Arado Ar 234 Bomber & Reconnaissance Units
...Combat Aircraft 134 from Osprey Books
Title: Arado Ar234 Bomber and Reconnaissance Units
Author: Robert Forsyth & Nick Beale
An aircraft I personally think gets overshadowed by the Me 262 fighter gets some well deserved attention of its' own, the first jet bomber, the Arado Ar 234 with Osprey's Combat Aircraft No134. Not just a bomber of course, but an important late-war reconnaissance platform as well.
Split across 5 chapters it starts with the details of the testing and set-up of the first bomber unit, from the V9 prototype which introduced the use of the tricycle undercarriage as opposed to the earlier versions that were launched from a trolley and then required a skid landing. Details of the aircraft, where they operated from, the pilots who flew them and the trials of the different types of bomb sights. At the same time, the Arado allowed for high speed, high altitude photo reconnaissance for the first time in ages. Missions over the Normandy coastline in early August 1944 and some of the first missions over Southern England in ages. Then the pilots and missions of the first bomber operational missions by KG76, including their part in the attacks against Allied airfields as part of Operation Bodenplatte. The final chapters look at Reconnaissance in 1945, covering Allied positions in NW Europe and finally their involvement with attacks on the bridge at Remargen, after it was captured by US forces. Plenty of archive photos illustrate these operations, accompanied by the lovely colour artwork, including 10 pages of colour profiles, for which the detailed information on each illustration is given in the Appendices.
An interesting account of the operational use of the Arado jet in the last 2 years of the war, not only the missions they flew but accounts from the aircrews as well. Add the fine collection of illustrations to a very readable text, this is another Osprey book which hits the spot for both aviation historians and modellers alike.
Thanks to Osprey Publishing for our review copy.