Richthofen Film Part 2
John Christopher Bechtler Collection
US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Various locations and dates, probably N. France and Belgium, between Autumn 1916 to September 1918. Contains activities of Jagdgeschwader 1 (the Red Baron's "Flying Circus"), comprising Jagdstaffel (Jasta) 4, 6, 10, 11, which was commanded by Manfred von Richthofen (MvR) until his death April 21, 1918 in a Fokker Dr.1. Hermann Goering became CO of Jagdgeschwader Freiherr von Richthofen No.1 on July 7, 1918.
Film title at head: "RICHTHOFEN FILM aufgenommen von AHG FOKKER, 2. Teil" September 1917 Pilots, observers on wooden platform with dog, looking through range finders, field glasses. Town in distance, church steeple, industrial chimneys. They hurry down wooden steps. Bell mounted on wooden tower rings. Planes into action. Triplane wheeled out of wooden structure, Fok. F1 102, prototype flown by Manfred von Richthofen. 01:32:09 MvR (no medals) walks to plane, helped into his gear by Anthony Fokker and others. MvR's head is partially shaved following serious head injury July 1917. Fok. F1 102 on side of plane. Presumably late August/early Sept. 1917 when F1s were delivered to JG1 and MvR returned from convalescence. 01:33:40 Jasta 11 pilots in flying gear, closer shots, city buildings in BG (see earlier sequence on Tape 2547 at 01:26). MvR in FG of group holding papers, pilots behind him include Eberhardt Mohnike, Karl Meyer, Eberhart Stapenhorst, Karl Schoenebeck. Pilots salute MvR, laughing, and walk off.
01:34:28 In early 1917, corrugated huts, five men exit, including Anthony Fokker and Jasta 11 pilots Karl Allmenroeder (KIA June 27, 1917), Eberhardt Mohnike? or Luebbert?, Loewenhardt?, and Hans Hintsch (KIA May 25, 1917). One pours from bottle. May also include Willi Reinhard or Georg Simon at far right. Men walk up & past camera. LS, trucks in BG. 01:35:10 Mess time; brick building in BG, men get food.
Germany's top pilots gathered at aviation testing center at Adlershof, outside Berlin, mid-January 1918, permanent structures in BG. 01:35:26 CU, Lt. Otto Fritz Bernert (d. Oct. 18, 1918), a broad-faced smiling officer with glasses and Blue Max medal at neck. CUs of Bernert without cap. 01:35:55 Group of fliers, warmly dressed, lighting cigarettes and smoking. Konstantin Krefft, MvR's chief of technical staff, on left. 01:36:13 Fokker & Krefft. Group of pilots including Hans Klein with Blue Max medal (d. May 1918), Krefft, Adolf von Tutscheck, Commander of Jagdgeschwader 2 (KIA March 15, 1918), MvR, plane in BG. 01:36:33 3 men, L to R: Festler?, Hans Weiss?, von Dostler? 01:36:38 Klein, von Tutscheck, MvR. 01:36:59 Man on left may be Hans Weiss. 01:37:02 Sign on building behind: "Flugzeughalle I" 01:37:09 CU Hans Klein. Bruno Loerzer, Commander of Jagdgeschwader 3, & Klein take cigarettes, light up. Men pick up Klein in seated position. 01:38:14 Pilot (von Tutscheck) in cockpit, puts on helmet, wearing Blue Max medal. 01:38:44 Close pan of group of pilots standing. May include Gontermann, Hans Joachim Wolff? (tall), von Tutscheck (Blue Max medal prominent, white handkerchief tied to coat) & Loewenhardt; Hans Rolfes (Jasta 11). 01:39:13 Von Tutscheck & Klein, laughing, pointing to sky.
01:39:25 INT, Hans Kirschstein (KIA July 16, 1918), seated with a letter. Loewenhardt? seen briefly at left. 01:39:34 Outdoors, MC pan of officers (matches Part 1), trellis in BG. Includes Goering, Loerzer, Kirschstein, Lothar von Richthofen, probably early July 1918 when Goering became Commander of Jagdgeschwader 1. 01:39:40 Triplane and empty cockpit in late Aug/Sept 1917. MvR helped with straps in cockpit, checks machine guns in front of him, slight turn to camera, semi-profile. 01:40:08 CS men oiling propellers and starting up, revving, ready to take off. Red Baron in cockpit of his Fok F1 102 prototype triplane, waves. Ground-to-air shot of takeoff. 01:41:16 On the ground, Fokker goes to damaged plane, MvR & others also examine bullet holes. MvR has thin black band over head & under chin, holding bandage from July head injury. Fokker wears a heavy coat with fur collar. 01:41:41 Group poses for camera, including MvR, Fokker in different coat & helmet, uninjured British pilot (Lt. Algernon Bird, shot down Sept 3, 1917, MvR's 61st opponent), overexposed. Mohnike in pilot's gear, two men assisting, closing briefcase to stash in plane. Fokker in plaid suit, brief side view. Two men in plane, include MvR at rear.
Manfred von Richthofen and Werner Voss, Jasta 10, are the only pilots to whom the F1 was issued. Kurt Wolff was killed flying Richthofen's plane on September 15, 1917, while MvR was on leave in Berlin. Scenes including this plane are probably filmed in September 1917. Triplanes were grounded October 31, following many accidents, until November 28 when modifications were made by Fokker.
Locations may include the following: Vicinity of Douai, France; Marckebeeke, Courtrai, Belgium; Avesnes-le-Sec, Cambrai; Awoingt airfield, Cambrai; Lechelle; Cappy; Begneux; Monthussart Ferme; Puisieux Ferme.
Handwritten title from original film can: "Richthofen". Bechtler Collection Tape #3. VQ: New video transfers with color re-balanced were made 10/29/03. In addition, tapes 2546 and 2547 were combined onto one tape. There is no PAL version of this tape.
Biography / History:
John Christopher Bechtler was a U.S. soldier in Berchtesgaden in April-May 1945, serving with the Counter Intelligence Corps. He arrested and interrogated various Germans at the end of the war.
2003.122 Claranne Bechtler, the daughter of John Christopher Bechtler, donated her father's film materials to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in May 1995 [Accession Number 1995.A.875]. Most of these items were deaccessioned in March 2000; 18 reels of film, however, were transferred to the Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and were never officially deaccessioned or removed from the Museum's premises. They were officially "donated" again by Mrs. Bechtler in June 2003 with the Accession Number 2003.122.
LUFTWAFFE (GERMAN AIR FORCE)
RICHTHOFEN, MANFRED VON
WORLD WAR I
John Christopher Bechtler
16m b/w A-wind rev. pos.
16mm, b/w, pos & neg; Betacam SP; VHS
01:28:51 - 01:43:05
US Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of Claranne Bechtler