THE RED BARON in theatres, June 1, 2010.
I CAN'T WAIT to see this in the theatre!
The movie is highly accurate, as it claims No. 209 Squadron's Canadian Captain Roy Brown shot down the Red Baron (Manfred von Richthofen) as Manfred closed in on inexperienced Canadian Sopwith Camel pilot, Wilfrid May. May, had just been attacking the Red Baron's inexperienced cousin, Leutnant Wolfram von Richthofen.
Brown's and the RAF's claim of taking out the Baron has been disputed for a long time now, but it seems Australian gunfire from the ground could also have brought down the Red Baron.
Certainly, ace Captain Roy Brown who was from Ontario, with nine kills to his name at the time, had played a big part in the Baron's demise on that day.
Brown was aggressively chasing the deadly German ace at the time, and likely the pressure of the fray, or was it May's insolence in attacking the Baron's own cousin that allowed the Baron's mind to wander and violate his own cardinal rule: To never chase an enemy aircraft, by yourself, into enemy territory.
Oliver "Boots" Le Boutillier, an American ace from New Jersey who flew in the same squadron as Brown, witnessed Brown's attack on the Red Baron. Brown closed in on Richthofen and was only fifty yards away when he had finished up his 7 second gunfire attack on the world famous all red Fokker Triplane. Suddenly realizing the Canadian ace's gun fire was finding its mark on his triplane, and that he was already over enemy territory, the Red Baron immediately broke off his attack of novice May. This was only May's second combat mission and already he had locked up with the greatest ace of World War I!
Le Boutillier insists that Brown did indeed shoot down the Red Baron. He saw Brown's machine guns hit their mark.
Brown's gunfire also hit an Australian mobile kitchen, on the ground, and put holes in the big stew pot as these Australian soldiers lined up for chow, and were unexpectedly treated to front row seats of the demise of the greatest ace of World War I, the Red Baron.
Manfred von Richthofen was able to land his triplane but was found dead in his cockpit.
The Baron's last words were, "Allies kaput!".
Sergeant Cedric Bassett Popkin, Australian 4th Division, could also have been the soldier who fired the shot that killed the Red Baron.
We'll never know for sure, but I think the evidence tips in favour of Brown.
Friedrich Sternberg, the fictitious Jewish pilot, and cherished friend of Manfred von Richthofen in the movie, represents the 130 Jewish Knights of the Air that fought for Germany in World War I.
The LEADING ACES of WORLD WAR I were:
1) Manfred von Richthofen (80, Germany)
2) Rene Fonck (75, France)
3) Billy Bishop (72, Canada)
4) Ernst Udet (62, Germany)
5) Raymond Collishaw (62, Canada)
6) Edward Mannock (61, England)
And CANADA… you don't even know your heroes!
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