Arado Ar 196
A total of 593 of these German two-seat float planes were built, with 960 hp BMW
132K engines, maximum armament of two 20 mm guns and two machine guns, and two
110 lb. Bombs. Some flew from warships; most were used to attack submarines and
small ships, and to harass Allied aircraft over the English Channel
The Arado Ar 234 was a German jet reconnaissance-bomber, in service from 1944 .
Though possibly the British turbojets based on Whittle's concept were more
reliable, the German jet effort in World War II started much earlier and was far
more diverse. In October 1940, before anyone in Britain had even thought of
ordering a jet of any kind for combat duty, engineers at the Arado Flugzeugwerke
had been asked to prepare studies for a jet reconnaissance aircraft. Such
aircraft need the greatest possible speed and altitude, so that they can escape
interception, and the Ar 234 took shape in 1941 as the first aircraft ever
designed to fly faster and higher than any opponents, over enemy territory, on
the power of jet engines.
It was a single-seater, with the pilot in a pressurised cockpit forming the
The wing was mounted above the slim fuselage and carried the two jets in under
slung nacelles. To accommodate the large amount of fuel needed, almost the whole
fuselage was occupied by tankage. The main problem was that there was nowhere to
put the retracted landing gear, and eventually the bold decision was taken to
take off from a large trolley and land on small retractable skids under the
fuselage and engines. After extensive ground testing the first prototype flew on
15 June 1943.
It was soon evident that a normal landing gear had to be provided, and the first
Ar 234B, the ninth prototype, flew in March 1944 with tricycle landing gear
retracting into a slightly enlarged fuselage. By September 1944 a special
Sonderkommando unit had been formed to operate the Ar 234B-l in the
Powered by I 980lb thrust Junkers Jumo 004B turbojets, this aircraft could fly
at nearly 470 mph at around 30,000ft and thus was immune to interception. The B
l was used in fair numbers (about 60) over Normandy, Britain and northern Italy, where no
Luftwaffe aircraft had dared take photographs for months. But most of the 210 Ar
234B series that entered service were 234B—2 Blitz bombers, carrying a bomb load
of up to 1,500 Kilo, slung externally and also fitted with two 20 mm MG 151 cannon
firing directly to the rear, aimed against fighters by a pilot periscope.
Many sorties were flown with 1,000 kilo bombs against the vital Remagen bridge
across the Rhine in March 1945, and at many other Allied centres. The Ar 234B
was easy to fly, but it needed a long takeoff run and in any case was
handicapped by the Luftwaffe's desperate shortage of pilots and fuel. Another
Ar234P series was under development at the end of the war.