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Biography

Manfred von Richthofen, popularly known as the “Red Baron,” was a fighter-pilot and the greatest German ace of the First World War, with eighty victories in aerial combat.

In July 1917, von Richthofen was shot down by Captain Donald Cunnell of the Royal Air Force. Although he’d suffered a serious head injury, von Richthofen was able to land his plane safely. While convalescing, he wrote an autobiographical sketch, The Red Battle Flyer, at the request of the propaganda department of the German Air Force.

By the time of von Richthofen’s death, after being shot down again less than a year later, he was a national hero in Germany and widely known to his country’s enemies. His notoriety is attested to by the fact that his plane was quickly taken apart by souvenir hunters following the crash that took his life on April 21, 1918.