von Richtofen Day
January 13, 2017 13 Comments
Gott Mit Uns!100 years ago today, Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen was awarded Imperial Deutschland’s highest military award – Pour le Mérite – often informally referred to as the “Blue Max.” Pour le Mérite was awarded strictly as a recognition of extraordinary personal achievement, von Richthofen earned his for shooting down 16 confirmed French and British fighters and observation planes (not counting two unconfirmed kills).With Red Baron as his nom de guerre, von Richthofen in his all red fighter wrecked havoc on Allied Air Forces for the next 15 months, shooting down 80 aircraft in very close combat.
For comparison, the highest-scoring Allied ace, the Frenchman René Fonck, achieved 75 confirmed victories. The highest-scoring British Imperial fighter pilots were Canadian Billy Bishop, who was officially credited with 72 victories, Mick Mannock, with 61 confirmed victories, Canadian Raymond Collishaw, with 60, and James McCudden, with 57 confirmed victories.
via GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: von Richthofen Day Fair amount more at the link, and well, you know.
But who killed him, really? Well, that argument has gone on for a solid 100 years now. This sheds some light on it.
Is there any real importance in the event, or in who shot him down? Probably not. But it is well for us to remember that once upon a time, our enemies were honorable men, who lived and died by the same code as did ours. Knights of the Air seems simplistic, in a way, but like knights, they were warriors who did their duty for their cause. That will have to do.
Freiherr von Richthofen was above all an able tactician and leader of men, as well as a superb marksman, and his heritage is still celebrated. Last I knew there is still Jägdgeswader Richtofen in the German Air Force. That too is as it should be.