Manfred Albrecht von Richthofen

Date of birth1892-05-02 Breslau, Germany 
Date commissioned  1911-04-01  Commissioned as a cavalry officer in the First Regiment of Uhlans at the Royal Military Academy at Lichterfield. 
Date promoted  1912  Promoted to leutnant. 
Other  1915  Joined the German Air Corps (Fliegertruppe) as an observer. 
Other  1915-10-10  Made his first solo flight as a pilot. 
Other units  1916-09  Assigned to Jagdstaffel 2 (2 Squadron) and flew an Albatross D.II. 
Other  1917-01-04  Became his country's top living air ace with the death of his sixteenth victim and was awarded the Blue Max and given command of Jagdstaffel 11. 
Other  1917-06  Given command of Jagdgeschwader 1 (Fight Wing 1). 
Date of death1918-04-21 Morlancourt, France 

Manfred Albrecht von Richthofen was the eldest of three sons of Prussian nobleman, Major Albrecht von Richthofen. He enrolled at age 11 at the military school at Wahlstatt, and then attended the Royal Military Academy at Lichterfelde where he was commissioned as a cavalry officer in April, 1911 in the First Regiment of Uhlans. He was promoted to Leutnant in 1912. After the outbreak of war, von Richthofen joined the nascent German Air Corps (Fliegertruppe) in 1915 as an observer, but after his initial and inspiring meeting with Oswald Boelcke, he determined to become a pilot and made his first solo flight on October 10, 1915. Assigned to Jagdstaffel 2 (2 Squadron) in September 1916, Richthofen commenced his combat career flying an Albatros D.II and soon started developed a reputation and a rising kill count. With the death of his sixteenth victim on January 4, 1917, Richthofen became his country's top living air ace, whereupon he was awarded the Blue Max and given command of Jagdstaffel 11. It was from this point that Richthofen started painting his aircraft in a distinctive overall red colour. On January 23, 1917, he brought down his seventeenth victim, 28 year old Second Lieutenant John (Jack) Hay, an Australian flying with the British Royal Flying Corps and the German's only Australian victim. By the end of April 1917, a disastrous month for the allied air forces, Richthofen had increased his score to 41, and after a month on leave, returned in early June to command Jagdgeschwader 1 (Fighter Wing 1) a newly formed unit incorporating Jagdstaffeln 4, 6, 10, and 11, known to the allies as the "Richthofen Circus". Despite being shot down himself in July 1917, Richthofen's score steadily increased to eighty by April 1918. On 21 April 1918, his Fokker Dr 1 triplane was shot down and Richthofen killed over Vaux sur Somme, near Morlancourt. To this day, argument rages over who actually fired the fatal shot.