Richtofen: Beyond the Legacy of the Red Baron

Overview

Based upon a wealth of carefully researched and verified documentation from the newly opened archives in East Germany, this riveting book traces the development of German fighter aviation from early single aircraft aerial ambushes to the massed attacks of the Jagdgeschwader I--the battle force that Richthofen developed into a highly effective air weapon. Examining the most celebrated WWI flying ace's role as air fighter, leader and strategist, the author delves deeper than anyone previously to find the truth ...
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Overview

Based upon a wealth of carefully researched and verified documentation from the newly opened archives in East Germany, this riveting book traces the development of German fighter aviation from early single aircraft aerial ambushes to the massed attacks of the Jagdgeschwader I--the battle force that Richthofen developed into a highly effective air weapon. Examining the most celebrated WWI flying ace's role as air fighter, leader and strategist, the author delves deeper than anyone previously to find the truth behind the myths surrounding Richthofen for 70 years. Features never before published personal writings by the Red Baron, including his own Air Combat Operations Manual, along with observations from his comrades, admirers, and enemies. Includes striking full-color and numerous rare archive photos.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kilduff, a former editor of Over the Front magazine, has combed recently released records in Germany for this life story of WW I flying ace Manfred von Richthofen. A quintessential man of war, Richthofen was killed in action in 1918 at the age of 25; he left behind a record of 80 downed planes but nothing significant in the way of diaries or correspondence. His inner life is correspondingly obscure. Richthofen's public roles as pilot, leader and heroic symbol made him a national hero whose mystique endures to the present day. As a commander he used his reputation to secure the best pilots and equipment, and his Jagdeschwader was arguably the most accomplished fighter unit on either side of the air war, just as he was arguably the war's greatest fighter pilot. Kilduff focuses on details, clarifying Richthofen's victory list and analyzing the circumstances of how he was shot down. But a discussion of the dynamics of Fighter Wing 1 and the impact of Richthofen's elitism on Germany's air force would have made this more than a routine, though useful, military biography. Photos not seen by PW . (Mar.)
Library Journal
German nobleman Manfred von Richthofen was the archetype of the enemy ace: efficient, cunning, and seemingly invulnerable. His death in April 1918 may have marked the end of hope for the German cause. Kilduff, a celebrated aviation historian who translated the writings of Richthofen for a 1969 history, brings a thoroughness to his subject it has never seen. Kilduff describes the dread German fighters felt as they went up against the growing number of increasingly superior Allied machines as well as the uncomfortable, hectic but exhilarating patrols over hostile trenches and the routines of life. Together with diary entries, letters, and archival materials, these descriptions form a vivid picture of World War I air combat. A valuable treatment of a remarkable life; recommended for aviation collections.-- Mel D. Lane, Sacramento, Cal.
Roland Green
Based on comprehensive research, this straightforward account of the career of the legendary German World War I ace does not add very much to knowledge of the man's career. It does, however, present all the facts and points of speculation in clear and orderly fashion and has the additional virtues of discussing fighter pilot burnout without resorting to psychobabble, questioning Richthofen's claimed kills without resorting to polemics, and recognizing the man's gifts and large contribution to modern fighter tactics without resorting to the heroic-romantic tradition to describe them. Extensive use of German may slow down readers newly come to World War I aviation lore, but no one else is likely to have many problems with this new perspective upon an old tale.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471008774
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/4/1994
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Table of Contents

Arena in the Sky.
A Natural Hunter.
Over the Trenches.
The Boelcke Era.
Command in the Air.
The New Master Begins.
Bloody April.
A Hero's Life.
Gathering of Eagles.
Britain Presses the Attack.
Aircraft Problems.
Operation Michael.
Another Bloody April.
Red Birds, Grey Skies.
Appendices.
Maps.
Bibliography.
Index.
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