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The Bloody Red Baron of Germany

This Baron was so popular that he even had a song sung about him by The Royal Guardsmen and includes the ever-popular dog Snoopy.

He was Baron Manfred von Richthofen and he lost his life in the skies over the Somme River in France by Allied fire on April 12, 1918.

He was born the son of a Prussian nobleman and switched from the German army to the Imperial Air Service in 1915. Soon Richthofen was the terror of the skies over the Western Front. With his Albatross biplane, he had the power to down 15 enemy planes by the end of 1916. He beat all flying-ace records on both sides of the Western Front and started using a Fokker tri-plane which was painted red in tribute to his old cavalry regiment. This is what earned him the English nickname of the Red Baron.

By April 12, 1918, Richthofen had had 80 victories. He now led his squadron of tri-planes deep into Allied territory in France, searching for British observation aircraft. This maneuver caught the attention of an Allied squadron that was led by Canadian Royal Air Force pilot Captain Arthur Roy Brown. As it turned out the Red Baron ventured much too far into enemy territory and flew too low to the ground.

Two miles behind Allied lines Brown managed to catch up with The Red Baron and fired on him. The chase passed over an Australian machine-gun battery and the riflemen opened fire. Richthofen was hit in the torso but he managed to land his plane near Sailly-le-Sac. By the time the Australian troops reached him the 25-year-old Red Baron was dead.

Richthofen was buried in a small military cemetery in Bertangles, France with full military honors.. In 1925 his brother had his body moved and reburied at Invaliden Cemetery in Berlin, Germany. The Red Baron went down in history as one of the greatest heroes to emerge from WW I on either side of the conflict.

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