Manfred Von Richthofen is Killed!


April 23rd 1918



Sadly two days ago, April 21st, the infamous Baron Manfred von Richthofen, was killed over the Australian lines in the western front over Vaux sur Somme, France, at the age of 25. To us, he was known as the “Der rote Kampfflieger”, where to our enemies, he is known as the terrifying “Red Baron”.


The incident occurred when the Baron courageously followed a pilot, Wilfred May, flying a Sopwith Camel, deep into Allied territory. This was deeper into enemy territory and far lower to the ground than his doctrine permitted, but his determination pushed him to attempt to destroy the allied pilot at all costs.


The life of this heroic pilot will live on in our memories forever.


Richthofen was born on May 2, 1892 in Breslau, Germany. He was the eldest of three sons and excelled at athletics and outdoor activities. At the early age of 11 he enrolled at the military school at Wahlstatt, and later attended the Royal Military academy at Lichterfelde. After completing the Manfred Albrecht Von Richthofen’s cadet training in 1911, a course named after his soldier father, he joined the 1st regiment of Uhlans Kaiser Alexander III as a cavalryman. He greatly enjoyed this, as the job allowed him to travel, and wherever he went he was applauded and given gifts by the German public, who were, and are, enthusiastic about the war. He viewed it as a great honor to be a cavalryman, and so continued to work extremely hard. He was later promoted to lieutenant in 1912, which gave him a sense of accomplishment and honor, while he greatly enjoyed being referred to as a man of such high rank.


At the outbreak of the war, and with new technology such as machine guns rendering horses unsuitable for combat, Richthofen could no longer take part in the war as a cavalryman. Sadly, at this time, he lost six cousins who were all in the cavalry. He then turned to the air service, looking for a new challenge, where he was trained as an observer. He did this as the training period was shorter than that for a pilot, gaining him entry into the war faster, showing his enthusiasm to serve his country. This enthusiasm and determination is an excellent example to not only all Germans, but to all who are taking part in this Great War. After only 24 hours of flight training from his good friend Oberleutnant Georg Zeumer, his first solo flight took off on October 10th, 1915. His remarkable flying talent was soon noted, although he, for the first and only time in his career, collided with the ground attempting to land.


After receiving more training, he quickly was wearing down the Allied Air Force, where he shot many planes down over enemy territory. Many of his victories were not confirmed, as some planes crashed behind enemy lines and could not be verified, and so his total number of kills is undoubtedly much higher than the official number.


He began his flying career in an Albatros D.II biplane. It was in this aircraft that he crushed much of the allied resistance, but later on in his career he flew an Albatros D.III and a Fokker Dr.I triplane, the one for which he is most famous for flying.


One of Richthofen’s good friends and German aviation hero, Oswald Boelcke, inspired Richthofen to further his career in aviation. His friend’s presence is also being attributed to Richthofen’s first introduction into combat flying. Boelcke was soon recruiting aces to become members of a new regiment called ‘Jagdstaffel 2’, also known as Jasta 2, and when Richthofen was offered a place, he jumped at the chance to join. Here, Richthofen had the eighth highest number of victories out of the whole regiment, which consisted of 25 pilots. Sadly, on October 28th 1916, just as the Red Baron’s career was taking off alongside his good friend, he watched as Boelcke collided midair with another member of his regiment while he, and four other members of Jasta 2, were about to attack an enemy aircraft. After his friend’s death, Richthofen was given command of Jasta 2, and so renamed the regiment in Boelcke’s honor to \'Jasta Boelcke\'. Germany had then