Ar 234B

From AHWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
This aircraft page is in two sections:
World War II aircraft
Arado 234B
Arado 234B
Variant of Ar 234
Type Bomber
Country of origin Germany
Manufacturer Arado
Crew Single-seat
Dimensions Wing span 14.10 m (46 ft 3½ in)
Length 12.63 m (41 ft 5½ in)
Height 4.30 m (14 ft 1¼ in)
Internal fuel 1,004 Gallons
how to edit

The Ar 234B in World War II[edit]

The Arado Ar 234 Blitz (Lightning) 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.

Development[edit]

The RLM had already seen the promise of the design and in July had asked Arado to supply two prototypes of a schnellbomber ("fast bomber") version as the Ar 234B. Since the aircraft was very slender and entirely filled with fuel tanks, there was no room for an internal bomb bay and the bombload had to be carried on external racks. The added weight and drag of a full bombload reduced the speed, so two 20 mm MG 151 cannon were added in a tail mounting to give some measure of defence. Since the cockpit was directly in front of the fuselage the pilot had no direct view to the rear, so the guns were aimed through a periscope mounted on the cockpit roof. The system was generally considered useless and many pilots had the guns removed to save weight.

The external bombload, and the presence of inactive aircraft littering the landing field after their missions were completed (as with the similarly dolly-geared Me 163) made the skid-landing system impractical, so the B version was modified to have tricycle landing gear. The ninth prototype, marked with the Stammkennzeichen (radio code letters) PH+SQ, was the first Ar 234B, and flew on 10 March 1944. The B models were slightly wider to hold the landing gear, and with full bombload the plane could only reach 668 km/h (415 mph) at altitude. This was still better than any bomber the Luftwaffe had at the time, and made it the only bomber with any hope of surviving the massive allied air forces.

Production lines were already being set up, and twenty B-0 pre-production planes were delivered by the end of June. Later production was slow, however, as the Arado plants were tasked with producing planes from other bombed-out factories hit during the Big Week. Meanwhile several of the prototypes were sent forward in the reconnaissance role. In most cases it appears they were never even detected, cruising at about 740 km/h (460 mph) at over 9,100 m (30,000 ft).

The few 234Bs entered service in the fall and impressed their pilots. They were fairly fast and completely aerobatic. The long takeoff runs led to several accidents; a search for a solution led to improved training as well as the use of rocket-assisted takeoff. The engines were always the real problem; they suffered constant flameouts and required overhaul or replacement after about ten hours of operation.

The most notable use of the Ar 234 in the bomber role was the attempt to destroy the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen. Between March 7, when it was captured by the Allies, and March 17, when it finally collapsed, the bridge was continually attacked by Ar 234s of III/KG 76 carrying 1,000 kg (2,204 lb) bombs. The aircraft continued to fight in a scattered fashion until Germany surrendered on 8 May 1945. Some were shot down in air combat, destroyed by flak, or "bounced" by Allied fighters during takeoff or on the landing approach. Most simply sat on the airfields awaiting fuel that never arrived.

The normal bombload consisted of two 500 kg (1,102 lb) bombs suspended from the engines or one large 1,000 kg (2,204 lb) bomb semi-recessed in the underside of the fuselage with maximum bombload being 1,500 kg (3,300 lb). If the war had continued it is possible that the aircraft would have been converted to use the Fritz X guided bombs or Henschel Hs 293 air-to-surface missiles.

Overall from the summer of 1944 until the end of the war a total of 210 aircraft were built. In February 1945 production was switched to the C variant. It was hoped that by November 1945 production would reach 500 per month.

Unit Deployment[edit]

External Links[edit]

Aces High II aircraft
Ar 234B
Variant of Ar 234
Type Bomber
Crew Single-seat
Aces High II loadout options
Package 1 2x 20 mm cannons
Options 2x Ri202 RATO units
3x 250 kg bombs
3x 500 kg bombs
2x Drop tanks and 1x 500 kg bomb
Aces High II Main Arenas
Earliest MA Late War
Typical perk cost 50 (Late War)
ENY value 5 (Late War)
Available on carrier no
how to edit


The Ar 234B in Aces High II[edit]

The Arado used to be far more popular that it is in the current form. Much of this has to do with the perception that bombload is the most important factor for a bomber and survival is really a distant second. That's too bad, as the Arado is an excellent aircraft and the best solution to pin-point bombing situations where you need to get in quickly, hit something, and then escape. As a hit and run aircraft it can be almost unstoppable.

Engine Power[edit]

The Arado is a very interesting aircraft: a perked jet bomber that can be flown such to be almost untouchable by any normal aircraft. Its sole credible defense is speed, though it has that in spades. Sea-level cruise is an astonishing 435mph with slight improvement with gains in altitude to a maximum of 455mph at 20K. That clearly places the Arado in a category that few aircraft can ever hope to duplicate in level flight. Acceleration is not brisk, the engines require a fair amount of time to build up to full RPM and even in level flight you are not going to be overwhelmed with acceleration as in a fighter. Once at speed though the Arado retains it very easily and it can be difficult to bleed that speed even when you want to. Fuel range is a little disappointing at only 40 minutes on full internal fuel. A drop tank option exists to add +5 minutes but is never used as it takes up room in place of some bombs. Most of your time will be spent initially investing in some altitude though and the actual transit times to and from a target tend to be very short. Climb rates are not all that bad at 2,100ft/minute at sea-level but decrease with altitude to only 1,700t/minute by 10K with a full load of bombs. Interestingly, a unique feature of the Arado is the RATO (Rocket Assisted Take-Off) units that are an option (almost mandatory). They add terrific amounts of thrust for a short period of time (10 seconds) that can greatly aid acceleration or climb. Once expended, they drop away automatically and no longer detract from the aircraft in any way.

Aces High II Performance Charts[edit]

Ar-234B speed chart Ar-234B climb chart

Firepower[edit]

The Arado can carry up to three 500kg bombs - one under the fuselage and one under each wing (engine nacelle). The 500kg bomb is actually equivalent to roughly a 1,100lb bomb, making the total bomb load in the range of 3,300lbs, which is pretty good. That allows a single drop to take out any hanger in the game or the combination of 3 individual bombs to do quite a bit of damage to supporting airfield structures. I think people underestimate the conversion factor involved and think a 500kg = a 500lb but that is very far from the truth. Still, the bombs are externally hung and are best released as a package or all in one pass for a number of reasons that will be described below. An interesting feature of the Arado is a pair of rear facing 20mm cannons mounted in the rear fuselage. The guns offer more of a fear component to anyone pursuing you than an actual defense and aiming them is very difficult. As there is no turret for them, you must enter your external view (F3) and look backwards using your views (numberpad-2) and then use your secondary trigger to fire the weapons while trying to fly the aircraft in such a way as to point the tail at the enemy. Typically this is totally unsuccessful and bleeds speed which is better retained to just try and run. If you know you can't run though then the tail guns may at least provide some dissuasion from a rear aspect attacking enemy.

Maneuverability[edit]

Flying the Ar 234B[edit]

The Arado is a very tricky plane to fly properly and that is likely the reason it is so seldom seen. I think a lot of people crash their Arados or are overwhelmed by it so don't try and fly it (or maybe lose the perk points and can no longer afford to fly it). The keys of the Arado attack though are to set up nice and early outside of the enemy area, race in at top speed and drop your bombs in a single pass, then leaving at even higher speeds. You cannot afford to get caught slow or climbing, it is suicidal as your only real defense is speed. Altitude is only reasonably important as you want to keep the number of enemy aircraft that could dive on you to a moderate level. Typically any more than 14K of altitude is a waste while a level right around 10K will put you out of ack range and keep the majority of enemy aircraft below you by default. As with other perked planes like the Me 262 and Me 163, things just happen so quickly in an Arado that you need to try and prepare yourself beforehand so you have time to react.

Knowing how to use the Arado is important right from the start. The first mistake is to take a formation - don't. They offer more bomb load, true, but if you want real bomb load then you should be considering another aircraft. As a single Arado can take out the largest airfield target in 1 pass there is no point to take more than that. In doing so you are risking more perks (each aircraft costs perks so a formation of three is 3x the cost, thus 3x the risk) and you are setting yourself up to make a fundamental mistake in your attack profile. Always include the RATO units in your loadout as they do not impose any significant penalty yet offer a few very positive options. Take-offs in the Arado are difficult, the aircraft has very sluggish acceleration so try and hold the brakes on while the engines move to full RPMs. Once at RPMs, let the aircraft roll and retract any flaps as your key is to get as much acceleration as you can. The Arado can be difficult to control at under 125mph and feels quite heavy and can easily start a sinking feeling. The RATOS can be used on the runway (with about 1/3 remaining) to quickly boost your speed and make your initial climb very easy though some people try and save the RATOs for later in the flight (described a bit further down). You may have to deploy 1-2 notches of flap on take-off if you do not have sufficient speed (use of RATO typically means it's not necessary). Do not try and climb too much in the Arado to start with, the key is to gain speed so you have better control. Try and ensure you climb at a very high speed if at all possible.

While you are still at least a sector away from the enemy target, ensure you accelerate to attack speeds. If you have used your RATO rockets you will also want to make sure you select your bombs (it stays on RATOs even though they may already be used). In some bombers you can calibrate on the way inbound to your target but not in the Arado, it simply travels too quickly and your timeframe will be too short. I tend to get to almost top speed while still up to two sectors distant, use the first sector as acceleration time. Calibrate once you feel you have reached top speed and being your run into the target. If you have RATOs onboard you can not use them until after you drop your bombs as they would create too much speed variation and throw your calibration off. Drop in 1 pass, don't plan a second pass and use RATOs if you kept them on to help you accelerate away from enemy trouble.

The final issue is landing, the Arado is very hard to slow down so start bleeding speed as soon as you can see your airfield. The flaps will extend at higher speeds than on many aircraft so you can start to use them to create drag. Turns, sideslipping with your rudder, and possibly some weaving may be necessary in order to slow down enough to land. You need to land at reasonable speed because the roll-out is quite long and you may not be able to brake to a stop if you land too fast.

The defense of the Arado is simple: run. If you have bombs and you feel an enemy may catch you (by diving), then you may consider aborting the attack, dropping your bombs, using your RATOs (if you have them) and simply running away. The Arado, without bombs, is about 30mph faster which makes an improbable intercept almost impossible now. A shallow dive can push you easily over 500mph and the Arado is a pretty tough plane and can take a little punishment in order to escape.

The Arado can also be a good GV killer as well. It is a hard skill to master, GV bombing that is. Flying so fast, you need precision bomb drops to accurately kill an enemy GV. You should level out with 3 500kg bombs (250kg bombs work too) around 2-3K. Start a shallow dive and release one bomb when you your nose is pointed at the GV and you are about 600 out. Some people can get upwards of 10+ kills in a single sortie bombing GV's and rearming, and you can actually have a blast doing so.

Fighting against the Ar 234B[edit]

The only real problem with killing Arados is catching them. If you don't have an altitude advantage in any non-perk plane then you are out of luck. Even with some altitude advantage you should try and maximize the angles so they favor any approach. Realistically you will have to maintain at least 475mph in order to catch one under most situations. If you have the correct geometry to make an intercept, get in quickly and attack at any range inside effective guns though preferably within D650. Be slightly careful of the tail mounted cannons though most players don't know they are there or don't understand how to employ them. If you note the Arado slewing a bit when you approach then maybe the enemy pilots knows how to employ the guns properly and they might be a little more dangerous. Other than those two factors though the Arado is totally defenseless and should be an easy kill. Often, if the enemy has made the mistake to take a formation of Arados instead of only a single, you can actually kill all 3 in one pass as an overshoot is terribly unlikely as you will all be traveling in the same direction at very high speeds.

Be very careful, don't misjudge the Arado as an easy kill, because in the hands of an experienced pilot, it's far from easy. If you are used to the twin 20mm cannons in the back, it's not a challenge to get 5+ Air to Air kills in a single sortie. Only few pilots have the "guts" to do this, but some will get down and dirty in the Arado and do a little dog fighting. The main reason for this is to bait a fighter in so he can feel the wraith of the Arado's 20mms. The 20mm cannons are deadly from 400 to 1000 out, and only a few pings could kill any fighter. The problem is aiming them, the common tactic to aiming is hitting F3 and looking backwards. With this said, if you ever run into an Arado, and he starts turning with you, you should be worried a bit since only the most experienced pilots dogfight in it.

External Links[edit]

Soda's Aircraft Evaluations