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Arado Ar196A-3
General Information
The Bismarck was equipped with four Arado Ar 196 for reconnaissance and patrol duties. Two aircraft were stored in a 1291.7 feet² (120 m²) double hangar located under the mainmast. The remaining two aircraft were stored in a 645.8 feet² (60 m²) single hangar on each side of the funnel amidships. To save space, the wings could be folded. The aircraft were part of the 1/Bordfliegerstaffel 196 (1/Shipboard Squadron 196). The squadron was formed on 1 October 1937 (originally operating Heinkel He 60 biplanes). From 1 September 1943 it changed name to 1./Bordfliegergruppe 196. The pilots and technicians were members of the Luftwaffe. The observers were members of the Kriegsmarine.
Technical Specifications
Nationality German
Aircraft Type Shipboard Reconnaissance and Coastal Patrol Float Seaplane
Manufacturer Arado Flugzeugwerke GmbH, Warnemünde
First Flight May 1938
Entered Service 1 August 1939
Powerplant One BMW 132K nine-cylinder radial air-cooled engine, rated at 960 hp at take-off and 820 hp at 1.076 m (3.530 ft)
Speed 310 kmph (194 mph) at 4.000 m (13.120 feet)
Range 1.070 km (665 miles)
Service Ceiling 7.020 m (23.000 feet)
Wingspan 12,4 m (41 feet)
Length 11 m (36 feet)
Height 4,4 m (14 feet)
Empty Weight 2.990 kg (6.591 lb)
Maximum Take Off Weight 3.730 kg (8.223 lb)
Guns Twin MG FF 20 mm cannon in wings outboard of propeller disc. One MG 17
7,92 mm in top decking. Twin MG 15 on pivoted mounting aimed by observer.
Bombs etc Rack under each wing for 50 kg (110 lb) bomb
Crew 2
Notes The Ar196 was designed primarily to replace the He 60 biplane, then currently in service on all of Germany's capital ships. One of the few seaplanes to see service in the Atlantic and Mediterrenian, the Ar 196's primary duties consisted of reconnaissance and shadowing of service vessels. While in most respects the Ar 196 is not a formidable aircraft, for a seaplane it's performance exceeded it's Allied counterparts. After Germany's capital ships ceased active participation in the war, most Ar196's were relegated to sea patrols from shore bases. About 50 planes served with Balkan air forces in the Adriatic and Black Sea.
V1 - A series Prototypes: flew summer 1937
V2 - A series Prototypes: flew summer 1937
V3 - B series Prototypes: single float
V4 - B series Prototypes: single float
V5 - B series Prototypes: single float, flew autumn 1938
Ar196A-0 10 delivered November 1938 - December 1938
Ar196A-1 20 delivered from June 1939
Ar196A-2 Delivered from November 1939, first production model with the fixed forward firing armament of 2 20 mm and 1 7,9-mm
Ar196A-3 Delivered from December 1940, strengthened structure, additional radio (FuG 16Z), air-screw spinner
Ar196A-4 Delivered from March 1941, strengthened structure
Ar196A-5 Delivered from March 1943, improved radio equipment (FuG 16Z and FuG 25a, later supplanted by FuG 141), the flexibly-mounted MG 15 in the rear cockpit giving place to an MG 81Z (twin 7,9-mm MG 81s) with 2.000 rounds.
Ar196B-0 10 delivered 1940-41, single floats
Ar196C Project
Squadron Information
Used by following Squadrons 1. Bordflieger Gruppe 196 in Wilhelmshaven
5. Bordflieger Gruppe 196 in Kiel-Holtenau
Used by following Groups Seeaufklärungsgruppen 125, 126, 127, 128, 130, 131 and 132
1. Küsten Flieger Gruppe 706
2. Küsten Flieger Gruppe 906
3. Flieger Ergänzungs Gruppe
Arado Ar 196 aircraft on German naval units
Bismarck 4 aircraft
Tirpitz 4 aircraft
Scharnhorst 3 aircraft (replacing Heinkel He114 in 1939)
Gneisenau 3 aircraft (replacing Heinkel He114, Arado Ar96 and Focke-Wulf Fw62 in 1939)
Admiral Hipper 3 aircraft
Blücher 3 aircraft
Prinz Eugen 3 aircraft
Deutschland 2 aircraft (replacing Heinkel He60 in 1939)
Admiral Scheer 2 aircraft (replacing Heinkel He60 in 1939)
Admiral Graf Spee 2 aircraft (replacing Heinkel He60 in 1939)
Hilfskreuzer 1 aircraft on some of them
Miscellaneous Information
The Arado Ar 196 was used in the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, the Mediteranean Sea, the Black Sea, Indian Ocean and the Pacific and in different locations on the European continent.
Besides Germany, Bulgaria was the only country that used the Arado when they obtained 12 Arado Ar196A-3. These aircraft was called “Akula”. The last one of these 12 aircraft still flew in 1955 and is today in a museum.
Arado Ar 196 Today
Today only three Arado Ar196 aircraft exist One at the naval museum in Varna, Bulgaria
Two aircraft from the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen are in museum in USA

Arado Ar196A-3
Preparations to make the Arado Ar196A-3 aircraft on Tirpitz ready for a flight. On the photograph to the left the aircraft is hauled out of the hangar by muscle-power and, still on its sledge, is rotated to line up with the catapult when its wings are spread for flight (photograph to the right). The trolley which will provide the means of imparting the acceleration to the aircraft is then manoeuvred up behind the sledge and then extending arms take the weight of the aircraft while the sledge is removed to clear the track. The pneumatic/hydraulic catapult gave the aircraft an "end speed" of approximately 112 kmph (70 mph).
An Arado Ar196A-3 aircraft on Tirpitz prepares for catapult launch.
One of the Arado aircraft on Tirpitz. After it's return the aircraft lands on the water close beside the ship. It will be picked up by the port crane and taken on board.
Photograph of a situation in Norway where Tirpitz has picked up one of its aircraft to take it back on board.

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