Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Voyagers!: Chapter 10~The Red Baron strikes!...and get's struck down.

 Death on Voyagers!? Say it ain't so! If I did, then it wouldn't be true to real history, would it? A lot of death in the Pilot episode, it seems, at least 2 with the other pilots. I don't know if anyone else realized this or thought so, but I always felt that when Jeffrey shoots down the Red Baron, and you see his plane speed down in smoke...that Richthofen literally bit the bullet. Jeffrey may have killed him.
'I got him!' 
What do you think? Well first, read my research and then decide. I can't just make some major statement like that and then not back it up!

How did the real Red Baron die? I am going to copy and paste this info straight from a bio website I found. It expounds it a lot better than I probably can, because this research is all new to me. :P

Richthofen was killed just after 11 a.m. on April 21, 1918. He died after being struck by a single .303 bullet, while flying over Morlancourt Ridge, near the Somme River.
At the time the Baron had been pursuing (at very low altitude) a Sopwith Camel piloted by a novice Canadian pilot, Lieutenant Wilfrid "Wop" May of No. 209 Squadron, Royal Air Force. In turn, the Baron was spotted and chased by a Camel piloted by a school friend (and flight Commander) of May, Canadian Captain Arthur "Roy" Brown. After a brief fleeting attack from Brown (who had to dive steeply at very high speed to intervene, and then had to climb steeply to avoid hitting the ground) Richthofen resumed his pursuit of May, but Brown had very probably already saved May's life.
Brown was at the time credited with shooting down the Red Baron - although in light of modern research this actually seems unlikely. Richthofen received a single but extremely serious and inevitably fatal chest wound - it seems almost impossible that, if this was from Brown's guns, he should then have flown on after May for as long as he did.
After being hit, Richthofen managed to make a hasty but controlled landing in a field on a hill near the Bray-Corbie road, just north of the village of Vaux-sur-Somme, in a sector controlled by the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). His Fokker was not damaged by the landing. One witness, Gunner George Ridgway, stated that when he and other Australian soldiers reached the plane, Richthofen was still alive but died moments later.Another eye witness, Sergeant Ted Smout of the Australian Medical Corps, reported that Richthofen's last word was "kaputt" ("broken") immediately before he died.
The identity of the person who shot the Red Baron remains unknown; .303 was the standard calibre for all machine guns and rifles used by British Empire forces during World War I. The Royal Air Force gave official credit to Roy Brown. However, it is now (after a large-scaled investigation in 1998, see under references) considered all but certain by historians, doctors, and ballistics experts that Richthofen was killed by someone on the ground, as the wound through his body indicated that it had been caused by a bullet moving in an upward motion, and, more importantly, that it was probably received some time after Brown's attack.

Okay, now some specifics with how it correlates to the episode. Notice the day and where he died. In France on April 21, 1918. Voyagers never gives us the month or day, but remember, Bogg says they are in  'France, 1918.' And by all accounts when they land in the haystack, it sure looks like a beautiful mid spring day to me. While current investigations say he was shot from the ground, because the bullet appeared to be going 'upward...' if you watch that scene carefully, you'll notice that Jeffrey's machine gun was aiming 'up.' Even if he had no clue where he was aiming! It's so possible that he struck the Baron in the chest, though the series makes it look like he only shot the tail.
The other fascinating aspect is that nobody can say for sure who killed the Red Baron..hmm..and if the Voyagers disappeared right after, no would ever know!
Now obviously, that was what made the green light, the death of the Richthofen. I mean, Mary and Eddie got safely away, so why didn't the light just change then? Because the challenge given to Eddie had to be met, and the Voyagers met it.
So interesting, huh? Well, it was to me, because it was always in the back of my mind that the Red Baron didn't get out of that attack alive. It's still just a theory of course, perhaps Baron went up in the air again after Bogg and Jeff left the scene and then somehow got killed on another spring day. But that just seems awkward.

Still, it gives me fuel to write a quick, little snippet!

Here is some other tidbits of history that the writers of the Pilot episode failed to realize, Eddie Rickenbacker couldn't have been known as a flying 'Ace' at that point in history. He had only made his first flight mission on April 6, 1918. He didn't achieve 'Top American' status until May 30 after downing two Germans in one day. However, during that brief time between April and May, he did fly circles with Richthofen, but he was not victorious until April 26th, days after Red Baron was killed.

So, those are the only main points I had to make about this chapter, because honestly, it reads almost exactly like the episode. Though Jeffrey is a little more knowledgable about the plane when he tells Bogg that the plane doesn't have a clutch, but a throttle. And amazingly, Bogg still yells out, 'Remember the Maine!' to which Jeffrey replies, 'Wrong war again.'
WHEEEEEE!!!

The book claims that the Red Baron, defeated, tips his wing to salute the American Ace, then makes a safe landing.

However, what I believe really happened in this voyage gives credence to another favorite Bogg one-liner of mine,

"Shoot him! Shoot him!"
"I am!"
"Then hit him!"

And that folks, is what Jeffrey did...or did he?

*HOWEVER, I'd like to make more references here, as brought out by an astute viewer/reader of my blog. Right after Jeffrey shoots the plane, you do see in the background someone parachuting slowly down. And I checked and she was right. What could this mean?

1. Yes, the Red Baron has escaped and lived to see another day, if not for much longer since he died in 1918.
2. It is not the Red Baron, but his partner, who may have been the one shooting the machine gun like a maniac, remember, you need 2 people to do this, one to fly and one to control the weapon, right? Not on Red's plane, as explained by same astute reader! Jeesh! My theories are being shot at as quick as Bogg and Jeff were off the haystack!-
The Fokker that the Red Baron flew was a triplane single-seater. The pilot also fired the machine gun, which was timed to fire BETWEEN the blades of the propeller. So there was no partner. That was something I had a feeling was the case, but I'm about as bright as Phineas Bogg when it comes to WWI planes!
3. It was a flub on the series (And we can all attest it had many! hehe) If you notice, the plane fights weren't exactly good old stock footage. You literally saw planes flying around. It could have just been the stunt man escaping the plane and it wasn't meant to be seen...but knowing that it is still a kid's show, it may have been purposefully left in...and Jeffrey is in the clear.

So there you have it. I gave you all the options and research I could find and was given me, now you can make your own informed decisions.

This is it, we are down to the very last chapter for my next entry, literally 2 and a half pages long. After that, I'll have to find other fuel for this blog. :-/ But I will. I remember some of you had given me ideas and I can always write about time travel or a number of things, so I'm not at a loss.

Voyagers always prevail!

15 comments:

  1. I think you're absolutely right. I always wondered about this point, too. Well, I think the series leaves us without exact knowledge at this point, because they didn't want to show Jeffrey as a killer. And after their landing, Jeffrey just says that they're alive, and asks about Eddie and Mary, he never asks something like: "Hey, Bogg, do you think I may have killed that guy?" Yes, the makers of the series just wanted to show us a glorious victory, but they didn't want us to think deeper about this question.
    But honestly, even if he didn't hit him in the chest, it's enough to shoot his plane to create a situation he quite probably wouldn't survive.
    It's one thing that they blame Bogg for endangering Jeffrey's life on that flight, but another one to expose an innocent child to the risk of having to kill someone! And yet, this issue is never discussed.

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  2. I suppose one could theorize that, since Jeff knew Rickenbacker didn't kill the Red Baron, it never occurred to him to ponder that question himself. Besides, because history shows that Rickenbacker wasn't responsible for the Baron's death, if Jeff had killed him, the light probably wouldn't have turned green, since he and Bogg were taking Rickenbacker's place.

    Voyagers was, when all is said and done, a kid's show, and I guess Hollywood assumed little kids wouldn't ask questions like this. *Insert trademark Jeff eye-roll here* I guess they never knew the kids I grew up with!

    ---Jake

    And Ginger, you're wondering where to go next. You've just given yourself the perfect opening to a topic that's come up before: The dark side of being a Voyager. Since we were on other subject matter at the time, we didn't get very deeply into it, but you could start by comparing the three times (and counting, since I haven't seen the whole series yet) that Sam had to kill people in QL in order to complete his mission.

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  3. Yes, the key words are 'kid's show' and perhaps I shouldn't think so deeply about it, but puhleeze, some kids are more deep than adults.
    I'm thinking too that he and Bogg were taking Rickenbacker's place, in order to save him and Mary, because they were not supposed to be up there with Red in the first place, and as history says, Eddie was not to be the one to shoot him down. Then you take into account all the other squad planes present that day of his death.
    And of course, I could be all wrong here, this may not have been the day at all. Maybe it was the day before or weeks before, (still would make their research on Eddie a little wrong, but :eye roll:) but after reading about these dogfights, one or the other is usually not coming out it alive. That was the honor, to strike down as many German or American planes as possible. Eddie had 300 under his belt when he was done, not that they all died, but still, I guess that was the goal.
    Voyagers was very keen on showing the glorious victory, you know what truly interested me, was the distinct difference between Bogg and Jeff. Jeffrey, being an 'American' and proud of it, was quite the little patriot, always referring to the Americans as the good guys, so much so that Bogg learns to do it too. 'Are those the good guys?" "Yeah!"
    But..Bogg clearly stated his neutrality in Created Equal and Cleo and the Babe, 'All countries are the same to me, all have excitement...' well, yah and women! And then the other line 'I'm a citizen of the world, free to come and go as I choose.'
    Bogg was, in essence, not bogged down with taking sides, he just had to make sure history stayed on course, and of course, America was usually the victorious one throughout the course of history. I really appreciated that aspect about his character. It left him open to possibilities. Goodness, what if one day they had a voyage where they had to help the SOUTH win a battle? How would Jeffrey feel? Or, they had to help Nazis to keep the light green. There are too many gray areas. Sometimes in my stories, I throw in things where they have to help along the 'bad' guys in order to keep the light green. But all that could be left for future blogs as Jake suggested. The dark side of time travel and voyaging.

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  4. I was really glad when they dropped that "citizen of the world" garbage. I hated that line; I always thought it sounded so ridculously pompous. Finding out it was a popular Communist byline in the 1910s and 1020s didn't help. And it particularly bothered me that they had Teddy Roosevelt use it. Maybe he did have Communist leanings, no one knows. But we're looking at an era where most people were very definitely anti-Communist, though it hadn't yet reached the fever pitch that it did in the '50s; given that situation, it's certain that Roosevelt was too canny a politician to be that blatant about it.

    ---Jake

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  5. I didn't know that about that line. I preferred the 'All countries are the same to me..' the citizen of the world line seemed a little..odd, even the way it was spoken. It was like he was just throwing that at Cleo to get her off his back and not be made her slave, lol. Interesting to note that Rickenbacker had a clash with FDR, saying that his 'New deal' had Socialist leanings. Just something I picked up when I was reading about him.
    I guess they were just trying to bring home the point that no one should think they are greater than anyone else (which ties in to Slavery in that episode) it's like nowadays, everyone has to be connected, 'we are the world' we take a stand as one and all that.

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  6. Oh and Dolores, you're right. The issue never came up at the trial with Bogg, if it wasn't supposed to happen, I think Drake would have had a FIELD DAY, not just because he endangered a child's life, but of the moral consequences as you said, that Jeffrey may have killed a man. But the show wouldn't bring that up. And if you think about it, look what happened to the two pilots in the other planes, they were shot down dead. Red Baron in that episode was not playing around, he was out for blood. He aimed at innocent people on the ground! He tried to shoot Bogg and Jeff right off the haystack, and kept on shooting! That wasn't part of the Aerial dogfight. So, they did a good job of showing a 'maniac' with a machine gun that had to be stopped. Hence the big victorious feeling at the end. My little story deals with the after-effects, you know, when Jeffrey had a chance to think about it.

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  7. Oh my lands, I just had another 'deep' Voyagers thought. You can totally see where the show had to backtrack and take back everything they did in the Pilot episode. Bogg had no problem with having Jeffrey in that plane using a machine gun and firing away, but then in Bully and Billy, he's suddenly like the no-gun enforcer. Granted the situations were very different, but isn't it funny that Jeffrey never even brought that issue up. He could have so thrown it Bogg's face like an angry kid would, 'But Bogg! You let me use the machine Gun to shoot down the Red Barron!'
    Not a whisper. Hum, go figure!

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  8. Wow! Ginger,I am impressed with what you found out about the Red Baron.I have a degree in history, but I think I have learned more about these two historic figures from you. I always wondered too why this issue about Jeffrey shooting down was not used against Bogg during the trial as well . I wish in the show they could have told us what country Bogg was from but they never did. I was never crazy about the citzen of the world comment either.Iiked it better when Jeff refers to Bogg in the Bully and Billy episode as kind of an honorary American. Did the same writers write the pilot episode ? or was it a different group that wrote Bully and Billy!? This is so intereting Jake is right there is a dark side to being a Voyager and I like how he deals with this issue in his Gift of Son story. Thanks Ginger this is allso interesting EmilyW

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  9. Well, hey, let's face it, this show wasn't particularly known for its continuity. The only time earlier episodes were ever even referred to was at the trial. Even during the show's first run I noticed that, and it always bothered me.

    Since there IS a dark side to being a Voyager, Drake wouldn't have brought up the fact that Jeff may have killed a man; he would know it wouldn't do him any good. By our standards, yes, it is monstrous to put a child in that sort of situation; for a Voyager, as Bogg points out to Jeff in Ginger's story, while it may be wrong, and it probably tore him apart inside to think of Jeff going through this, it's really all in a day's work for them.

    As for the Red Baron shooting at people on the ground...I'm really not sure about that one. Rickenbacker had it right; he wouldn't shoot at an unarmed man. There was still honor in battle in those days; while I don't know all the details about the Red Baron, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have been shooting at people on the ground. If they were clearly soldiers, yes, that was his job. It was the same kind of courtesy that made shooting at a man in a parachute taboo during the First World War.

    And speaking of parachutes...I haven't watched the episode in a while, but if I remember correctly, if you look carefully at the shot showing the Baron's plane on its way down, you can just barely see a parachute; I think it was in the lower left-hand corner of the screen.

    ---Jake

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  10. I am going to watch that scene again very carefully, because you may be very right about the parachute, and if that's the case, then the RB lived to see another day, but unfortunately still died within the same time frame.
    And that's what didn't make sense to me, Eddie said one thing about not shooting unarmed people, but then who in the world was shooting at two unarmed people on the ground? Jeffrey recognized it to be Richthofen. He appeared to be definitely shooting at them, the bullets were flying right at their heels. Well anyway, I went back to my story since I had more chance to mull it over, and I added a few more lines on Bogg's part that it may NOT have been Jeffrey who did him in, so nobody's really sure..the evidence just seems to point that way.
    And thank you Emily, it was really just quick research on my part and the power of google, lol. But it's fascinating what you can dig up and compare it to in the series sometimes.I'll have to check on who wrote which episodes. That's all in the Episode Guide we're scurrying to fix up for the fans! LOL.

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  11. Hey all commentators, I made an amendment toward the end of the post, as per Jake's comment about the parachute! Just thought I'd let ya know. :)

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  12. Well, definite possibility on the stunt-man theory, but as for the Red Baron's partner theory...BZZZT! Wrong answer. According to my resident historical aircraft expert, the Fokker that the Red Baron flew was a triplane single-seater. The pilot also fired the machine gun, which was timed to fire BETWEEN the blades of the propeller. So there was no partner. If they left the parachuting stunt-man in deliberately, it's meant to explain that the Red Baron bailed out. He had no partner.

    Geez, these discussions are FUN!

    ---Jake

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  13. LOL. Yes they are, we learn so much, we're like our miniature Voyagers school here! I will add that bit about the Red Baron's plane..I had a feeling that he was firing and flying at the same time too, but what do I know about planes from 1918? lol. Looks like Red may have bailed after all...so that's why I made a final edit to my story that had Phineas saying they really don't know for sure..and that a Voyager may still have to deal with something like that. but I can imagine it is still startling for Jeffrey to think he might have. :/

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  14. Certainly a sobering thought for the kid. And, of course, that brings us right back to the discontinuity demon. With that early V-lesson relatively fresh in his mind (since B&B was only episode 3), I would not expect him to be so vehement about learning to shoot a gun, even if it WAS from his hero Billy the Kid.

    ---Jake

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  15. That's very true, but if you think about the Pilot..he didn't actually learn a lesson. Nobody sat him down afterward and said, I know you had to do what you had to do to save us, but guns are bad, kid. There was only the thrill of victory and Phineas at the time was shouting, shoot him! Hit him! So that would kind of lead into B&B and how he wanted to learn how to shoot. He already had the experience and all of a sudden Bogg's like, no way. The continuity demon, grr! They could have so brought up the Pilot, knowing Phineas, he would have been stumped if Jeffrey had mentioned RB..it would have been perfect for that scene where he wanted to shoot the cans. Then Phineas would still just pause and then say...'I said No!...That's final.'

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You smart kids give me a pain…
Comments, thoughts, and ideas are appreciated!