Skip to comments.Red Baron film celebrates German war hero
Posted on 04/01/2008 3:16:51 PM PDT by wolf78
After decades of war-related silence and shame, Germany proudly celebrated a military hero last night, rolling out the red carpet for "Red" Baron von Richthofen.
The new attitude was on display as stars and celebrities, including British actor Joseph Fiennes, were due to gather for the Berlin premiere of a new film about the Baron.
It is set to mark a new departure for German war films, which usually reflect on the extremism, suffering and even lunacy of the Nazi era if they get made at all.
The Red Baron in contrast, portrays a brilliant and honourable military figure whose life and early death in combat Germans can celebrate without blush.
The film, which at £14 million is one of Germany's most expensive productions, stars Matthias Schweighoefer as the renowned pilot thought to have shot down about 80 Allied airmen in World War One.
It is based on a biography of the pilot published last year, which opens with him engaged in a dogfight only to pull out when he sees his adversary's gun jammed.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
The chivalry but was complete B.S., of course.
The Red Barron was very keen on the easy kill (like any soldier, really).
I say that with MWT, Sr, Sr, having been a soldier for the Germans in WWI, with his father being awarded a Blue Max (which I own).
Lets see them make a film about Erik Hartmann, then I’ll be impressed. The Baron has been in many other films over the years.
Just another Hun in the sun.
I once read a reference to the bio released during WWI, and the Germany censors let slip a passage that for all practical purposes, described the sexual release von Richthofen said he got from downing planes.
I remember reading about Herr Hartmann,352 confirmed kills and he got started half way into the war.A fantastic fighter pilot but only a fair shot,he said he always wanted to get close enough that it was impossible to miss.
I must admit, I still don’t understand why America decided to get involved in WWI. The Germans weren’t all that bad in that war—and had they won, surely Hitler would have never risen to power.
I don’t know how much of the legend of the Red Baron is true and how much is... uh... enhanced, but that’s probably true of most great historical figures. It’s basically true even if certain parts are a bit more polished than the reality.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with telling the story, and from a German viewpoint. Hitler may have been a sadistic murdering madman, but he had some real honest heroes working for him. Along with the ones that were just as cruel as he was.
Just as there’s nothing wrong with admiring Rommel for his role and place in history. Certainly a great general and tactical mind. He was merely playing for the wrong team.
That is a very good point.
In the last few years I've become very interested in foreign films on the wars, just to see it from a different perspective.
Jeez, talk about ruining the expectations of the film.
I wonder who they credit with his kill? It seems to me they never really proved one way or another who’s bullet was responsible for killing the red barron.
Flying, after all, was barely a 10 year old invention, and the planes little more than powered kites...flying at speeds of an ultra-light today.
There's an air show every weekend from May to October in Bealton, Va., about 1 hour outside of DC. All biplanes. I've been to lots of air shows, but this one is my favorite, as the planes are SO SLOW (and close) you can see them do all their maneuvers in detail. It's hard to imagine fighting from such things.
Inasmuch as Manfred Von Richtofen fought, and died, in WWI, when the late, and largely unlamented Herr Hitler was a mere corporal, it's difficult to say That Rittmeister Von Richtofen worked for the aforementioned Hitler goon. One of Von Richtofen's compatriots, however, did end up working for Hitler, and that was Hermann Goering...
If you check out the Zimmerman Telegram you will also find out the ‘real’ reason behind our entry into the war. Germany was conspiring with Mexico (we had just fought them) to try to get them and Japan to attack us. It was causus beli for war. But we couldn't say the REAL reason, because it would reveal that the British had broken the German code.
We had damn good reasons to enter the war.
The problem was the Treaty of Versailles that imposed a ‘peace’ on Germany that was tantamount to economic slavery in perpetuity. Germany had to get out of the ‘peace’ treaty, even if it had to fight the entire world to do it. Hitler capitalized upon this historic reality to catapult himself into power.
While it is still disputed to this day, as far as I know, Roy Brown got, and still has, the credit for Von Richtofen...
HAH! Oh, jeez... of course you're right. I don't know why that came out of me.
An adversary rendered helpless by jammed weapons didn’t make him less of a kill for the Red Baron, who IIRC had a silver loving cup engraved for each `victory’.
And wasn’t von Richthofen, in pursuit of his eighty-first cup, killed by ground fire when he pursued the Canadian Lt. Brown over Allied lines after the latter’s guns had jammed or run out of ammo? His plane crashed in Allied territory, that’s for sure.
I learned to fly in a Stearman crop duster -— a later training bi-plane (came around in the 30s, I think), so I can appreciate the slow speed.
As an aside, you know that buzz, buzzz, buzz, interupted engine sound you always hear in WWI movies?
That was from the engine being turned off briefly to bring the plane to stall speed -— there was NO THROTTLE.
I saw a show on The Military Channel that indicated that Richtoffen was brought down by .303 rounds from British soldiers on the ground.
Thats right. Hermann Goering was put in command of the
Jasta after Von Richtofen’s death. I have a photograph
around here someplace of Goering in an all white Fokker
“And wasnt von Richthofen, in pursuit of his eighty-first cup, killed by ground fire when he pursued the Canadian Lt. Brown over Allied lines after the latters guns had jammed or run out of ammo?”
That has been the dispute since the day he was shot down. Allied Command gave the credit to Brown, although it was never really certain that it was a round from his Vickers machinegun, or the Vickers guns of the Australian antiaircraft unit which was also firing at Von Richtofen's plane. No ballistics tests were ever done on the fatal round, which pierced Von Richtofen's heart, and since the guns all fired the same caliber, it's anybody's guess as to who really fired the fatal shot...
Probably a better pilot and marksman than Hartmann, but less lucky, was Hans-Joachim Marseille.
From April of 1941 to September of 1942 “The Star Of Afrika” shot down 151 British and Commonwealth aircraft, in addition to seven kills during the Blitz.
He was killed bailing out when the cockpit of his fighter filled with smoke due to a malfunction (not combat with an enemy) and he struck the tailplane.
Many of the surviving Luftwaffe aces named Marseille as the best. It doesn't matter in the end though, does it. You have to rack up the kills and Hartmann did that.
A comparable case in WWI was Werner Voss. Voss shot down 48 Allied planes in less than a year, on track to beat Von Richtofen.
His pride got the best of him when he tangled alone with a flight of between 5 and 8 British aces and refused to take advantage repeated opportunities to break contact after out flying the Brits for ten minutes.
I am amazed by fighter pilots, no matter their nationality or their record.
This show, and I understand it’s just a TV show, indicated that the round was fired from a bolt action rifle. They did all sorts of convoluted simulations to “prove” it.
Quite simple really. The Allies controled the seas (trade). Not permitted to trade with the Central Powers we traded exclusively with the Allies and extended them unimaginable amounts of credit. American leaders assumed we simply could not afford to let the Central Powers win. Ironically the Allies never paid those debts in any case.
Voss was a member of the same Jasta as Von Richtofen, which had been started early in the war by the leading German "ace" of that time Oswald Boelke, who had been killed in action. Interestingly enough, I went to the movie link to see which *historical* German pilots of that famous group were going to be portrayed, and Voss was there, although I didn't see either Boelke, or Goering, although they should have an appearance in the film...
The British .303 round was used in both the standard service rifle, and the Vickers machinegun in common use by British, Canadian, and ANZAC forces of the time. No matter what convolutions they went through, the fact that the bullet was a .303 is essentially meaningless, without ballistics testing, which had never, and undoubtedly will never, be done. Once again, who knows?
When I said “they” I meant the movie. I’m already aware of the uncertainty. I’m just curious if the movie tries to solve the mystery. As a kid I read several books about the first airplanes, the wright brothers, and the first airplanes used in war. It’s funny that there is a post or two on this thread mentioning snoopy because I’m pretty sure that’s what got me interested in reading about the subject. As soon as I was informed that the “red baron” was a real person and had nothing to do with pizza, I had to find out more. I still remember reading how they fired machine guns through propellers before inventing timing belts for the guns. They just bolted on steel deflectors to the backside of the propellers. You could only shoot so many times before the propellors got cracks and flew apart. THen you crash landed.
“Germany was conspiring with Mexico and Japan to get them to attack us”
Pardon me, but Japan was at war with Germany by 1915.
The English had promised them the German and Austrian properties in China for attacking them.
The Germans entertained ideas that they’d get the Japanese to switch sides.
I’d agree Marseille was the best ever. Hartmann was on the Eastern Front.
German Jagdeschwaders that had fought on both the Eastern and Western fronts considered the Eastern front a “vacation.”
It is logical that Germany would be anxious to prepare for the contingency of Americas entrance into the war on the side of the Allies.
And it would be naive to think that every belligerent was not doing something of the sort.
And the frenzy created by Britains friends in the American press over the German Ambassadors inquiry was very effective indeed.
Do you imagine however that England would have enforced Canadian neutrality had the USA supported the Central Powers?
Rommel ignored and would not enforce Hitler’s “Commando Order” which decreed that Allied commandos and paratroops captured behind the lines were to summarily executed, even if they were in full uniform. Most other of the German generals fighting in the West ignored it as well but Rommel was pretty open in his defiance, and the order was eventually rescinded.
Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare drew us in. Up until the ‘unrestricted’ policy was announced we were as mad at the British as the Germans because of their surface blockade of the North & Baltic seas. The only way Germany could retaliate was by a submarine blockade, and unfortunately, that inevitably meant sinking US ships.
That would be an interesting film on Hartman, there are a number of WWII aces that would make good movies.
For a truly amazing tale they could make one on Joachim Marseille (start of the desert).
Adolf Galland would be interesting as he led the Luftwaffe against the USAF.
***Lets see them make a film about Erik Hartmann, then Ill be impressed. The Baron has been in many other films over the years.***
Americans tend to know about the Western Front in WWI, but know nothing about the Eastern Front or the Austria-Italy Front. Due to the movies, people will know a bit about the fight against the Turks via ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘Gallipoli’.
“I wonder who they credit with his kill?”
Ozzie ground troops or a Canadian pilot? There is evidence for both.
“In the last few years I’ve become very interested in foreign films on the wars, just to see it from a different perspective.”
Watch BLESSED BY THE FIRE (Illluminados por el Fuego), an Argentinian film about the Falklands War. Surprisingly well done.
Most of Rommel's numerous writings and letters have survived, and really tell a story about the man.
Some flaws of his might have been naivety towards Hitler and politics, but he changed in time and learned.
He would have negotiated with the allies if possible, while trying to stop the Soviets.
He wouldn't let his son join the SS, he signed an agreement with Hitler to always be faithful to him.
He did not want to follow strategic orders, similar to Patton.
***Just as theres nothing wrong with admiring Rommel for his role and place in history. Certainly a great general and tactical mind. He was merely playing for the wrong team.***
One of the most interesting episodes of WW1 (or after) was US forces landing in Russia and kicking commie ass.