Red Baron Essay Research Paper Better known

Red Baron Essay, Research Paper

Better known as “the Red Baron,”

Manfred von Richthofen remains

one of the greatest legends of

aviation. Born in a part of Germany

that is now Poland, Richthofen was

the son of an aristocratic Prussian

family. A far better athlete than

scholar, he wanted to become a

calvary officer, but the changing

nature of war had eliminated the

need for calvary, so, he turned to

the “new calvary,” aviation. When

World War I began, Richthofen

joined the Fliegertruppe as an

observer in order to get into combat

more quickly. After just 24 hours of flight training, he made his

first solo flight. He crashed trying to land. By 1916, he was a

combat pilot, and scored his first confirmed victory on

September 17. On November 23 of the same year, he shot down

the British ace Major Lanoe Hawker, his eleventh kill. On

January 4, 1917, Richthofen shot down his 16th plane, making

him the top living German ace at the time. He recieved the

Orden Pour le M?rite (a.k.a. the “Blue Max”), one of

Germany’s highest honors. Given command of Jasta 11, he began

to paint his aircraft red, so that he could be easily identified.

However, it was also said he did this because of the color of his

old Uhlan calvary regiment. To show solidarity with their

commander, the pilots of Jasta 11 begin to put some red on their

planes. Later, British pilots would paint the noses of their

planes red, to show they were hunting this “Red Baron.” In April

1916, Richthofen wrote an angry letter to Berlin, complaining

about the tendency of a biplane’s lower wing to break off during

flight. This resulted in a visit from the legendary plane designer

Anthony Fokker, and his design of the Dr.I triplane, which the

Red Baron became famous for flying. After “Bloody April,” in

which Richthofen shot down 21 Allied planes, he was ordered

on leave, during which time he left command of Jasta 11 to his

brother Lothar and met with Kaiser Wilhelm II. When he

returned, it was in command of a new squadron, the elite

Jagdgeschwader 1 (Fighter Wing 1), also known as JG1, which

gathered some of Germany’s best aces, including Hermann

G?ring and Lothar von Richthofen. The next month, he was

wounded in combat, and the German government, realizing the

propaganda boost his death would give to the Allies, forbade

him to fly unless absolutely neccessary (a loophole he used

often). On April 21, 1918, a disheartened Manfred von

Richthofen who had watched so many of his comrades and

friends die followed a Sopwith Camel deep into enemy

territory, even though he himself had wrote in the German air

doctrine that “one should never obstinately stay with an

opponent which, through bad shooting or skillful turning, he has

been unable to shoot down while the battle lasts until it is far on

the other side.” Wilfred May, the pilot of the Camel, said it was

his erratic, untrained piloting which saved him, until the Red

Baron was killed by a bullet fired either by Australian gunners

on the ground or by the Canadian pilot Arthur “Roy” Brown. His

body was recovered by the British, and buried with full military



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