Sunday 21 February 2016

the first Arado Ar 234 to fall - Hptm. Josef Regler of 9./KG 76 F1+MT - *new* Arado Ar 234 Valiant Wings Airframe Album

This is Libor Jekl's superlative build of the 72nd scale Dragon kit in the markings of Hptm. Josef Regler, Staffelkapitän 9./KG 76. Regler was shot down near Selgersdorf,  north of Aachen, at the controls of F1+MT (W.Nr. 141073) on 22 February 1945, probably by Lt. David B. Fox (P-47 366. FS ). Regler survived the crash-landing and returned to German lines. The Arado (20% damaged) was captured by Ninth US Army troops attacking across the Rur river in Operation Grenade late on 23 February - three Germans and a truck who were attempting to siphon fuel were also captured. This was the first Arado Ar 234 to fall into Allied hands - captured Ar 234s were rare until the capitulation and their condition generally poor. The well-known image published in “Profile 215- Arado Ar 234 Blitz" (see below) written by Richard P. Bateson dates the event to 24 February 1945, which is not the date of the downing, but rather the date an American Technical Intelligence team made their investigation..

Pierre Clostermann in “The Big Show” gives an account on page 190-191 of the 1974 edition; “..Another poisonous day. Snow, wind. Visibility nil; flying was quite impossible. However, G.C.C. maintained two sections of Tempests at immediate readiness - one from 486 and one from 56 - together with a section of Spit XIV's from 41 Squadron. These three sections had been taking it in turns with no hope of flying, since dawn. At about 1500 hours the weather cleared slightly, and the 6 Spits were scrambled. In this appalling cold they had a job getting heir engines started and we looked at them through our windows, jeering. In the end one pair took off, followed at least three minutes later by the rest. A quarter of an hour later these last four came back and landed, not having been able to join-up in the clouds. They told us, however, that the first two had jumped a German jet-aircraft. We got the remainder of the story that evening in the bar, when the pilots of 41 were distinctly pleased with themselves and let nobody forget it. Flying Officer Johnny Reid D.F.C., shortly after he had scrambled and as he was patrolling Nijmegen bridge at 10,000 feet, had spotted one of the very latest and rarest Luftwaffe planes - an Arado 234 - sneaking into our lines at ground level. Diving straight down, flat out, ignoring the risk of his wings coming off, Johnny succeeded in catching the bastard in a turn, fired at him point plank and gently landed him in flames less than 100 yards from Broadhursts H.Q. at Eindhoven. We were told that the A.O.C. was delighted, as a group of American journalists had witnessed the operation, and it was the first Arado 234 to be destroyed for certain..." 

 Subsequent research established that on 22 February 1945 at 17:35 hrs, northeast of Aachen, Lt. David B. Fox of the 366th FG claimed an Me-262, 10 m NE of Aachen. The OpRep is #328, and can be found on USAF HRA (Maxwell) microfilm B0331 frames 0225-8; his encounter report is on A0794 at frame 0200. What Fox shot down was in fact Ar 234 F1+MT. It crash landed at Selgersdorf (north of Düren) on the banks of the River Rur (or Roer in English-language texts), was recovered by US Technical Intelligence a couple of days later when US troops overran the crash site and taken back to RAE Farnborough. Nick Beale wrote a two-page feature for Aviation News in the UK (see below) in the late 1980s on the confusion and erroneous information surrounding the discovery and subsequent identification of Regler's aircraft. For a long time sources had said the machine was at "Segelsdorf" (no such place AFAIK) and confused the crash date with the date of capture - which, along with the Me 262 misidentification, prevented people making a match with Fox's claim.

Text extract via Art-Maquettes

Hauptmann Regler was KIA on 21 March 1945 after a mission to Antwerpen, his Ar 234 B-2, F1+ET, Werk.Nr. 140598 crashing in Osterbeck. The reason is unknown.( Source: Manfred Griehl "Strahlflugzeug Arado Ar 234 Blitz" )

..below, Aviation News article header- dated 30 September 1988- showing F1+MT of 9./KG 76 - an American Technical Intelligence team recorded that the aircraft was " completely camouflaged a mottled sky-blue with grey..with the upper surfaces a green/brown-green splinter finish.." The aircraft was dismantled for transport back to the UK while still under German fire..

While most of the interior details were scratch-built, Libor also used some Eduard etch on his Dragon kit. Decals came partially from an Aeromaster sheet and some markings were sprayed on. Built for the forthcoming Valiant Wings "Airframe Album" on the type, just announced and due in early April. Thanks to Libor and Mark for permission to repost these images..

via the Valiant Wings FB page

And our next book is......Airframe Album No 9- The Arado Ar 234- A Detailed Guide To The Luftwaffe's Jet Bomber. A must-have if you are tackling Fly's new 1/32 scale offering. Not up on our site yet but will be next week. However if you are at the Huddersfield show you can pre-order. Here's the cover, again expertly created by Seweryn Fleischer

Arado Ar 234 B Blitz, NASM Udvar-Hazy Center pics by Cynrik de Decker