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The Red Baron (Hardback)

A Photographic Album of the First World War's Greatest Ace, Manfred von Richthofen

Aviation WWI Aviation in WWI Photographic Books 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 WWI Photographic Books

By Terry C Treadwell
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 256
Illustrations: 200+ black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526781321
Published: 31st March 2021

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If one aircraft was to represent the First World War, it could be the distinctive red Fokker Triplane of Manfred von Richthofen. With an astonishing eighty aerial victories, the Red Baron became a legend in his own, short, lifetime. Regarded as one of the most widely known fighter pilots of all time, von Richthofen is also considered to be the First World War’s ‘ace-of-aces’.

While much is known about this German aristocrat, what this book accomplishes is a pictorial portrait of von Richthofen as has never been seen before. Through a unique collection of photographs, the life of this famous airman is laid bare. From early family photographs through to the First World War, and his initial service as a cavalry reconnaissance officer on both the Eastern and Western fronts, his flying career, and the aircraft he flew, this extensive collection provides an unrivalled window into the life of history’s most celebrated fighter pilot.

By 1918, von Richthofen was regarded as a national hero in Germany and respected by his enemies. However, his remarkable career came to an abrupt conclusion on 21 April 1918. Just as the German Spring Offensive was faltering, von Richthofen’s aerial armada took to the sky to engage the Sopwith Camels of 209 Squadron which had taken off to undertake an offensive patrol over the Somme. In the ensuing dogfight, von Richtofen pursued one of the Camels along the valley of the River Somme. As he crossed the Allied line he came under fire – both from the ground and from the air.

Von Richtofen was fatally wounded by a single bullet which damaged his heart and lungs. Just which Allied pilot, or indeed soldier, fired the fatal shot remains in contention. Images of the stripped wreckage of his famous Fokker Triplane add a solemn, and all too graphic, coda to the life of the Red Baron.

4 stars

Deaths in the German Army Air Service numbered some seven thousand during WWI. Total deaths were in the millions.

Rittmeister Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen is the Red Baron. More has been written about him than any other German First World War participant. He was just twenty-five when he succeeded in downing at least eighty combatants in just twenty months.

This book has many fascinating photographs of von Richthofen and his colleagues.

I freely admit that I have been a Red Baron “junkie” for many years ever since I read about him as a child. I was so very excited to see that a book – with photos! - was written about him!

The book gives a brief history of von Richthofen's training and flying career. It has post mortem results (such as they were), and has other end notes. It also lists the eighty confirmed “kills” he is said to have accrued.

NetGalley, Joyce Fox

About Terry C Treadwell

TERRY C. TREADWELL was born and educated in Bournemouth. Having served in the Royal Air Force, in telecommunications, and travelled the world quite extensively, including working in Australia for a short period, he was European Correspondent for Naval Aviation News (the official aviation magazine for the US Navy) and Wings of Gold (US) for ten years.

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