13 - Arado Ar 234 B-2

Arado Ar234 B-2 in Norway

The Luftwaffe's super reconnaissance aircraft

by Bjørn Jacobsen

The 234 was the WWII equivalent to the Cold War’s U-2.

It flew faster and higher than any allied aircraft and was the world's first operational jet-powered reconnaissance and bomber. With a speed of 742 km/h (461m.p.h) and operating altitude of over 30.000ft, not one of the allied planes could overtake the Arado.


Ar 234 was actually the only aircraft that could operate over allied territory in 1944-1945 - and get safely home again.


The Ar 234 began its career as reconnaissance aircraft as early as under the D-Day in 1944, while the corresponding allied aircraft were only on the drawing board.


Arado 234 in Norway

It was in January 1945 that FAGr.5 (FernAufklärungsGruppe 5) moved to Sola (Norway), equipped with three Ar 234B-2b.


The mission was reconnaissance support for German submarines off Scapa Flow.

The squadron was named Einsatzkommando 1./FAGr.1


The squadron flew reconnaissance missions over Scotland and England and RAF Spitfire was sent up to intercept the planes, but none had any chance to get near the Arados


As a bomber, the Arado 234 was most of all used by the KG 76 (but also other Geschwaders had the Ar 234). All these units were based in Germany.


Early in the morning 5th May 1945, most of the Arado 234 in Germany took to the skies and flew to their sister squadron in Norway.


Not all arrived: Some returned to Germany with engine trouble and one crashed in the North Sea - but when the Allied Forces arrived at Sola on Sunday the 10th May, ten Ar 234B-2 was parked at the airport, to the delight of the British and American Air Forces!


Arado 234 at Sola/Forus in May 1945












Above: This is one of the few pictures of the Ar 234B-2 aircraft at Sola/Forus in summer 1945.

The two planes to the left belong to KG 76 and came to Sola on the 5th of May.

Note that the aircraft to the left still have winter camouflage.

The third plane from the left is from 1 (F) / 33 

The plane far to the right is the "Norwegian" 9V+BH

Note also that the rudders are removed to prevent unauthorized use.



I am going to build the “Norwegian” Ar 234B-2b (9V+BH) W.Nr 140493

of Eins.kdo 1./FAGr.1 as it appeared on Sola

when the war ended on May the 8th 1945


The Cockpit

The first thing to build is the cockpit.

The cockpit in the Ar 234B-2 differs from most other cockpits during this period.

Although several of German bombers had Plexiglas noses, they were not at all similar to the cockpit in Ar 234.

In Ar 234B-2 the pilot sat alone in the very front of the nose, with instruments on all sides.

When you see pictures from the cockpit, you will almost think that this is a modern spacecraft (!) not a WWII plane.

The interior of the cockpit is painted with RLM 66 (SchwartzGrau).

With help from Photo Etched parts from Eduard, the cockpit is almost finished                                                               

Some of the instruments in the cockpit roof is waiting to be placed, but altogether, it is beginning to look lik a 234-cockpit.

The entrance to the cockpit was through a Plexiglas hatch in the top of the canopy.

Through the hatch, the pilot dropped straight down into the seat.

The seat was an "ejection seat", which was a revolutionary new

invention.  No Allied aircraft had something similar.


The Cameras

All the Ar 234B-2 belonging to

Eins.kdo 1./FAGr.1 at Sola was

unarmed reconnaissance aircraft.


That the aircraft had no armament

was of little concern to the pilots.


No Allied aircraft were able to

engage them anyway.


The aircraft had two big Carl Zeiss

ReihenBild cameras.

There was no zoom on the

cameras, so they used two

cameras with different focal lengths.


The negatives were 30x30cm

and each camera could take

up to120m film. The cameras were

placed in the rear part of the fuselage


The aerial photographs they took over Britain were reported to be of

great value to Germany

Wheels and wheel wells


The wings on Ar 234 was so thin that they did not give room for the

landing gear and main wheels


The wings were placed so high on the fuselage that a landing gear

would be very long and have problems being folded.


The landing gear had to be placed somewhere else and the

fuselage was the obvious solution.


The problem was that the wings also had no space for fuel.


Fuel had, therefore, to be placed in the fuselage and since the

RLM (the German Aviation Ministry) demanded fuel for at least

2.000 km (1.240 miles), there was so much fuel in the fuselage –

and no room for the main wheels.


The result was that the first prototypes had no wheels at all.

The aircraft started on a sledge and landed on skids under the belly and

under the engines


This was no good solution, and after hard work, the aircraft constructors

managed to place two large low-pressure tires in the fuselage


Each wheel well had two doors, one of which was only opened when

the wheels were pulled in or out of the fuselage


For a model builder, this makes it difficult to position the landing gear in

the small opening that is left when the main door is closed.


Landing gear and wheel wells are painted with RLM 02




Fuselage Assembly

The cockpit, the wheel wells, the cameras are in place and the extra weight is glued behind the cockpit

to prevent the aircraft to be a tail sitter.

Then the fuselages are glued together.

That means putty and sanding. Both the cockpit section and the fuselage needed adjustments and fillings to be fine.

The Cockpit Section 


The cockpit section is now in place.


What is lacking is some paint and the open hatch on top of the canopy.


The hatch  will be glued om at the very end when everything else is done.

 

The picture to the right is of an Ar 234B-2 which is restored in the U.S.


This aircraft was one of KG76 aircraft that the Americans took from Sola (Norway) in summer 1945

I used the following After Markets products when building the Arado Ar 234


Photo Etched parts from Eduard


Wheel bay and cockpit set from Aires


Etched parts, fuel box, wing flaps, wheels and parachute bay from CMK/Czech Master Kits


Canopy from Squadron


Landing Gear from Scale Aircraft Conversions





The Wings

I have cut out the flaps so they can later be fixed in the lowered position.

 

I use the wing flaps from CMK/Czech Master Kits


Then, of course, some putty and sanding is necessary before the wings

look the way I want





Priming and Painting

According to the best Arado specialist in Norway, Frithjof Ruud, the

Americans have used the “wrong” colours when they restored the

aircraft (see picture above)


I am therefore going to use the colours which actually were used on the

aircraft in 1945.


The machine had a splinter camouflage of RLM71 (Dunkel Grü / Dark

Green) and RLM70 (Schwartzgrün / Black Green) with RLM65

(Hell Blau / Light Blue) on

the underside.


For RLM71, I used Vallejo

Olive Grey and for the

RLM70 I used Vallejo

Black Green.

The colour which I find

closest to the RLM65 was

AKAN Hellblau.


The colours were lightened

to a 1:48 version


The paint on the Ar 234

was much brighter than

on other German aircraft.


It was important to reduce

drag as much as possible

on these super-fast

planes.


Therefore, they used a

special plastic filler to

cover all the rivets and

panel joints on the

fuselage.


The hull was then

polished to a very smooth

and glossy surface.





Wheels and Engines 


The wheels and landing gear are put in place and 9V+BH is finally standing on its own.


The next step is to attach the Junkers Jumo 004B-1 turbojet engines to the wings.


When the engines are in place and the cockpit hatch is fitted and the plane presents itself as the extremely effective and innovative jet from 1945

Arado Ar 234 B-2


•Crew: 1

•Length: 12.64 m (41 ft 6 in)

•Wingspan: 14.41 m (47 ft 3 in)

•Height: 4.29 m (14 ft 1 in)

•Wing area: 26.4 m2 (284 sq ft)

•Empty weight: 5,200 kg (11,464 lb)

•Max takeoff weight: 9,800 kg (21,605 lb)

•Powerplant: 2 × Junkers Jumo 004B-1 axial flow turbojet engines, 8.83 kN

(1,990 lbf) thrust each

•Maximum speed: 742 km/h (461 mph)

at 6,000m (20,000 ft)

•Cruising speed: 700 km/h (435 mph) at 6,000 m (20,000 ft)

•Range: 1,556 km (967 mi) with 500 kg (1,100 lb) bomb load

•Service ceiling: 10,000 m (32,808 ft)

•Rate of climb: 13 m/s (2,600 ft/min)


The Arado Ar 234B-2 (9V+BH)

at Sola in May 1945:


I hope you enjoyed this website!

Thank you for visiting!


Please do not hesitate to ask if you have questions

(bjorn@dioramas-and-models.com)






Bjørn Jacobsen


November 2013