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Military Aircraft In Detail

Ar 234 A


by J. Richard Smith
and Eddie J. Creek


Midland Publications


S u m m a r y

Publisher's details and Title Midland Publishing Military Aircraft in Detail #1 Arado Ar 234 A
Media: Soft Cover; 96 pages plus covers
Price: Available for GBP£1UK £16.99 from Ian Allan
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Very well laid out, comprehensive coverage, profusely illustrated, easy to read text, large format.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by Rob Baumgartner




The names of J. Richard Smith and Eddie J. Creek are synonymous with Luftwaffe history.

They have teamed together in the past to author such classics as “Jet planes of the Third Reich” and the highly acclaimed four volume study on the Messerschmitt 262 jet fighter.

This is the first of a new series from Midland Publishing and the debut subject is Arado’s Ar 234 A.

There are 96 pages in total and the large format of the book is very welcome.

Contained within the card covers are over 130 black and white photographs. Many of these will be new to even the most ardent Luftwaffe aficionado.

The captions are very informative and do more than describe the obvious. It is clear that the authors take pride in their work.

Dispersed throughout the book are numerous illustrations, colour profiles and detailed drawings. These are superb with many being commissioned specifically for this publication.

Five chapters are presented with the first being devoted to the Arado Company itself. Discussion focuses on the origins of this enterprise and its designs leading into World War II. Mention is also made of the licensed construction work at Arado’s facilities of other manufacturers’ types.

A fascinating look at the jet engine is relayed in chapter 2. There were a range of propulsion units that were under development at the time. These are described with various factory drawings and illustrated with well rendered cut-away drawings to show their methods of operation.

Naturally design and development takes up the largest section of the book. What could have been a very “dry” read is made very interesting by the writers’ uncomplicated style. Passages from “those that were there” also add to the readability of the text.

The technical description comes in the section relating to the airframe and equipment. Even here the reader is not overwhelmed by the complexity of the subject.

Last, but by no means least, is the entertaining chapter on what it was like to fly the aircraft. Erich Sommer and Horst Götz talk about their experiences while testing this pioneering machine. It is surprising that these men survived at all considering what they went through. Not lost is the political intrigue which comes to the fore as one of these men tries to save himself from a court-martial for a reconnaissance flight over London!

The appendices round out the title with copies of the testing and flight reports, as well as a prototype flight summery.




Everything you wanted to know about the “A” series of the worlds first purpose-built jet bomber is enclosed within these pages.

The information is logically laid out and the amount of technical data is impressive.

Size is important when publishing photos and the A4 format really helps here.

This version of the Arado Ar 234 is usually overlooked in favour of its more numerous stable mates. Thus it’s refreshing to see this publication and one looks forward to more in the series.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Ian Allen Publishing for the review sample

Review Copyright © 2006 by Rob Baumgartner
This Page Created on 16 May, 2006
Last updated 15 May, 2006

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