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In any case, the franc-tireurs dashed out the back door and disappeared into the woods. I fired after them, but did not hit them. I immediately ordered the whole house ransacked, but nothing was found, the place was empty. We found only the musket piece standing by the window and had to avenge ourselves in a different way. In five minutes the house was in flames. This is where one gets to decide exactly where Richthofen falls into a mental spectrum for military men. With this evidence, one would defiantly have to place Richthofen as a patriot rather than a psychopath, since there seemed to be no joy in him having to kill one of the young males, but yet he didn't want to disgrace his wounded comrade by letting this act go unpunished.

Though one can not be certain if Manfred was actually trying to hit them while they were running away, for he never actually says it, it is safe to assume that Richthofen, who was a good marksman which was one of the reasons he was such a successful ace , might of intentionally missed the franc-tireurs, for if he was actually trying to hit the fleeing boys, the chances of him hitting them would have been quite high. Richthofen finds that he could still avenge his wounded soldier and horse through a manner other than killing, which end up being through the burning of the cottage. How ironic is it that a future fighter ace got the satisfaction of vengeance through the destruction of a material object rather than that of a person?

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This brings up a compelling theory that America's top ace in World War I, Eddie Rickenbacker, alludes to in his autobiography when asked about killing an enemy pilot in a dogfight. I have no regrets over killing a fellow human being. I do not believe that at that moment I even considered the matter. Like nearly all air fighters, I was an automation behind the gun barrels of my plane.

I never thought of killing an individual but of shooting down an enemy plane. Many soldiers need to justify to themselves the killing that they are obligated to do in war, and it would not be out of the question to think Richthofen would share roughly the same views Rickenbacker did, as it would seem easier to cope with the destruction of an enemy object rather than the killing of an enemy soldier, even if a human being is manning this machine. A perception such as the one possessed by American pilot William Mitchell,9 in which he considered the air war more humane than the brutal slaughter going on in the trenches, could have also been held in common among airmen, for pilots were not killing men face to face in a dogfight as opposed to infantry battles, so enemy pilots remain anonymous with the machine being emphasized in their place.

As far as my research has gone, I have yet to find any evidence that Manfred Von Richthofen ever killed a man up close and personal, even though he did come under fire multiple times while his calvary unit was stationed in France. Once again there is a display of Manfred's ambition and sense of duty to his country.

Though the paper work Manfred was doing was necessary and quite important, his spirit and mindset felt that he would be doing more good if he was participating in the fighting rather than filing papers behind friendly lines.

The Real Red Baron

Richthofen would finally get his wish, for he would get to leave the monotony of his current role on the front, making him available to be involved in the fighting! This occurred after he complained to the commanding officer, which was heard, and granted Manfred permission to join the Flying Service in late May, Not everyone has the personality or the ability to become a pilot, but in a strange sense of irony, Manfred Von Richthofen happen to fit all the traits of men who want to become pilots without really even knowing what he signed up for.

Whether he was intrigued with this new branch of service or heard stories that inspired him, we may never know. Nevertheless, he had all the makings of a pilot, for Manfred had always been a thrill seeker, which happens to be one of top benefits of flying as observed by David C. Edwards, a professor of psychology at Iowa State University and licensed pilot. Prestige is another draw to flying according to Edwards,16 and Richthofen suggests in his journals that he did enjoy this aspect of being a pilot.

Even today with airplanes being common place in must cultures, pilots still have a certain mystique amongst the populous, so one could only imagine what kind of standing an ace of World War I would have among common folk and solders alike. Richthofen's journals propose that he indeed enjoyed this prestige, an Manfred mentions after he got a promotion that he would of rather had the Pour le merite informally known as the Blue Max , Prussia's highest military honor, which he ended up receiving a couple days later.

Now that an idea has been drawn as to why Manfred Von Richthofen decided to leave the calvary in favor of the air force, lets diagnose what made him so great at being a combat pilot. For starters, Richthofen's observer role while in the calvary and during the beginning of his time in the air force helped him identify enemy planes and wind conditions properly while in the skies, all of which can be used to a combat pilot's advantage while in a dogfight.

Richthofen analyzes his surroundings and cognitively uses the details he had gathered to put himself in the best possible position to win the battle. For example, wind plays an enormous role in the battle as it forces one from our Fronts or pushes one towards it. I once shot down an Englishman to whom the fatal shot had been given on his side of the enemy lines, and yet he fell near our captive balloons; the wind had carried him that far. Information is an important tool in warfare, but if one does not act upon it, the knowledge gained is worthless.

Hesitation to take advantage of an opportune moment can be the difference between life and death as a fighter pilot, but this was never a problem for Manfred. According to the people who knew him best, Manfred was fearless since the days of his childhood.


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Manfred wanted to see this ghost, so he decided to sleep in the attic and confront it. Manfred's mother and sister wanted to put his bravery to the test, so they decided to roll chestnuts on the attic floor to try and scare him, to which he awoke and grabbed a club, only to find his mother and sister when he got close to the noise.

His mother had to shine a light on him so he won't accidentally harm them, thinking they were ghosts, though Balko claims there wasn't a trace of anxiety on Manfred's face when the ordeal was over. This certainly had to be a great asset for a pilot about to engage in a life of death struggle thousands of feet above land! Probably his greatest attribute was the patients he developed as a hunter. Hunting improved Richthofen's accuracy with a gun as well, but no amount of marksmanship can bring down prey that never gets within range of the weapon.

Hunting was one of Richthofen's favorite pastimes since he was young, and he speaks on many occasions about his experiences with it in his journals.

One particular hunting expedition Manfred described what really stands out as almost a mirror image of his approach to fighting in the skies, which could indicate why he was very successful at both. Richthofen was invited to hunt bison with the Prince of Pless on royal grounds, as he was on mandatory leave after he had downed over 50 enemy aircraft.

This bull eventually got startled when it noticed the driver of the vehicle that brought Richthofen out the grounds, so it proceeded to run off into the distance. Manfred never got a shot at this one, but his patients was soon be rewarded, for not long after he came across an equally mighty bison, but this time was able to get within paces, hitting it with the first shot, then with a second, and finally downing it with a third. Much like hunting, Richthofen never found himself without ammunition in the skies either, for he did not recklessly wasted rounds on distant targets, but rather closed the distance between himself and the enemy, then found the appropriate distance to fire well aimed shots.

A pilot without ammunition could find themselves as defenseless as a bison against a gun, but with Richthofen's calm and patients during these aerial battles, he always remained the hunter instead of the hunted. So far the analyses of Manfred Von Richthofen has been mostly supported by that of his own journals or accounts by his youngest brother, but now it is time to find out what other pilots who flew with and against Richthofen felt about the most successful ace of the war.

By the time Udet met Richthofen for the first time, Manfred was already a living legend with sixty-seven victories, while Ernst only had twenty at this point. The Richthofen group dwells in corrugated shacks that can be erected and broken down in a matter of hours. They are rarely more than twenty kilometers behind the foremost outposts.

Other squadrons go up two or three times a day. Richthofen and his men fly five times a day. Others close down operations in bad weather; here they fly under almost any condition. Even from this perspective, Ernst still regards him as a great patriot and leader. Ernst did make mention of a prank that he and his fell airmen pulled on some legislative officials who came to visit their air base to see how it was ran, but also to meet the esteemed Red Baron.

Kilduff, Peter 1941-

Much like Udet, Lothar Von Richthofen was also under his old brother Manfred during the time in which they flew together, though his personal take will be a little different from that of Udet on his commanding officer, for they were family and he had been in contact with Manfred all his life. He tells of his brother trying to find a good color to camouflage his plane against his enemies, but to Manfred's dismay, there was no color that could hide his plane in the skies.

Manfred then decided to go in the completely opposite direction and used the color of his plane as a psychological tool, painting it red, therefore making him stand out as the leader of his squadron. As his reputation grew, Manfred's allies rallied at the sight of his plane while enemies made themselves scarce.

Lothar also confirms Manfred's attribute of patients while fighting along side of his brother. Lothar estimated that it usually took his brother twenty bullets to score a victory. They told Lothar of an aerial battle in which they did little in helping Manfred in a dogfight, which caused his plane to take a decent amount of damage. Manfred was quite angry about the ordeal, but instead of scolding his comrades, he just simply did not speak a word of the incident.

Both Wolf and Allmenroder admitted to Lothar that Manfred's silence about the flight was worse than any reprimand.

The Illustrated Red Baron: Life and Times of Manfred Von Richthofen

Though Manfred Von Richthofen's countrymen had a great deal of respect for him, it may come to a surprise that opposing pilots had almost equal respect for him as well. Eddie Rickenbacker, the United State's leading ace by war's end, makes may references of Richthofen in his autobiography, even though Richthofen died before he even flew a combat mission in Europe. Well, at least I could dream. Casket is surrounded by flowers and wooden grave marker. German soldier standing at attention on either side of casket. Australian soldiers members of No. Front unit of soldiers carrying their firearms under their shoulder with the shoulder stock facing forward carried in reverse.

Center is a British Crossley Tender truck carrying the coffin and four wreaths in the back. Second unit of soldiers marching followed by a car. Australian soldiers are on a road that runs along a river or drainage ditch.

Manfred von Richthofen | An Historian Goes to the Movies

One German soldier and two unidentified soldiers looking on from right side of ditch. Image Identification: Ca. Image of Manfred von Richthofen and his brother posing on the steps of a building. Side profile image of Manfred von Richthofen Red Baron. Was himself shot down on April the 21st near Amiens". Black and white postcard photograph. Caption on front of image: "Captain Frh.