Friedrichs was one of the German balloon-busters. Before his transfer to the German Air Force in 1917, he served with infantry regiments until a disabling wound left him unfit for duty. By the start of 1918, Friedrichs was flying single seat aircraft with Jasta 10. More than half of his confirmed victories were against enemy balloons. On the day he died, his Fokker D.VII (309/18) burst into flames when the incendiary bullets he used for attacking balloons exploded. As he baled out of the burning Fokker, his parachute caught and tore on the tailplane. Friedrichs fell to his death, never knowing he'd won the Blue Max.