Meet Nazi Germany's Super-Fast Arado AR-234 Bomber Jet

Warfare History Network

Key point: Like many other Nazi wonder weapons, the Arado was high-tech but too complicated and produced too late in the war to matter.

When the Arado Ar-234 Blitz jet bomber first appeared in the skies of Europe, most Allied airmen did not know what it was. Many had never heard of jet engines, let alone a jet bomber. Fewer still knew that the Ar-234 was a shining star in Adolf Hitler’s constellation of wonder weapons, the super-secret and super-technology arsenal that the Führer hoped would reverse the Reich’s declining fortunes.

The Allies First Glimpse at the Arado 234 Blitz

Hitler certainly never asked for an opinion from Don Bryan. At high altitude east of the Rhine bridgehead on March 14, 1945, American fighter pilot Captain Bryan was on his way home from a bomber escort mission when he spotted an Ar-234 making a bombing run on the pontoon bridge at Remagen.

At this juncture, the American fighter pilot may have known more about Hitler’s secret jet than anyone else on the Allied side. While most Allied pilots never even glimpsed one, this was Bryan’s fourth encounter with an Arado. In December 1944, he became, he asserted, the first Allied pilot ever to see one in the air.

After studying drawings of the jet in a Group Intelligence document, Bryan spotted Ar-234s on two more occasions later that month. During his third sighting, the Luftwaffe warplane crossed his flight path beneath him, flying from left to right. Bryan went after the Arado, but it pulled away. That was when he realized that while his North American P-51 Mustang fighter was fast, the Ar-234 was almost 100 miles per hour faster.

“I’m not letting one get away from me again,” Bryan thought out loud.

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