The LFG Roland C.II, usually known as the Walfisch (Whale), was an advanced German reconnaissance aircraft of World War I. It was manufactured by Luft-Fahrzeug-Gesellschaft G.m.b.H.
The C.II featured a monocoque fuselage built with an outer skin of two layers of thin plywood strips at an angle to each other (known as a Wickelrumpf, or "wrapped body" design). The deep fuselage completely filled the gap between the mainplanes and gave the aircraft its nickname.
The C.II was powered by a single 160 hp (120kW) Mercedes D III, providing a top speed of 165km/h, a ceiling of 4000m, and an endurance of four hours. The thin wings gave a mediocre rate of climb.
The C.II entered service in the spring of 1916. Operationally, handling was reported as difficult but performance was relatively good. It was also used in a fighter escort role and had a crew of two, pilot and observer/gunner.
A centrally mounted synchronized Spandau 7.92mm gun was provided for the pilot on later models. The observer had a Parabellum gun on a ring mounting. A tubular half-hoop was fitted between the cockpits to prevent possible damage to the airscrew from depressing the gun too much when firing forward.
The D.II was a single-seat escort fighter, based on the structural principles of the C II, a wooden veneer shell fuselage. The deep fuselage filled to gap between the biplane wings completely. The production was hampered by a fire in the L.F.G. factory; about 20 were built. The Roland D.II suffered from a design flaw that limited the forward view of the pilot.
The LFG Roland D.III was a fighter aircraft produced in Germany by Luft-Fahrzeug-Gesellschaft G.m.b.H. during the year of 1916. It was a further development of the D.I fighter, which was based on the C.II reconnaissance aircraft. These machines had a fuselage that completely filled the interplane gap, a design feature intended to improve aerodynamics. However, it also resulted in limiting the pilot's field of vision in the down and forward direction, leading to many complaints from the air crews. LFG attempted to remedy this problem in the D.III design by introducing a gap between the upper fuselage and the upper wing, braced by cabane struts. The size of the tailplane of the D.III was also increased.
While this did indeed result in marked improvement over the Roland D.II that had preceded it, the performance of the D.III was still inferior to that of other contemporary fighters available to the German Army, in particular the produced aircraft by Albatros, only one hundred of this type were produced.
Roland D.VIa aircraft were received in the late Spring of 1918 and were still in use at the end of hostilities in November . The Roland D.VI was purported to have good handling qualities, but most pilots wanted the sensational Fokker D.VII. The clinker built body of the Roland D.VI was final refinement of all the shark-like designs that had come before it.