Richthofen, the son of a Prussian nobleman, switched from the German army to the Imperial Air Service in 1915. He became the star pupil and protégé of Oswald Boelcke, one of Germany’s most successful fighter pilots. After seeing action over the Eastern Front, where he bombed Russian forces and railway junctions, Richthoften began his legendary career in the west.
On September 17, 1916, in his first trip in a combat patrol commanded by Boelcke, Richthofen found himself and his Albatross biplane engaged in aerial combat by a plane piloted by British Second Lieutenant Lionel Morris.
Richthofen later recounted the experience: “My Englishman twisted and turned, flying in zig-zags. I was animated by a single thought: ‘The man…
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