Red Baron: Facts and Information About the WW1 Fighter Pilot

Here are some interesting facts about the Red Baron.

  • The Red Baron was a fighter pilot with the German air force during World War 1. He shot down 80 British planes and was the most successful German ‘ace’ of the war.

  • His real name was Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen and he was born in Breslau, Germany in 1892. He began military training at age 11, joining the war as a cavalry officer.
  • Richtofen became known as the Red Baron after painting his plane bright red. His squadron became known as the Flying Circus, because of the planes’ bright colours.
  • After shooting down his first plane, he ordered a silver cup engraved with the details of the encounter. After having 60 cups made, he stopped as Germany was running out of silver.
  • He shot down 22 British aircraft in one month (April 1917). On just one day in April, he shot down 4 planes, having taken command of a larger squadron.

Red Baron

  • The Red Baron received many awards and became a hero in Germany, even appearing on playing cards. His awards included the Prussian Iron Cross.
  • The Red Baron was an accurate shot, rather than a skillful pilot. He often used the strategy of attacking his enemies from above, using the suns light to temporarily blind them.
  • Richtofen was eventually shot down on 21st April, 1918, over France. Although RAF pilot Roy Brown is credited with shooting him, it has never been fully verified.
  • He is buried in a family grave in Wiesbaden, Germany. His plane’s engine is on display in London’s Science Museum and parts of his plane are in a Canadian military institute.
  • The Red Baron has been portrayed in almost a dozen films, and a pizza brand is named for him. He featured in several hit songs by the American rock group the Royal Guardsmen.

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