The Arado Ar 196 was the primary float plane on board of German Kriegsmarine ships.
Development started in fall of 1936 as a replacement of the obsolete Heinkel Bi-planes used these days. The first prototypes of the all metal planes flew in summer of 1937 showing its superiority over the competing Focke-Wulf design. Full scale production started in 1939.
The Arado Ar 196 was relative heavy armed for a sea based reconnaissance plane and with its agility it was able ot protect itself against land based fighters in the early stage of the war. Besides its use on larger Kriegsmarine ships and auxiliary cruisers, the aircraft also operated in coastal patrols - one remarkable event was the capture of the British submarine H.M.S. Shark
in May 1940.
Over 500 Ar 196 were build at Arado, Société Nationale de Construction Aèronautique in France and Fokker in the Netherlands between 1939 and 1944.