Arado Ar 196 Units in Combat

...Combat Aircraft No136, from Osprey Publishing

Title: Arado Ar 196 Units in Combat
Author: Peter de Jong
Publisher: Osprey Books
ISBN: 978-1-4728-4497-2

The distinctive twin-float Arado Ar 196 seaplane is the subject for Combat Aircraft number 136 from Osprey Books. There is a brief design and development story but the bulk of the book concentrates on the combat history of the type.
The book is split across 6 chapters, plus a couple of appendices and detailed notes on the 12 pages of first class colour profiles plus 2 more of the various unit badges. It all starts with The Last Floatplane, the design and development of a monoplane floatplane, which had prototypes with either a twin float or a single central float with outriggers. Most of us will know that it was the twin float configuration that went into production. Then it soon moves into the operation use of the Arado, with First Blood, and then Ahead of the Atlantic Wall. Things are then divided into the different theatres where the Arado operated, and these are The Seven Seas, the Eastern Front & the Mediterranean and rounding things off with the War's End & Foreign Use. We see descriptions of operational use shipboard use on not only the battleships and cruisers but also the armed raiders. Added to this they carried out anti-submarine patrols on the Atlantic coast, in Norway and elsewhere. Some were supplied to to Romania and Bulgaria and there was work with Japan as well. Even at the end of the war they still carried out artillery spotting duties with the Prinz Eugen in the Baltic in support of German ground forces. I was also surprised at the numbers used operationally by Soviet Russia, even after the war.
Some fascinating stories in here, and I for one learnt that the Arado did so much more than just be catapult mounted on Kriegsmarine capital ships. Also a reminder that it was the observer rather than the pilot who was the aircraft commander. Add plenty of archive photos throughout the book plus the super colour profiles, there is plenty in here to interest both modellers and military aircraft historians.
Thanks to Osprey Publishing for our review copy.

Robin