ORIGINAL: Mein Duff
Great Info Ernie...I've never read anything about this particular situation.
You are welcome, Sir. I tried very hard to limit myself to statements of fact, as opposed to conjecture or opinion. Or, interpretation of events, which can very quickly lead one down the primrose path. Hopefully, everything I listed is a factual statement; with no opinion. Actually, since I wasn't there (despite what my grandchildren often claim), I can't state with certitude exactly what happened. How could I? I can only list accepted facts. But if anything can be stated, it would appear either Lothar deliberately lied, and the lie was repeated by other German flyers, or he shot down Albert Ball.
There would appear to be little doubt the two actually came into conflict on that fateful day. Ball was last seen by other RAF flyers pursuing an aircraft that was probably being flown by Lothar. A few minutes later, Ball crashed. Lothar almost immediately landed nearby with his plane disabled by gunfire; presumably by an enemy plane. He said he shot down the crashed plane and that the enemy pilot had disabled him as well. At least one other German airman stated in writing that Lothar and Ball made several runs at each other and Ball fell. Lothar recovered objects from Ball's plane which showed evidence of damage from machinegun fire.
Although there are a lot of stories about so-and-so saw this and so-and-so said that, I can find very little in the way of verifiable, written statements from any other eyewittnesses. Absent that, I have to accept the facts I have. Could Ball have become disoriented during the fight and crashed? Certainly! But the bullet strikes on the Vickers machine gun taken from Ball's plane, and the damaged fuel tubing, seem to be conclusive. If anything is of particular interest, it is that both Albert Ball and Lothar von Richthofen were both of the "go straight at them and fire until they fall" school of fighting. What might you expect when they met; other than that they would go straight at each other until one of them fell, as stated by the witness?
I suppose it would be a bit redundant to write a new book and offer as your premise "Yes; things happened just the way the old books said they happened". Not a lot of money to be made doing that. Good gosh; there is an entire cottage industry dedicated to making Manfred von Richthofen (Or Ball himself, McCudden, Guynemer, whomever, etc) appear less than what we suppose him to be. The more successful the ace, the most people try to debunk him. And if your particular favorite was downed, it could only have been fate or bad luck that felled him. Thanks; Ernie P.