Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Lothar von Richthofen
Lothar von Richthofen (27 September 1894–4 July 1922) was the younger brother of the German First World War fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, known more famously as the Red Baron. Lothar was a fighter ace in his own right and was credited with 40 victories during the war.
Starting the war as a cavalry officer, Lothar transferred to the German Army Air Service (Luftstreitkräfte) in 1915 and his first posting was to his brother's Jasta 11 on 6 March 1917. Lothar flew during the period of German dominance known as Bloody April and by the start of May had scored 16 victories. When Manfred went on leave, Lothar assumed command of the squadron. Manfred considered his brother rather reckless, describing him as a "shooter" rather than a "hunter".
Lothar scored three more kills in the first week of May. On the evening of 7 May near Douai, Lothar's Jasta 11 encountered eleven British aircraft from the "elite" No. 56 Squadron RFC , including English ace, Albert Ball. In a running battle fought in deteriorating visibility, the aircraft became scattered until Lothar was engaged in a one-on-one dog fight with Ball which ended with both aircraft crashing behind German lines. Ball was killed but Lothar survived and was credited with the victory though it was likely Ball became disoriented and lost control.
Lothar resumed flying immediately, raising his tally to 23 by 13 May when, while pursuing a BE.2, he was wounded in the hip by anti-aircraft fire and crash-landed. On 14 May he was awarded the Pour le Mérite but his injuries kept him out of combat for five months.
Wounded three times during the war, Lothar scored his final kill on 12 August 1918, flying a Fokker D.VII. Considering the amount of time that he spent on the front and in hospitals, he was one of the most efficient flying aces, possibly even more efficient than his brother Manfred.
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