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Thread: Who killed the Red Baron?

  1. #1

    Default Who killed the Red Baron?

    Stumbled upon this the other day... a 2003 NOVA/PBS program on MvR's last fight. Primary focus is on investigating and evaluating the conflicting accounts of what happened, who actually shot him down, etc. It's actually pretty good.

    Below you'll find links to the video itself (hosted on YouTube) and the NOVA website that includes additional links to:

    Articles, and Overview, and Slide Shows

    • Inside the Baron's Mind: Manfred von Richthofen's writings reveal a supremely confident man who wound up resigned to his fate.
    • Americans Against the Baron: Hundreds of young U.S. pilots joined Allied forces as they battled the Germans in the skies over Europe.
    • Explore Competing Theories: Conflicting eyewitness accounts have led to many possible scenarios for the Red Baron's death.
    • The Aerial Arms Race: New models of fighter planes on both sides of the conflict spurred a game of cat and mouse between daring aces.

    You'll also find a description of the TV program, links & books, a teacher's guide, and a program transcript.

    Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0MkXRLos0o

    Program Page: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/redbaron/
    Last edited by fast.git; 01-10-2018 at 11:54.

  2. #2

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    I've actually seen this before: but news to me is that Kunigunde von Richthofen published a diary. Thanks for the tip, maybe I'll have to go book-hunting.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by zenlizard View Post
    I've actually seen this before: but news to me is that Kunigunde von Richthofen published a diary. Thanks for the tip, maybe I'll have to go book-hunting.
    Mother of Eagles: War Diary of Baroness von Richthofen was an interesting read. I'll post a review later this week.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by fast.git View Post
    Mother of Eagles: War Diary of Baroness von Richthofen was an interesting read. I'll post a review later this week.
    Looking forward to it; I'll keep my eye out.

  5. #5

    Smile

    Looks like it draws heavily on the book "the Red Baron's Last Flight" by Norman Franks & Alan Bennett.

    "Its a fine line indeed between going out in a Blaze of Glory or having Crashed & Burnt!"
    Member Australian Society of WW1 Aero Historians

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by gully_raker View Post
    Looks like it draws heavily on the book "the Red Baron's Last Flight" by Norman Franks & Alan Bennett.
    It does... and I'll not lie... I approve of its findings. I'm much more inclined to believe that an Aussie machinegunner shot him down than Roy Brown.

  7. #7

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    That looks like a good resource, Christopher. Well done on finding it!

  8. #8

    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by fast.git View Post
    It does... and I'll not lie... I approve of its findings. I'm much more inclined to believe that an Aussie machinegunner shot him down than Roy Brown.
    Give this man the Prize!

    "Its a fine line indeed between going out in a Blaze of Glory or having Crashed & Burnt!"
    Member Australian Society of WW1 Aero Historians

  9. #9

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    I'm pretty sure that MvR is mostly to blame for MvR getting shot down, no matter who was the one who fired the killing bullets. He broke all his own rules of engagement and paid the price he warned his students they'd pay for failing to obey them. A sad but poignant object lesson.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by surfimp View Post
    I'm pretty sure that MvR is mostly to blame for MvR getting shot down, no matter who was the one who fired the killing bullets. He broke all his own rules of engagement and paid the price he warned his students they'd pay for failing to obey them. A sad but poignant object lesson.
    So very true Steve. Manfred was never the same after his head wound & was most probably just worn out from continual fiying & fighting.

    "Its a fine line indeed between going out in a Blaze of Glory or having Crashed & Burnt!"
    Member Australian Society of WW1 Aero Historians

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by surfimp View Post
    I'm pretty sure that MvR is mostly to blame for MvR getting shot down, no matter who was the one who fired the killing bullets. He broke all his own rules of engagement and paid the price he warned his students they'd pay for failing to obey them. A sad but poignant object lesson.
    So the FE2 observer whose guns gave him brain damage is ultimately responsible. Keeping MvR on the frontline after that meant that his end was inevitable, one way or another.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoe Brain
    Keeping MvR on the frontline after that meant that his end was inevitable, one way or another.
    Pretty much. It must be remembered, though, that von Richthofen, like a lot of other people in high-risk, high-stress positions, had little awareness of his own limitations: there are numerous recorded instances of wounded combat veterans who insisted on returning to combat before they were fully ready, or who even in some cases, violated medical orders to not return to combat. Of the First World war combat pilots who fit this profile, Geroges Guynemer, Rudolf Berthold, and Edward ("Mick") Mannock, (who shouldn't have even been flying in the first place, considering his medical history (he is widely supposed to have been blind in one eye, something that's debatable. What is not debatable is that he suffered from a range of ailments that should have kept him from combat at all)), spring immediately to mind. Real point is, these three, from among several of the major combatants are merely indicative of a common attitude.

    It is truly a case of "everyone else is doing it", and there's no reason to believe that von Richthofen himself was immune to this influence.

  13. #13

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    Yes, Nungesser got so shot up he was walking with a cane and had to be helped into and out of his aircraft. Considering his "hell for leather" aggressive approach to air combat, it's even more amazing he survived the war.

    Maybe the SPAD saved his life, by forcing him to change tactics a bit? We'll never know for sure.



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