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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Arado Ar 234 bomber
Nickname: "Blitz" (Lightning)

Photos

  • Arado Ar 234 Blitz bomber
  • Arado Ar 234 Blitz bomber

Design

The Arado Ar 234 Blitz was the world's first jet bomber.1,2,4,6 Design of the Ar 234 started in 1941 by Walter Blume and Hans Rebeski.4

The first prototype was delivered during the winter of 1941/1942 but had to wait for it's first flight because of the delay of the Junkers Jumo turbojets.1,2,4

The Ar 234 could mount two Walter rocket assisted take off devices under the wings.1 This was needed as it took 1,250' / 380 m of runway to get in air.1

There was an ejection seat installed for the pilot.1,2 Other new features that the Ar 234 had was a pressurized cockpit, autopilot, and bombing computer.3

Armament

The bombs were mounted in external racks under the engine housings.4

There were two 20 mm MG 151 cannons firing towards the rear for defense.4

Landing Gear

Also on take off, the Ar 234 was mounted to a wheeled trolley that was jettisoned after take off in the prototypes.1,2,3,4,5,6 The aircraft would then land on a skid.1 Later models had tricycle landing gear installed.1

Cockpit

The cockpit of the Ar 234 was completely glassed in.4

Engines

The turbojets only had a life of 25 hours.1 The Ar 234's engines were mounted in nacelles under the wings.4

Prototype

The prototype Ar 234V1 was first flown on June 15, 1943.2,3,4,6 The Ar 234V9 took flight on March 10, 1944.4

The pre production Ar 234B-0 was flown in June 1944.3,5

The Ar 234C prototype first flew in February 1944.3

Production

Production models were designated the Ar 234 B.1

  • Prototypes: 303
  • Pre production: 203
  • Arado Ar 234B-1 and Arado Ar 234B-2: 2103
  • Arado Ar 234C: 143
  • Total: 2743
    • Manufacturer: Arado Flugzeugwerke GmbH4

Variants

  • Arado Ar 234V1: First prototype with two Junkers Jumo 004 engines.4
  • Arado Ar 234V6: Had four BMW 003A-1 turbojets.2,4,6
  • Arado Ar 234V8: Had four BMW 003A-1 turbojets.2,6
  • Arado Ar 234V9: Became the Ar 234B.4 Had tricycle landing gear.4
  • Arado Ar 234A: Took off on a wheeled chassis.5
  • Arado Ar 234B-0: Pre production.3
  • Arado Ar 234B: Production version.1,2,4,6 Had tricycle landing gear.2,4,6
  • Arado Ar 234B-1: Unarmed reconnaissance version.2,3,4,5,6 Deliveries started in September 1944.3
  • Arado Ar 234B-2: Bomber.2,3,4,5
  • Arado Ar 234B-2/b: Reconnaissance.2,4,6
  • Arado Ar 234B-2/1: Pathfinder.2,4,6
  • Arado Ar 234B-2/r: Long range bomber.2,4,6 Had auxiliary fuel tanks installed.4
  • Arado Ar 234C: Had four BMW 003A-1 turbojets (1,760 lb).1,4 May never have gotten off the ground.1

Usage

It was first used in the reconnaissance role in late July 19444 / 1944 by flying over the United Kingdom.1,4

On Christmas Eve 1944, they were used in a raid on allied supplies in Liege, Belgium.1 They were again used in the Ardennes battle and at Remagen in 1945.1,3

Operations ceased in March 1945.1

Reconnaissance Units

The 1 /Versuchsverband Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe first used the Ar 234B-1 in late 1944.2,6 The next unit to receive them was the Sonderkommando Hecht und Sperling.2,6

In 1945 these units were replaced by 1 (F)/33, 1 (F)/100, and 1 (F)/123.2

KG 76

The Ar 234B-2 was used by the KG 76 starting in January 1945 and carried out a number of bombing raids.2,6

Kommando Bonow

The Kommando Bonow used some Ar 234s as night fighters.2,6

Specifications

  Arado Ar 234 Blitz
Type Bomber3, Reconnaissance3
Crew 13
Engine (Type) 2: Junkers Jumo 004B turbojets3, Junkers Jumo 0045
Thrust - Junkers 1,980 lb3
8.9 kN3
Fuel Capacity 836 gallons5
Dimensions  
Span 46 3.5"3, 47' 4.5"5
14.11 m3, 14.5 m5
Length 41' 5.5"3, 41' 7.5"5
12.64 m3, 12.7 m5
Height 13' 8.5"5, 14' 1.25"3
4.2 m5, 4.3 m3
Wing area 298 sq ft5
27.7 sq m5
Weight  
Empty 18,500 lb5
8,400 kg5
Loaded 22,000 lb5
10,000 kg5
Performance  
Speed at 19,680' /
6,000 m
470 mph5
752 kph5
Speed at 26,250' /
8,000 m
460 mph3
740 kph3
Speed at 32,810' /
10,000 m
435 mph3
700 kph3
Climb to 19,685' /
6,000 m
12.8 minutes3
Service ceiling 32,810'3, 37,700'5
10,000 m3, 11,500 m5
Range 1,013 miles3
1,630 km3
Range with max bomb load 684 miles3
1,100 km3
Armament  
Rear firing 2: 20 mm3, 20 mm MG 151/205
Bombs 3,307 lb3, 4,400 lb5
1,500 kg3, 2,000 kg5
  Arado Ar 234B-1 Blitz
Type Reconnaissance5
Engine (Type) 2: Jumo 004 jets5
Armament  
Rear firing 2: MG 151/20 cannon5
  Arado Ar 234B-2
Type Bomber1,2,4,5,6, Reconnaissance1
Crew 11,2,4,6
Engine (Type) 2: BMW 003A-1 turbojets2,6
2: Junkers Jumo 004 B4
2: Junkers Jumo 004B-1 Orkan turbojets1
Thrust - BMW 1,764 lb2,6
7.85 kN2, 800 kg6
Thrust - Junkers 1,975 lb1, 1,980 lb4
8.8 kN1
Dimensions  
Span 46'1, 46' 3"4, 46' 3.5"2,6
14.44 m1,2,6
Length 41'1, 41' 5.5"2,6, 41' 6"4
12.64 m1,2,6
Height 14'1, 14' 1"4, 14' 1.5"2,6
4.29 m1,2,6
Wing area 284.17 ft2 2,6, 294 ft2 1
27.3 m2 1,2,6
Weight  
Empty 11,440 lb1, 11,464 lb2,3,6
5,200 kg2,3,6, 5,300 kg1
Normal load 18,540 lb3, 18,541 lb4
8,410 kg3
Loaded 21,560 lb1, 21,6052,6, 21,715 lb3
9,800 kg1,2,6, 9,850 kg3
Performance  
Speed at 19,685' /
6,000 m
461 mph2,4,6
742 kph2,6
Speed at 20,000' /
6,000 m
460 mph1
742 kph1
Climb to 19,685' /
6,000 m
12.8 minutes2,6
Service ceiling 32,810'2,6, 33,000'1,4
10,000 m1,2,6
Range 1,010 miles1, 1,013 miles2,6, 1,103 miles4
1,630 km1,2,6
Armament  
Rear firing 2: 20 mm MG 1514, MG 151/205, 20 mm6
Bombs 3,300 lb4, 4,400 lb1, 4,409 lb2,6
1,995 kg1, 2,000 kg2,6
Bomb - Fuselage 1: 2,200 lb5
1: 1,000 kg5
Bomb - Under Jet Nacelles 2: 1,100 lb5
2: 500 kg5
  Arado Ar 234C
Engine (Type) 4: BMW 003A turbojets3,5
Thrust - BMW 1,760 lb3
7.9 kN3
Performance  
Speed at 20,000' /
6,100 m
546 mph5
874 kph5
Climb 3,600' per minute5
1,098 m per minute5
Service ceiling 37,800'5
11,530 m5

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  5. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
  6. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
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