The He114 was regarded as a failed design, due to its poor sea handling capability and that fact that its performance was not much better than previous types. Several firms were invited to put forward designs for the new aircraft, but only the one proposed by Arado was for a monoplane. This unique feature gave it a performance advantage over the competition, and so the aircraft was to go into production as the Ar196. It would become the Kriegsmarine’s primary ship-based scout.
As designed the Ar196 featured twin floats, a powerful BMW 132 radial engine, and a single 7.92mm MG15 machine gun for self defense. Early models did not have a provision for carrying bombs but this was rectified in the Ar196A-2. Subsequent models featured strengthened fuselages and better equipment, including additional improved radio equipment.
Ar196s were assigned to several surface raiders which broke through to the Pacific and Indian oceans in 1940 and 1941, as were a handful of He114s. These aircraft were used to extend the scouting range of the hilfskreuzers by finding and tracking target vessels. They were also occasionally used to attack ships, often using grappling hooks to attempt to rip away radio antennae to prevent targets from sending SOS messages and revealing the location of the raider. Although useful when operating in this role, Ar196s proved fragile when operating away from normal fleet facilities. They rarely remained functional by the end of a raiding cruise, usually having been lost or damaged in takeoff and landing operations.
In 1944 a number of Ar196s operated from the German submarine base at Penang, on the west coast of Malaya. These aircraft were painted with Japanese markings and were tasked with providing support for the U-boats operating in the Indian Ocean, which were often attacked by British submarines.
Arado Ar 196 Specifications
|Arado Ar 196A-2|
|Crew||2: Pilot and observer|
|Powerplant||1x BMW 132K (947hp)|
|Range||671 miles (internal)|
|Armament||1x MG 15 7.92mm Machine Gun|
1x MG 17 7.92mm Machine Gun
2x MG FF 20mm Cannon
|Dimensions||36ft 1in (length)|
40ft 8in (wingspan)
14ft 7in (height)
|Wing Area||306 sq.ft.|