Red Baron....

Discussion in 'World War I' started by Lucky13, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Number of victories

    For decades after World War I, some authors questioned whether Richthofen achieved 80 victories, insisting that his record was exaggerated for propaganda purposes. Some claimed that he took credit for aircraft downed by his squadron or wing.

    In fact, Richthofen’s victories are better documented than those of most aces. A full list of the aircraft the Red Baron was credited with shooting down was published as early as 1958 – with documented RFC/RAF squadron details, aircraft serial numbers, and the identities of Allied airmen killed or captured – 73 of the 80 are listed as matching recorded British losses. A study conducted by British historian Norman Franks with two colleagues, published in Under the Guns of the Red Baron in 1998, reached the same conclusion about the high degree of accuracy of Richthofen's claimed victories. There were also unconfirmed victories that would put his actual total as high as 100 or more.

    For comparison, the highest scoring Allied ace was Frenchman René Fonck, with 75 confirmed victories and further 52 unconfirmed behind enemy lines. The highest scoring British Empire fighter pilots were Canadian Billy Bishop credited with 72 victories, Mick Mannock with 50 confirmed kills and a further 11 unconfirmed.

    It is also significant that while Richthofen's early victories and the establishment of his reputation coincided with a period of German air superiority, many of his successes were achieved against a numerically superior enemy, who were flying fighter aircraft that were on the whole better than his own.


    Is this something that will ever be agreed on, on both allied and central powers?
     
  2. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I think there will always be argument here but in the case of the Red Baron he collected a lot of "souvenirs" from his victims, especially his early kills so I would think most if not all of his kills can be substantiated. Then you have folks like Fonck and Putnam, with the latter said to have scored over 30 kills only receiving credit for 13.
     
  3. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    Isn't there also a lot of arguement about who actually shot him down ???

    Charles
     
  4. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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  5. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Plenty of disagreement over who shot him down. Good thread to read.

    Don't think there is much doubt about his victory total, although I'd take issue with the part about him flying an inferior aircraft. I think he started out in an Albatross D2 with Boelke. He had a superior aircraft and was taught by the leader who was, IMHO, the best tactical leader of the First World War Air War. Most of his early kills were against Be2c/Fe2B&D/DH2, ect. Rarely did he end up against a Sopwith Pup or Nieuport 17, aircraft that were on a par with the Albatross.

    Only after he'd knocked down a substantial number did the Allies start fielding better aircraft. The SE5a and Sopwith Camel didn't really make a large showing until the summer of 1917. By then, he'd had 50+ kills and was about as experienced as a pilot got in WW1.
     
  6. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    The British counted 'out of control' as kills. Did the Germans do the same?
     
  7. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    I doubt it will ever be completely resolved, probably will agree to disagree....
     
  8. skeeter

    skeeter Member

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    Did the good Baron have people looking after him in the air? Just wondering, posing the question as a person relatively ignorant of such things. Would seem that a member of royalty would have people keen to look after him "safety" and to make certain that he had wingmen or that they "had his back," as it were. In short, did Richthofen "have it good" in the air, in that often times the odds were in his favor which would have helped to account for his incredible victory total?
     
  9. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    #9 tyrodtom, Sep 9, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2010
    A baron isn't royalty, it's nobility, living on land given to them by royalty for some past service.
    Nobody had a very well defined buddy system at that time where you teamed two aircraft together for mutual protection.
    Airfighting at that time was just pretty much free-for-alls.

    Sometimes they might have aircraft staying high while others went for a attack. The close mutual support was more a ww2 developement, as far as fighters were concerned, thought observation aircraft and bombers did try to give each other close support.
    Richthofen may not have been the best pilot of the war, but he had been well mentored by Boelcke, was a excellant shot, in usually superior aircraft, add to that his hunters instinct and leadership all put together a deadly combination.
     
  10. CharlesBronson

    CharlesBronson Well-Known Member

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    #10 CharlesBronson, Sep 11, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2010
    In one ocation Bishop returned to his airbase claiming 4 or 5 ( cant remember the exact figure right now) enemy aircraft destroyed. In spite the fact he was flying alone with no witnesses that victories were confrimed a added to its kill-list so....:rolleyes:

    Manfred Von Richthofen apparently destroyed 2 or 3 allied a/c while flying in recce and bomber LVGs but as usual with behind the lines crashes there were no confirmation of that.
     
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