Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Meet the Red Baron

One of our readers has shared a YouTube video on the Red Baron that is actually quite revealing.  It's clearly something of a propaganda piece, but the attitudes and emotions expressed seem sincere. It was made in September 1917, and he's not showing the nervous, burned-out look of the following spring, just before his death.  The film starts with  the ground crew rolling out the Dr.I triplane,  then von Richthofen greeting the men, getting helped into his flight gear, and interacting with his fellow pilots.  There is also an interesting segment at the end showing the pilots inspecting bullet holes on a damaged aircraft.  You can find the video here: 


  1. The triplane near the beginning is a Fokker F I, one of the earliest versions. Flown by both von Richthofen & Voss, it helped launch the Fokker Dr I into production.

    The British pilot at the end is Lt Ronald George Hinings Adams, von Richthofen's 78th victory on 7 April 1918. He was flying a Camel (presumably the one shown) and was assigned to 73 Sqdn, RAF.

    Who killed the Red Baron has been debated for almost a century, with both the Australians (ground fire) and Canadians (aerial fire) claiming credit. The bottom line: no one knows, and personally, I don't care. What's important is that Germany lost a national hero and a great air leader that day.

    The Baron had violated his own rule by following Canadian Lt. Wilfrid May over the lines. "The Red Baron's Last Flight" (Franks & Bennett, Grub Street) presents a plausible explanation: He had made a navigation error by misidentifying a village. The region had endured heavy shellfire and one destroyed village looked like any other.

    There's a good dramatization of the Baron's death at:

    Steve Miller

  2. Very interesting footage. Yes, the Red Baron puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us.