Burial of Manfred von Richthofen, 1918

Burial of Manfred von Richthofen, 1918

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Credit: PHOTO RESEARCHERS, INC./SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: The funeral of Richhofen was held at Bertangles on April 22, 1918 with full military honors. Offiecers of 33 Squadron Australian Lying Corps are lowering the coffin into the grave. Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (May 2, 1892 - April 21, 1918) was a WWI German flying ace with the Imperial German Army Air Service (Luftstreitkrafte). Originally a cavalryman, he transferred to the Air Service in 1915, becoming one of the first members of Jasta 2 in 1916. He quickly distinguished himself as a fighter pilot, and during 1917 became leader of Jasta 11 and then the larger unit Jagdgeschwader 1 (Flying Circus). By 1918, he was regarded as a national hero in Germany, and was very well known by the Allies. He was a notable tactician and squadron leader and a fine marksman. Typically, he would dive from above to attack with the advantage of the sun behind him, with other Jasta pilots covering his rear and flanks. It was his Albatros D.III that was first painted bright red, in late January 1917, and in which he first earned his name and reputation. Richthofen was shot down and killed near Amiens on April 21, 1918. There has been considerable discussion and debate regarding aspects of his career, especially the circumstances of his death. He is considered the top ace of that war, being officially credited with 80 air combat victories. He remains perhaps the most widely known fighter pilot of all time, and has been the subject of many books, films and other media.

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