The Atlantik Wall In Normandy



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 entire nose.
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 reconnaissance role.
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 234B2 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.


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