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    For an overview of older literature and debates Google Scholar. At first we flew straight ahead, then the pilot turned to the right, then left. I has lost all sense of direction over our own aerodrome! I didn't care a bit where I was, and when the pilot thought it was time to go down, I was disappointed. Already I was counting down the hours to the time we could start again After a chance meeting of the German ace fighter pilot Oswald Boelcke , [ 14 ] Richthofen entered training as a pilot in October Initially he appeared to be a below average pilot, struggling to control his aircraft, and crashing during his first flight at the controls.

    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 Boelcke, visiting the east in search of candidates for his newly formed fighter unit, selected Richthofen to join Jagdstaffel 2 "fighter squadron".

    Boelcke was killed during a midair collision with a friendly aircraft on 28 October , 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 40 victories , Manfred observed a set of maxims known as the " Dicta Boelcke " to assure the success for both the squadron and its pilots. 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. II and Hawker was flying a D. After a long dogfight, Hawker was killed by a bullet in the head as he attempted to escape back to his own lines.

    He switched to the Albatros D. III in January , 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.

    The Red Baron and his brother

    II for the next five weeks. On 6 March, his aircraft was shot through the petrol tank by Edwin Benbow, and Richthofen force landed without injury. Richthofen then scored a victory in the Albatros D. II on 9 March, but since his Albatros D. He returned to his Albatros D. V in late June.

    I triplane , 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. I, only 19 of his 80 kills were made in this type. III Serial No. Richthofen championed the development of the Fokker D. VII with suggestions to overcome the deficiencies of the then current German fighter aircraft.

    That same month, he assumed command of the fighter squadron Jasta 11 , which ultimately included some of the elite German pilots, many of whom he trained himself. Several later became leaders of their own squadrons. 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. 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 " In that month alone, he downed 22 British aircraft, including four in a single day, [ 26 ] raising his official tally to By June he was the commander of the first of the new larger Jagdgeschwader wing formations, leading Jagdgeschwader 1 , composed of Jastas 4, 6, 10 and 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", its name coming both from the unit's mobility including the use of tents and trains and its brightly coloured aircraft. 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. 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 commanded an infantry battalion as a captain in and 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. On 6 July , during combat with a formation of F. Although the Red Baron returned to active service in October , 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. During his convalescence, Richthofen completed his "autobiography", Der rote Kampfflieger.

    This was written on the instructions of the "Press and Intelligence" i. By , Richthofen had become such a legend that it was feared that his death would be a blow to the morale of the German people. 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 to any Allied pilot who shot him down. Richthofen was fatally wounded just after a.

    It was almost certainly during this final stage in his pursuit of May that Richthofen was hit by a single. His Fokker Dr. The document, which is a one-page, handwritten form in a registry book of deaths, misspells Richthofen's name as "Richthoven" and simply states that he has "died 21 April , from wounds sustained in combat".