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Gordon200

100 years ago - von Richthofen

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@Chill31 Yes, great insight, thank you! I didn‘t know these details either, but they really add up well, explaining MvR‘s actions as well as his „improbable end“. 

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On ‎9‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 4:10 PM, Chill31 said:

Regarding Brown, I am not entirely sure his story is true at all.  At best, I think he lost sight of MvR at some point in his attack which would mean he was too far away to make a successful shot at him.  At worst, I think he happened by the same area and the whole story was made up on his behalf in order to give credit to an airman instead of the guys on the ground for the propaganda value.

Why do you think he's lying? And what causes you to think that he lost sight of Richthofen. Brown wrote a letter to his father shorty after the fight. He said, "We fought Baron Von Richthofen's Circus in what was the most terrible fight I have ever seen in the air. We shot down three of the their triplanes which were seen to crash....among them was the Baron whom I shot down on our side of the lines." I truly think that Brown believed, right or wrong, that he killed Von Richthofen.

And as far as him not getting a successful shot at him, an American pilot named "Boots" LeBoutillier says differently. He was up there and witnessed the fight. He wrote after the war, "To my dying day I'll say that Brownie shot him down....I saw the bullets going into the cockpit."

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Poochnboo said:

Why do you think he's lying? And what causes you to think that he lost sight of Richthofen. Brown wrote a letter to his father shorty after the fight. He said, "We fought Baron Von Richthofen's Circus in what was the most terrible fight I have ever seen in the air. We shot down three of the their triplanes which were seen to crash....among them was the Baron whom I shot down on our side of the lines." I truly think that Brown believed, right or wrong, that he killed Von Richthofen.

And as far as him not getting a successful shot at him, an American pilot named "Boots" LeBoutillier says differently. He was up there and witnessed the fight. He wrote after the war, "To my dying day I'll say that Brownie shot him down....I saw the bullets going into the cockpit."

 

 

 

 

I don't think Brown ever lied per se about shooting down MvR.  He probably fired at a red triplane, which precipitated his combat report.  If you read the body of Brown's combat report though, it indicates he was in and out of the fight AND that after shooting MvR, he went back to the fight.  Granted, I wasn't there, but the idea that he chased MvR to treetop height, shot him down and then climbed up and went back to the fight to shoot at two more triplanes doesn't really add up to me.  

 

More to the point of what I said though...if Brown shot him down, why did he break off while MvR was still chasing May for another 30-40 seconds?  You've got a red Fokker on the tail of your newest pilot inside of 50 yards, and you break off the attack before ensuring he is safe (this fact is corroborated by LOTS of ground witnesses)?  A brown Camel, and even a red Triplane, at low aspect angle are going to be very difficult to see down low.  My intuition tells me he fired early in the chase, checked his six, lost sight and then broke away.  

 

On April 20, Raymond Collishaw met with Brown who ALREADY had orders to the rear for combat fatigue.  "He had lost his nerve" according to Collishaw.  After that fight, Brown was transferred out of the squadron a short time later.  Having lost his nerve, it is my understanding he never went back war.  Those are just not qualities of a man who is going into a fight ready to win, but rather to survive.  I could be wrong, but given the rest of the story from people on the ground, I personally put no stock into Brown's altered combat report or any of the claims made on his behalf.  The propaganda value of having an airman defeat the best Germany has to offer is off the charts.

 

Another point that really leads me to believe Brown KNOWS he didn't get him is the fact that for years, he never answered the question: Did you shoot down the Red Baron?  His answer was always some variation of "Well, that's what the record says isn't it?"  His dodgy response isn't that of someone who is sure of what happened.

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