Arado Ar 196

The serial production planes received four letter radio codes (Überführungskennzeichen) before delivery to their respective air force units. It was painted white on the sides of the fuselage and black on the underside of the wings, two letters on each wing. The planes that served in the Luftwaffe’s auxiliary units had a four letter Stammkennzeichen code painted black. The Arado Ar 196 planes serving in front units had full codes on fuselage with only a plane’s individual code letter on the underside of the wings. National markings were painted on the sides of the fuselage, both sides of the wings (Balkenkreuze) and rudder (Hakenkreuze). The unit emblems were often painted on the sides of the fuselage, behind the cowling.
The painting scheme was supplemented by tactical markings in form of quick identification stripes on the fuselage, often complemented by the painted wing tips and underside of the cowling. White and yellow paint were used for quick identification.

Foreign users
The Arado Ar 196 planes, apart from Germany, were also used by other countries. Bulgaria bought nine (or twelve*) Arado Ar 196 A-3 in 1943. They were used by the 161 Jato unit under command of Captain Kolarov, stationed in Varna and Burgas. The Ar 196 planes were used by the Bulgarian Air Force until 1947. One machine survived to this day and is being exhibited in the Bulgarian Museum of Aviation in Plovdiv.
Luftwaffe’s two Ar 196 were interned in Sweden during the war. The first, Arado Ar 196 A-3, WNr. 1006 of the Erg. Aufkl.Gr. (See), was flying from Copenhagen to Bornholm on February 11, 1943, when it lost its way due to the compass malfunction and entered Swedish air space near the Hano. Upon being fired by a Swedish Navy patrol craft it had to ditch. The crew, Uffz. Ludwig Hammer and Lt. Helmut Abramowski were interned at first, but after three days they were released and handed over to the Germans. The plane remained in Sweden, where it was first tested by the F2 Squadron based in Hägenäs, and then sold to the Kontinentagentur AB company. It was flown with the civilian registration SE-AOU. After the war, in May 1945, the plane was flown to Norway and served in the 8801 RAF Wing, and already in June 1945 in Norwegian 330 Coastal Air Force Squadron in Stavanger Sola.
After being stricken from Norwegian Air Force it was privately owned. The plane had a complete overhaul and was sold to Sweden. Between January 15 and August 19 it flew over 180 hours in the Ahrenbergsflyg AB company.
The Arado Ar 196 A-5 DF+QS, being tested with special float gear that enabled take-off and landing on the water surface, landed on Swedish territorial waters on March 8, 1944. The crew, Maj. Hans Fischer and Oblt. Friedrich Echternach were interned and the plane was returned to Germany on April 28, 1944.
In summer of 1943, Finland borrowed the Arado Ar 196 A-2, WNr. 00151, GA+DO from the German Luftwaffe. In September 1944 the machine was incorporated in the Detachment Malinen, stationed in Kontiolahti and used for special purposes (transporting agents and supplies behind the front lines). At the beginning of 1944 the plane was returned to Germany.

Arado Ar 196 A-0, W.Nr. 2522, D-ISFD z 10./(See) LG 2, Germany 1939. The entire plane is painted L40/52 Hellgrau (light grey), code letters are RLM 22 Schwarz (black), similarly to the undersides of the floats. [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]


Combat use
In the summer of 1939 first serial production planes arrived at the Bordfliegerstaffel 1./196 in Wilhelmshaven and 5./196 in Kiel-Holtenau. The pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee was the first to receive two Ar 196 A-1 planes. Their designation codes were L2+X40 and L2+X41 respectively. These planes took an active part in the battleship’s commerce raiding sortie in the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean from September to December 1939. On September 11, 1939 one of the patrolling Arados spotted the British heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland searching the area. Immediately, the plane returned to his ship. After splashing down and being hoisted on board, the cruiser Admiral Graf Spee started the engines and steamed on the opposite heading to avoid the danger. On September 1939 the Ar 196 detected and fired upon the British freighter s/s Clement (5051 BRT) on the way from Pernambuco. The ship was then sank by the battleship. A month later, on October 22, 1939 one of the floatplanes spotted the British ship s/s Trevanion (5291 BRT), which was soon sank by the battleship’s boarding party. On November 9, 1939 stormy waves damaged the floatplane’s engine, which was repaired only on December 1, 1939. On December 2, 1939 due to the mechanical failure the plane was forced to splash down in the ocean. After a few-hours search, it was located and hoisted on board the battleship. On December 13, 1939 the Arado Ar 196 planes embarked on board the battleship were destroyed during the battle of the River Plate. […]

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