Arado Ar 232 Tausendfussler (Millipede) - Nazi Germany, 1941
Detailing the development and operational history of the Arado Ar 232 Tausendfussler (Millipede) Medium Transport Aircraft.
Entry last updated on 6/15/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
When on the ground, the Arado Ar 232 was a highly identifiable transport aircraft, thanks to the multiple sets of wheels the system utilized.
The Arado aircraft concern of Germany produced one of the more identifiable large transport aircraft of the Luftwaffe during World War 2 (1939-1945) through their Ar 232 production model. Known unofficially as the "Millipede" (or "Tausendfussler") due to the large collection of landing wheels fitted to the undercarriage arrangement, the Ar 232 series saw only a limited production run with no more than 22 total examples being made during the conflict. As such, the Ar 232 went on to serve in a limited capacity for Luftwaffe special operations missions and general transportation.
Prototypes were born as the Ar 232 V1 and V2 and these carried 2 x BMW 801A/B engines of 1,600 horsepower each. The twins were used in the research and data collection role. The Ar 232 V3 and V4 prototypes then followed in the same role but were now outfitted with 4 x BMW Bramo 323R-2 Fafnir series engines. Initial production forms then became Ar 232A and these carried 2 x BMW 801 engines. Ten were produced and used in active trials.
This then led to the alternative Arado Ar 232B model of which ten were produced as Ar 232B-0 and powered by the four Bramo 323 engines mentioned earlier. The Ar 232C was an all-new variant which relied more on wood in its construction to free up much needed metals for other, more important aircraft types in Luftwaffe service. Wood was featured at both the control surfaces and in the out wing areas. This version was then redesignated to Ar 432 but the end of the war signaled the end of this product run.
The Ar 532 and Ar 632 were two proposed six-engined designs of the aforementioned Ar 432, dimensionally larger for much-increased internal volume.
The Ar 232 aircraft were built around a stout monocoque fuselage, designed with cargo-carrying capacity and capabilities in mind. The wings in play were of a high monoplane design with a slim tail stem extending aft of the main fuselage nacelle. The tail was capped by a sole horizontal plane straddled by a pair of vertical fins. The fuselage nacelle featured a heavily glazed cockpit flight deck offering good vision out-of-the-cockpit as well as views ot he engines along the wing leading edges. As a transport, armament carried was generally defensive-minded and included a nose-mounted 13mm heavy machine gun, a 20mm cannon in a dorsal turret mounting (just above and aft of the cockpit), and 1 or 2 x 13mm machine guns at the fuselage nacelle rear. Up to 8 x 7.92mm MG 34 General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs) could be fitted to the fuselage windows as needed. This was typically done when transport troopers. With a solid nose featured at front, the cargo hold was accessed through the rear of the fuselage - forcing the tail unit to be elevated in the design.
A prototype Ar 232 was first flown in June 1941lly The four-engined Ar 232B model weighed 46,628lbs under full loads. Maximum speed reached 190 miles per hour with a cruising speed in the 180 mph range. Service range reached 660 miles while the aircraft's service ceiling was up to 22,640 feet.
The type was not exported and managed a service tenure up to the end of the war in May of 1945.