The Red Baron

By | Apr 25, 2012

He was only 25 when he died on April 25, 1918, but Manfred von Richthofen also known as the Red Baron was a flying ace and a deadly combat pilot for Germany during World War I. he was also know as “le Diable Rouge” (“Red Devil”) or “Le Petit Rouge” (“Little Red”) in French, and the “Red Knight” in English.

Richthofen was born on May 2, 1892 in Kleinburg, into a family of old Prussian nobility. He began his military training at 11 and upon completion of training he join a cavalry unit. When the War began he was still in the cavalry and with the change of art of combat with machine guns his cavalry unit saw little combat, something he disliked.

He applied for a transfer into the “Imperial German Army Air Service” was in training during the last half of 1915. He won his first aerial combat over Cambrai, France, on September 17, 1916.

From September 1916 until April 25, 1918 when he was killed in an arial plane fight, Von Richthofen had recorded 80 kills and was becoming a legend. As an aid for identification during air combat, Germany adopted red colourations with various individual marking. Some of Richthofen’s aircrafts was painted entirely red. This is how he received his name.

On the day of his death, the Red Baron had been pursuing a Sopwith Camel piloted by the Candian pilot Lt. Wilfrud May. During the battle the Red Baron was hit by a bullet. It was most probably a quick death, but one that occurred after he made a hasty controlled landing,

Even though he was an officer of Germany, the Allied air officers regarded their foe with respect and organized a military funeral. Richthofen’s aircraft was dismembered by souvenir hunters. Its engine is on display at the Imperial War Museum in London.


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