So today's song is funny, in one sense. Like, really, would you think that a song about a Peanuts character would be a popular Christmas song?? Well, I love it! The #10 song is Snoopy vs. The Red Baron. Years ago, I used to not even think it was a Christmas song because it didn't sound like it should be. Little did I know...
And, if you're interested in a little bit of history, here's some history behind the song:
(and the sense that may not be as funny...)
April 21, 1918: Manfred von Richthofen a.k.a. The Red Baron is shot down by Allied pilots during the First World War. He is sometimes referred to as the most successful flying ace of World War I. He was credited with 80 confirmed air combat victories.
Von Richthofen was born in 1892 in Breslau which was then part of Germany but is now in Poland. He was a Freiherr or “Free Lord” which is a German aristocratic level equivalent to an English Baron. He began the war as a cavalry scout. He became bored with this job and asked to be transferred to the air service where he became an observer. He met Oswald Boelcke, a great fighting aviator and decided to become a pilot himself. He won his first air battle on September 17, 1916.
The Red Baron (due to his aristocratic rank and the color of his plane) was not considered to be exceptionally skilled, but rather he stuck to a very rigid set of rules of combat that served him very well. Today, he is known as Der Rote Baron in Germany, but at the time he was called Der Rote Kampfflieger or The Red Battle Flyer or The Red Pilot. His other nickname was Le Diable Rouge or Red Devil. During a dogfight in July of 1917 von Richthofen suffered a head wound that left him impaired and may have played a part in his death.
On this date, he was engaged in battle with two planes from the Royal Air Force and broke several of his own rules. The Red Baron was engaged with a Sopwith Camel piloted by Lt. Wilfred May, a Canadian pilot flying for the RAF. Cap. Arthur Brown entered into the fray to aid in combat. Brown was also a Canadian pilot flying for the RAF. Van Richthofen was shot through the chest, probably by an anti-aircraft machine gunner as Brown dived toward the red plane which was in hot pursuit of Lt. May. Von Richthofen managed to land his plane without crashing, but died shortly thereafter on the ground. His Fokker was not badly damaged in the landing, but was dismantled by those on the ground for souvenirs. Sgt. Ted Smout of the Australian Medical Corps rushed to aid the victim of the crash and claimed the Red Baron’s last word was “kaput” which means destroyed or broken. He was 25 years old.