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World War One: Fokker Dr.1 Triplane Lothar von Richthofen

This partially yellow Fokker Dr.1 represents aircraft 454/17 which was flown by Lothar von Richthofen, younger brother of Manfred von Richthofen ('The Red Baron').

Lothar von Richthofen (1894-1921)    Pronunciation:  Sound

Rank:

Oberleunant

Victories:

40

Born:

27 September 1894, Breslau

Died:

4 July 1922 (Killed In Flying Accident)
 

LvRLike his older brother Manfred, when the First World War initially broke out, Lothar was an officer in the German Cavalry. He transferred to the Imperial German Army Air Service (Luftstreitkräfte) in 1915, and was eventually assigned to his brothers unit, Jasta 11 in March 1917.

His skill as a fighter pilot was displayed very early on when he scored 24 victories in 47 days, one of which was the English ace Albert Ball.

During is fighting career he scored a total of 40 victories, was seriously wounded on three occassions, and held the position of Jasta 11 Commanding Officer on four separate occassions (1st -13th May 1917, 25th Sept 1917 - 19th Jan 1918, 16th Feb - 13th Mar 1918, and 19th - 26th July 1918).

Unlike his brother, Lothar survived the war, but he was tragically killed in 1922 when flying a commercial aircraft from Berlin to Hamburg.

Extract from 'Richthofens Circus' by Greg Van Wyngarden

Dr1On the morning of 12 March 1918, nine Bristol F2b Fighters of No 62 Sqn, Royal Flying Corps (RFC), were intercepted by a flight of Fokker Dr.1s of Jasta 11, the premier unit of Jagdgeschwader (JG) I, near Le Cateau. The triplanes were led by none other than Manfred von Richthofen in Dr I 152/17, accompanied by his brother Lothar in Dr I 454/17 and Ltn Werner Steinhäuser. At 1100 hrs the Fokkers stabbed into the formation of Bristols. After watching his brother bring down one of the two-seaters, Lothar looked around for an opponent of his own:

'To that end there was one especially suited for me about 100 metres below the English squadron. I attacked him. I was flying ahead of my Staffel when I suddenly saw that I was surrounded by aircraft with English cockades. I made a long dive of about 100 metres in order to get out of that unpleasant company. One of them followed me down. At the same altitude, we flew toward one another, head-on. We approached each other with the great speed of over 400 km/h. Here, you must aim clean, otherwise you will get the worst of it.

'We rushed towards one another shooting. At the last moment I noticed I had hit him. A blazing aircraft whizzed by me. I pulled my machine around and made such a sharp turn that I was three-quarters on my back. A sea of fire in the form of an Englishman whistled right by me. The observer stood up and stared into the flames. Completely ablaze, the English machine made another turn. Both crewmen jumped out along the way.'

In the running battle that followed, Lothar brought down another Bristol ten minutes later, and Steinhäuser added one more to bring his personal tally to four. These victories contributed to a total of seven for the day by JG I, the most legendary of all German fighter units of World War 1.

 


Three triplanes from Jasta 11, led by Lothar von Richthofen, patrol the front.

 


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