Freiherr Manfred Albrech von Richthofen was born in Breslau in 1892. His Prussian aristocratic family was prosperous, and he and his younger brother, Lothar, followed their father into the military.
In 1912, von Richthofen was commissioned as a lieutenant into the 1st Uhlan Cavalry Regiment. When the First World War broke out, he served as a reconnaissance officer first in Russia, then in Belgium and France.
When it became apparent that mounted cavalry were not suited to trench warfare, his regiment was tasked with dispatch running and operating communication equipment. Von Richthofen was frustrated at being away from the action, and became even more so when he was assigned to logistics.
He applied instead to join the Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches (Imperial German Flying Corps), and it is reported that he explained, “I have not gone to war in order to collect cheese and eggs,…