As soon as the German infantry to behold his reddish plane over their positions, their morale was revived. For opponents of this reddish plane was a messenger swift destruction. After all, everyone knew that the flying ace, pilot legend Manfred von Richthofen — the god. God is painting the wings of its own aircraft in the color of blood …
Manfred von Richthofen was born on May 2, 1892 in the town of Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland), the son of Prussian aristocrat, which meant that he was a career military predetermined. At the end of the military school in Valdshtadte, he entered the military academy and became a good shooter and rider. In 1912, with the rank of lieutenant, he began his service in the cavalry regiment. In August 1914, a peace rhythm army service was interrupted by the war. Manfred was appointed commander of the unit who participated in coming to Russia. Soon he was transferred to the company of the west front. But the war in France was not for the cavalry: the man on the horse in the middle of the trenches and stitching wire would be just a feeble target for enemy machine guns. As allies, Germany held the cavalry in the rear, vainly wait the breakout. Richthofen had to act as quartermaster. Scuffling with scraps of paper, boring economic affairs have turned the dream of fighting feats into something unfulfilled. The young officer had quite a lot of time to watch over the head of infancy brand new form of warfare. This made it possible to get rid of boredom and trench mud. Richthofen began learning the profession watching and soon was transferred to the eastern front, where he often participated in reconnaissance missions. It's time to motors, and last horseman moved to the stallion on the plane. He realized that the flights — this is his element. Manfred wrote to my mother: "I am once a day fly over enemy troops and report on their movements. Three day or reversing reported on the Russian retreat. You can not imagine how happy I was."
In August 1915, Richthofen was redirected to the western front in a top-secret compound codenamed "Brigade of pigeons", created for bombing operations. Having finished by Christmas of the same year a training course and received a long-awaited Wings, newly-pilot was able to finally meet one hundred percent of their ambitions. In preparation for combat missions, Richthofen screwed to the upper wing of his own reconnaissance aircraft machine gun.
Now dogfights look differently than at first when pilots used carbines and revolvers. The jump took place in February 1915, when the Frenchman Roland Gaross set a stationary machine gun firing through the spinning propeller. German Fokker aircraft by examining the plane occupied by the French, the invention of the chopper, with which the machine gun bullets produced only at the moment when their path was not the screw. Shortstop Fokker monoplane was put on Ayndekker, who became the first real fighter. Machine gun on Ayndekkerah was actually a hell of a scourge defenseless reconnaissance aircraft of the allied forces. During 10 months of terror, which began in August 1915, Ayndekkery actually cleared the skies of enemy vehicles. In January 1916, the headquarters of the British royal air force gave the order to accompany a reconnaissance plane with 3 fighters in close formation.
September 1, 1916 Richthofen transferred to the Western Front. He began his career in the squadron Jagdstaffel-2 biplane on "Albatross D. II". Although all Richthofen is remembered with his triplanom "Fokker Dr. I", the vast majority of their own flight he did on biplanes "Albatros D. II" and "Albatros D. III".
September 17, 1916 Richthofen officially opens his account aerial victories — downed plane eventually fell where needed — on the ground in Germany. Two aircraft sent Richthofen for the first year his flying career on French soil, were not counted.
January 4, 1917 Richthofen brings its own account up to 16 air victories, making it the best of the German ace now living. January 12, he was awarded the Order Pour le Merite. He was entrusted the command of a squadron Jasta 11. Richthofen decided to paint some of his car in reddish color, partly in order to his troops on the ground simply identifiable by him in the air and shot at him. It is also believed that he had chosen a reddish color due to the fact that it was the color of his Uhlan cavalry unit. Richthofen act spawned a number of traditions: each airplane of his squadron was also painted in a reddish color (but certainly present in the coloring and other colors — just a squadron commander, "reddish baron"Von Richthofen flew the reddish machine without any additional colors), and later the British pilots began to paint the nose of their own cars in a reddish color, thus expressing its intention to incite" reddish Baron. "
The British also made a special squadron in order to bring down the "reddish Baron" — the so-called "antirihtgofenskaya Squadron" or "antirihtgofensky club." To no avail.
In April 1917, Richthofen himself eclipsed Belek, his teacher, knocking 40 somoleta. He became the instrument of German propaganda. The Allies also had its heroes — the names of such aces as a Briton and a Frenchman Guynemer Ball became a legend. These brightest personality, "Knights of the air," as they were called, became famous throughout the world. American ace was one of the best Raoul Lafberri (16 wins), who had served previously in the French Squadron Lafayette. But all of these heroes died. Initially Lafberri and Guynemer, and then Ball. Last in a merciless battle with Air circus shot down Richthofen's brother Lothar, but he remained alive, and Ball in the same battle died. Only Reddish Baron seemed invincible. He transformed a dogfight into an exact science. In addition Richthofen was a good aerialist. He shot the victim at very close range, opening fire only at the moment when I was sure that he could deal a fatal blow to the machine itself or the pilot. Manfred von Richthofen did not belong to the level of pranksters, but at one point he said: "I prefer to build their own client's face." In July 1917 came the indescribable — a fierce battle immediately with six EF-2 Reddish Baron was seriously wounded in the head. Miraculously escaped death, almost blind, in a semi-conscious state, he planted all the same Albatross own. Three weeks later, he escaped from the hospital with a bandaged head and took his own pilots in combat.
Fokker DR-1 Plans
Many believed that reddish airplane essentially controls the lady, some German Joan of Arc. At one point, von Richthofen's squadron was captured by the British pilot, who, of course, was to try to find out who is flying on an airplane reddish. He himself was firmly convinced that it is run by a woman. As he describes this event Manfred von Richthofen"He was very surprised when I convinced him that this woman is hypothetical at this point is in front of him. It was not set up a joke., In reality he was convinced that only a woman can sit in the car such extra
Enemies called Richthofen not only "reddish Baron", and "reddish Satan" and "reddish knight." When reddish airplane arose over enemy positions, everyone knew that as long as he remains there, the sky will be owned by the Germans. For all firmly believed that "the reddish Baron" invincible. The morale of the troops immediately fell sharply.
The advantage of the air often is dependent on the speed a bit more, a little more than a sharp bend, slightly higher rate of fire machine guns and, of course, on the ability of the pilot to squeeze all of these benefits. There was not a lot worse than pilots Manfred von Richthofen, but he was able to fight to the end. November 16, 1917 he bestowed the Order "For personal courage". Then he was appointed commander of Jasta-2. Unlike the RAF, the Germans collected own best pilots in the elite division. Under the command of Richthofen served and his brother — Lothar, who finished the war with 40 victories. Their colorful aircraft division was given the nickname "Air Circus." With the upcoming reorganization of the German Air Force in June 1917, Manfred von Richthofen commanded already 4 groups of Jasta, assembled in military wing Jagdgeschwader-1.
Glory Richthofen were explained by the fact that from September 1917 until his own death in a day or April of 1918, on a reddish Fokker he showed his unique skill. Flying on this triplane, Richthofen won the last 17 victories. Meanwhile, the British resistance in the air day or a day of general relativity increased. Thanks to all grown the number of aircraft of the latest generation, the balance of power in the air lurched toward allies. Among them, the new aircraft in particular stood out SE5A opposes triplanam Reddish Baron also Sopwith Camel, whose nickname came from the double-humped shape cover that protects its twin machine guns. By the end of the war Camels shot down over 1,300 German aircraft. But the number of wins of the Richthofen all grew. Sopwith Dad, he knocked on the flying Fokker 61 was his victory. The British pilot of the downed plane Byrd, who was captured reddish Baron was happy that at least survived. But one man can not change the course of events, in addition, in April 1917, the United States declared war on Germany. 5 months later, the U.S. Air Force combat squadron entered the battle on the side of the British and the French. Americans flew to the British and French aircraft, because of their own military vehicles in the U.S. has not happened. But the very role of the Yankees in the hostilities sharply raised the morale of the Allies. Time was against Germany.
At this point, Richthofen has become something like the state of the icon. But Reddish Baron began to tire of his own popularity, and with great pleasure spending time with his beloved dog Moritz, than with people. It seemed that not only the surrounding, and the very Manfred von Richthofen came to believe in its oneness and immortality. He behaved arrogantly, causing people to respect but not worship.
Finishing the head Reddish Baron began March 21, 1918, when the cream of the German rushed in the last coming on the Western Front. While advancing infantry unit Hr-1 was on the ground, but at dawn on April 3 Triplanes rose into the air. By April 20, the account Reddish Baron was already 80 victories. His last victim was Sopvitch Kamel, who was shot point-blank. And then came the fateful day for Richtofen. April 21 his unit was attacked by two aircraft — a scout. The merciless battle over the British line of defense has anti-aircraft fire. The aid of his spies in the air rose Squadron Captain Brown. Richthofen once chosen this May's lieutenant, who in the heat of battle has shot all its bullets, and began to press him to the ground. Now they were over the area of Australian troops. Flew quite smallish over enemy trenches, Richthofen had broken one of the main rules of their own — never subjected to unnecessary risk. Australian machine gunners opened fire on proletavschemu triplanu over them. During the chase in vain to dodge May's Richthofen exposed himself under it was under the gun. Persecutor became the persecuted. At the tail Richthofen, absorbed by the desire to finish off the enemy, sat Captain Brown, who tried to get the machine-gun fire reddish Fokker. What happened next is unclear. It is clear only that on triplanu and shot from the ground and from the air. After a moment he fell in a field.
Richthofen's body was on the plane, and his hands still clutching the steering wheel. Soon the equipment Fokker nothing left — there is the best souvenir than a piece of aircraft known asa? Nobody looked at what angle holes were made in the downed plane and how many. The next day Richthofen was buried in the cemetery near the village Bertangu. Autopsy of his body did not hold. After medical examination of the surface was made a conclusion that Reddish Baron destroyed a bullet Captain Brown. After 10 days of Manfred von Richthofen would have turned 26 years old. In November 1925, Reddish Baron remains were transported to Germany and buried in the cemetery of Berlin disabled.
Richthofen died, but the question of who issued it had killed the bullet remained open. After the death of Reddish Baron General Roulenson congratulated 2-Australian gunners Evans and Buie with a victory over the stern ace. But the pilots unit of British royal air force, commanded by Captain Brown, stood firm on his own. They claimed that the honor of the victory belongs to their commander. Substantiate anything was virtually impossible — the plane Richthofen carried off as souvenirs, witnesses actions showed that Richthofen was shot in the legs and tummy, and on the floor of his cabin was a sea of blood. In general, the testimony of witnesses testify that he was killed by a burst of land, not a bullet Brown. But the truth, we'll never know.