ARADO 234, The Arado 234 “Blitz,” was flown in bomber and reconnaissance roles. It was the world's first operational jet-powered bomber, built by the German Arado company in the closing stages of World War II. Produced in very limited numbers, it was used almost entirely in the reconnaissance role, but in its few uses as a bomber it proved to be nearly impossible to intercept. It was the last Luftwaffe aircraft to fly over Britain during the war, in April 1945. Flying at high speeds, it was almost immune to interception. As a bomber it combined great speed and excellent handling qualities with accurate ordinance delivery. Just over 200 machines were built before war’s end. Hans-georg Bätcher flew 658 combat missions in WWII, a record unequaled by any other bomber pilot. He began combat in bombers over France in 1940 and flew the Heinkel He111. His greatest exploits were on the Eastern Front, where he flew over 600 missions, including supply missions to troops surrounded at Stalingrad. In December 1944, he took command of III/KG (Kampfgruppe) 76, the worlds’ first operational bomber unit. At war’s end he commanded KG 54. He earned the Oak Leaves to his Knight’s Cross. Signed by the artist and Hans-georg Bätcher.
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