The Origin of Our Name
DER RITTMEISTER MILITARIA LLC is named in honor of World War I’s original “Rittmeister,” Baron Manfred von Richthofen. Rittmeister is primary translated as “Captain of the Horse.” The cavalry retained this title for their captains. Manfred von Richthofen began the war as an Uhlan Regiment (lance carriers who were considered light cavalry) lieutenant (leutnant) prior to entering the Imperial German Air Service (he had been “de-horsed” to serve in the trenches). When he rose to the level of Air Service Captain, he retained his “Rittmeister” rank (rather than changing to “Hauptmann”), because he was still considered an Uhlan. (When first reassigned, all transfers into the Imperial German Air Service retained their original regimental ranks).
Manfred von Richthofen was Germany’s leading ace, a dedicated hunter/pilot who scored 80 confirmed victories before he was killed on April 21, 1918. The star pupil of Oswald Boelcke, the father of air combat tactics, von Richthofen is the most written-about German fighter-pilot of either World War. In addition to “Der Rittmeister,” von Richthofen was known as the “Red Baron” (Der Rote Kampfflieger) because of his penchant for flying an all-red plane. He remains extremely popular, with his autograph being the most sought-after and expensive of any 20th century German figure.
In emulation of the great Red Baron, Der Rittmeister Militaria strives for excellence in the items we sell and the service we provide.
The Development of a Militaria Dealer
Allow me to introduce myself: I’m Kenneth (Ken) J. Greenfield, currently of New Port Richey, Florida, located on Florida’s West Coast in the Tampa Bay area. I started out collecting Imperial German Militaria, particularly items dealing with the Imperial German Air Service, in the early 1960’s after seeing the hit movie The Blue Max as a teenager. After more than forty years of avid collecting, I began to sell a few items to upgrade my collection and help finance my collecting “habit.” I attended militaria shows, both to buy and sell. I then wanted to spend more time at home and less traveling for the national companies for whom I had worked. So, starting my own business seemed like an attractive alternative. After attending militaria shows in the mid 1990’s, I started one of the first WW I websites. DRM has been on the internet since 1997. I can safely say that we are the oldest militaria dealer on the internet.
In 2012, we were joined by Mrs. Alore Arrington, a very bright, energetic, and cheerful person. She is the next generation of Der Rittmeister Militaria. She has helped make our operation more efficient and heads up our website’s next generation. We feel the upgrade will make it even better and easier for collectors to search our material and find the items that most interest them.
I have many years left to share the hobby that I love. Alore’s participation helps me to spend more time talking with others about militaria, and introducing newcomers to the joys of owning a “piece of history.” Please join us in learning more about the Imperial German Period and how it affected world history, leading up to WW II and beyond. Actually, if you go back to Napoleonic times, the German consolidation wars, the Franco-Prussian War, Germany’s colonial expansion, and Kaiser Wilhelm II’s expansion of the Kaiserliche Marine, you can see how the world was primed for WW I, everything that led up to WW II, and even the “Cold War.”
I welcome inquiries about my merchandise. I also enjoy the chance to discuss militaria with fellow enthusiasts and those who would like to learn more about this fascinating hobby. Due to the volume of e-mail (literally HUNDREDS every day) I receive, I cannot answer EVERY question or identify items from photographs that you send me. I hope you will understand this. I spend at least six hours a day reading e-mail, in addition to writing descriptions of items that I am offering and communicating with my suppliers in Germany. Also, PLEASE do not ask me to identify or answer questions on Non Imperial German items – especially Third Reich items. I have NO information about them and cannot respond to such inquiries.
Contact me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask questions about my items and share your interests. If you want to speak to me by phone, e-mail me for my home phone number. I’ll be happy to “hear” from you either way! — Ken
PS: Want to meet the man whose work greatly influenced my love of WW I German Aviation? Jump to our JACK HUNTER page, and read about the late, great author.