Concerning the Red Baron's Death

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Galahad
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Concerning the Red Baron's Death

Post by Galahad » 20 Dec 2002 22:49

This isn't 3rd Reich, but did anyone else watch the Discovery Channel's Unsolved History show on Wednesday? They used a number of means--flight simulation, lasers, computer analysis, forensics and firing angles and ballistics to analyze the final flight of the Red Baron, and determined who most likely shot him down.

They determined, based on range, that it was just about impossible for Captain Roy Brown to have even hit him, and because of the wound, determined that it would have been impossible for the Red Baron to have continued flying if Brown had indeed hit him; the fatal bullet went through his heart.

They then analyzed the claims of the 3 Aussie soldiers who were shooting at him with machine guns. Based on angles, wound location, time of flight after being hit and such, the conclusion was that only one man could have both hit him in the way he was hit AND hit him at a time that was consistent with his actions after being hit.....a faceless Aussie soldier named--I believe--"Snowey" Evans who died in 1925.
It was a fascinating show for history freaks. They had an interview with a 104 year old Aussie who is the last remaining eyewitness to what happened. He was also one of the first men to get to the Red Baron after his plane stopped moving. He said he was still alive when removed from the plane, and said one word before dying....."kaput".

Unless he was hit by one of the soldiers shooting at him with rifles, in which case we'll never know the real shooter, this seems a pretty conclusive answer.

Anthony EJW
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Post by Anthony EJW » 21 Dec 2002 01:05

Odd you should mention this- there is a program on Channel 4 in old Blighty this very Sunday on who downed the Red Baron- I shall be interested what their conclusions are!

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Galahad
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Post by Galahad » 21 Dec 2002 02:35

Hi Anthony! Do let us know what your Channel 4 program concludes. I wonder if it could be the same show that Unsolved History ran?

Gwynn Compton
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Post by Gwynn Compton » 21 Dec 2002 03:38

Well look at it this way, we know for sure it wasn't Snoopy who shot him down :P

Gwynn

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Post by Anthony EJW » 22 Dec 2002 21:03

The Channel 4 documentary was quite interesting, although a lot of the program was setting out the scene as it were.

The program covered some research into the subject- it was found that the wound would have killed the Red Baron in about 20 to 30 seconds. The Imperial War Museum had a latter from a man who had visited the WW1 battlefields with his dad in the 70s. While there, the father had said that he was a RA observer, and that his commander had told him to investigate the wreck of the red plane. He was apparently the first man there, saw that the Red Baron was still alive, heard him say something in German and then die. Further, someone had corresponded with several witnesses of the battle and had gathered together a sizable amount of interesting letters. However, this had been gathering dust until recently when an historian had found it when conducting research into the Red Baron's death.

Based on this, it was decided that Brown couldn't have downed the Red Baron due to the timing of his attack. It then looked into a claim by an Australian lewis gun team, but they decided that they couldn't have killed the Red Baron either as they were shooting head on, while the bullet entered the Baron's right hand side

Based on ballistics tests, it was concluded that the bullet had been shot by a gun about 600 yards away. Given this evidence, there was one very strong canditate for the kill- an Australian Vickers gunner. The location of this gun was consistent with the type of wound, as well as the time of the Red Baron's death.

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Post by Peter » 22 Dec 2002 22:17

Fascinating documentary tonight wasnt it, so the Aussie foot soldier got him, an excellent piece of detective work. Nice to know how it happened and hopefully credit now placed with the Aussies.
cheers
Pete

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Galahad
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Post by Galahad » 23 Dec 2002 06:13

Thanks, Anthony.....looks like two different detailed analyses came to the same conclusion.

Isn't that the way it is so often in history? Credit is given where credit is due--way after the men deserving it aren't around to properly bask in the glory.

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Tim Smith
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Post by Tim Smith » 23 Dec 2002 12:12

The Red Baron's death was a propaganda coup for the Allies. Announcing that he was shot down by a machine gunner on the ground isn't as romantic as saying he was shot down by another pilot, and wouldn't have the same impact on the Germans.

Even if the British had known for certain how Richthofen died at the time, Capt. Roy Brown would still have been awarded the kill.

The same thing happened in 1916 about Immelmann - in reality he shot off his own propeller and crashed, but the British claimed that one of their pilots had shot him down.

Ubique
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Re. Red Barons Death

Post by Ubique » 29 Dec 2002 16:48

You might like to know that while there is no memorial on the site where he came down, the local Somme tourist board did erect a multi-lingual signboard close to the brickworks on the Morlancourt Ridge where the aircraft was brought down.

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