Manfred von Richthofen
Overview
 
Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (2 May 1892 – 21 April 1918), also widely known as the Red Baron, was a German fighter pilot
Fighter pilot
A fighter pilot is a military aviator trained in air-to-air combat while piloting a fighter aircraft . Fighter pilots undergo specialized training in aerial warfare and dogfighting...

 with the Imperial German Army Air Service (Luftstreitkräfte
Luftstreitkräfte
The Deutsche Luftstreitkräfte , known before October 1916 as Die Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches , or simply Die Fliegertruppen, was the air arm of the Imperial German Army during World War I...

) during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. He is considered the ace-of-aces
Flying ace
A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down several enemy aircraft during aerial combat. The actual number of aerial victories required to officially qualify as an "ace" has varied, but is usually considered to be five or more...

 of that war, being officially credited with 80 air combat
Aerial warfare
Aerial warfare is the use of military aircraft and other flying machines in warfare, including military airlift of cargo to further the national interests as was demonstrated in the Berlin Airlift...

 victories, more than any other pilot.

Originally a cavalryman, Richthofen transferred to the Air Service in 1915, becoming one of the first members of Jasta 2
Jasta 2
Jasta 2 was one of the best-known German Luftstreitkräfte Squadrons in World War I. It was founded by the great aerial tactician Oswald Boelcke, and was the incubator of several notable aviation careers.-Formation:...

in 1916.
Encyclopedia
Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (2 May 1892 – 21 April 1918), also widely known as the Red Baron, was a German fighter pilot
Fighter pilot
A fighter pilot is a military aviator trained in air-to-air combat while piloting a fighter aircraft . Fighter pilots undergo specialized training in aerial warfare and dogfighting...

 with the Imperial German Army Air Service (Luftstreitkräfte
Luftstreitkräfte
The Deutsche Luftstreitkräfte , known before October 1916 as Die Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches , or simply Die Fliegertruppen, was the air arm of the Imperial German Army during World War I...

) during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. He is considered the ace-of-aces
Flying ace
A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down several enemy aircraft during aerial combat. The actual number of aerial victories required to officially qualify as an "ace" has varied, but is usually considered to be five or more...

 of that war, being officially credited with 80 air combat
Aerial warfare
Aerial warfare is the use of military aircraft and other flying machines in warfare, including military airlift of cargo to further the national interests as was demonstrated in the Berlin Airlift...

 victories, more than any other pilot.

Originally a cavalryman, Richthofen transferred to the Air Service in 1915, becoming one of the first members of Jasta 2
Jasta 2
Jasta 2 was one of the best-known German Luftstreitkräfte Squadrons in World War I. It was founded by the great aerial tactician Oswald Boelcke, and was the incubator of several notable aviation careers.-Formation:...

in 1916. He quickly distinguished himself as a fighter pilot, and during 1917 became leader of Jasta 11
Jasta 11
Royal Prussian Jagdstaffel 11 was founded on 28 September 1916 from elements of 4 armee's Keks 1, 2 and 3 and mobilized on 11 October as part of the German Air Service's expansion program, forming permanent specialised fighter squadrons, or "Jastas"...

and then the larger unit Jagdgeschwader 1 (better known as the "Flying Circus"). By 1918, he was regarded as a national hero in Germany, and was very well known by the other side.

Richthofen was shot down and killed near Amiens
Amiens
Amiens is a city and commune in northern France, north of Paris and south-west of Lille. It is the capital of the Somme department in Picardy...

 on 21 April 1918. There has been considerable discussion and debate regarding aspects of his career, especially the circumstances of his death. He remains quite possibly the most widely-known fighter pilot of all time, and has been the subject of many books and films.

Name and nicknames

Richthofen was a Freiherr
Freiherr
The German titles Freiherr and Freifrau and Freiin are titles of nobility, used preceding a person's given name or, after 1919, before the surname...

(literally "Free Lord"), a title of nobility often translated as Baron
Baron
Baron is a title of nobility. The word baron comes from Old French baron, itself from Old High German and Latin baro meaning " man, warrior"; it merged with cognate Old English beorn meaning "nobleman"...

. This is not a given name nor strictly a hereditary title—since all male members of the family were entitled to it, even during the lifetime of their father. This title, combined with the fact that he had his aircraft painted red, led to Richthofen being called "The Red Baron" both inside and outside Germany. During his lifetime, however, he was more often described in German as Der Rote Kampfflieger (variously translated as 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 was born in Kleinburg, near Breslau, Lower Silesia
Lower Silesia
Lower Silesia ; is the northwestern part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia; Upper Silesia is to the southeast.Throughout its history Lower Silesia has been under the control of the medieval Kingdom of Poland, the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy from 1526...

 (now part of the city of Wrocław, Poland), into a prominent Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

n aristocratic family
Richthofen
Richthofen is the surname of a prominent German aristocratic family. The most famous member is the air ace Manfred von Richthofen , also known as the "Red Baron", but a number of other members of his family are also notable for various reasons....

. His father was Major Albrecht Phillip Karl Julius Freiherr von Richthofen and his mother was Kunigunde von Schickfuss und Neudorff. He had an elder sister (Ilse) and two younger brothers.

When he was four years old, Manfred moved with his family to nearby Schweidnitz (now Świdnica
Swidnica
Świdnica is a city in south-western Poland in the region of Silesia. It has a population of 60,317 according to 2006 figures. It lies in Lower Silesian Voivodeship, being the seventh largest town in that voivodeship. From 1975–98 it was in the former Wałbrzych Voivodeship...

). He enjoyed riding horses and hunting as well as gymnastics at school. He excelled at parallel bars and won a number of awards at school. He and his brothers, Lothar
Lothar von Richthofen
Lothar-Siegfried Freiherr von Richthofen was a German First World War fighter ace credited with 40 victories...

 and Bolko, hunted wild boar, elk, birds and deer.

After being educated at home he attended a school at Schweidnitz, before beginning military training when he was 11. After completing cadet training in 1911, he joined an Uhlan
Uhlan
Uhlans were Polish light cavalry armed with lances, sabres and pistols. The title was later used by lancer regiments in the Russian, Prussian, and Austrian armies....

 cavalry
Cavalry
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...

 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
Squadron (cavalry)
A squadron was historically a cavalry sub unit. It is still used to refer to modern cavalry units but can also be used as a designation for other arms and services.-United States:...

").

When World War I began, Richthofen served as a cavalry reconnaissance
Reconnaissance
Reconnaissance is the military term for exploring beyond the area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about enemy forces or features of the environment....

 officer on both the Eastern
Eastern Front (World War I)
The Eastern Front was a theatre of war during World War I in Central and, primarily, Eastern Europe. The term is in contrast to the Western Front. Despite the geographical separation, the events in the two theatres strongly influenced each other...

 and Western Fronts
Western Front (World War I)
Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne...

, seeing action in Russia, France, and Belgium. Traditional cavalry operations soon became impossible due to machine gun
Machine gun
A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....

s and barbed wire
Barbed wire
Barbed wire, also known as barb wire , is a type of fencing wire constructed with sharp edges or points arranged at intervals along the strand. It is used to construct inexpensive fences and is used atop walls surrounding secured property...

, and the Uhlans were used as infantry. 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
Luftstreitkräfte
The Deutsche Luftstreitkräfte , known before October 1916 as Die Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches , or simply Die Fliegertruppen, was the air arm of the Imperial German Army during World War I...

, shortly after viewing a German military aircraft while deployed behind the lines. To his own surprise, his request was granted, and he joined the flying service at the end of May 1915.

Piloting career

From June to August 1915, Richthofen was an observer on reconnaissance missions over the Eastern Front
Eastern Front (World War I)
The Eastern Front was a theatre of war during World War I in Central and, primarily, Eastern Europe. The term is in contrast to the Western Front. Despite the geographical separation, the events in the two theatres strongly influenced each other...

 with Fliegerabteilung 69 ("No. 69 Flying Squadron
Squadron (aviation)
A squadron in air force, army aviation or naval aviation is mainly a unit comprising a number of military aircraft, usually of the same type, typically with 12 to 24 aircraft, sometimes divided into three or four flights, depending on aircraft type and air force...

"). On being transferred to the Champagne front, he managed to shoot down an attacking French Farman aircraft with his observer's machine gun in a tense battle over French lines; however, he was not credited with the kill, since it fell behind Allied lines and therefore, could not be confirmed.

After a chance meeting of the German ace fighter pilot Oswald Boelcke
Oswald Boelcke
Oswald Boelcke was a German flying ace of the First World War and one of the most influential patrol leaders and tacticians of the early years of air combat. Boelcke is considered the father of the German fighter air force, as well as the "Father of Air Fighting Tactics"; he was the first to...

, Richthofen 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
Albatros C.III
-See also:-References:[1] Y. MIlanov: The aviation in Bulgaria in the wars from 1912 to 1945, Vol.I. Sveti Gueorgui Pobedonosetz, Sofia, 1995 -External links:...

. Initially he appeared to be a below average pilot, struggling to control his aircraft, and crashing during his first flight at the controls. Despite this poor start, he rapidly became attuned to his aircraft and, as if in confirmation, over Verdun
Verdun
Verdun is a city in the Meuse department in Lorraine in north-eastern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department.Verdun is the biggest city in Meuse, although the capital of the department is the slightly smaller city of Bar-le-Duc.- History :...

 on 26 April 1916, he fired on a French Nieuport
Nieuport
Nieuport, later Nieuport-Delage, was a French aeroplane company that primarily built racing aircraft before World War I and fighter aircraft during World War I and between the wars.-Beginnings:...

, downing it over Fort Douaumont
Fort Douaumont
Fort Douaumont was the largest and highest fort on the ring of 19 large defensive forts protecting the city of Verdun, France since the 1890s. However, by 1915 the French General Staff had concluded that even the best protected forts of Verdun could not resist bombardments from the German 420mm ...

,although once again, he received no official credit. A week later, he decided to ignore more experienced pilots' advice against flying through a thunderstorm, and later noted that he had been "lucky to get through [the weather]", and vowed never again to fly in such conditions unless ordered to do so.

After another spell flying two-seaters on the Eastern Front, he met Oswald Boelcke again in August 1916. Boelcke, visiting the east in search of candidates for his newly formed fighter unit, selected Richthofen to join Jagdstaffel
Jasta
The Jagdstaffeln were specialized fighter squadrons in the Luftstreitkräfte during World War I.-Background:...

 2
("fighter squadron"). Richthofen won his first aerial combat with Jasta 2
Jasta 2
Jasta 2 was one of the best-known German Luftstreitkräfte Squadrons in World War I. It was founded by the great aerial tactician Oswald Boelcke, and was the incubator of several notable aviation careers.-Formation:...

 over Cambrai
Cambrai
Cambrai is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department.Cambrai is the seat of an archdiocese whose jurisdiction was immense during the Middle Ages. The territory of the Bishopric of Cambrai, roughly coinciding with the shire of Brabant, included...

, France, on 17 September 1916. Boelcke was killed during a midair collision with a friendly aircraft on 28 October 1916, Richthofen witnessing the event himself.

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 dwindling supply of silver in blockaded Germany meant that silver cups like this could no longer be supplied. Richthofen discontinued his orders at this stage, rather than accept cups made in pewter or other base metal.

Instead of using risky, aggressive tactics like those of his brother, Lothar
Lothar von Richthofen
Lothar-Siegfried Freiherr von Richthofen was a German First World War fighter ace credited with 40 victories...

 (40 victories), Manfred observed a set of maxims (known as the "Dicta Boelcke
Dicta Boelcke
The Dicta Boelcke is a list of fundamental aerial maneuvers of aerial combat formulated by the first great German flying ace of the First World War, Oswald Boelcke.-1. Try to secure the upper hand before attacking...

") to assure the success for both the squadron and its pilots. He was not a spectacular or aerobatic pilot, like his brother or the renowned Werner Voss
Werner Voss
Werner Voss was a World War I German flying ace, a friend and rival of the famous Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen....

. However, he was a notable tactician and squadron leader and a fine marksman. 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
Lanoe Hawker
Lanoe George Hawker VC, DSO was a British flying ace, with seven credited victories, during the First World War. He was the first British flying ace, and the third pilot to receive the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded...

 VC
Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories....

, described by Richthofen himself as "the British Boelcke". The victory came while Richthofen was flying an Albatros D.II
Albatros D.II
|-See also:...

 and Hawker was flying a D.H.2
Airco DH.2
|-DH.2 aces:Distinguished pilots of the DH.2 included Victoria Cross winner Lanoe Hawker , who was the first commander of No 24 Squadron and ace Alan Wilkinson. The commander of No. 32 Squadron, Lionel Rees won the Victoria Cross flying the D.H.2 for single handedly attacking a formation of 10...

. After a long dogfight, Hawker was killed by a bullet in the head as he attempted to escape back to his own lines. After this combat, Richthofen was convinced he needed a fighter aircraft with more agility, even at a loss of speed. He switched to the Albatros D.III
Albatros D.III
The Albatros D.III was a biplane fighter aircraft used by the Imperial German Army Air Service and the Austro-Hungarian Air Service during World War I. The D.III was flown by many top German aces, including Manfred von Richthofen, Ernst Udet, Erich Löwenhardt, Kurt Wolff, and Karl Emil Schäfer...

 in January 1917, scoring two victories before suffering an inflight crack in the spar of the aircraft's lower wing on 24 January. Richthofen reverted to the Albatros D.II or Halberstadt D.II
Halberstadt D.II
The Halberstadt D.II was a biplane fighter aircraft of the Luftstreitkräfte that served through the period of Allied air superiority in early 1916, but had begun to be superseded in the Jagdstaffeln by the superior Albatros fighters by the autumn of that year.-Design and development:The D.II was...

 for the next five weeks. On 6 March, his aircraft was shot through the petrol tank by Edwin Benbow
Edwin Benbow
Captain Edwin Louis Benbow was an English flying ace during the First World War, credited with eight victories, comprising six destroyed and one shared destroyed, and one 'out of control'. He was the only pilot to gain 'ace' status flying the Royal Aircraft Factory FE.8 exclusively...

, and Richthofen force landed without injury. Richthofen then scored a victory in the Albatros D.II on 9 March, but since his Albatros D.III was grounded for the rest of the month, Richthofen switched again to a Halberstadt D.II.

He returned to his Albatros D.III on 2 April 1917 and scored 22 victories in it before switching to the Albatros D.V
Albatros D.V
|-See also:-Bibliography:*Bennett, Leon. Gunning for the Red Baron. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2006. ISBN 1-58544-507-X....

 in late June. Following his return from convalescence in October, Richthofen flew the celebrated Fokker Dr.I
Fokker Dr.I
The Fokker Dr.I Dreidecker was a World War I fighter aircraft built by Fokker-Flugzeugwerke. The Dr.I saw widespread service in the spring of 1918...

 triplane
Triplane
A triplane is a fixed-wing aircraft equipped with three vertically-stacked wing planes. Tailplanes and canard foreplanes are not normally included in this count, although they may occasionally be.-Design principles:...

, 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 19 of his 80 kills were made in this type. It was his Albatros D.III Serial No. 789/16 that was first painted bright red, in late January 1917, and in which he first earned his name and reputation.

Richthofen championed the development of the Fokker D.VII
Fokker D.VII
The Fokker D.VII was a German World War I fighter aircraft designed by Reinhold Platz of the Fokker-Flugzeugwerke. Germany produced around 3,300 D.VII aircraft in the summer and autumn of 1918. In service, the D.VII quickly proved itself to be a formidable aircraft...

 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.

Flying Circus

In January 1917, after his 16th confirmed kill, Richthofen received the Pour le Mérite
Pour le Mérite
The Pour le Mérite, known informally as the Blue Max , was the Kingdom of Prussia's highest military order for German soldiers until the end of World War I....

 ("The Blue Max"), the highest military honour in Germany at the time. That same month, he assumed command of the fighter squadron Jasta 11
Jasta 11
Royal Prussian Jagdstaffel 11 was founded on 28 September 1916 from elements of 4 armee's Keks 1, 2 and 3 and mobilized on 11 October as part of the German Air Service's expansion program, forming permanent specialised fighter squadrons, or "Jastas"...

, which ultimately included some of the elite German pilots, many of whom he trained himself. Several later became leaders of their own squadrons. Ernst Udet
Ernst Udet
Colonel General Ernst Udet was the second-highest scoring German flying ace of World War I. He was one of the youngest aces and was the highest scoring German ace to survive the war . His 62 victories were second only to Manfred von Richthofen, his commander in the Flying Circus...

 (later Colonel-General Udet) was a member of Richthofen's group.

At the time he became a squadron commander, Richthofen took the flamboyant step of having his Albatros painted red. Thereafter he usually flew in red painted aircraft, although not all of them were entirely red, nor was the "red" necessarily the brilliant scarlet beloved of model and replica builders.

Other members of Jasta 11 soon took to painting parts of their aircraft red—their "official" reason seems to have been to make their leader less conspicuous, and to avoid him being singled out in a fight. In practice, red colouration became a unit identification. Other jastas soon adopted their own "squadron colours" and decoration of fighters became general throughout the Luftstreitkräfte. In spite of obvious drawbacks from the point of view of intelligence this practice was permitted by the German high command, and was made much of by German propaganda—Richthofen being identified as Der Rote Kampfflieger—the "Red Battle Flyer".

Richthofen led his new unit to unparalleled success, peaking during "Bloody April
Bloody April
During the First World War, the month of April 1917 was known as Bloody April by the Royal Flying Corps . The RFC suffered particularly severe losses — about three times as many as the Imperial German Army Air Service over the same period — but continued its primary role in support of the ground...

" 1917. In that month alone, he downed 22 British aircraft, including four in a single day, 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
Jagdgeschwader 1 (World War 1)
The Jagdgeschwader 1 of World War I, was a fighter unit comprising four Jastas or 'fighter squadrons', originally raised by combining Jastas 4, 6, 10 and 11, on 24 June 1917 with Manfred von Richthofen as commodore...

, 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
Jagdgeschwader 1 (World War 1)
The Jagdgeschwader 1 of World War I, was a fighter unit comprising four Jastas or 'fighter squadrons', originally raised by combining Jastas 4, 6, 10 and 11, on 24 June 1917 with Manfred von Richthofen as commodore...

", its name coming both from the unit's mobility (including the use of tents and trains) and its brightly coloured aircraft. By the end of April, the "Flying Circus" also became known as the "Richthofen Circus."

Richthofen was a brilliant tactician, building on Boelcke's tactics. 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 contended otherwise. He circulated to his pilots the basic rule which he wanted them to fight by: "Aim for the man and don't miss him. If you are fighting a two-seater, get the observer first; until you have silenced the gun, don't bother about the pilot".

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
Erwin Rommel
Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel , popularly known as the Desert Fox , was a German Field Marshal of World War II. He won the respect of both his own troops and the enemies he fought....

 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.

Wounded in combat

On 6 July 1917, during combat with a formation of F.E.2d two seat fighters
Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2
The Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2 was a two-seat pusher biplane that was operated as a day and night bomber and as a fighter aircraft by the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War...

 of No. 20 Squadron RFC
No. 20 Squadron RAF
No. 20 Squadron of the Royal Air Force was until March 2010, the OCU for the BAE Harrier GR9, and T12, operating from RAF Wittering...

, near Wervicq, Richthofen sustained a serious head wound, causing instant disorientation and temporary partial blindness. He regained consciousness in time to ease the aircraft out of a free-falling spin and executed a rough landing in a field within friendly territory. The injury required multiple surgeries to remove bone splinters from the impact area; he was hospitalised and grounded for over a month. The air victory was credited to Captain Donald Cunnell
Donald Cunnell
Donald Charles Cunnell was a British World War I flying ace who was killed in action over Belgium. He is known for having shot down and wounded the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen.-Early life:...

 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.

Author and hero

During his convalescence, Richthofen completed his autobiography, Der rote Kampfflieger. This was written on the instructions of the "Press and Intelligence" (i.e. propaganda) section of the Luftstreitkräfte, and was heavily censored and edited. A translation by J. Ellis Barker was published in 1918 as The Red Battle Flyer. 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".

By 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
Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories....

 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.

Death

Richthofen was fatally wounded just after 11:00 a.m. on 21 April 1918, while flying over Morlancourt
Morlancourt
Morlancourt is a commune in the Somme department in Picardie in northern France.-Geography:Morlancourt is situated on the D42 road, some northeast of Amiens.-Population:-Personalities:* Louis Friant , French General, was born here....

 Ridge, near the Somme River
Somme River
The Somme is a river in Picardy, northern France. The name Somme comes from a Celtic word meaning tranquility. The department Somme was named after this river....

. 49°56′0.60"N 2°32′43.71"E

At the time, the Baron had been pursuing (at very low altitude) a Sopwith Camel
Sopwith Camel
The Sopwith Camel was a British First World War single-seat biplane fighter introduced on the Western Front in 1917. Manufactured by Sopwith Aviation Company, it had a short-coupled fuselage, heavy, powerful rotary engine, and concentrated fire from twin synchronized machine guns. Though difficult...

 piloted by a novice Canadian pilot, Lieutenant Wilfrid "Wop" May
Wop May
Captain Wilfrid Reid "Wop" May, OBE, DFC , was a First World War flying ace and a pioneering aviator who created the role of the bush pilot while working the Canadian west....

 of No. 209 Squadron
No. 209 Squadron RAF
No. 209 Squadron of the British Royal Air Force was originally formed from a nucleus of "Naval Eight" on 1 February 1917 at Saint-Pol-sur-Mer, France, as No. 9 Squadron Royal Naval Air Service and saw active service in both World Wars, the Korean War and in Malaya...

, 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
Roy Brown (pilot)
Captain Arthur Roy Brown DSC and bar RNAS was a Canadian World War I flying ace. The Royal Air Force officially credited Brown with shooting down Manfred von Richthofen, the "Red Baron", although it is in fact unlikely that Brown fired the bullet that caused his death...

, 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
.303 British
.303 British, or 7.7x56mmR, is a .311 inch calibre rifle and machine gun cartridge first developed in Britain as a blackpowder round put into service in December 1888 for the Lee-Metford rifle, later adapted to use smokeless powders...

 bullet, which caused such severe damage to his heart and lungs that it must have produced a very speedy death. In the last seconds of his life, he managed to make a hasty but controlled landing ( 49.9321076°N 2.5376701°W) in a field on a hill near the Bray-Corbie road, just north of the village of Vaux-sur-Somme
Vaux-sur-Somme
Vaux-sur-Somme is a commune in the Somme department in Picardie in northern France. It is best known as the death place of flying ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as the Red Baron during World War I, in mysterious circumstances. Richthofen was shot down here in 1918 by Captain Arthur Brown,...

, 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. Another eye witness, Sgt Ted Smout
Edward David Smout
Sgt Edward David 'Ted' Smout OAM was an Australian soldier, a veteran of the First World War.-Biography:Born in Brisbane, Queensland, he joined the AAMC at the age of 17, lying about his age to enlist...

 of the Australian Medical Corps
Royal Australian Army Medical Corps
The Royal Australian Army Medical Corps is the branch of the Australian Army responsible for providing medical care to Army personnel. The AAMC was formed in 1902 and has participated in every Australian Army operation...

, reported that Richthofen's last word was "kaputt".

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
No. 3 Squadron RAAF
No. 3 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force fighter squadron. It was first formed in 1916 and currently operates F/A-18 Hornet aircraft from RAAF Base Williamtown, near Newcastle, New South Wales.-World War I:...

, Australian Flying Corps
Royal Australian Air Force
The Royal Australian Air Force is the air force branch of the Australian Defence Force. The RAAF was formed in March 1921. It continues the traditions of the Australian Flying Corps , which was formed on 22 October 1912. The RAAF has taken part in many of the 20th century's major conflicts...

, as the nearest Allied air unit, assumed responsibility for the Baron's remains.

In 2009, Richthofen's death certificate
Death certificate
The phrase death certificate can describe either a document issued by a medical practitioner certifying the deceased state of a person or popularly to a document issued by a person such as a registrar of vital statistics that declares the date, location and cause of a person's death as later...

 was found in the archives in Ostrów Wielkopolski
Ostrów Wielkopolski
Ostrów Wielkopolski is a town in central Poland with 72,360 inhabitants , situated in the Greater Poland Voivodeship; the seat of Ostrów Wielkopolski County.-History:Recently, a small fortified dwelling dating from the 10th century was discovered on the north-east side of...

, Poland. Richthofen was 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".

Controversy

Controversy and contradictory hypotheses
Hypothesis
A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. The term derives from the Greek, ὑποτιθέναι – hypotithenai meaning "to put under" or "to suppose". For a hypothesis to be put forward as a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it...

 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, but it is now generally agreed that the bullet that hit Richthofen was fired by someone on the ground. 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. Brown's attack was from above, and from the left. Even more conclusively, Richthofen could not have continued his pursuit of May for as long as he did (up to two minutes) had this wound come from Brown's guns.

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".

Many sources, including a 1998 article by Geoffrey Miller, a physician and historian of military medicine, and a 2003 U.S. Public Broadcasting Service
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 documentary, have suggested that Sergeant Cedric Popkin
Cedric Popkin
Cedric Bassett Popkin is considered the person most likely to have killed German ace Manfred von Richthofen — also known as the "Red Baron" — on 21 April 1918. Popkin was an anti-aircraft machine gunner with the First Australian Imperial Force , during World War I.Popkin was born in...

 was the person most likely to have killed Richthofen. Popkin was an anti-aircraft (AA) machine gunner with the Australian 24th Machine Gun Company, and was using a Vickers gun
Vickers machine gun
Not to be confused with the Vickers light machine gunThe Vickers machine gun or Vickers gun is a name primarily used to refer to the water-cooled .303 inch machine gun produced by Vickers Limited, originally for the British Army...

. 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. Given the nature of Richthofen's wounds, Popkin was in a position to fire the fatal shot, when the pilot passed him for a second time, on the right.

Some confusion has been caused by a letter that Popkin wrote, in 1935, to an Australian official historian. It stated Popkin's belief that he had fired the fatal shot as Richthofen flew straight at his position. However, in the latter respect, Popkin was incorrect: the bullet that caused the Baron's death came from the side (see above).

A 2002 Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel is an American satellite and cable specialty channel , founded by John Hendricks and distributed by Discovery Communications. It is a publicly traded company run by CEO David Zaslav...

 documentary suggests that Gunner W. J. "Snowy" Evans
Snowy Evans
Willy John "Snowstain" Evans was a Lewis machine gunner in the Royal Australian Artillery during World War I. A 2002 documentary produced by Discovery Channel credited him with firing the shot that killed Manfred von Richthofen , near Vaux-sur-Somme, France on 21 April 1918...

, a Lewis machine gunner with the 53rd Battery, 14th Field Artillery Brigade, Royal Australian Artillery is likely to have killed von Richthofen. However, Miller and the PBS documentary dismiss this theory, because of the angle from which Evans fired at Richthofen.

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. Nevertheless, in 2007, a municipality in Sydney recognised Buie as the man who shot down Richthofen, placing a plaque near Buie's former home. 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
David Valentine Jardine Blake
Major General David Valentine Jardine Blake was a notable member of the Australian Army in both World War I and World War II, rising to the rank of Major General.-World War I:...

, initially suggested that Richthofen had been killed by the crew of one of his squadron's R.E.8
Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8
The Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 was a British two-seat biplane reconnaissance and bomber aircraft of the First World War designed by John Kenworthy. Intended as a replacement for the vulnerable B.E.2, the R.E.8 was more difficult to fly, and was regarded with great suspicion at first in the Royal...

s, which had also fought Richthofen's unit that afternoon. However, this was quickly disproved (if only by the time factor), and following an autopsy
Autopsy
An autopsy—also known as a post-mortem examination, necropsy , autopsia cadaverum, or obduction—is a highly specialized surgical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of a corpse to determine the cause and manner of death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present...

 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. In this context, it is universally accepted that Richthofen's judgement during his last combat was uncharacteristically unsound in several respects. Several theories have been proposed to account for his behaviour.

In 1999, a German medical researcher, Henning Allmers, published an article in British medical journal The Lancet
The Lancet
The Lancet is a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal. It is one of the world's best known, oldest, and most respected general medical journals...

, 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
Traumatic brain injury
Traumatic brain injury , also known as intracranial injury, occurs when an external force traumatically injures the brain. TBI can be classified based on severity, mechanism , or other features...

 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
Target fixation
Target fixation is a process by which the brain is focused so intently on an observed object that awareness of other obstacles or hazards can diminish. Also, in an avoidance scenario, the observer can become so fixated on the target that they will forget to take the necessary action to avoid it,...

.

Richthofen may have been suffering from cumulative combat stress
Combat stress reaction
Combat stress reaction , in the past commonly known as shell shock or battle fatigue, is a range of behaviours resulting from the stress of battle which decrease the combatant's fighting efficiency. The most common symptoms are fatigue, slower reaction times, indecision, disconnection from one's...

, which made him fail to observe some of his usual precautions. One of the leading British air aces, Major Edward "Mick" Mannock
Edward Mannock
Major Edward Corringham "Mick" Mannock VC, DSO and Two Bars, MC & Bar was a British First World War flying ace. Mannock was probably born in Ireland, though of English and Scottish parentage....

, 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
Georges Guynemer
Georges Guynemer was a top fighter ace for France during World War I, and a French national hero at the time of his death.-Early life and military career:...

, went missing on 11 September 1917, probably while attacking a two-seater without realizing several Fokkers were escorting it.

There is a suggestion in Franks and Bennett's 2007 book that on the day of Richthofen's death, the prevailing wind was about 25 mph (40 km/h) easterly, rather than the usual 25 mi/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.

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
Spring Offensive
The 1918 Spring Offensive or Kaiserschlacht , also known as the Ludendorff Offensive, was a series of German attacks along the Western Front during World War I, beginning on 21 March 1918, which marked the deepest advances by either side since 1914...

. This was part of Germany's last opportunity to win the war. In the face of Allied air superiority, the German air service was having difficulty acquiring vital reconnaissance information, and could do little to prevent Allied squadrons from completing effective reconnaissance and close support of their armies.

Burial

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
Military funeral
A military funeral is a specially orchestrated funeral given by a country's military for a soldier, sailor, marine or airman who died in battle, a veteran, or other prominent military figures or heads of state. A military funeral may feature guards of honor, the firing of volley shots as a salute,...

, to be conducted by the personnel of No. 3 Squadron AFC.

Richthofen was buried in the cemetery at the village of Bertangles
Bertangles
Bertangles is a commune in the Somme department in Picardie in northern France.-Geography:Bertangles is situated on the D97 road, just off the N25, north of Amiens...

, near Amiens
Amiens
Amiens is a city and commune in northern France, north of Paris and south-west of Lille. It is the capital of the Somme department in Picardy...

, on 22 April 1918. Six airmen with the rank of Captain—the same rank as Richthofen—served as pallbearer
Pallbearer
A pall-bearer is one of several funeral participants who helps carry the casket of a deceased person from a religious or memorial service or viewing either directly to a cemetery or mausoleum, or to and from the hearse which carries the coffin....

s, and a guard of honour from the squadron's other ranks
Other Ranks
Other Ranks in the British Army, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force are those personnel who are not commissioned officers. In the Royal Navy, these personnel are called ratings...

 fired a salute. Allied squadrons stationed nearby presented memorial wreaths, one of which was inscribed with the words, "To Our Gallant and Worthy Foe".

A speculation that his opponents organised a flypast at his funeral, giving rise to the missing man formation
Missing man formation
The missing man formation is an aerial salute performed as part of a flyover of aircraft at a funeral or memorial event, typically in memory of a fallen pilot. The missing man formation is often called "the missing man flyby"...

, is most unlikely and totally unsupported by any contemporary evidence.

In the early 1920s the French authorities created a military cemetery
Fricourt German war cemetery
Fricourt German war cemetery is near the village of Fricourt, near Albert, in the French département of the Somme. Most of the fallen were members of the Imperial German 2nd Army...

 at Fricourt
Fricourt
Fricourt is a commune in the Somme department in Picardie in northern France.-Geography:Fricourt is situated on the D147 and D64 junction, some northeast of Amiens.-History:...

, 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
Lothar von Richthofen
Lothar-Siegfried Freiherr von Richthofen was a German First World War fighter ace credited with 40 victories...

, who had been killed in a post-war air crash in 1922. The German government requested, however, that the final resting place be the Invalidenfriedhof Cemetery
Invalidenfriedhof Cemetery
The Invalids' Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Berlin. It was the traditional resting place of the Prussian Army, and is regarded as particularly important as a memorial to the German Wars of Liberation of 1813-15.-History:...

 in Berlin, where many German military heroes and past leaders were buried and the family agreed. Later the Nazi regime
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 organised a grandiose memorial ceremony over this grave, erecting a massive new tombstone with the single word: “Richthofen”. During the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 the Invalidenfriedhof was on the boundary of the Soviet zone in Berlin
Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin...

, and the tombstone became pockmarked with bullets fired at attempted escapees to the west. In 1975, the remains were moved to a family plot at the Südfriedhof in Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden is a city in southwest Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 275,400 inhabitants, plus approximately 10,000 United States citizens...

, where he is buried next to his brother Bolko, his sister Elisabeth and her husband.

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—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
Norman Franks
Norman Leslie Robert Franks is an English writer who specialises in aviation books on the pilots and squadrons of World Wars I and II.-Biography:...

 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 would put his actual total as high as 100 or more.

For comparison, the highest scoring Allied ace was Frenchman René Fonck, with 75 confirmed victories and further 52 unconfirmed behind enemy lines. The highest scoring British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 fighter pilots were Canadian Billy Bishop
Billy Bishop
Air Marshal William Avery "Billy" Bishop VC, CB, DSO & Bar, MC, DFC, ED was a Canadian First World War flying ace, officially credited with 72 victories, making him the top Canadian ace, and according to some sources, the top ace of the British Empire.-Early life:Bishop was born in Owen Sound,...

 credited with 72 victories, and Mick Mannock with 50 confirmed kills and a further 11 unconfirmed.

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
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

 that were on the whole better than his own.

Honours, tributes and relics

Relics
Decorations and awards
  • Prussian Order Pour le Mérite: 12 January 1917 (in recognition of his 16th aerial victory).
  • Prussian Order of the Red Eagle
    Order of the Red Eagle
    The Order of the Red Eagle was an order of chivalry of the Kingdom of Prussia. It was awarded to both military personnel and civilians, to recognize valor in combat, excellence in military leadership, long and faithful service to the kingdom, or other achievements...

    , 3rd Class with Crown and Swords: 6 April 1918 (in recognition of his 70th aerial victory).
  • Prussian House Order of Hohenzollern
    House Order of Hohenzollern
    The House Order of Hohenzollern was an order of chivalry of the House of Hohenzollern. It was both a military and a civil award...

    , Knight's Cross with Swords: 11 November 1916.
  • Prussian Iron Cross
    Iron Cross
    The Iron Cross is a cross symbol typically in black with a white or silver outline that originated after 1219 when the Kingdom of Jerusalem granted the Teutonic Order the right to combine the Teutonic Black Cross placed above a silver Cross of Jerusalem....

    , 1st Class (1914)
  • Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class (1914): 12 September 1914.
  • Bavarian Military Merit Order
    Military Merit Order (Bavaria)
    The Bavarian Military Merit Order was established on July 19, 1866 by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. It was the kingdom's main decoration for bravery and military merit for officers and higher-ranking officials. Civilians acting in support of the army were also made eligible for the decoration...

    , 4th Class with Swords: 29 April 1917.
  • Saxon Military Order of St. Henry
    Military Order of St. Henry
    The Military Order of St. Henry was a military order of the Kingdom of Saxony, a member state of the German Empire. The order was the oldest military order of the states of the German Empire. It was founded on October 7, 1736 by Augustus III, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony...

    , Knight's Cross: 16 April 1917.
  • Württemberg Military Merit Order
    Military Merit Order (Württemberg)
    The Military Merit Order was a military order of the Kingdom of Württemberg, which joined the German Empire in 1871. The order was one of the older military orders of the states of the German Empire...

    , Knight's Cross: 13 April 1917.
  • Saxe-Ernestine House Order
    Saxe-Ernestine House Order
    The Saxe-Ernestine House Order was a German Ducal award, instituted by Duke Friedrich of Saxe-Altenburg, Duke Ernst I of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Duke Bernhard II of Saxe-Meiningen, on 25 December 1833 as a joint award of the Saxon duchies.-Classes:At first, the Order consisted of five classes: Grand...

    , 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
    Hanseatic Cross
    The Hanseatic Cross was a decoration of the three Hanseatic Cities of Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck, who were member states of the German Empire during World War I...

    : 25 September 1917.
  • Lübeck Hanseatic Cross: 22 September 1917.
  • Austrian Order of the Iron Crown
    Order of the Iron Crown (Austria)
    The Austrian Imperial Order of the Iron Crown , was restablished in 1815 by Emperor Franz I. The Order of the Iron Crown had previously been an order of the Napoleanic Kingdom of Italy.-History:...

    , 3rd Class with War Decoration: 8 August 1917.
  • Austrian Military Merit Cross, 3rd Class with War Decoration
  • Bulgarian Order of Bravery
    Order of Bravery
    The Order of Bravery is a Bulgarian order during the Kingdom of Bulgaria and the Republic of Bulgaria. It is the most esteemed Bulgarian order and the second highest in the Kingdom of Bulgaria and forth highest in the Republic of Bulgaria...

    , 4th Class (1st Grade): June 1917.
  • Turkish Imtiaz Medal in Silver with Sabres
  • Turkish Liakat Medal
    Liakat Medal
    The Liakat Medal translated as "Medal of Merit," was a decoration of the Ottoman Empire established in 1890. It could be awarded in two classes, gold or silver. The medal was a common military decoration of the late Ottoman Empire, through the end of the First World War. The medal could also be...

     in Silver with Sabres
  • Turkish War Medal ("Iron Crescent"): 4 November 1917.
  • German Army Pilot's Badge
  • German Army Observer's Badge
  • Austrian Field Pilot's Badge (Franz Joseph pattern)


Tributes
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:
  • Jagdgeschwader 132 "Richthofen" (1 April 1936 – 1 November 1938)—Wehrmacht
    Wehrmacht
    The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

    aviation unit
  • Jagdgeschwader 131 "Richthofen" (1 November 1938 – 1 May 1939)—Luftwaffe
    Luftwaffe
    Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

  • Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen"
    Jagdgeschwader 2
    Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen" was a World War II Luftwaffe wing. It was named after World War I fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen.-History:...

     (1 May 1939 – 7 May 1945)—Luftwaffe
  • Jagdgeschwader 71 "Richthofen"
    Jagdgeschwader 71
    Jagdgeschwader 71 Richthofen is a Fighter Wing of the German Luftwaffe. JG 71 was West Germany's first operational jet fighter unit and is currently the last operational German fighter unit using the F-4 Phantom II aircraft.-History:...

     (from 6 June 1959)—the first jet fighter unit established by the post-World War II German Bundeswehr
    Bundeswehr
    The Bundeswehr consists of the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities...

    ("federal defence force"); its founding commander was the most successful air ace in history, Erich Hartmann
    Erich Hartmann
    Erich Alfred Hartmann , nicknamed "Bubi" by his comrades and "The Black Devil" by his Soviet enemies, was a German World War II fighter pilot and is the highest-scoring fighter ace in the history of aerial warfare...

    .


In 1941, a newly launched Kriegsmarine
Kriegsmarine
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...

(navy) seaplane tender
Seaplane tender
A seaplane tender is a ship that provides facilities for operating seaplanes. These ships were the first aircraft carriers and appeared just before the First World War.-History:...

 was also named Richthofen.

The engine of Richthofen's DR.I was donated to the Imperial War Museum
Imperial War Museum
Imperial War Museum is a British national museum organisation with branches at five locations in England, three of which are in London. The museum was founded during the First World War in 1917 and intended as a record of the war effort and sacrifice of Britain and her Empire...

 in London, where it is still on display. The control column (joystick) of Richthofen's aircraft can be seen at the Australian War Memorial
Australian War Memorial
The Australian War Memorial is Australia's national memorial to the members of all its armed forces and supporting organisations who have died or participated in the wars of the Commonwealth of Australia...

, in Canberra. The Royal Canadian Military Institute
Royal Canadian Military Institute
The Royal Canadian Military Institute , located in Toronto, Ontario, is Canada's premier independent institute for the study of military strategy, arts, military science and literature....

, in Toronto, holds two parts of the aircraft: its seat and a side panel signed by the pilots of Brown's squadron.

See also

  • List of victories of Manfred von Richthofen
  • List of World War I flying aces
  • The Red Baron in popular culture
    The Red Baron in popular culture
    The following is a list of mentions of Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron, in popular culture.-Popular fiction:*A famous depiction of Manfred von Richthofen appeared in the comic strip Peanuts by Charles Schulz and was taken up in subsequent television specials...

  • The Red Baron (film)
    The Red Baron (film)
    The Red Baron is a German biopic by Nikolai Müllerschön from 2008, about the legendary World War I fighter pilot Manfred von Richthofen. It was filmed in the Czech Republic, France and Germany, entirely in English to improve its international commercial viability.-Plot:In 1906, a young Baron...

    , a film released in 2008, which is largely fictionalized
  • Von Richthofen and Brown
    Von Richthofen and Brown
    Von Richthofen and Brown also known as The Red Baron, is a film directed by Roger Corman, and starring John Phillip Law and Don Stroud as the titular characters....

    , a theatrical film released in 1971, spanning the time from just before von Richtofen's first confirmed kill until his death.

External links


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