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Old 12-04-2011, 02:08 PM   #1
Phaelen Bleux
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Default [WWII] Arado Ar 68

Biplane of the Month Club: December

Arado Ar 68
In the early 1930s, Germany chose to ignore the restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles, and began rearming. The Ar 68 was among the first of the fighter planes designed and constructed for the new Luftwaffe, and was intended to replace the Heinkel He 51 (which had been designed in secret as a civilian aircraft). The Ar 68 was a better aircraft, with admirable handling characteristics and up-to-date aerodynamic design. It entered service in 1936, and was used in the Spanish Civil War. It did not fare well in Spain against the Polikarpov I-16, showing the limitations of its underpowered engine. Nevertheless, the Ar 68 continued to be used heavily as a frontline fighter in 1937-38. By 1939-40, the plane had become relegated to night fighting and training duty, having been replaced by the Messerschmitt Bf 109 (p. W111).
The Ar 68 burns 26 gallons of aviation fuel per hour at routine usage. The plane has a historical range of 258 miles. A full load of fuel and ammo (excluding bombs) costs $25.

Arado Ar 68E-1
Subassemblies: Light Fighter chassis +2; Recon Fighter wings with Biplane option +2; 3 fixed wheels +0.
Powertrain: 515-kW Supercharged HP gasoline engine with 515-kW prop and 75-gallon standard fuel tank (Fire 14) [Body].
Occ.: 1 XCS Body
Cargo: 8 Body

Armor
Body: 2/3
Wings: 2/3W
Wheels: 2/3

Weaponry:
2xAircraft LMG/7.92mm MG 17 [Body:F] (500 rounds each).*
6x110-lb. Bombs [Body:U].
*Linked to fire in pairs.

Equipment:
Body: Hardpoints.

Statistics:
Size: 31'x36'x11' Payload: 0.7 tons Lwt.: 2.73 tons
Volume: 144 Maint.: 70 hours Cost: $8,227

HT: 9. HPs: 100 Body, 100 each Wing, 5 each Wheel.

aSpeed: 208 aAccel: 6 aDecel: 26 aMR: 6.5 aSR: 1
Stall Speed: 59 mph. -2 aSpeed per loaded hardpoint.
Take-Off Run: 316 yards. Landing Run: 348 yards.
gSpeed: 220 gAccel: 11 gDecel: 10 gMR: 0.5 gSR: 2
Ground Pressure: Extremely High. No Off-Road Speed.

Design Notes:
Historical wing area was 294 sf. The weight, cost and HPs of the body and wings were doubled to increased design weight; loaded weight was increased another 1% to the historical. Although both the body and wings featured mixed materials for covering (metal and wood for the fuselage, and wood and cloth for the wings), the design features a single armor type in both instances. Design aSpeed was 224 mph; historical values of 190 to 215 mph could be found, so a middle value was chosen and listed above. Performance calculations were based on historical values for wing area and loaded weight. Fuel capacity was based on a rough calculation of the plane's historical range and available payload.

Variants:
The Ar 68a (1933) was powered by a 410-kW BMW engine. The plane went through a series of tweaks and upgrades (the b used a 455-kW engine, the c added the MGs, the d and e used a 515-kW powerplant) and finally entered production as the E-1 (with a Junkers Jumo engine) or F-1 (with a BMW engine).
The Ar 68G featured an alternate BMW engine. It was never constructed.
The Ar 68H was a single prototype with a 634-kW engine, two additional MGs in the upper wing, and an enclosed cockpit. aSpeed was increased by 41 mph.
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Old 12-04-2011, 02:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: [WWII] Arado Ar 68

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phaelen Bleux View Post
By 1939-40, the plane had become relegated to night fighting ...
That's surprising. I don't suppose they had very much success?
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Old 12-04-2011, 04:26 PM   #3
Phaelen Bleux
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Default Re: [WWII] Arado Ar 68

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
That's surprising. I don't suppose they had very much success?
Actually, that was a very common use for out-of-date aircraft in the days before radar and dedicated night-fighting aircraft. Without daylight, the aircraft would not be required to engage in serious dogfights, but could still be used for ground bombardment and troop harassment. The Soviet Night Witches are a classically famous example:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_Witches
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Old 12-04-2011, 06:25 PM   #4
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Default Re: [WWII] Arado Ar 68

Night Fighters;

Pre-radar the primary requirement for night fighters was to do your best to saturate where you thought your opponent was going to bomb that night with aircraft that had a better top speed than the opposing bombers, high endurance was a plus as well.
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Old 12-05-2011, 02:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: [WWII] Arado Ar 68

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phaelen Bleux View Post
Actually, that was a very common use for out-of-date aircraft in the days before radar and dedicated night-fighting aircraft. Without daylight, the aircraft would not be required to engage in serious dogfights, but could still be used for ground bombardment and troop harassment. The Soviet Night Witches are a classically famous example
That's not what most people who have heard the term "night fighter" think of, though. They think of a plane that intercepts other aircraft, well, at night. Saying the Ar 68 was used for "night harassment" might be less confusing -- unless the Ar 68 was actually used to intercept enemy planes at night.
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:27 AM   #6
Phaelen Bleux
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Default Re: [WWII] Arado Ar 68

Quote:
Originally Posted by copeab View Post
That's not what most people who have heard the term "night fighter" think of, though. They think of a plane that intercepts other aircraft, well, at night. Saying the Ar 68 was used for "night harassment" might be less confusing -- unless the Ar 68 was actually used to intercept enemy planes at night.
Well, my source was Wikipedia, and it is the term they used. I suspect, since the plane features no avionics, night harassment is probably the more appropriate term.
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:15 AM   #7
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Default Re: [WWII] Arado Ar 68

No, they were actually used as night fighters. The principle was, we got nothing better.
And by that, I'm not talking about the obsolescence as daylight fighter; I'm talking about the lack of an airborne radar (and, of course, of a second crewman to use it).

This is what air forces were trying to do in 1940; send a daylight up and direct it solely with ground-control radars. The British were fielding bigger planes, such as the fighter version of the Blenheim, with an airborne radar of its own; but in the summer of 1940, there still was the Fighter Interception Unit that was equipped with... Hurricanes.

These daylight fighters got flame dampers and fluorescent dials, and, if at all possible, a pilot having good night vision and lots of luck. That, and radio directions from ground control, was it.

It made sense not to use cutting-edge fighters for this.

With regard to the Ar 68, in particular, there were also experiments with it as a night fighter in Spain, that relied on linking it to searchlights. I doubt that was successful.
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