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The Red Baron

The Red Baron

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Published by Hans-Peter Oswald

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Published by: Hans-Peter Oswald on Apr 02, 2012
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09/01/2014

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ManfredAlbrechtFreiherrvonRichthofen(*2May1892,died21April1918)wasaGermanfighterpilotknownas"TheRedBaron".HewasthemostsuccessfulflyingaceofWorldWarI,beingofficiallycreditedwith80confirmedaircombatvictories.Richthofenwasamemberofanaristocraticfamilywithmanyfamousrelatives.Richthofenisalsoknownas"leDiableRouge"("RedDevil")or"LePetitRouge"("LittleRed")inFrench,andthe"RedKnight"orthe"RedBaron"inEnglish.TheGermantranslationofRedBaronis"derRoteBaron";RichthofenisknownunderthisnicknameinGermanyaswell.Richthofendiedduringthewar,andwhilehedidnothavetheopportunityofpublishingarevisedversion,hewasquotedassayingthebookwas"tooinsolent"andthathewas"nolongerthatkindofperson".RichthofenwasborninKleinburg,nearBreslau,Silesia,intoafamilyofoldPrussiannobility.Whenhewasnineyearsold,hemovedwithhisfamilytonearbySchweidnitz.TheyoungRichthofenenjoyedridinghorsesandhuntingaswellasgymnasticsatschool.Intheprotectedgameforests,heandhisbrothers,LotharandBolko,huntedwildboar,elk,birds,anddeer.theycollectedanddisplayedtheirtrophies.[citationneeded]AfterbothbeingeducatedathomeandattendingthelocalschoolatSchweidnitz,Richthofenbeganmilitarytrainingatage11.Uponcompletionofcadettrainingin1911,hejoinedtheUlanen-RegimentKaiserAlexandersdesIII.vonRussland(1.Westpreußisches)Nr.1("UhlanRegimentEmperorAlexanderIIIofRussia1stRegiment,WestPrussia,UhlanRegimentNumber1"),acavalryunit,andwasassignedtotheregiment's3.Eskadron.WhenWorldWarIbrokeout,RichthofenservedasacavalryofficeronboththeEasternandWesternFronts.However,whentraditionalcavalryoperationsbecameobsoleteduetomachinegunsandbarbedwire,theUhlanswereusedasinfantry.Disappointedwithnotbeingabletoparticipatemoreoftenincombatoperations,RichthofenappliedforatransfertotheLuftstreitkräfte(literally:AerialCombatForces),the"ImperialGermanArmyAirService",forerunneroftheLuftwaffe.AfterawhilehisrequestwasgrantedandhejoinedtheflyingserviceattheendofMay1915.HewasinitiallyanobserverflyingonreconnaissancemissionsovertheEasternFrontfromJunetoAugust1915,withFliegerabteilung69("No.69FlyingSquadron").OnbeingtransferredtotheChampagnefront,hemanagedtoshootdownaFrenchFarmanaircraftwithhisobserver'smachinegun,butwasnotcreditedwiththekill,asitfellbehindAlliedlines.HethentrainedasapilotinOctober1915.InMarch1916,hejoinedKampfgeschwader2("No.2BomberGeschwader")flyingatwo-seaterAlbatrosC.III.OverVerdunon26April1916hefiredonaFrenchNieuportdowningitoverFortDouaumont,althoughonceagainhegainednoofficialcredit.AtthistimeheflewaFokkerEindeckersingle-seatfighter.AfterafurtherspellflyingtwoseatersontheEasternFrontinAugust1916hemetfighterpilotOswaldBoelcke.Boelcke,touringtheEastlookingforcandidatesforhisnewlyformedfighterunit,selectedRichthofentojoinanewJagdstaffel("fightersquadron"),Jasta2.RichthofenwonhisfirstaerialcombatoverCambrai,France,on17September1916.AreplicaofFreiherrManfredvonRichthof
 
en'sredFokkerDr.Itriplane.AreplicaofFreiherrManfredvonRichthofen'sredFokkerDr.Itriplane.Afterhisfirstvictory,RichthofenorderedasilvercupengravedwiththedateofthefightandthetypeofenemymachinefromajewellerfriendinBerlin.Hecontinuedthistraditionuntilhehad60cups,bywhichtimethesupplyofsilverinblockadedGermanywasrestricted.RatherthanengageinriskytacticslikehisbrotherLothar(40victories),ManfredvonRichthofenstrictlyobservedasetofflightmaxims(commonlyreferredtoasthe"DictaBoelcke")toassurethegreatestsuccessforbothsquadronandindividualfighterpilot.Contrarytopopularimagination,hewasnotaspectacularoracrobaticpilot,aswereotherslikehisbrotherortherenownedWernerVoss.However,inadditiontobeingafinecombattacticianandsquadronleader,hewasrecognizedasasuperbmarksman,andincombathephilosophicallyviewedhisaircraftasmerelyaplatformfromwhichtofirehisguns.Typically,aswasthecaseformostsquadronleaders,hewoulddiveintoattackfromabovewiththeadvantageofthesunbehindhim,andwithotherJastapilotscoveringhisrearandflanks.On23November1916,Richthofendownedhismostrenownedadversary,theBritishaceMajorLanoeHawkerVC,describedbyRichthofenhimselfas"theBritishBoelcke."ThevictorycamewhileRichthofenwasflyinganAlbatrosD.IIandHawkerwasflyingaD.H.2.Afterthisengagement,hewasconvincedheneededafighteraircraftwithmoreagility,thoughthisimpliedalossofspeed.HeswitchedtotheAlbatrosD.IIIinJanuary1917,scoringtwovictoriesbeforesufferingacrackinthesparoftheaircraft'slowerwing.Afterthisincident,RichthofenrevertedtotheAlbatrosD.IIforthenextfiveweeks.RichthofenscoredonekillintheD.IIIon9March,buttheD.IIIwastemporarilygroundedfortherestofthemonth,soRichthofenswitchedtotheHalberstadtD.II.RichthofenreturnedtotheAlbatrosD.IIIon2April1917.Hescoredhisnext22killsinthistypebeforeswitchingtotheAlbatrosD.VinlateJune.FromhisreturnfromconvalescenceinOctober,RichthofenwasflyingthecelebratedFokkerDr.Itriplane,thedistinctivethree-wingedaircraftwithwhichheismostcommonlyassociated,althoughheprobablydidnotusethetypeexclusivelyuntilafteritwasreissuedwithstrengthenedwingsinNovember.DespitethepopularlinkbetweenRichthofenandtheFokkerDr.I,only20ofhis80killsweremadeinthisnow-famoustriplane.Infact,itwashisAlbatrosD.IIIthatwasfirstpaintedbrightredandinwhichhefirstearnedhisnameandreputation.RichthofenchampionedthedevelopmentoftheFokkerD.VIIwithsuggestionstoovercomethedeficienciesofthethencurrentGermanfighteraircraft.However,heneverhadanopportunitytoflyitincombatashewaskilledjustdaysbeforeitenteredservice.Thenewbookabout"theredbaron"publishedinEnglishandGermanshowsManfredRichthofenbetweenmythsandreality.Itcontainsinformationaboutthenewmovie,abiographyandtheautobiography.MarcMuellerhttp://www.lulu.com/content/2384797http://www.domainregistry.de/der-rote-baron.htmlManfredvonRichthofen:Theredbaron,Movie-Biography-AutobiographyPrinted:195pages,6"x9",perfectbinding,blackandwhiteinteriorinkLulu.com,2008

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