
Power: 110hp or 120hp
Span: 42ft 0in
Empty weight: 1,594lb
Maximum take-off weight: 2,361lb
Engine: Mercedes D.II or Argus As.II
Span: 42ft 6.25in
Length: 25ft 0.5in
Empty weight: 1,539lb
Maximum take-off weight: 2,377lb
Max speed: 75mph
Service ceiling: 9,840ft