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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. Design of the Ar 234 started in 1941 by Walter Blume and Hans Rebeski.

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.

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

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

Armament

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

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

Landing Gear

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

Cockpit

The cockpit of the Ar 234 was completely glassed in.

Engines

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

Prototype

The prototype Ar 234V1 was first flown on June 15, 1943. The Ar 234V9 took flight on March 10, 1944.

The pre production Ar 234B-0 was flown in June 1944.

The Ar 234C prototype first flew in February 1944.

Production

Production models were designated the Ar 234 B.

  • Prototypes: 30
  • Pre production: 20
  • Arado Ar 234B-1 and Arado Ar 234B-2: 210
  • Arado Ar 234C: 14
  • Total: 274
    • Manufacturer: Arado Flugzeugwerke GmbH

Variants

  • Arado Ar 234V1: First prototype with two Junkers Jumo 004 engines.
  • Arado Ar 234V6: Had four BMW 003A-1 turbojets.
  • Arado Ar 234V8: Had four BMW 003A-1 turbojets.
  • Arado Ar 234V9: Became the Ar 234B. Had tricycle landing gear.
  • Arado Ar 234A: Took off on a wheeled chassis.
  • Arado Ar 234B-0: Pre production.
  • Arado Ar 234B: Production version. Had tricycle landing gear.
  • Arado Ar 234B-1: Unarmed reconnaissance version. Deliveries started in September 1944.
  • Arado Ar 234B-2: Bomber.
  • Arado Ar 234B-2/b: Reconnaissance.
  • Arado Ar 234B-2/1: Pathfinder.
  • Arado Ar 234B-2/r: Long range bomber. Had auxiliary fuel tanks installed.
  • Arado Ar 234C: Had four BMW 003A-1 turbojets (1,760 lb). May never have gotten off the ground.

Usage

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

On Christmas Eve 1944, they were used in a raid on allied supplies in Liege, Belgium. They were again used in the Ardennes battle and at Remagen in 1945.

Operations ceased in March 1945.

Reconnaissance Units

The 1 /Versuchsverband Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe first used the Ar 234B-1 in late 1944. The next unit to receive them was the Sonderkommando Hecht und Sperling.

In 1945 these units were replaced by 1 (F)/33, 1 (F)/100, and 1 (F)/123.

KG 76

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

Kommando Bonow

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

Specifications

  Arado Ar 234 Blitz
Type Bomber, Reconnaissance
Crew 1
Engine (Type) 2: Junkers Jumo 004B turbojets, Junkers Jumo 004
Thrust - Junkers 1,980 lb
8.9 kN
Fuel Capacity 836 gallons
Dimensions  
Span 46 3.5", 47' 4.5"
14.11 m, 14.5 m
Length 41' 5.5", 41' 7.5"
12.64 m, 12.7 m
Height 13' 8.5", 14' 1.25"
4.2 m, 4.3 m
Wing area 298 sq ft
27.7 sq m
Weight  
Empty 18,500 lb
8,400 kg
Loaded 22,000 lb
10,000 kg
Performance  
Speed at 19,680' /
6,000 m
470 mph
752 kph
Speed at 26,250' /
8,000 m
460 mph
740 kph
Speed at 32,810' /
10,000 m
435 mph
700 kph
Climb to 19,685' /
6,000 m
12.8 minutes
Service ceiling 32,810', 37,700'
10,000 m, 11,500 m
Range 1,013 miles
1,630 km
Range with max bomb load 684 miles
1,100 km
Armament  
Rear firing 2: 20 mm, 20 mm MG 151/20
Bombs 3,307 lb, 4,400 lb
1,500 kg, 2,000 kg
  Arado Ar 234B-1 Blitz
Type Reconnaissance
Engine (Type) 2: Jumo 004 jets
Armament  
Rear firing 2: MG 151/20 cannon
  Arado Ar 234B-2
Type Bomber, Reconnaissance
Crew 1
Engine (Type) 2: BMW 003A-1 turbojets
2: Junkers Jumo 004 B
2: Junkers Jumo 004B-1 Orkan turbojets
Thrust - BMW 1,764 lb
7.85 kN, 800 kg
Thrust - Junkers 1,975 lb, 1,980 lb
8.8 kN
Dimensions  
Span 46', 46' 3", 46' 3.5"
14.44 m
Length 41', 41' 5.5", 41' 6"
12.64 m
Height 14', 14' 1", 14' 1.5"
4.29 m
Wing area 284.17 ft2 , 294 ft2
27.3 m2
Weight  
Empty 11,440 lb, 11,464 lb
5,200 kg, 5,300 kg
Normal load 18,540 lb, 18,541 lb
8,410 kg
Loaded 21,560 lb, 21,605, 21,715 lb
9,800 kg, 9,850 kg
Performance  
Speed at 19,685' /
6,000 m
461 mph
742 kph
Speed at 20,000' /
6,000 m
460 mph
742 kph
Climb to 19,685' /
6,000 m
12.8 minutes
Service ceiling 32,810', 33,000'
10,000 m
Range 1,010 miles, 1,013 miles, 1,103 miles
1,630 km
Armament  
Rear firing 2: 20 mm MG 151, MG 151/20, 20 mm
Bombs 3,300 lb, 4,400 lb, 4,409 lb
1,995 kg, 2,000 kg
Bomb - Fuselage 1: 2,200 lb
1: 1,000 kg
Bomb - Under Jet Nacelles 2: 1,100 lb
2: 500 kg
  Arado Ar 234C
Engine (Type) 4: BMW 003A turbojets
Thrust - BMW 1,760 lb
7.9 kN
Performance  
Speed at 20,000' /
6,100 m
546 mph
874 kph
Climb 3,600' per minute
1,098 m per minute
Service ceiling 37,800'
11,530 m

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
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site