ACCOMMODATION: One or two pilots + 23 troops or equivalent freight
POWER PLANT: None
PERFORMANCE: 186 mph
COMMENT: The Gotha Go 242 was designed in response to a ReichsLuftfahrt Ministerium (RLM) requirement for a heavy transport glider to replace the DFS 230 then in service. The requirement was for a glider capable of carrying 20 fully laden troops or the equivalent cargo.
The aircraft was a high-wing monoplane with a simple square-section fuselage ending in clamshell doors used to load cargo. The empennage was mounted on twin booms linked by a tail plane. The fuselage was formed of steel tubing covered with doped fabric. The flight characteristics of the design were better than those of the DFS 230. Cargo versions of the glider featured a hinged rear fuselage loading ramp that could accommodate a small vehicle such as a “Kübelwagen” (Jeep) or loads of similar size and weight.
Two prototypes flew in 1941 and the type quickly entered production. At the end of 1942 253 Gotha Go 242A-0 and A-1A have been delivered primarily used for freight transportation. For take-off a two wheel jettisonable landing gear and for landing three landing skids were provided. In total 1,259 Gotha Go 242A-0 and A-1 were produced.
In service, Go 242s were towed into the air by Heinkel He 111s or Junkers Ju 52s. Most saw service in the Mediterranean, North Africa, and Aegean. Occasionally, Junkers Ju 87D-2 were used as tow plane. These had strengthened rear fuselage and combined tailwheel and hook for towing the Gotha Go 242.
Furthermore, the glider was tested with rockets for overloaded take offs. A jettisonable rack of four 48 kg Rheinmetall RI 502 solid fuel rockets each developing at 153 kp thrust for six seconds was attached to the rear of the cargo compartment. These were ignited in sequence to provide a continuous 153 thrust for 24 seconds.
A second rocket assisted system called the “R” (Rauch) Gerät (“Smoke” Decice) was also used with the glider. This was a liquid-fuel Walter KG R I-203 (HWK 500A) “Starthilfe” (Take-off Assist) monopropellant, RATO podded rocket engine which was mounted beneath the wing on either side of the body and was jettisoned after takeoff, parachuting down to be recycled (Ref.: 24).
ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two + 12 troops or 1,600 kg freight
POWER PLANT: None
PERFORMANCE: 200 mph
COMMENT: The Gotha Ka 430 was a medium assault and freight glider, first built in 1944. The glider was designed by A. Kalkert and Gotha design team as a potential successor of the Gotha Go 242 glider. Somewhat smaller than the earlier glider, the new design introduced a rear loading ramp, some armor protection for the crew and a manually-operated gun turret.
The Ka 430 had a conventional structure with a wing of laminated plywood construction and plywood and fabric cowering, and a welded steel-tube fuselage covered by fabric aft of the cockpit, the nose being a moulded plywood shell fitting over the metal frame work and bolted in place. The undercarriage was of fixed, levered-suspension tricycle type, and the cargo hold extended from the cockpit to just aft of the mainwheels and terminated in a loading ramp hinged at the point where the rear fuselage swept upwards to merge with the tail-carrying boom, a section of the decking aft of the ramp hinged upwards to enlarge the opening. Slatted airbrakes were provided in the wings to steepen the glide angle and provision was made in the extreme nose for the installation of a battery of braking rockets.
To evaluate the rear fuselage and integral loading ramp a Go 242A-2 was modified to serve as a Ka 430 prototype, and the successful trials led to the placing of an order for 30 pre-production Ka 430A-0 gliders which were to be built by the Mitteldeutsche Metallwerke (MMW) at Erfurt.
The first Ka 430 A-0 (without gun turret) were completed late in 1944, successful towing trials being performed with Heinkel He 111H and Junkers Ju 88A as tugs, but only 12 of the pre-production gliders had been completed when the war situation necessitated the abandoning of the construction program (Ref.: 7)