Richthofen Film Part 1
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, 1. Teil" German military men on roof of train during World War I, stationary, moving along curved track, through countryside, shot from top of RR car towards front of train. Train stopped in station, men inside and out, on the platform. One civilian standing with uniformed men on top of train.
01:02:49 "Mobile" airfield, no landmarks on horizon. Men & biplanes. Pan of tents near trees, camouflaged with branches, covering planes. 01:03:31 Pan of planes lined up on field in a row, airmen near them, tents behind. Jasta 6 biplanes (possibly Fok. D.VIIs) with dark/white diagonal stripes on noses & wheels, warming up in a line. MCU, German pilots (mainly Jasta 4) ready to fly, standing in a group. Tall pilot in jacket with fur collar, fur lined helmet, with moustache (possibly Wilhelm Frankl? Jasta 4, Jewish, KIA April 8, 1917). Pilot shaking hands with Manfred von Richthofen (MvR). Goering in BG, face fully wrapped. WS planes and men as engines warm up. 01:04:45 Hermann Goering in cockpit, removes face wrappings and ear plugs. 01:05:22 Wolfram von Richthofen (cousin of MvR) in cockpit, looks over shoulder to camera. CU Egon Koepsch (Jasta 4) in cockpit with scar on left cheek. 01:05:35 MCU Lt. Gluzsewski in cockpit wearing goggles, another by plane. Gluzsewski without goggles speaking, gesturing. Two others briefly seen in cockpit, helmet. Partial markings on plane visible: "Leergewicht / Nutz..." Airfield as planes take off one after the other. 01:06:44 Men on ground observe activity in the air through field glasses, next to tent; communication on handset. Unreadable sign posted in midst. Man runs to ring bell, men run into view and into tent; planes wheeled out.
Group of German aces pose at and on nose of plane, including Ulrich Neckel (strong resemblance to MvR), no medals seen on any of the group - plane dates sequence as after MvR's death in April 1918. 01:08:16 Soft-focus shot of Goering (1918?), other pilots walking to camera, up & past. Goering seems to be leading. Friedrich Mallinckrodt (Jasta 6) on the left of Goering. Two holding little dogs, base seen in BG.
01:08:31 Probably mid-July 1918, Anthony Fokker in civilian suit, between Goering and Bruno Loerzer. MvR's blackthorn walking stick ("Geschwaderstock") handed to Goering, when Goering became Commanding Officer of Jagdgeschwader 1 on July 7, 1918. Loerzer takes it to admire and pass back. CU, Goering and Loerzer wearing Blue Max (Pour le Merite) medals at neck. Goering with stick passes close by camera, moving off. 01:09:32 Anthony Fokker poses with Goering and Loerzer.
01:09:44 Close profile, Lt. Schubert? with another, no medals. 01:10:12 Neckel, CO of Jasta 6 (Sept. 1, 1918 to end of war) hatless, no medals, in front of plane, lights cigarette (apparently same time as scene with others on plane at 01:06) MS Anthony Fokker and two others by plane, pilot in cockpit. Fokker talking, gesturing. Far right, Friedrich Mallinckrodt. Officer in glasses, sticks out tongue. Lothar(?) von Richthofen and Malllinckrodt, holding small dog. 01:11:19 CU Fokker in suit and flying helmet, goggles on head, white collar, tie. CU looking to sky, laughing. Another civilian. 01:11:55 CU two men in car, driver and officer, probably Hauptmann Wilhelm Haehnelt, officer in charge of aviation for the German 2nd Army during the March 1918 offensive. 01:11:59 Goering in Air Force uniform walking down wooden steps from cabin surrounded by trees & branches, towards camera, MCU.
01:12:13 Bomb damaged cathedral, presumably in occupied Belgium or France. Various scenes of damage in town. Damaged equipment. MS damaged tank inspected by Fokker and two military men; (British?) tank has marking on side of light square with spade shape in middle, number 2732. Fokker appears in tank turret. Another tank with spade marking has large C.51 marking. More scenes of destruction.
01:14:28 Goering, Fokker, and Erich Loewenhardt? swimming in pond, Fokker splashing Goering. 01:15:06 Dog scenes, with airmen (1916?). Officer with dachshund, performing tricks. 01:15:28 Pilot with white dog sitting up, possibly Oswald Boelcke (d. Sept. 1916). 01:15:56 Short CU scenes of handsome, dark-eyed man with monkey, probably Wilhelm Frankl (Jewish, d. April 8, 1917), side view. Group of officers in semicircle encouraging dogs to play, no Blue Max medals visible.
01:16:50 Scenes of temporary airbase; on farm? Semicircular corrugated huts in WS. 01:17:20 Airmen in lower FG, trellis in BG, at far right Loerzer, Goering behind him. 01:17:29 Good CUs, group of pilots includes Hans Kirschstein laughing, between Goering and Lothar von Richthofen, Konstantin Krefft with hand on head of Kirschstein (d. July 16, 1918). At left, good CU, laughing men, no medals. Man with prominent teeth (possibly Gisbert-Wilhelm Groos, Jasta 11). Several men, including Loerzer, Mallinckrodt -- the goofy fellow with big grin, shorter man in rear (possibly Lt. Schubert). 01:18:28 Loerzer, Lothar von Richthofen, Goering. 01:19:01 Lunch outdoors with older couple, includes (R to L) Lothar von Richthofen, older male civilian, Goering, unknown, female in hat, Willi Reinhard (joined Jasta 11 on July 14, 1917; d. August 3, 1918) whispering to Loerzer.
01:19:33 Biplane takes off in September 1917, maneuvers in air, lands. 01:20:52 VCU of Anthony Fokker with dog, showing his dimples. 01:21:01 Werner Voss climbs into FOK. F I. 103 /17 (prototype triplane), looks at camera as two men are on either side of plane, one hands him gloves. 01:21:41 Good close views of Voss. 01:21:57 Animated conversation between Voss and Fokker in plaid suit and cap. Voss shows Fokker his plane with a painted face on the nose (Voss was killed in this aircraft Sept. 23, 1917 at age 20).
01:22:33 MvR (no medals) and father, Albrecht von Richthofen in officer uniform, probably Sept. 1917. MvR has thin black band under chin, holding head bandage in place. Both men in open car, as others take leave of the elder Richthofen. Car drives off. 01:22:53 MvR in fur coat with two others: Karl Bodenschatz, middle, Lt. Kurt Bertram von Doering on right, shake hands, farewells.
01:23:06 Animated group of pilots from Jasta 11, no Blue Max medals visible. Group includes Konstantin Krefft, Stapenhorst, Brauneck, Meyer. Officer behind MvR to the right looks very similar to MvR - probably Niederhoff. 01:23:19 Bodenschatz walks into view, joins group, to right of MvR (no medals). von Althaus left of MvR, one step up. Carl von Schoenebeck high on left, stick over shoulder, hand near white dog. Tall thin man without hat is Scheffer. MvR's head is shaved. 01:24:44 Pan right to left: Alfred Gerstenberg, Bockelmann, MvR in FG, Mohnike holding Moritz, Groos, Meyer. 01:25:24 MvR and his dog, Moritz, and other dogs.
01:26:26 Good close pan of pilots: L to R: #1 Carl von Schoenebeck; #2 Eberhardt Stapenhorst; #3 Gisbert-Wilhelm Groos; #4 Mohnike; #5 Matthof?; #6 Alfred Gerstenberg; #7 Busch?; #8 Meyer.
RFDU insignia. End
These are tentative identifications and need confirmation. Many scenes focus on activities of Jagdgeschwader 1 (JG 1) and Jasta 11. Commanding officers of Jasta 11 include many of the men who appear in these two reels, including Manfred, Lothar, and Wolfram von Richthofen. The Fokker F1 aircraft was a prototype triplane being tested in Fokker's presence by some of these fliers. Werner Voss, Jasta 10, is listed as flying the Fokker F1 aircraft number 103. Voss was killed in the 103. Kurt Wolff was killed in the 102. 101 was never in action. MvR & Kurt Wolff visited Chateau Marckebeeke from hospital on Friday, July 20, 1917. A photo on chateau steps lists: Mohnicke, Reinhard, Nurse Kate Wienstroth, Major Albrecht von Richthofen, Scheffer, Mueller, Bodenschatz, MvR, Joachim Wolff, Niederhoff, Krefft, Brauneck, Bockelmann, Kurt Wolff, Prof. Arnold Busch, Meyer, von Schoenebeck.
Locations may include: Vicinity of Douai, France; Marckebeeke, Courtrai, Belgium; Avesnes-le-Sec, Cambrai; Awoingt airfield, Cambrai; Lechelle; Cappy (on the Somme); Begneux; Monthussart Ferme; Puisieux Ferme.
Handwritten title from original film can: "Richthofen Film, Aufgenommen von A.H.G. Fokker". Bechtler Collection Tape #9. 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
01:00:58 - 01:27:20
US Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of Claranne Bechtler