There really was a Red Baron. His name was Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (Baron Von Richthofen), and just like the lyrics state, he had 80 confirmed kills as a fighter pilot in World War I. In the song, he meets his demise when Snoopy shoots him down in a dogfight; in real life, he was fatally injured in an air battle over France, where he landed his plane in a beet field and died a short time later.
The Red Baron was so respected that the Allies buried him in France with full military honors. So grand was his legend that Peanuts
author Charles Schultz devised a storyline pitting him against Snoopy
. His image was later used to sell frozen pizza