Airco D.H.9

From Wings of Linen
Airco D.H.9
Role Bomber/Reconnaissance
Manufacturer Airco
First flight Jul 1917[1][2]
Introduction Dec 1917[3], Feb 1918[4], to Apr 1918[5][note 1]
Primary users U.K. (RFC/RAF)
Number built ≥4000 [note 2]
Variants Airco D.H.9A
Wingspan 12.9 m (42 ft 5 in) [8][2]
Engine 230hp Siddeley Puma
Armament sync. fixed Vickers and
1-2 rear flexible Lewis MG
210 kg (460 lb)[8][2] of bombs
Ammo 250 (Vickers, minimum) + 7-10 drums of 97 rounds (Lewis)[9]
Crew 2
Max Speed 180 km/h (112 mph) [10][11]
Climb 2,000 m (6,500 ft) in 11:00
3,000 m (10,000 ft) in 20:05
4,600 m (15,000 ft) in 45:00 [10][11]
Service Ceiling 4,700 m (15,500 ft)[10][11][8]
Absolute Ceiling 5,300 m (17,500 ft)[10]
Endurance 4:30 [10]

The Aircraft Manufacturing Company (Airco) D.H.9 was intended as a replacement for the successful D.H.4, but it was limited by a bad engine: the 230hp Siddeley Puma, which was based on the B.H.P. Galloway Adriadic. It was originally designed to deliver a robust 300hp, but production flaws limited its performance. The engine left the D.H.9 with less horsepower than its predecessor and left it with a poor climb rate and shedding speed and altitude in maneuver. By November 1917 Gen. Trenchard was raising serious concerns about the DH9 as a day bomber, but the production of DH9s was by that time "too far advanced for there to be any going back." "It was a choice of having the D.H.9 with the B.H.P. engine, or of having nothing at all."[6]

Not to worry, though -- there was a backup plan to use up to 2000 Fiat A-12 engines, with a rating of 260-285hp. Unfortunately the Fiat also under-performed and only one order was fulfilled with Fiat engines: an order for 100 DH9s from Short Brothers. Production of the Fiats also lagged and by August 1917 only 58 had been delivered. As a result only a few Fiat-engined DH9s made their way to France.[12]

Even with its serious limitations, 3,890 DH9s were produced and it served with about 30 squadrons on the western front starting in February 1918. The true character of the DH9 was not revealed until it was re-engined with the 400hp Liberty V12 in the form of the DH9A. Once it shed its bomb load, it was said to be fairly nimble and could "tight-turn a Fokker D.VII into a full power stall, also the 9 could be looped quite well -- and tightly."[13]

The D.H.9 was used in Palestine, Macedonia, the Aegean and Mediterranean as well as the Western Front with the RAF, Belgium (18 planes), and the US Naval Northern Bombing Group.[5] After the war DH9s were plentiful and cheap, and they were bought and used by many country's fledgling air forces.

For more information, see Wikipedia:Airco DH.9.

Timeline [note 3]

Game Data

Wings of Glory

Unofficial Stats
Version Availability Maneuver Damage Dmg Points Max Alt. Climb
single Lewis 17Q4-18Q4 H [note 4] B/B 16 11 3
twin Lewis H [note 4] B/A 16 11 3

Plane and Crew Cards

Blue Max/Canvas Eagles

Aircraft Chart

Miniatures and Models

1:144 Scale

1:285/6mm/1:288 Scale

1:350 Scale

1:600 Scale

1:700 Scale


Isometric Top Views


  1. Their first action may have been with Squadron No.6 on 9 March 1918.[6]
  2. 4880 were ordered and at lest 3204 had passed inspection by late 1918, with more than 4000 delivered overall.[7]
  3. British usage numbers are approximate, derived from the squadron histories.[4]
  4. Some would argue "K", since its top speed was 180kph and it's clearly inferior to planes like the Salmson 2.
  1. Owers, p.17.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Argus Vol. 3, p.14.
  3. Angelucci, p.79.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Philpott'13, pp.379-444.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Lamberton, p.38.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Bruce'65, p.3.
  7. Bruce'65, p.12.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Lamberton, pp.214-215.
  9. Kelly, p.229.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Bruce'69, p.198.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Bruce'98, p.41.
  12. Bruce'65, p.4.
  13. Bruce'65, p.7.
  • Enzo Angelucci, ed. The Rand McNally Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft, 1914-1980. New York: The Military Press, 1983 edition. ISBN 0-517-41021-4.
  • Argus Books, Airplane Archive: Aircraft of World War One, Volume 3. Great Britain: Argus Books, 1989. ISBN 0-85242-998-3
  • J.M. Bruce. British Aeroplanes 1914-18. Great Britain: Funk & Wagnalls, 1957, 1969. ISBN 0370000382
  • J.M. Bruce, Profile Publications 62: The de Havilland D.H.9. Great Britain, Profile Publications, Ltd., 1965.
  • J.M. Bruce, Windsock Datafile 72: Airco DH9. Great Britain: Albatros Publications, Ltd., 1998. ISBN 1-902207-05-X
  • Kevin Kelly, "Belts and Drums: A Survey of First World War Aircraft Ammunition Totals". Over the Front, Vol. 5, No. 3, Autumn 1990. Walsworth Publishing Co, Inc. and The League of World War I Aviation Historians.
  • W.M. Lamberton and E.F. Cheesman, Reconnaissance & Bomber Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War. Great Britain: Harleyford Publications Ltd., 1962. ISBN 9780900435027
  • Colin Owers, Great War Aircraft in Profile 6: De Havilland Aircraft of World War I; Volume 2: D.H.5 - D.H.15. Boulder, Colorado: Flying Machines Press, 2001. ISBN 1-891268-18-X
  • Ian Philpott, The Birth of the Royal Air Force. Great Britain: Pen & Sword Books Limited, 2013. ISBN 978-1-78159-333-2