The Pfalz E.IV was the third in a series of Pfalz monoplane fighters, but although it carried the most powerful engine it was outdated by the time it entered service in 1916 and was only produced in small numbers.
Before the outbreak of war Pfalz had gained a licence to build the Morane-Saulnier Type H monoplane. In 1915, when Fokker began to produce aircraft armed with a synchronised machine gun firing through the propeller disc, Pfalz soon followed, producing the Pfalz E.I, a Type H armed with a single machine gun. This was followed by the Pfalz E.II, a similar aircraft with a more powerful 100hp single row Obeursel U.I rotary engine.
The Pfalz E.IV was given an even more powerful engine, the twin row 160hp Oberursel U.III rotary engine. The fuselage was made longer to balance the heavier engine, but the wingspan remained the same as on the E.II. As with the E.II it had triple wing bracing and wing warping cables on each side. The extra power from the U.III engine allowed the E.IV to be armed with two machine guns. However the U.III suffered from cooling problems so wasn’t as reliable as the earlier single row rotary engines.
Three contracts are recorded for the E.IV. The first, for six aircraft, came in December 1915. The second, for 20 aircraft, followed in January 1916, and the last, for 20 aircraft, in February 1916. All 46 of these aircraft were completed,
The E.IV had a very short service career. Five were recorded on frontline strength at the end of April 1916, none at the end of June and one at the end of August. In mid August an order was issued to withdraw all Pfalz E types from service, so most of these aircraft probably never reached the front
The E.IV is known to have been used by some of the early fighter units, the Kampfeinsitzer Kommandos.
Amongst the pilots who flew the E.IV was Ernst Udet, later to play a part in rise of the Luftwaffe, who is known to have crashed an E.IV while flying with Kampfeinsitzer Kommando Habsheim.
Engine: Oberursel U.III
Empty weight: 471kg
Loaded weight: 694kg
Max speed: 160km/hr
Climb Rate: 6.5min to 2,000m
Armament: Two Spandau lMG machine guns