Thursday, May 02, 2013

Happy Birthday Red Baron

BORN 5/2/1892
Manfred Von Richthofen (Born 5/2/1892) is the most celebrated pilot of WWI.  His record 80 Victories (Kills) was quite an aerial achievement since he was using technology less than a decade old. 
It’s unfortunate that most of the “Red Baron’s” fame would come from a 20th Century cartoonist name Charles Schultz who wrote a daily syndicated cartoon called Peanuts.  From time to time, the Dog (Snoopy) would pretend he was a WWI fighter Pilot in search of Baron Von Richthofen.

The popularity of the comic strip became so universal that a Top 40 hit song called “Snoopy vs. The Red Baron” was spawned from the comic.  The “Royal Guardsman” who made their musical mark with S v MVR  cashed in on the first Christmas cartoon special, Charlie Brown’s Christmas by releasing “Snoopy’s Christmas” in which Snoopy goes up on Christmas day and engages MVR.  In the Christmas classic, MVR has the kill on Snoopy but forces him to land “Behind enemy lines”.  It is here that MVR  offers Snoopy a “Holiday Toast”.  It’s interesting because a legend exists that MVR forced Canadian Pilot Roy Brown down in the DMZ, shared a flask of Schnapps then let him go.  The Royal Guardsman would go to the well one more time with an awful recording called “The return of the Red Baron” with minimal success.
Back to reality, for years, Captain Roy Brown was credited with the demise of the Red Baron.  Manfred Von Richthofen was given a military funeral with honors yet the Canadian pilot was reluctant to talk about the victorious achievement.  That’s because he never shot down the Red Baron.  Once all of the forensic evidence was assembled in the 21st century; a majority of historians agreed that MVR’s fatal wounds could not have come from Brown’s machine gun position.  There was an Australian anti-aircraft machine gun crew taking shots at the Red DR.1.   As far-fetched as it sounds; MVR’s entry wound would have been in direct alignment with the anti-aircraft guns.  It was confirmed that MVR was killed from a bullet that entered his left axilla.  This “golden B.B. would then exit the right side of MVR’s chest.  MVR had no entry wounds from his back or six o’clock position which is where Brown’s plane was positioned. 
This fate is not uncommon throughout history.  MVR’s mentor and the father of Aerial Combat “Oswald Boelcke” had 40 victories in one year and died at the age of 25 because his wing man clipped Boelcke’s wing with his landing gear.
Werner Mölders, the first Pilot to score 100 aerial victories, died on route to WWI Ace Ernst Udet’s funeral.  Ironically, Molders was flying in an HE-111 that encountered a horrific thunderstorm that caused engine failure resulting in the death of Werner Mölders.  The name of the HE-111? The Boelcke.
Perhaps one of history’s most colorful heroes, George Patton looked death in face many times.  Patton was one of the 3rd Reich’s most feared commanders.  When Patton was being punished for “The Slap”; Berlin thought it was just a poor attempt at diversion because no opponent would remove a leader as great as Patton. 
Patton would die in an automobile accident. 


Today May 2nd we celebrate the birth of one of aerial combat’s greatest heroes.


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