Discussion in 'Non-World War 2 History' started by majorwoody10, Mar 22, 2006.
as a avid military aviation buff groing up,i thought i knew the answer....
it's not clear but it is believed he was killed by ground fire of all things.
He struck in the chest (poss heart) by a single bullet which was travelling upwards and across him, so very unlikly he was shot by a pilot.
He was killed by an Australian ground troop. I recently went on a tour of the War Memorial here in Canberra, and that was one of the things mentioned in the tour.
The claimants are:
Brown (Canadian pilot, tail-chasing the Red Baron)
Soldiers manning a Lewis gun - IIRC they were in front of him?
Soldiers manning a Vickers gun - IIRC they were off to one side
The latest theory is that the Red Baron was shot from the side (as FNG said) - so the Vickers gun crew did it. Brown was apparently not even lined up on his plane, let alone shooting when he went down.
Brown, as we know, was credited with the kill. Hewas often asked if he really did it - and always replied that the RFC credited him with the kill...
I has to be pointed out by the time he was killed the Red Baron was past his best. When he was shot down he was busy chasing a rookie pilot. When in his prime he would have nailed the rookie very quickly and been off after someone else. Instead he ended up chasing his target for an extended period.
I believe he had serious health problems at that time.
He had been badly wounded in the head suffering a permanent injury which left him with headaches and nausea, he was also suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (shell shock, combat fatigue, call it what you like) and was always on the verge of breakdown from the stresses of his combat life. He had lost his brother and various friends and collegues as the german air force was being whittled down by the aggresive allies who were getting superior planes and more pilots.
Finally taking a single round through the chest killing him fairly instantly is just one of those things. A lucky shot which stops even the best in their tracks and there was little he could have done about it.
As for the time to kill a rookie, the germans were having massive plane problems at the time and had affectivly lost the airwar which was one of the first technological ones. Richthofen was flying a Fokker triplane at the time which was proving to be of limited use against the newer british Camels, even when flown by rookies.
As for who killed him no one will ever know, though it was almost certainly an aussie infantry man. He was killed by a single 303 round which could have been fired from a plethorer of allied waepons which were in the area and it is known that multiple infantry men with rifles and a single lewis gun were firing at the baron as he came past.
this is a good lesson about history then.all my life i was convinced by almost all written accounts that it was capt brown rfc who shot him .there are countless paintings and prints depicting this famous event. just cause its history ...doesnt mean it is so...
IT WAS 'SNOOPY'
after action reports show that tho snoopy was involved in the dog fight that day,he was in a duel with a dachshund several miles south of the baron,s crsh site.
I'm quite a fan of the von Richthofen story, and can wholeheartedly agree with FNG. Spot on.
I saw a show where one of the possible kill scenarios was an infantryman with a bolt action rifle.
The odds would be against it due to the over rate of fire but it would still be possible. A stray bullet is just as lethal as an aimed one.
thats what I said.
single round from the ground from either the Lewis gun or a grunt.
The kill was credited to the pilot no doubt for political reasons.
I would have said class reasons. Brown was an officer while the men on the ground were NCOs and privates. Fitted with the attitudes of the time that the kill be accounted to an officer and a gentlemen* than some peasant** on the ground.
*even if he was a colonial :grin:
** Worse still a colonial peasant :grin:
class is politics.
They would have wanted the Barron to have been bettered by
a, an officer
b, an english man
c, a fellow pilot
This would show that our pilots/planes are better than the best that germany has to offer and the policital value to a demorilised home population would be huge.
It's better than saying hey, we killed your best pilot by an unknown aussie (drafted in becuase we desperatly needed their help) grunt with a lucky shot.
the aussie general who basiclly signed the kill over to the rfc ...interviewed in the 60s replied that tho his memory was dim of the events of 1918 ...stated that he had much more pressing matters at hand than quibbleing over who shot some german flyer...