An Albatros B.IIa in the Polish Aviation Museum
Role Reconnaissance aircraft
Manufacturer Albatros Flugzeugwerke
Designer Robert Thelen
First flight 1914
Primary user Luftstreitkräfte

The Albatros B.II, (post-war company designation L.2) was an unarmed German two-seat reconnaissance biplane of the First World War.

Design and development

Designed by Robert Thelen based on his 1913 Albatros B.I, the B.II was the aircraft that brought the aircraft manufacturer Albatros Flugzeugwerke to the world's attention (Ernst Heinkel claimed to have designed this aircraft, which is considered untrue by aviation historians).[1]

The B.II had a shorter wingspan than the B.I and used a variety of engines up to 89 kW (120 hp). In 1914 it set an altitude record of 4,500 m (14,800 ft). The seating arrangement was not ideal; the pilot occupied the rear cockpit, the observer sat in front over the wings which greatly reduced his downward view while the protruding engine block almost completely obscured the view over the nose. When Albatros developed the armed C.I based on their B-series, the seat positions were swapped so that the observer/gunner had a better view and clear field of fire.

A floatplane variant of the B.II was developed, known as the W.1 or B.II-W, as was a purpose-built trainer with increased wingspan and different engines, designated the B.IIa. Further developments led to the Albatros B.III, which was produced in small numbers.

Operational history

First flying in 1914, large numbers of the B.II were built and, though it was relegated from front-line service in 1915 following the introduction of the armed C-type two-seaters, the B.II remained in service as a trainer until 1918 and was still operated by the Swedish Air Force in 1919 and by the Polish Air Force during the Polish-Soviet war of 1920. A B.II from Feldflieger Abteilung 41 was the one of the first landplanes (as opposed to Zeppelin) to drop bombs on England that caused some damage;[2] on April 16, 1915, ten bombs were dropped by hand in the area of Sittingbourne and Faversham. No significant damage or casualties resulted.[3]

Service in Sweden

In 1914, the German manufacturer Albatros-Flugzeugwerke GmbH of Berlin-Johannisthal, was touring several countries in northern Europe, displaying their new aircraft, the Albatros B.IIa. At the time, it was considered one of the best primary trainer aircraft. However, the landing gear and propeller were damaged when it arrived in Sweden. Due to the outbreak of World War I, no spares could be sent, and the aircraft was interned. It was repaired and used as a trainer by the Swedish Air Force. This aircraft was later copied and manufactured in Sweden by six different aircraft companies: Svenska Aeroplanfabriken (SAF), Södertelge Werkstäder (SW), Marinens Flygväsende (MFV), Nordiska Aviatikbolaget (NAB), AB Thulinverken as the Thulin C and Flygkompaniets Verkstäder Malmen (FVM). It was the first military trainer aircraft in Sweden and received the designation Sk 1 and Ö2 in the Swedish Air Force (the two types differed slightly, mainly by choice of engine). An FVM-built Sk 1 Albatros is on public display in the Swedish Air Force Museum near Linköping. The type was used until 1935. One aircraft was later sold to Finland.

Service in Finland

NAB Albatros Type 9 (and SW 20 Albatros), Type 12 and Type 17 were among the first aircraft of the Finnish Air Force. It was in use between 1918 and 1923. There were two Type 9s, and one each of the Type 12 and 17. There was also one SW 20 Albatros, which was similar to the Type 9. The Type 12 aircraft was destroyed in the ferry flight to Finland; the remains of the aircraft were found near Eckerö, Åland. Type 12 was actually a modified Curtiss Twin JN with floats made by NAB.

Austro-Hungarian service

The Albatros B.II was widely used by the K.u.K, but was given the designation Albatros B.I (series 21).


Developed from the B.I, the B.II entered production in 1914; (Company post-war designation L.2).
strengthened airframe, particularly the tail section and 120 hp (89 kW) Mercedes D.II or 120 hp (89 kW) Argus As III engines with radiators moved to the leading edge of the upper centre section; (Company post-war designation L.30).
B.II (Ph) series 23
Production of the B.I in Vienna by Phönix Flugzeug-Werke AG, for the Austro-Hungarian Imperial and Royal Aviation Troops.[4]
B.II (Ph) series 24
Production of the B.I in Vienna by Phönix Flugzeug-Werke AG, for the Austro-Hungarian Imperial and Royal Aviation Troops.[4]
Seaplane with twin floats and a 150 hp (112 kW) Benz Bz.III engine.[5]
Thulin C
Licence built version by AB Thulinverken


Albatros B.II (Sk 1) in the Swedish Air Force Museum.
 German Empire
 Kingdom of Bulgaria
 Ottoman Empire
 United Kingdom

Specifications (B.II with Mercedes D.II engine)

Data from German aircraft of the First World War [5]

General characteristics


See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Records set

Related lists


  1. ^ Grosz, Peter M. Albatros C.I, Windsock Datafile No. 57, Albatros Productions, 1996, ISBN 0-948414-76-6, p.5, 10
  2. ^ Cole, Christopher; Cheeseman, Eric Franklin (1984). The Air Defence of Britain: 1914-1918. London: The Bodley Head. p. 50. ISBN 978-0370305387.
  3. ^ Castle, Ian. "Zeppelin Raids, Gothas and 'Giants' - 16th April 1915 - Kent". www.iancastlezeppelin.co.uk. Archived from the original on 6 January 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b Treadwell, Terry C. (2010). German & Austro-Hungarian aircraft manufacturers 1908–1918. Stroud: Amberley Publishing. pp. 236–244. ISBN 978-1-4456-0102-1.
  5. ^ a b Gray, Peter; Owen Thetford (1970). German aircraft of the First World War (2nd ed.). London: Putnam. ISBN 0-370-00103-6.
  6. ^ Jarrett, Philip (2010). "The Allies' Albatros". Aeroplane. IPC (July 2010): 82–87.