|Arado Ar 234 "Blitz"|
|“|| Sir! Jet bombers!|
- Kowalski, Wacht Am Rhein
One of the Third Reich's secret weapons, the Arado Ar 234 "Blitz" ("Lightning") certainly deserved its nickname. The first jet-powered light bomber, its speed was such that neither enemy air defense nor fighters had time to get it in sight before it was gone. With a light bomb load, it was perfect for fast strikes on concentrated multiple targets, even in areas well defended by Anti-Aircraft guns. As it carries a light load, the "Blitz" can perform up to two bombing runs where others can only perform one.
The Arado Ar 234 was the world's first operational jet powered bomber, built by the German Arado company in the closing stages of World War II. In the field it was used almost entirely in the reconnaissance role, but in its few uses as a bomber it proved to be nearly impossible to intercept. Twin-engined and single seater, was produced in limited numbers. It was the last Luftwaffe plane to fly over England, in April 1945.
It is commonly known as Blitz ("lightning"), though this name refers only to the B-2 bomber variant, and it is not clear whether it was ever formally applied instead of being derived from the informal term Blitz-Bomber (roughly, "very fast bomber"). The alternate name Hecht ("pike") is derived from one of the units equipped with this plane, Sonderkommando Hecht. The Ar 234 (and the Messerschmitt Me 262) showed in which direction plane technique should develop.
In the autumn of 1940, the RLM offered a tender for a jet-powered high-speed reconnaissance aircraft with a range of 2,156 km (1,340 mi). Arado was the only company to respond, offering their E.370 project, led by Professor Walter Blume. This was a high-wing conventional-looking design with a Junkers Jumo 004 engine under each wing.
The projected weight for the aircraft was approximately 8,000 kg (17,600 lb). In order to reduce the weight of the aircraft and maximize the internal fuel, Arado did not use the typical retractable landing gear; instead, the aircraft was to take off from a jettisonable three-wheeled, nosegear-style trolley and land on three retractable skids, one under the central section of the fuselage, and one under each engine nacelle.
Arado estimated a maximum speed of 780 km/h (490 mph) at 6,000 m (19,690 ft), an operating altitude of 11,000 m (36,100 ft) and a range of 1,995 km (1,240 mi). The range was short of the RLM request, but they liked the design and ordered two prototypes as the Ar 234. These were largely complete before the end of 1941, but the Jumo 004 engines were not ready, and would not be ready until February 1943. When they did arrive they were considered unreliable by Junkers for in-flight use and were only cleared for static and taxi tests. Flight-qualified engines were finally delivered that spring, and the Ar 234 V1 made its first flight on 15 June 1943 at Rheine Airfield.
By September, four prototypes were flying. The second prototype, Arado Ar 234 V2, crashed 2 October 1943 at Rheine near Münster after suffering a fire in its port wing, failure of both engines and various instrumentation failures, the aircraft diving into the ground from 4,000 feet (1,200 m), killing pilot Flugkapitän Selle. The eight prototype aircraft were fitted with the original arrangement of trolley-and-skid landing gear, intended for the planned operational, but never-produced Ar 234A version.
The sixth and eighth of the series were powered with four BMW 003 jet engines instead of two Jumo 004s, the sixth having four engines housed in individual nacelles, and the eighth flown with two pairs of BMW 003s installed within "twinned" nacelles underneath either wing. These were the first four-engine jet aircraft to fly. The Ar 234 V7 prototype made history on 2 August 1944 as the first jet aircraft ever to fly a reconnaissance mission.
Strategy and TacticsEdit
In-game, the bomber's speed allows it to evade enemy fighter more easily than other bombers. However, it is still very vulnerable to massed anti-aircraft fire. When combined with Blitz and Radio Silence and jet fighter support, this bomber can become somewhat omnipotent. Boasting ridiculous speed when used with the said ruses, and unable to be seen until the last second, all the enemy will see is a gray cloud of these planes sweeping over their base, with fighters tearing their airborne units apart and bombers releasing a rainstorm of bombs, their base will be left nonexistent in a very quick strike.
- Even though the description says that it can preform 2 bombing runs, it actually means that it can fly, bomb, return to base, repeat, faster then a normal bomber can.
- The AR234 is very effective unit as it can drop its bombs in mass with other planes before AA can hit it.
- It may say that it's better than a medium bomber, but it sometimes takes two AR234 to take out a resistant structure whereas it takes one medium bomber to destroy one, due to the inconsistency of the bombing run.