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Lothar recalls how MvR handled new recruits

Event ID: 556

21 February 1917

50.367639, 3.03435
La Brayelle

Source ID: 33

Richthofen, Beyond the legend of the Red Baron, Peter Kilduff, Arms and Armour, 1993

ISBN: 1854091271

Lothar von Richthofen recalled his brother’s early combat missions with Karl Allmenröder and Kurt Wolff: 

“At the time both had no experience at all and in aerial combat beginners have more fear than love of the Fatherland. In the first days, my brother flew out with them, attacked numerous British, and his machine received an enormous number of hits, without successes to make up for it, and both of them did not help. Of course my brother came back somewhat annoyed, but did not reproach them; on the contrary, he did not say a word about it. As Wolff and Allmenröder…told me, that influenced them more than the harshest dressing-down.”

In preparing his pilots for battle, Richthofen set an example of personal conduct that also contributed to their future success as fighters and leaders in their own right. He had a good sense of awareness of his role as Staffelführer; he did not attempt to be ‘one of the boys’, indulging in much singing and carousing in off-duty hours, but he enjoyed a good joke and some moderate drinking. He smoked an occasional cigarette, but otherwise looked after his personal health. As there were no night-fighter operations at that time, Manfred von Richthofen went to bed early – usually before 2200 – to ensure that he was rested and in top form the following morning. He was cordial to officers and enlisted men alike; indeed, he urged his pilots to remain on good terms with the mechanics who maintained their aircraft.

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