Trivia Minute April 20, 2015

Episode 51: The Fall of the Red Baron

by Marcus Michelson
Manfred von Richthofen, The Red Baron. (C. J. von Dühren, public domain) via Wikimedia Commons
Manfred von Richthofen, The Red Baron.
(C. J. von Dühren, public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Today marks the 98th anniversary of the final two kills by German World War I flying ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as the Red Baron.

Here are some things you might not know about the Red Baron:

First: Richthofen didn’t start the war as a pilot.

He was originally a cavalryman, which was not a very useful position given the advent of trench warfare. Eventually he transferred to the Air Service, beginning pilot training in October 1915.

Second: Only 16 of his 80 kills were made while flying the red triplane which is most commonly associated.

He didn’t begin flying the Fokker DR-1 until November of 1917. He won his final 19 victories in the DR-1 before being killed on April 21, 1918.

Third: Richthofen was killed by a single shot, likely from the ground while fighting with Canadian pilot Wilfrid May. He managed to land the plane, which was soon torn apart by souvenir hunters.

Our question: The Fokker DR-1 is the most well-known German plane of World War I, what was the best-known Allied warplane of the war?

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