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Manfred von Richthofen
2 May 1892(1892-05-02) – 21 April 1918 (aged 25)
Manfred von Richthofen Signature.svg

Richthofen wears the Pour le Mérite, the "Blue Max", Prussia's highest military order in this official portrait, c. 1917.

Nickname "Red Baron"
Place of birth Breslau, Germany
(now in Poland)
Place of death Morlancourt Ridge, near Vaux-sur-Somme, France
Allegiance German Empire German Empire
Service/branch Uhlan (Lancers)
Luftstreitkräfte (Imperial German Army Air Service, forerunner of the Luftwaffe)
Years of service 1911–1918
Rank Rittmeister (Cavalry Captain)
Unit Jasta 11, Jagdgeschwader 1
Commands held Jasta 11 (01.1917)

Jagdgeschwader 1 (24 June 1917 – 21 April 1918)

Relations Lothar von Richthofen (brother)

Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (2 May 1892 – 21 April 1918) was a German fighter pilot known as the "Red Baron". He was the most successful flying ace during World War I, being officially credited with 80 confirmed air combat victories.[1][2] He served in the Imperial German Army Air Service (Luftstreitkräfte). Richthofen was a member of an aristocratic family with many famous relatives.


Name and nicknames

Freiherr (literally "Free Lord") is not a given name but a German aristocratic title, equivalent to a baron in other countries and the origin of Richthofen's most famous nickname: "The Red Baron". Red was the colour of his plane. The German translation of The Red Baron is About this sound "der Rote Baron" . Richthofen is today known by this nickname even in Germany, although during his lifetime he was more often described in German as Der Rote Kampfflieger, (variously translated as the The Red Battle Flyer or The Red Fighter Pilot). This name was used as the title of Richthofen's 1917 "autobiography."

Richthofen's other nicknames include "Le Diable Rouge" ("Red Devil") or "Le Petit Rouge" ("Little Red") in French, and the "Red Knight" in English.

Early life

Von Richthofen coat of arms.

Von Richthofen was born in Kleinburg, near Breslau, Lower Silesia (now part of the city of Wrocław, Poland), into a prominent Prussian aristocratic family. His father was Major Albrecht Phillip Karl Julius Freiherr von Richthofen and his mother Kunigunde von Schickfuss und Neudorff. He had an elder sister (Ilse) and two younger brothers.

When he was 4 years old, Manfred moved with his family to nearby Schweidnitz (now Świdnica). He enjoyed riding horses and hunting as well as gymnastics at school. Manfred excelled at parallel bars and won a number of awards at school.[3] He and his brothers, Lothar and Bolko[4], hunted wild boar, elk, birds and deer[5].

After being both educated at home and attending a school at Schweidnitz, Manfred began military training when he was 11.[6] After completing cadet training in 1911, he joined an Uhlan cavalry unit, the Ulanen-Regiment Kaiser Alexander der III. von Russland (1. Westpreußisches) Nr. 1 ("1st Uhlan Regiment 'Emperor Alexander III of Russia (1st West Prussia Regiment)' "), and was assigned to the regiment's 3. Eskadron ("Number 3 Squadron").[7]

When World War I began, Richthofen served as a cavalry reconnaissance officer on both the Eastern and Western Fronts. Traditional cavalry operations soon became impossible due to machine guns and barbed wire, and the Uhlans were used as infantry.[8] Disappointed at not being able to participate more often in combat, Richthofen applied for a transfer to Die Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches (Imperial German Army Air Service), later to be known as the Luftstreitkräfte. His request was granted and he joined the flying service at the end of May 1915.[9]

Piloting career

From June to August 1915, Richthofen was an observer on reconnaissance missions over the Eastern Front with Fliegerabteilung 69 ("No. 69 Flying Squadron"). On being transferred to the Champagne front, he managed to shoot down an attacking French Farman aircraft with his observer's machine gun, but was not credited with the kill, since it fell behind Allied lines and could not be confirmed.

He entered training 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, though once again he received no official credit. By now, he was flying a Fokker Eindecker single-seater fighter.

After another spell flying two-seaters on the Eastern Front, he met ace fighter pilot Oswald Boelcke in August 1916. Boelcke, visiting the east in search of candidates for his newly-formed fighter unit, selected Richthofen to join Jagdstaffel 2 ("fighter squadron"). Richthofen won his first aerial combat with Jasta 2 over Cambrai, France, on 17 September 1916.

A replica of Manfred von Richthofen's red Fokker Dr.I triplane.
Major Lanoe Hawker VC

After his first confirmed victory, Richthofen ordered a silver cup engraved with the date and the type of enemy machine from a jeweller in Berlin. He continued this until he had 60 cups, by which time the supply of silver in blockaded Germany was restricted.

Instead of using risky, aggressive tactics like those of his brother, Lothar (40 victories), Manfred observed a set of maxims (known as the "Dicta Boelcke") to assure the success for both the squadron and its pilots. He was not a spectacular or acrobatic pilot, as were others such as his brother or the renowned Werner Voss. In addition to being a fine combat tactician and squadron leader, however, he was a superb marksman, and in combat he viewed his aircraft as a platform from which to fire his guns. Typically, he would dive from above to attack 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 famous adversary, 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 combat, he was convinced he needed a fighter aircraft with more agility, even at 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. Richthofen reverted to the Albatros D.II for the next five weeks. He scored a victory in the D.II on 9 March, but since his D.III was grounded for the rest of the month, Richthofen switched to a Halberstadt D.II.

He returned to his Albatros D.III on 2 April 1917 and scored his 22 victories in it before switching to the Albatros D.V in late June. Following 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. 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.[2] However, he never had an opportunity to fly it in combat as he was killed just days before it entered service.

The Flying Circus

Manfred von Richthofen with other members of Jasta 11

In January 1917, after his 16th confirmed kill, Richthofen received the Pour le Mérite ("The Blue Max"), the highest military honour in Germany at the time. That same month, he assumed command of Jasta 11, which ultimately included some of the elite German pilots, many of whom he trained himself. Several in turn subsequently became leaders of their own squadrons. Ernst Udet (later Colonel-General Udet) was a member of Richthofen's group.

As a practical aid to easy identification in the melee of air combat, Jasta 11's aircraft soon adopted red colourations with various individual markings, with some of Richthofen's own aircraft painted entirely red. This practice soon had its use in German propaganda, even the RFC aircrew dubbing Richthofen "Le Petit Rouge."

Von Richthofen (centre) with Hermann Thomsen (German Air Service Chief of Staff, shown on the left) and Ernst von Hoeppner (Commanding General of the Air Service, shown on the right) at the Imperial Headquarters at Bad Kreuznach.

Richthofen led his new unit to unparalleled success, peaking during "Bloody April" 1917. In that month alone, he downed 22 British aircraft, raising his official tally to 52. By June, he was the commander of the first of the new larger Jagdgeschwader (wing) formations, leading Jagdgeschwader 1, composed of Jastas 4, 6, 10 and 11. These were highly-mobile, combined tactical units that could be sent at short notice to different parts of the front as required. In this way, JG1 became "The Flying Circus", its name coming both from the unit's mobility (including the use of tents) and its brightly coloured aircraft. By the end of April, the "Flying Circus" also became known as the "Richthofen Circus."[10]

Richthofen was a brilliant tactician, building on Boelcke's tactics. But unlike Boelcke, he led by example and force of will rather than by inspiration. He was often described as distant, unemotional, and rather humourless, though some colleagues contend otherwise.[11]

Incidentally, although he was now performing the duties of a lieutenant colonel (in modern RAF terms, a wing commander), he remained a captain. The system in the British army would have been for him to have held the rank appropriate to his level of command (if only on a temporary basis) even if he had not been formally promoted. In the German army, it was not unusual for a wartime officer to hold a lower rank than his duties implied, German officers being promoted according to a schedule and not by battlefield promotion. For instance, Erwin Rommel commanded an infantry battalion as a captain in 1917 and 1918. It was also not the custom for a son to hold a higher rank than his father, and Richthofen's father was a reserve major.

Richthofen's DVa after forced landing near Wervicq

Wounded in combat

On 6 July, during combat with a formation of F.E.2d two seat fighters of No. 20 Squadron RFC, near Wervicq, Richthofen sustained a serious head wound. He regained consciousness in time to execute a forced landing but was hospitalised and grounded for several weeks. The air victory was credited to Captain Donald Cunnell of No. 20, who was killed a few days later.

Although the Red Baron returned to active service in October 1917, his wound is thought to have caused lasting damage, as he later often suffered from post-flight nausea and headaches, as well as a change in temperament. There is even a theory linking this injury with his eventual death (see below).

Portrait from contemporary German postcard

Author and hero

It was during his convalescence that Richthofen – probably with the help of a ghostwriter from a German propaganda unit – wrote his "autobiography", Der rote Kampfflieger. A translation by J. Ellis Barker was published in 1918 as The Red Battle Flyer.[12] Although Richthofen died before a revised version could be prepared, he is on record as repudiating the book, stating that it was "too insolent" (or "arrogant") and that he was "no longer that kind of person".[13]

In 1918, Richthofen had become such a legend that it was feared that his death would be a blow to the morale of the German people. Richthofen himself refused to accept a ground job after his wound, stating that the average German soldier had no choice in his duties, and he would therefore continue to fly in combat. Certainly he had become part of a cult of hero-worship, assiduously encouraged by official propaganda. German propaganda circulated various false rumours, including that the British had raised squadrons specially to hunt down Richthofen, and were offering large rewards and an automatic Victoria Cross to any Allied pilot who shot him down. Passages from his correspondence indicate he may have at least half believed some of these stories himself.


Richthofen crashsite.ogg
Australian soldiers and airmen examine the remnants of Richthofen's triplane
209 Squadron Badge-the red eagle falling symbolizes the fall of the Red Baron
Australian airmen with Richthofen's triplane, 425/17, after it was dismembered by souvenir hunters

Richthofen was killed just after 11 a.m. on 21 April 1918, while flying over Morlancourt Ridge, near the Somme River. 49°56′0.60″N 2°32′43.71″E / 49.9335°N 2.545475°E / 49.9335; 2.545475

At the time, the Baron had been pursuing (at very low altitude) a Sopwith Camel piloted by a novice Canadian pilot, Lieutenant Wilfrid "Wop" May of No. 209 Squadron, Royal Air Force. In turn, the Baron was spotted and briefly attacked by a Camel piloted by a school friend (and flight Commander) of May's, Canadian Captain Arthur "Roy" Brown, who had to dive steeply at very high speed to intervene, and then had to climb steeply to avoid hitting the ground. Richthofen turned to avoid this attack, and then resumed his pursuit of May.

It was almost certainly during this final stage in his pursuit of May that Richthofen was hit by a single .303 bullet, which caused such severe damage to his heart and lungs that it must have produced a very speedy death.[14] In the last seconds of his life, he managed to make a hasty but controlled landing in a field on a hill near the Bray-Corbie road, just north of the village of Vaux-sur-Somme, in a sector controlled by the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). One witness, Gunner George Ridgway, stated that when he and other Australian soldiers reached the aircraft, Richthofen was still alive but died moments later.[14] Another eye witness, Sgt Ted Smout of the Australian Medical Corps, reported that Richthofen's last word was "kaputt".[15][16][17][18]

His Fokker Dr.I, 425/17, was not badly damaged by the landing, but it was soon taken apart by souvenir hunters.

No. 3 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, as the nearest Allied air unit, assumed responsibility for the Baron's remains.

In 2009, Richthofen's death certificate was found in the archives in Ostrów Wielkopolski, Poland. Richthofen briefly stationed in Ostrów - which was part of Germany until the end of World War I - before going to war. The document, which is a one-page, handwritten form in a 1918 registry book of deaths, misspells Richthofen's name as "Richthoven" and simply states that he has "died 21 April 1918, from wounds sustained in combat".[19]

Who fired the fatal shot?

Group portrait of the officers and NCOs of the 24th Machine Gun Company in March 1918. Sergeant Cedric Popkin is second from the right in the middle row.

Controversy and contradictory hypotheses continue to surround the identity of the person who fired the shot that actually killed Richthofen.

The RAF credited Brown with shooting down the Red Baron. However, Richthofen died following an extremely serious and inevitably fatal chest wound from a single bullet, penetrating from the right armpit and resurfacing next to the left nipple. If this had come from Brown's guns, Richthofen could not have continued his pursuit of May for as long as he did.[14] Brown himself never spoke much about what happened that day, claiming "There is no point in me commenting, as the evidence is already out there".

Experts now generally agree that Richthofen was killed by someone on the ground.[14][20] The wound through his body indicated that it had been caused by a bullet moving in an upward motion, from the right side, and more importantly, that it was probably received some time after Brown's attack.[14]

Many sources, including a 1998 article by Dr. Geoffrey Miller, a physician and historian of military medicine, and also a U.S. Public Broadcasting Service documentary made in 2003, have suggested that Sergeant Cedric Popkin was the person most likely to have killed Richthofen.[14][20] Popkin was an anti-aircraft (AA) machine gunner with the Australian 24th Machine Gun Company, and was using a Vickers gun. He fired at Richthofen's aircraft on two occasions: first as the Baron was heading straight at his position, and then at long range from the right. Popkin was in the right position to fire the fatal shot as Richthofen passed him for a second time on the right.[14][20]

In 1935, Popkin wrote a letter, which included a sketch map, to the Australian official war historian, regarding his belief that he had fired the fatal shot — as Richthofen approached his position. In the latter respect, Popkin was incorrect, as the bullet that resulted in the Baron's death came from the right side (see above).

A 2002 documentary produced by the Discovery Channel suggests that Gunner W. J. "Snowy" Evans, a Lewis machine gunner with the 53rd Battery, 14th Field Artillery Brigade, Royal Australian Artillery is likely to have killed von Richthofen.[18] However, Dr. Miller and the PBS documentary dismissed this theory after considering the angle at which Evans fired at Richthofen.[14][20]

Other sources have suggested that Gunner Robert Buie (also of the 53rd Battery) may have fired the fatal shot. There is little support for this theory.[14][20] Nevertheless, in March 2007, the municipality of Hornsby Shire, in Sydney, recognised Buie, a former resident, as the man who shot down Richthofen. The Shire placed a plaque near Buie's former home in the suburb of Brooklyn.[21] Buie, who died in 1964, has never been officially recognised in any other way.

The commanding officer of No. 3 Squadron AFC, Major David Blake initially suggested that Richthofen had been killed by the crew of one of his squadron's R.E.8s, which had also fought Richthofen's unit that afternoon. However, this was quickly disproved, and following an autopsy that he witnessed, Blake became a strong proponent of the view that an AA machine gunner had killed Richthofen.

Theories about last combat

Richthofen was a highly experienced and skilled fighter pilot — fully aware of the risk from ground fire. Furthermore he was fully in accord with his late mentor Boelcke's rules of air fighting, which were strongly against taking foolish risks. It is universally accepted that Richthofen's judgement during his last combat was uncharacteristically unsound in several respects.[22] Several theories have been proposed to account for his behaviour.

In 1999, a German medical researcher, Dr. Henning Allmers, published an article in British medical journal The Lancet, suggesting it was likely that brain damage from the head wound Richthofen suffered in July 1917 (see above) played a part in the Red Baron's death. This was supported by a 2004 paper by researchers at the University of Texas. Richthofen's behaviour after his injury was noted as consistent with brain-injured patients, and such an injury could account for his perceived lack of judgment on his final flight: flying too low over enemy territory and suffering target fixation.[23]

There is also the possibility that Richthofen was suffering from cumulative combat stress, which made him fail to observe some of his usual precautions. It is noteworthy that one of the leading British air aces, Major Edward "Mick" Mannock, was killed by ground fire on 26 July 1918 while crossing the lines at low level, an action he had always cautioned his younger pilots against. One of the most popular of the French air aces, Georges Guynemer, went missing on 11 September 1917, probably while attacking a two-seater without realizing several Fokkers were escorting it.[24][25]

There is a suggestion in Franks and Bennett's 2007 book,[22] that on the day of Richthofen's death, the prevailing wind was about 25 mph (40 km/h) easterly, rather than the usual 25 mph (40 km/h) westerly. This meant that Richthofen, heading generally westward at an airspeed of about 100 mph (160 km/h), was travelling over the ground at 125 mph (200 km/h) rather than the more typical ground speed of 75 mph (120 km/h). This was 60% faster than normal and he could easily have strayed over enemy lines without realizing it, especially since he was struggling with one jammed gun and another that was firing only short bursts before needing to be re-cocked.

An assessment of these factors must include the circumstances of the time. At the time of Richthofen's death the front was in a highly fluid state, following the initial success of the German offensive of March–April 1918. He may have been acutely aware that this was part of Germany's last real chance to win the war — in the face of Allied air superiority, the German air service was having great difficulty in acquiring vital reconnaissance information, and could do little to prevent Allied squadrons from completing very effective reconnaissance and close support of their armies.


No 3 Squadron AFC officers were pallbearers and other ranks from the squadron acted as a guard of honour during the Red Baron's funeral on 22 April 1918.
Richthofen funeral.ogg
The funeral of Manfred von Richthofen

In common with most Allied air officers, Major Blake, who was responsible for Richthofen's remains, regarded the Red Baron with great respect, and he organised a full military funeral, to be conducted by the personnel of No. 3 Squadron AFC.

Richthofen was buried in the cemetery at the village of Bertangles, near Amiens, on 22 April 1918. Six airmen with the rank of Captain — the same rank as Richthofen — served as pallbearers, and a guard of honour from the squadron's other ranks fired a salute. Allied squadrons stationed nearby presented memorial wreaths.

In the early 1920s the French authorities created a military cemetery at Fricourt, in which a very large number of German war dead, including Richthofen, were reinterred. In 1925, Manfred von Richthofen's youngest brother, Bolko, recovered the body from Fricourt and took the Red Baron home to Germany. The family's intention was for Manfred to rest in the Schweidnitz cemetery, next to the graves of his father and his brother Lothar, who had been killed in a post-war air crash in 1922.[26] The German government requested, however, that the final resting place be the Invalidenfriedhof Cemetery in Berlin, where many German military heroes and past leaders were buried and the family agreed. Later the Nazi regime organised a grandiose memorial ceremony over this grave, erecting a massive new tombstone with the single word: “Richthofen”.[27] During the Cold War the Invalidenfriedhof was on the boundary of the Soviet zone in Berlin, and the tombstone became pockmarked with bullets fired at attempted escapees to the west. In 1975, the remains were moved to the family tomb at the Südfriedhof in Wiesbaden.

Grave in Berlin {1931}

Number of victories

For decades after World War I, some authors questioned whether Richthofen achieved 80 victories, insisting that his record was exaggerated for propaganda purposes. Some claimed that he took credit for aircraft downed by his squadron or wing.

In fact, Richthofen’s victories are better documented than those of most aces. A full list of the aircraft the Red Baron was credited with shooting down was published as early as 1958 [28] – with documented RFC/RAF squadron details, aircraft serial numbers, and the identities of Allied airmen killed or captured – 73 of the 80 are listed as matching recorded British losses. A study conducted by British historian Norman Franks with two colleagues, published in Under the Guns of the Red Baron in 1998, reached the same conclusion about the high degree of accuracy of Richthofen's claimed victories. There were also unconfirmed victories that, if true, could put his actual total as high as 100.[29]

For comparison, the highest scoring Allied ace was Frenchman René Fonck, with 75 confirmed victories[30] and further 52 unconfirmed behind enemy lines.[29] The highest scoring British Empire fighter pilots were Canadian Billy Bishop credited with 72 victories.[31] and Mick Mannock with 50 confirmed kills[32] and a further 11 unconfirmed.[33].

It is also significant that while Richthofen's early victories and the establishment of his reputation coincided with a period of German air superiority, many of his successes were achieved against a numerically superior enemy, who were flying fighter aircraft that were on the whole better than his own.[34]

Honours, tributes and relics

Memorial in Polish at Richthofen's former home in today's Świdnica
Decorations and awards
  • Prussian Order Pour le Mérite: 12 January 1917 (in recognition of his 16th aerial victory).
  • Prussian Red Eagle Order, 3rd Class with Crown and Swords: 6 April 1918 (in recognition of his 70th aerial victory).
  • Prussian Royal Hohenzollern House Order, Knight's Cross with Swords: 11 November 1916.
  • Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class (1914)
  • Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class (1914): 12 September 1914.
  • Bavarian Military Merit Order, 4th Class with Swords: 29 April 1917.[35]
  • Saxon Military St. Henry Order, Knight's Cross: 16 April 1917.
  • Württemberg Military Merit Order, Knight's Cross: 13 April 1917.
  • Saxe-Ernestine Ducal House Order, Knight 1st Class with Swords (issued by the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha): 9 May 1917.
  • Hesse General Honour Decoration, "for Bravery"
  • Lippe War Honour Cross for Heroic Deeds: 13 October 1917.
  • Schaumburg-Lippe Cross for Faithful Service: 10 October 1917.
  • Bremen Hanseatic Cross: 25 September 1917.
  • Lübeck Hanseatic Cross: 22 September 1917.
  • Austrian Order of the Iron Crown, 3rd Class with War Decoration: 8 August 1917.
  • Austrian Military Merit Cross, 3rd Class with War Decoration
  • Bulgarian Bravery Order, 4th Class (1st Grade): June 1917.
  • Turkish Imtiaz Medal in Silver with Sabres
  • Turkish Liakat Medal in Silver with Sabres
  • Turkish War Medal ("Iron Crescent"): 4 November 1917.
  • German Army Pilot's Badge
  • German Army Observer's Badge[36]
  • Austrian Field Pilot's Badge (Franz Joseph pattern)

At various times, several different German military aviation Geschwader (literally "squadrons"; equivalent to Commonwealth air force "groups", French escadrons or USAF "wings") have been named after the Baron:

In 1941, a newly launched Kriegsmarine (navy) seaplane tender was also named Richthofen.

The engine of Richthofen's DR.I was donated to the Imperial War Museum in London, where it is still on display. The control column (joystick) of Richthofen's aircraft can be seen at the Australian War Memorial, in Canberra. The Royal Canadian Military Institute, in Toronto, holds two parts of the aircraft: its seat and a side panel signed by the pilots of Brown's squadron.

See also



  1. ^ Dirk. "Detailed list of Manfred von Richthofen's air victories (in German)." Retrieved: 13 June 2009.
  2. ^ a b Baker 1991
  3. ^ Wright 1976, p. 31.
  4. ^ Burrows, p.36
  5. ^ Burrows pp. 37-38
  6. ^ Wright 1976, p. 30.
  7. ^ Preußen 1914, p. 400.
  8. ^ "von Richthofen's autobiography: Early battlefield experiences." Retrieved: 13 June 2009.
  9. ^ "von Richthofen's autobiography: Transfer to the Luftstreitkräfte." Retrieved: 13 June 2009.
  10. ^ Sanders, Kevin A. "Rittmeister Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen." Manion's International Auction House. Retrieved: 12 January 2008.
  11. ^ Bodenschatz 1998
  12. ^ von Richthofen, Manfred et al. "Der rote Kampfflieger." Deutscher Verlag (Ullstein), 1933.
  13. ^ Johnson, Karl (Contributing Editor for WTJ). "'The Red Fighter Pilot' by Manfred von Richthofen (online edition)." The War Times Journal. Retrieved: 27 May 2007.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i Miller, Dr. Geoffrey. "The Death of Manfred von Richthofen: Who fired the fatal shot?" Sabretache: Journal and Proceedings of the Military History Society of Australia, vol. XXXIX, no. 2, 1998.
  15. ^ "Synonym für gestorben - Synonyme | Antonyme (Gegenteile) - Fremdwörter von gestorben.", 17 May 2009. Retrieved: 13 June 2009.
  16. ^ Definition
  17. ^ "Definition: Kaputt.", German-English dictionary, 22 April 2009. Retrieved: 13 June 2009.
  18. ^ a b Unsolved History: Death of the Red Baron, 2002, Discovery Channel
  19. ^ "Polish historian finds death certificate of WWI German flying ace 'Red Baron'." Daily News (New York). Retrieved: 8 December 2009.
  20. ^ a b c d e "Who Killed the Red Baron? Explore Competing Theories.", (Public Broadcasting Service) NOVA, 2003. Retrieved: 13 June 2009.
  21. ^ Day, Mark. "Unsung No.1 with a bullet." The Australian, 7 April 2007.
  22. ^ a b Franks and Bennett 1997
  23. ^ Allmers, Dr. Henning. "Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen's medical record — Was the "Red Baron" fit to fly?" The Lancet, 354 (9177), 7 August 1999, pp. 502–504. Published online by Retrieved: 23 September 2007.
  24. ^ "Georges Guynemer: Beloved French Ace, 53 victories." Retrieved: 2 July 2009.
  25. ^ Guttman, Jon. "Georges Guynemer: France’s World War I Ace Pilot." 2 July 2009.
  26. ^ Administrator. "Biography Lothar Freiherr von Richthofen." Retrieved: 13 June 2009.
  27. ^ Burrows 1970, p. 196.
  28. ^ Robinson 1958, pp. 150–155.
  29. ^ a b Franks and Bailey 1992
  30. ^ Ordre de la IVe Armée, n°1599, 23 January 1919
  31. ^ "Distinguished Flying Cross Citation", London Gazette, 3 August 1918.
  32. ^ "Victoria Cross Citation" London Gazette, 18 July 1919.
  33. ^ "Mannock". The Retrieved: 13 April 2009.
  34. ^ Robertson 2005, pp. 150–155.
  35. ^ O’Connor 1999, pp. 371–374 (errata and addenda). For many years, World War I aviation historians believed Richthofen had received the 3rd Class with Crown and Swords of the Bavarian Military Merit Order prior to his submission for the Military Max Joseph Order. However, recent research has proved that he received the usual class of that order common for an officer of his rank: the 4th Class with Swords of the Bavarian Military Merit Order.
  36. ^ No record or photographic evidence has been seen to indicate Richthofen qualified for this badge. However, he successfully completed the training and served for nearly five months as an observer before retraining as a pilot.)


  • Baker, David. Manfred von Richthofen: The Man and the Aircraft He Flew. McGregor, Minnesota: Voyageur Press, 1991. ISBN 1-87154-706-7.
  • Bodenschatz, Karl. Hunting With Richthofen: Sixteen Months of Battle with J G Freiherr Von Richthofen No. 1. London: Grub Street, 1998. ISBN 1-89869-797-3.
  • Burrows, William E. Richthofen: A True History of the Red Baron. London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1970. ISBN 0-15177-172-3.
  • Franks, Norman L.R. and Frank W. Bailey. Over the Front: A Complete Record of Fighter Aces and Units of the United States and French Air Services, 1914-1918. London: Grub Street, 1992. ISBN 978-0948817540.
  • Franks, Norman, Hal Giblin and Nigel McCrery. Under the Guns of the Red Baron: Complete Record of Von Richthofen's Victories and Victims. London: Grub Street, 1998. ISBN 1-84067-145-9.
  • Kilduff, Peter. The Red Baron: Beyond the Legend. London: Cassell, 1994. ISBN 0-304-35207-1.
  • O’Connor, Neal W. The Aviation Awards of the Grand Duchies of Baden and Oldenburg (Foundation of Aviation World War I - Aviation Awards of Imperial Germany in World War I and the Men Who Earned Them – Volume VI. Stratford, Connecticut: Flying Machines Press, 1999. ISBN 0-76431-626-5.
  • Preußen, Kriegsministerium, Geheime Kriegs-Kanzlei. Rangliste der Königlich Preußischen Armee und des XIII. Berlin: Ernst Siegfried Mittler und Sohn, 1914.
  • Robertson, Linda R. The Dream Of Civilized Warfare: World War I Flying Aces and the American Imagination. Minneapolis, MN: University Of Minnesota Press, 2005. ISBN 978-0816642717.
  • Robinson, Bruce (ed.) von Richthofen and the Flying Circus. Letchworth, UK: Harleyford, 1958.
  • Von Richthofen, Manfred. Red Fighter Pilot: The Autobiography of the Red Baron. St Petersburg, Florida: Red and Black Publishers, 2007 (reprint). ISBN 978-0-9791813-3-7.
  • Wright, Nicolas. The Red Baron. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1976. ISBN 0-283-98298-5.
Concerning death

External links

Military offices
New title
Unit formed
Commanding Officer of Jagdgeschwader 1
Succeeded by
Wilhelm Reinhard

Simple English

File:Manfred von
Manfred von Richthofen

Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (May 2, 1892 - April 21, 1918), nicknamed the "Red Baron", was a plane controller, or pilot in World War I, a really big and bad war. He was a "flying ace", who blew up 80 enemy airplanes using metal pieces spat out from his guns, making him the pilot with the most kills in World War I. He was blown up on April 21, 1918. Arthur Roy Brown was credited with the kill, and was awarded the military cross. People buried Richthofen's body with dirt and soil and with full military honors, called a funeral.

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