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[Album with 20 Original Photographs, Titled on the Front Cover:] Manfred von Richthofen (1892-1918). Photo Album.
Ca. 1916 - early 1918. Oblong Folio (ca. 24,5x32 cm), 7 card leaves. 20 mounted gelatin silver prints of various size, including two large aerial panoramas ca. 15,5x27,5 cm (6 ¼ x 10 ¾ in) or slightly smaller, and nine large photos ca. 12,5x16,5 cm (4 ¾ x 6 ½ in), the rest of images are ca. 9x13 cm (3 ½ x 5 ¼ in) and smaller. Three images numbered in negative. Handsome recent red full morocco album with gilt tooled decorative frame (with the Iron Cross) and title on the front board, and blind stamped decorative border on the rear border; white moiré endpapers. Two panoramas consist of two parts neatly stuck together, several images with minor silvering, but overall a near fine album. Rare collection of original photographs dedicated to the German Army Air Service (Luftstreitkräfte) during World War I, including some of the last portraits of Manfred von Richthofen. The album opens with two views of Heidelberg and six aerial views of an airfield and a hangar constructed near a West European city, apparently one of the German airbases at the time, in Belgium or France. The photos include two large two-part panoramas and show the aircraft hangar, a small plane on the landing strip, surrounding infrastructure (service buildings, a railway leading to the hangar), and a small European city within medieval star like defensive walls. A series of six photos portray an inspection of a German air force base by the German High Command headed by Paul von Hindenburg, Germany's Chief of General Staff since 1916. There is also a picture of the German mechanics servicing a biplane fighter which is decorated with the iron crosses painted on the tail and wings (late insignia with a simple rectangular cross which was used in March/April - November 1918). The album closes with three important photograph portraits of several of Germany's top pilots gathered for the flying contest at the Adlershof aviation testing center outside Berlin in mid-January 1918. The photos depict exactly the same moment as the "Richthofen Film" (part 2) made by A.F.G. Fokker in 1918 (see the original video at Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive online; copyright by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum). The first photo shows famous German ace Manfred von Richthofen or "Red Baron" (1892-1918; the top ace of the war, credited with 80 air combat victories) talking to Hans Klein (1891-1944), a German fighter ace credited with 22 aerial victories, awarded with the Iron Cross and the Pour le Merite order, or "Blue Max" in October 1917. The second photo portrays Adolf von Tutscheck (1891-1918), Commander of Jagdgeschwader 2 since February 1918, awarded with the Blue Max in August 1917. On the photo he is shown in a flight hat and wearing his Blue Max. The third photo is a group portrait of six of German fighter pilots (from left to right): Lt. Erich Löwenhardt (1897-1918; the third highest German flying ace with 54 victories, awarded with the Blue Max in May 1918); Oberlt. Bruno Loerzer (1891-1960; commander of Jasta 26, later of Jasta III, the third of the German famous "flying circuses," awarded with the Blue Max in February 1918); Manfred von Richthofen, Lt. Kurt Schwarzenberger (chief test pilot for the experimental fighter division of Idflieg); Hans Klein; Albert Mühlig-Hofmann (1886-1980, commander of the Field Equipment Service of Idflieg). Note that Hans Klein is shown wearing his Blue Max and still possesses his right index finger (shot off in combat on 19 February 1918). These portraits are one of the last depictions of Adolf von Tutscheck (killed in action on March 15, 1918), Manfred von Richthofen (killed in action on April 21, 1918), and Erich Löwenhardt (killed in action on August 10, 1918). Overall a very interesting historically significant photograph collection.