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Hitler's Spyplane Over Normandy 1944 (ePub)

The World's First Jet

Aviation > WWII WWII > Battles & Campaigns > D-Day & Normandy

By Philippe Bauduin
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
File Size: 46.2 MB (.epub)
Pages: 179
ISBN: 9781473842960
Published: 9th June 2014


£4.99 Print price £25.00

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This is the story of the Arado 234, an aircraft that on one day in 1944, in the skies above Normandy, heralded the beginning of a new era in aviation: the jet era...

For more than a century, the aviation industry has experienced continual change and upheaval. Many individuals have contributed to this field of developmental aviation over the course of time. One of these key players is Heinrich Lübbe, a man who marked the evolution of aerial transportation through his cultivation of technological excellence. From flying lessons given to him by his friend Roland Garros, to the creation of the Arado business, Lübbe made a significant impact and left a lasting legacy.

His machines, the first jets in the world, were flown by exceptional pilots such as Horst Götz and Erich Sommer, known as "des moustachus" (the moustachioed). In Hitler's Germany, the Arado jets were put to work in a variety of contexts. Perhaps most significantly, they were employed in the task of photo-reconnaissance during the Battle for Normandy, following the iconic landings of June 1944. In this role, they brought back extraordinary images from the invasion beaches, revealing with astounding detail the positions and plans of the allied forces.

These images, previously unseen by the public, shed new light on the battle, whilst at the same time proving the Germans' indisputable superiority in the field of jet aviation. The fact that American troops hastened to transfer the Arado AR234 and Messerschmitt 262 to the USA to uncover all their secrets post-war says a lot about how they were viewed in the eyes of the enemy.

In addition to many top-secret aerial images, this book is enriched with around twenty photographs from the personal archives of Erich Sommer, the Arado pilot, which have never before been published. The book is packed with both colour and black and white images and represents an impressive pictorial history of the world's first jet.

A genuinely entertaining and quirky book ... I love it.

War History Online

This book contains some truly outstanding and rare photographs. The text is well-written and supports the lavish illustration. The subject was one of the first generation combat jets and aviation enthusiasts will welcome its new insights.


The Arado 234 was one of Adolf Hitler's "miracle weapons", and yet, built on only a very small scale, it was never able to achieve the fame of the Me-262 and the V weapons. It nevertheless made aviation history, first by completing several very successful reconnaissance sorties over the Normandy beachhead, flying so fast and so high that it passed unnoticed by the Allies, and when a later variant was equipped with a payload of bombs it became the world's first jet bomber. This book describes the origins of Germany's jet technology and the evolution of the Ar-234, helped in no small measure by the contributions of Erich Sommer, who flew its maiden sortie over Normandy. This is as much his story as it is that of the aircraft he flew, and gives an insight into how pioneering men such as himself came to be involved with these remarkable projects. Included in the book are a great many rare and unpublished photographs, including the quite fabulous results of the Normandy reconnaissance.

Pegasus Archive

I really enjoyed reading more about a fascinating aircraft and how it was operated, plus the bonus of all those historic archive aerial reconnaissance photos which are now shared for us all to see. Alongside many of them are some modern arial shots in colour to compare with how things looked 70 years ago.

Military Modelling
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About Philippe Bauduin

Philippe Bauduin experienced the allied invasion and saw these curious Arado AR234 machines in the skies above Normandy during the summer of 1944. After completing his studies, he became a Photograph Interpretation Officer in the French Air Force. Now retired, he writes about the technological and logistical aspects of the Invasion as well as penning biographies of lesser-known pilots.

This book was originally published in 2013 by Editions Heimdal (France) under the title Normandie 1944: Arado, L'avion Espion.

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