The greatest fighter pilot in history, he was born on May 2, 1982 in the small Silesian town of Kleinberg near Schweidnitz. His father was a retired career military officer, and Manfred was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps – he entered the Wahlstatt Cadet Institute at the age of 11, developing a great flair for sport and athletics, managing to excel in competition. horse riding and hunting.
Taking advantage of this facility, he became a Cavalry Officer. He graduated from the Institute
of Cadets in Gross-Lichterfelde in 1909, and was assigned as a lieutenant in the Silesian regiment Ulanen-Regiment (Kaiser Alexander III von Russland) Nr 1 in 1912. When the war began Richthofen’s unit was sent to the Eastern Front and maintained service in Russia and then in France. Dissatisfied with the lack of action, he asked to be transferred to the air service in May 1915.
After training as an observer, Richthofen was sent to the Eastern Front with Fledjlieger Abteilung 69, then served with Brieftauben Abteilung Ostend (BAO) – a cover name for a multi-purpose unit operating on the Flanders front. After a chance meeting with Boelcke, he decided to receive training as a fighter pilot, which he completed in December 1915.

While serving as a pilot with the Kampfgeswader 2 in Russia, Richthofen was recruited into Boelcke’s new Jasta 2. Oswald Bolelcke was considered the creator of combat aviation in the German flight service. He led squadrons in battle, test piloted new prototypes, and through his experience wrote basic combat techniques in his Dicta Boelcke. His charisma and leadership style made him the mentor and idol of Manfred Von Richthofen.
The incorporation of the new Albatros DI biplanes and DII, with a 160 hp engine, allowed them to carry two. Boelcke’s pilots would have a day to familiarize themselves with the new plane and the next day he would take them on a hunting mission over the skies of Bertincourt

The first accredited aerial victory was on September 17, 1916, a FE2B of the RFC, the first of the 80. To every pilot, observer and gunsmith who was credited with his first victory, the Ehrenbecher (Chalice of Honor) was given. It was a chalice silver with a capacity of one liter with the inscription «For the victorious in aerial combat» and dramatically illustrated with a scene of an eagle defeating another in the air.
This distinction began with Immelman and Boelcke and became another incentive for the German air force to fight more aggressively.
Richthofen marked his first victory by sending
make from a jeweler in Berlin a silver cup one inch wide and two inches high with the inscription «l.Vickers» (the type of aircraft Vickers was commonly mistaken for FE2b) the first of the 60 that he ordered made .

After Boelcke’s death on October 28, Richthofen showed off his skills when he took down a DH2 on November 23 for his 11th victory. Richthofen wrote about the combat
«After a long fight of multiple turns of three to five minutes, I forced my opponent to go down to 500 meters. He was now trying to escape, flying towards the front. I pursued him and shot him down after firing 900 bursts. After inspecting the site where the plane crashed, Richthofen learned that his adversary had been the distinguished pilot Major Lanoe George Hawker, a nine-victory ace, aerial combat strategist and the first pilot to receive the Victoria Cross for his achievements in the Air combat
And he wrote to his mother about the combat on November 25
«My eleventh English brother is Major Hawker, 26 years old and commander of the British squadron. The prisoners say he is «The English Boelcke.» It was the most difficult fight with him that I have had so far. I finally knocked him down…• Richthofen kept the serial number and machine gun for his trophy collection. Both were prominently displayed in the interwar period in the Richthofen museum in Schweidnitz.

By the end of the year, Richthofen’s victories had already amounted to 16, which made him worthy of the order «Pour le Merite», placing Richthofen at the top of the list of living German aces, it should be noted that this was possible only because greatest living german ace
until October of that same year it was precisely
his teacher Oswald Boelcke who died during an aerial collision in an aerial combat, with no less than 40 victories confirmed The oldest and most prestigious decoration
from the kingdom of Prussia for bravery in combat the order of «Pour le Mérite». Established by Frederick the Great in 1667 and worn around the neck for maximum visibility, the elegant Maltese cross of deep blue enamel and gold was quickly recognized and accepted as the German Empire’s highest decoration of valor for an officer.

As Staffelfuhrer Richthofen proved to be just as skilled at leading, organizing and training as he was a fighter pilot. He was promoted to the rank of Rittmeister on April 6.
Richthofen understood that new pilots would need practice, skill and luck on their first flights at the front to allow them to mature and survive in combat.

«The most important elements in flight from my point of view are the mastery of takeoff, landing and the personal courage with which a man goes after his enemy… we need daredevils, not acrobats……combat air requires a special kind of nerves.»

He also clarified how a Jagdstaffel should act with the reports he sent to the Chief of Operations

«the commanding officer of the unit… must fly at the lowest altitude, keeping all aircraft under observation….the commanding officer is responsible for ensuring that neither he nor any of his pilots are surprised by the enemy «
By the end of «Bloody April» Richthofen had surpassed his idol Boelcke with 53 victories, and his Jasta 11 was famous throughout Germany. It was logical that he was given command of the 1st Fighter Wing in the Jagdgeschwader Nr l.

His career was soon interrupted by his near-lethal head injury on July 6. Richthofen returned to combat too soon, plagued by headaches and exhausted after each flight, yet he persevered in maintaining his obligations.
Many of his superiors and family urged him to withdraw from combat flying, which he refused.
«I have been told by high-ranking people that I should stop flying….. I would feel
miserable if now full of glory and decorations, I became a pesionist of my own dignity to save my precious life for the nation, while the poor soldiers in the trenches fulfill their obligations…»

In March and April 1918 it seemed to be returned to its previous state of shape,
with 16 victories in less than six weeks. His death on April 21 remains a controversial matter, but his number of victories will not be surpassed in the First World War, nor will his legend.