Brief description: This picture gallery contains aircraft models of World War II on a scale 1:72 as injection moulded, resin- and vacu- formed kits as well as home-made conversions.
Here, you will find photos of aircraft models of World War II on a scale 1:72. e.g. those of the United States Army Air Force (USAAF), the United States Navy (USN), the Royal Air Force (RAF), the Royal Navy (RN) , the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force (IJAAF), the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Force (IJNAF), the German Air Force (Luftwaffe, GAF) and the Air Force of the Soviet Union. Within these branches of the services you can select between fighters, fighter-bombers, bombers, trainers etc. Also you can select projects, designed on the drawing board as well as post-war developments, whose origin dated back into the time of WW II.
Important notice: Among the aircraft models shown here there are many aircraft from the former German Air Force (Deutsche Luftwaffe). They all show the swastika as a national symbol of that time. I would like to point out that this is not a political statement, but rather a source of historical information on the types of aircraft flown by the German Luftwaffe before and during the Second World War. It is to be taken as a reference for all aviation enthusiasts, and not taken as an expression of any sympathy for the Nazi regime or any Neo-Nazi or Right wing hate Groups.
I have built all these models just for fun and never, it has been my intention to show them anybody or to present them at a show. Over the years more then 1.500 models have emerged, and many more kits have not been completed yet, or are still waiting for the finish or the last little detail.
POWER PLANT: Four Wright R-3350-23 Duplex-Cyclone air-cooled turbocharged radial piston engines, 2,200 hp each
PERFORMANCE: 357 mp
COMMENT: The Boeing B-29 Superfortress was an American four-engined propeller-driven heavy bomber, designed by Boeing and flown primarily by the United States during World War II and the Korean War. Named in allusion to its predecessor, the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, the Superfortress was designed for high-altitude strategic bombing, but also excelled in low-altitude night incendiary bombing, and in dropping naval mines to blockade Japan. B-29s dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the only aircraft ever to drop nuclear weapons in combat.
One of the largest aircraft of World War II, the B-29 was designed with state-of-the-art technology, which included a pressurized cabin, dual-wheeled tricycle landing gear, and an analog computer-controlled fire-control system that allowed one gunner and a fire-control officer to direct four remote machine gun turrets. The $3 billion cost of design and production, far exceeding the $1.9 billion cost of the Manhattan Project (development oft he atomic bomb), made the B-29 program the most expensive of the war. The B-29 remained in service in various roles throughout the 1950s, being retired in the early 1960s after 3,970 had been built.
Before World War II, the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) concluded that the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, which would be the Americans’ primary strategic bomber during the war, would be inadequate for the Pacific Theater, which required a bomber that could carry a larger payload more than 3,000 miles
In response, Boeing began work on pressurized long-range bombers in 1938. Boeing’s design study for the Model 334 was a pressurized derivative of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress with nosewheel undercarriage. Although the Air Corps lacked funds to pursue the design, Boeing continued development with its own funds as a private venture. In April 1939, Charles Lindberg convinced General Henry H. Arnold to produce a new bomber in large numbers to counter the Germans’ bomber production. In December 1939, the Air Corps issued a formal specification for a so-called “superbomber” that could deliver 20,000 lb of bombs to a target 2,667 mi away, and at a speed of 400 mph. Boeing’s previous private venture studies formed the starting point for its response to the Air Corps formal specification.
Boeing submitted its Model 345 on May 1940, in competition with designs from Consolidated Aircraft Model 33, which later became the Convair B-32 Dominator, Lockheed XB-30 and Douglas XB-31 Raidmaster. Douglas and Lockheed soon abandoned work on their projects, but Boeing received an order for two flying prototypes, which were given the designation XB-29, and an airframe for static testing on August 1940, with the order being revised to add a third flying aircraft on December. Consolidated continued to work on its Model 33, as it was seen by the Air Corps as a backup if there were problems with Boeing’s design. Boeing received an initial production order for 14 service test aircraft and 250 production bombers in May 1941, this being increased to 500 aircraft in January 1942. The B-29 featured a fuselage design with circular cross-section for strength. The need for pressurization in the cockpit area also led to the B-29 being one of very few American combat aircraft of World War II to have a stepless cockpit design, without a separate windscreen for the pilots.
Manufacturing the B-29 was a complex task that involved four main-assembly factories. Thousands of subcontractors were also involved in the project. The first prototype made its maiden flight on September 1942. The combined effects of the aircraft’s highly advanced design, challenging requirements, immense pressure for production, and hurried development caused setbacks. Unlike the unarmed first prototype, the second was fitted with a Sperry defensive armament system using remote-controlled gun turrets sighted by periscopes and first flew on December 1942, although the flight was terminated due to a serious engine fire.
On February 1943, the second prototype experienced an engine fire and crashed. Changes to the production craft came so often and so fast that, in early 1944, B-29s flew from the production lines directly to modification depots for extensive rebuilds to incorporate the latest changes. USAAF-contracted modification centers and its own air depot system struggled to handle the scope of the requirements. By the end of 1943, although almost 100 aircraft had been delivered, only 15 were airworthy. This prompted an intervention by General Hap Arnold to resolve the problem, with production personnel being sent from the factories to the modification centers to speed availability of sufficient aircraft to equip the first bomb groups in what became known as the “Battle of Kansas”. This resulted in 150 aircraft being modified in the five weeks, between March and April 1944.
The most common cause of maintenance headaches and catastrophic failures was the engines. Although the Wright R-3350 Duplex Cyclone radials later became a trustworthy workhorse in large piston-engined aircraft, early models were beset with dangerous reliability problems.
In wartime, the B-29 was capable of flight at altitudes up to 31,850 feet at speeds of up to 350 mph (true air speed)). This was its best defense because Japanese fighters could barely reach that altitude, and few could catch the B-29 even if they did attain that altitude.
The General Electric Central Fire Control system on the B-29 directed four remotely controlled turrets armed with two .50 Browning M2 machine guns each. All weapons were aimed optically, with targeting computed by analog electrical instrumentation. There were five interconnected sighting stations located in the nose and tail positions and three Plexiglas blisters in the central fuselage. Five General Electric analog computers (one dedicated to each sight) increased the weapons’ accuracy by compensating for factors such as airspeed, lead, gravity, temperature and humidity. The computers also allowed a single gunner to operate two or more turrets (including tail guns) simultaneously. The gunner in the upper position acted as fire control officer, managing the distribution of turrets among the other gunners during combat. The tail position initially had two .50 Browning machine guns and a single M2 20 mm cannon. Later aircraft had the 20 mm cannon removed, sometimes replaced by a third machine gun.
The crew would enjoy, for the first time in a bomber, full-pressurization comfort. This first-ever cabin pressure system for an Allied production bomber was developed for the B-29 by Garrett AiResearck and a long tunnel joining the forward and rear crew compartments. Crews could use the tunnel if necessary to crawl from one pressurized compartment to the other.
In early 1945, Major General Curtiss LeMay, commander of XXI Bomber Command—the Marianas-based B-29-equipped bombing force—ordered most of the defensive armament and remote-controlled sighting equipment removed from the B-29s under his command. The affected aircraft had the same reduced defensive firepower as the nuclear weapons-delivery intended Silverplate B-29 airframes and could carry greater fuel and bomb loads as a result of the change. The lighter defensive armament was made possible by a change in mission from high-altitude, daylight bombing with high explosive bombs to low-altitude night raids using incendiary bombs. As a consequence of that requirement, Bell Atlanta (BA) produced a series of 311 B-29Bs that had turrets and sighting equipment omitted, except for the tail position, which was fitted with AN/APG-15 fire-control radar. That version could also have an improved APQ-7 “Eagle” bombing-through-overcast radar fitted in an airfoil-shaped radome under the fuselage. Most of those aircraft were assigned to the 315th Bomb Wing, Northwest Field, Guam.
In September 1941, the USAAF’ plans for war against Germany and Japan proposed basing the B-29 in Egypt for operations against Germany, as British airbases were likely to be overcrowded. By the end of 1943, plans had changed, partly due to production delays, and the B-29 was dedicated to the Pacific Theater. A new plan implemented deployed the B-29 units to attack Japan from four forward bases in southern Cina, with five main bases in India, and to attack other targets in the region from China and India as needed. The XX Bomber Command, initially intended to be two combat wings of four groups each, was reduced to a single wing of four groups because of the lack of availability of aircraft, automatically limiting the effectiveness of any attacks from China.
This was an extremely costly scheme, as there was no overland connection available between India and China, and all supplies had to be flown over the Himalayas, either by transport aircraft or by B-29s themselves, with some aircraft being stripped of armor and guns and used to deliver fuel.
The solution to this problem was to capture the Mariana Islands, which would bring targets such as Tokyo, about 1,500 mi north of the Marianas within range of B-29 attacks. The Joint Chiefs of Staff agreed in December 1943 to seize the Marianas.
US forces invaded Saipan on 15 June 1944 what was secured by 9 July. Operations followed against Guam and Tinian, with all three islands secured by August.
Naval construction battalions (Seabees) began at once to construct air bases suitable for the B-29, commencing even before the end of ground fighting. In all, five major airfields were built: two on the flat island of Tinian, one on Saipan, and two on Guam. Each was large enough to eventually accommodate a bomb wing consisting of four bomb groups, giving a total of 180 B-29s per airfield. These bases could be supplied by ship and, unlike the bases in China, were not vulnerable to attack by Japanese ground forces. The bases became the launch sites for the large B-29 raids against Japan in the final year of the warand the first combat mission was launched from there on 28 October 1944, with 14 B-29s, the first attack on the Japanese capital since the Doolittle Raid in April 1942.
Boeing B-29A Superfortress “Rattle N’ Roll” showed here belonged to the 6th Bomber Group, 313th Bomb Wing, XXth USAAF, stationed at North Field, Tinian, Marianas
The most famous B-29s were the Silverplate series. These aircraft were extensively modified to carry nuclear weapons. Serious consideration was given to using the British Lancaster bomber, as this would require less modification. The most significant modification was the enlargement of the bomb bay enabling each aircraft to carry either the “Little Boy”, an enriched uranium gun-type fission weapon or “Fat Man”, a plutonium implosion-type nuclear weapon.
Little Boy was dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 by B-29 Enola Gay, flown by Colonel Paul W. Tibbets Jr and the Fat Man was dropped on Nagasaki on 9 August 1945 by B-29 Bockscar, flown by Mayor Charles W. Sweeney.
Japan surrendered to the Allies on 15 August, six days after the bombing of Nagasaki and effectively ended World War II (Ref.: 24).
ACCOMMODATION: Pilot plus 9 equipped troops 600 lb cargo
POWER PLANT: None
PERFORMANCE: Maximum towing speed 130 mph
COMMENT: The DFS 230 was a German transport glider operated by the Luftwaffe in World War II. It was developed in 1933 by the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Segelflug (DFS – “German Research Institute for Sailplane Flight”). The glider was the German inspiration for the British Hotspur glider and was intended for airborne assault operations.
The structural design oft he DFS 230 was thoroughly conventional. The wing comprised a single mainspar at approximately one-third cord with plywood covering forward and fabric aft, the long-span ailerons with inset tabs were fabric covered, and a central keel member or boom intended to absorb the impact transmitted to it from the sprung steel skid. Provision was made for either a single or dual control, and, in addition to the pilot, accommodation was provided for nine men who were seated on the central boom, six facing forward, and four backward. Entry and exit to the cramped interior was by a single side door. The front passenger could operate its only armament, a 7,9 mm MG 15 machine gun on flexible mounting in upper decking of forward fuselage . A large loading door was provided at the rear of the cabin in the fuselage portside, and the loading of bulky items of freight was facilitated by a detachable beneath the wing at the starboard side of the fuselage. Up to 1,200 kg of freight could be loaded or 660 lb of freight in addition to the full complement of 10 men .
For take-off a two-wheel dolly was provided, this being jettisoned once the glider was airborne, it landed by means of a landing skid. The DFS 230s usually employed the Seilschlepp or cable-tow, being attached to a 131 ft cable, but for night and bad weather missions the Starrschlepp (ridgid-tow) arrangement was used. By means of a cable running along the tow rope the pilots of the tow-plane and of the freight glider were able to communicate with each other which made blind flying possible, when necessary. The towing speed of the DFS-230 was approximately 116 mph. It dropped its landing gear as soon as it was safely in the air, and landed by means of a landing skid. The DFS-230 could be towed by a Junkers Ju 52 (which could tow two with difficulty), Heinkel He 111, Junkers Ju 87, Henschel Hs 126, Messerschmitt Me 110, or a Messerschmitt Me 109.
The DFS-230 had the highest glide ratio (8:1) of any World War II military glider other than the Soviet Antonov A-7. This was because it was thought that the glider had to be capable of a long approach during landing, so that it could be released a greater distance from the target so the sound of the towing aircraft did not alert the enemy.
It had been realized that glider operations were hazardous once the enemy’s ground defences had been alert, the DFS 230 providing an excellent target for small arms fire during its low, shallow landing approach. The DFS 230B was therefore fitted with an external parachute pack beneath the rear fuselage this chute being intended for deployment in the event of a rapid, diving descent necessary to avoid ground fire.
Late production version was the DFS 230C-1 with nose braking rockets for pin-point landing. A single DFS 230 was converted to an auto-gyro by replacing the wings with the 3-bladed rotor from a Focke-Achgelis Fa 223 helicopter, mounted on a pylon above the fuselage. The undercarriage was revised to include long oleo shock absorbers with a wide track for stability. Towed behind a Junkers Ju52/3M during trials, it was found that the low towing speed and low approach speed made the combination more vulnerable to attack.
The DFS 230 played significant roles in the operations at Fort Eben-Emael, the Battle of Crete, and in the rescue of Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini. It was also used in North Africa. However, it was used chiefly in supplying encircled forces on the Eastern Front. Although production ceased in 1943, it was used right up to the end of the war, for instance, supplying Berlin and Breslau until May 1945.
In total more than 1.600 aircraft had been built (Ref.: 24).
ACCOMMODATION: Crew of five plus 130 troops or 10,000–12,000 kg payload
POWER PLANT: Six Gnome-Rhone 14N radial engines, rated at 1,164 hp; each
PERFORMANCE: 177 mph
COMMENT: The Messerschmitt Me 323 „Gigant“ (“Giant”) was a German military transport aircraft of World War II. It was a powered variant of the Messerschmitt Me 321 military glider and was the largest land-based transport aircraft to fly during the war. In total, 213 were made, with 15 being converted from the Me 321
The Me 323 was the result of a 1940 German requirement for a large assault glider in preparation for Operation Seelöwe (Operation Sea Lion), the projected invasion of Great Britain. The DFS 230 light glider developed by Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für Segelflug, (German Research Institute for Sailplanes) had already proven its worth in the Battle of Fort Eben-Emael in Belgium, the first ever assault by gliderborne troops, and would later be used successfully in the invasion of Crete in 1941.
However, in order to mount an invasion across the English Channel, the Germans would need to be able to airlift vehicles and other heavy equipment as part of an initial assault wave. Although Operation Sea Lion was cancelled, the requirement for a heavy air transport capability still existed, with the focus shifting to the forthcoming Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union.
On 18 October 1940, Junkers and Messerschmitt were given just 14 days to submit a proposal for a large transport glider. The emphasis was still very much on the assault role; the ambitious requirement was to be able to carry either an 88 mm gun and its half-track tractor, or a Panzer IV medium tank. The Junkers Ju 322 Mammut (Mammouth) reached prototype form, but was eventually scrapped due to difficulties in procuring the necessary high-grade timber for its all-wood construction, and as was discovered during the Mammut‘s only test flight, an unacceptably high degree of instability inherent in the design. The proposed Messerschmitt aircraft was originally designated Me 261w—partly borrowing the designation of the long-range Messerschmitt Me 261, then changed to Messerschmitt Me 263 later reused for Messerschmitt’s improved rocket fighter design, and eventually became the Me 321. Although the Me 321 saw considerable service on the Eastern Front as a transport, it was never used for its intended role as an assault glider.
Early in 1941, as a result of feedback from Transport Command pilots in Russia, the decision was taken to produce a motorized variant of the Me 321, to be designated Me 323. French Gnome-Rhone GR14N radial engines, rated at 1,164 hp, for take-off as used in the Bloch MB 175 aircraft were chosen for use. This would reduce the burden on Germany’s strained industry.
Initial tests were conducted with four Gnome engines attached to a strengthened Me 321 wing, giving modest speed of 130 mph – 50 mph slower than the Junkers Ju 52 transport aircraft. A fixed undercarriage was fitted, with four small wheels in a bogie at the front of the aircraft and six larger wheels in two lines of three at each side of the fuselage, partly covered by an aerodynamic fairing. The rear wheels were fitted with pneumatic brakes that could stop the aircraft within 660 ft.
The four-engined Me 323C was considered a stepping-stone to the six-engined D series. It still required the five-engined Heinkel He 111Z Zwilling (Twin) or the highly dangerous „vic-style“ Troika-Schlepp formation of three Messerschmitt Me 110 heavy fighters and underwing-mounted Walter HWK 109-500 Starthilfe rocket-assist take-off units to get airborne when fully loaded, but it could return to base under its own power when empty. This was little better than the Me 321, so the V2 prototype became the first to have six engines and flew for the first time in early 1942, becoming the prototype for the D-series aircraft.
To reduce torque, the aircraft was fitted with three counterclockwise rotation engines on the port wing and three clockwise rotation engines on the starboard wing, as seen looking forward from behind each engine – resulting in the propellers rotating “away” from each other at the tops of their arcs.
Like the Me 321, the Me 323 had massive, semicantilever, high-mounted wings, which were braced from the fuselage out to the middle of the wing. To reduce weight and save aluminium, much of the wing was made of plywood and fabric, while the fuselage was of metal-tube construction with wooden spars and covered with doped fabric, with heavy bracing in the floor to support the payload.
The “D” series had a crew of five – two pilots, two flöight engineers, and a radio operator. Two gunners could also be carried. The flight engineers occupied two small cabins, one in each wing between the inboard and centre engines. The engineers were intended to monitor engine synchronisation and allow the pilot to fly without worrying about engine status, although the pilot could override the engineers’ decisions on engine and propeller control.
Maximum payload was around 12 tonnes, although at that weight, the Walter HWK 109-500 Starthilfe rocket-assisted take-off units used on the Me 321 were required for take-off. These were mounted beneath the wings outboard of the engines, with the wings having underside fittings to take up to four units. The cargo hold was 36 ft long, 10 f) wide and 11 ft high. Typical loads were one 15 cm sFH 18 heavy field howitzer (5.5 ton) accompanied by its Sd kfz 7 half-track artillery tractor vehicle (11 ton), two 4 ton trucks, 8,700 loaves of bread, an 88 mm Flak gun and accessories, 52 drums of fuel (45 US gal), 130 men, or 60 stretchers.
Some Me 321s were converted to Me 323s, but most were built as six-engined aircraft from the beginning. Early models were fitted with wooden, two-blade propellers, while later versions had metal, three-blade, variable-pitch versions.
The Me 323 had a maximum speed of only 136 mph at sea level. It was armed with five 13 mm MG 131 machine guns firing from a dorsal position behind the wings and from the fuselage. They were manned by the extra gunners, radio operator, and engineers.
By September 1942, Me 323s were being delivered for use in the Tunisian campaign. They entered service in the Mediterranean theatre in November 1942. High losses among Axis shipping required a huge airlift of equipment across the Mediterranean to keep Rommel’s Afrika Korps supplied.
A total of 198 Me 323s were built before production ceased in April 1944. Several production versions were built, beginning with the Me 323D-1. Later D- and E- versions differed in the choice of power plant and in defensive armament, with improvements in structural strength, total cargo load, and fuel capacity also being implemented. Nonetheless, the Me 323 remained underpowered. A proposal to install six BMW 801 radials did not occur. The Me 323 was also a short-range aircraft, with a typical range (loaded) of 620–750 mi. Despite this, the limited numbers of Me 323s in service were an asset to the Germans, and saw extensive use .
The aircraft shown here belonged to 5./ TG 5 (5th Gruppe/ Transportgeschwader 5, 5th Sqn,/Transport Group 5) (Ref.: 24).
ACCOMMODATION: Crew of three plus 200 equipped troops or 20,000 kg of cargo / military equipment
POWER PLANT: None
PERFORMANCE: Maximum tow speed 110 mph
COMMENT: The Messerschmitt Me 321 Gigant was a large German cargo glider developed and used during World War II. Intended to support large-scale invasions, the Me 321 had very limited use due to the low availability of suitable tug aircraft, high vulnerability whilst in flight, and its difficult ground handling, both at base and at destination landing sites. The Me 321 was developed, in stages, into the six-engined Messerschmitt Me 323 Gigant, which removed some of the problems with ground handling, but vulnerability to ground fire and aerial attack remained a constant problem during operations of all variants.
During the preparations for a possible invasion of Britain during World War II (Operation Seelöwe, Operation Sea Lion) the Luftwaffe’s Transport Command saw an obvious need existed for a larger-capacity cargo- and troop-carrying aircraft than its mainstay, the Junkers Ju 52.
When the plans for Operation Sea Lion were shelved in December 1940, and planning began for the invasion of the USSR (Operation Barbarossa), the most cost-effective solution to the need for transport aircraft was found to be to use gliders. Accordingly, the Technical Bureau of the Luftwaffe issued a tender for rapid development of a Grossraumlastensegler (“large-capacity transport glider”) to the aircraft manufacturers Junkers and Messerschmitt. The specification called for the glider to be capable of carrying either an 88 mm gun plus its tractor, or a medium tank. The codename Projekt Warschau (Project Warsaw) was used, with Junkers being given the codename Warschau-Ost and Messerschmitt Warschau-Süd.
The Junkers design, the Ju 322 Mammut was unsuccessful, though, due to the company opting to use all-wood construction. Messerschmitt’s design for this transport glider consequently secured the contract for the company. Initially given the RLM designation Me 263, this designation number was later reused for the second-generation rocket fighter developed in 1945, the Messerschmitt Me 263. That number was “freed-up” when the number for this aircraft was switched to Me 321.
The Me 263 had a framework of steel tubing provided by the Mannesmann company, with wooden spars and a covering of doped fabric. This allowed for quick construction and easy repair when needed and also saved weight. The Me 263 was redesignated the Me 321 and was nicknamed Gigant (Giant) due to its huge size.
Its nose stood over 6 m high, and was made up of two clamshell doors, which could only be opened from the inside, when ramps would be used to allow vehicles to drive in or out. Compared to the Ju 52, the Me 321 offered a load area six times larger, around 100 m2, and could accommodate a gross cargo weighing up to 23 tons. The cargo space had been designed to replicate the load space of a standard German railway flatcar, allowing any cargo that could travel by rail to fit into an Me 321. Alternatively, if used as a passenger transport, 120-130 fully equipped troops could be accommodated.
The Me 321 was fitted with a jettisonable undercarriage comprising two Messerschmitt Me 109 mainwheels at the front and two Junkers Ju 90 main wheels at the rear and was intended to land on four extendable skids.
The first flight of theprototype Me 321 V1 took place on February 1941, towed into the air by a Ju 90. It carried 3 tons of ballast. Test pilot Baur reported that the controls were heavy and responses sluggish. They decided to enlarge the cockpit to accommodate a co-pilot and radio operator, and dual controls were fitted. Electric serve motors were also fitted to assist in moving the huge trailing edge flaps and further tests caused a braking parachute to also be added.
The test flights were plagued by take-off difficulties, since the Junkers Ju 90 was not powerful enough, and as an interim measure three Messerschmitt Me 110 heavy fighters were used, in a so-called Troikaschlepp, with the trio of twin-engined fighters taking off together in a V-formation. This was a highly dangerous manoeuvre and Ernst Udet asked Ernst Heinkel to come up with a better aerial towing method. Heinkel responded by creating the Heinkel He 111Z Zwilling (Twins), which combined two He 111 aircraft through the use of a new “center” wing section with a fifth engine added. Underwing-mount, liquid monopropellant Walter HWK 109-500 Starthilfe (rocket-assistet take-off) booster units were also used to assist take-off from rough fields.
The first Me 321 A-1 production aircraft entered service in May 1941, initially towed by Ju 90s and later by the He 111Z and the Troikaschlepp arrangement of three Me 110s. The triple Zerstörer arrangement was very dangerous in the event that one or more of the take-off booster rockets failed. One such failure did occur in 1941, which led to the collision of the tow planes and the deaths of all 129 occupants of the four aircraft. The later Me 321 B-1 variant had a crew of three and was armed with four 7.92 mm MG 15 machine guns.
The Me 321 was less than successful on the Eastern Front for various reasons. As a glider, the Me 321 lacked the ability to make a second or third approach to a crowded landing strip, moving on the ground was impossible without specialized vehicles, and before the introduction of the He 111 Zwilling, the dangerous Troikaschlepp arrangement gave a one-way range of only 400 km which was insufficient for a safe operating zone.
In early 1942, the remaining Me 321s were withdrawn from service in Russia in anticipation of the planned Operation Herkules, the invasion of Malta, in which a fleet of the gliders hauled by He 111Zs was to be used. The plan was abandoned due to a lack of towing aircraft.
In 1943, Me 321s returned to Russia for use in a projected operation to relieve the besieged Stalingrad, but by the time they reached the front line, no suitable airfields remained and they were sent back to Germany.
Following the cancellation of the Stalingrad operation, the Me 321 gliders were mothballes, scrapped, or converted into the powered variant, the Messerschmitt Me 323 Gigant with six 1,200 hp engines, the largest land-based cargo aircraft of World War II. A further proposed operation – in which the remaining Me 321s would have landed troops on Sicily – was also abandoned, due to a lack of suitable landing sites. Ultimately, 200 Me 321s were produced (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: Two Nakajima Ne-230 turbojet engines, rated at 885 kp thrust each
PERFORMANCE: 505 mph
COMMENT: The Nakajima Ki-201 Karyū (“Fire Dragon”) was a Japanese turbojet fighter-attacker project designed during the final stages of World War II but which was never completed.
The Nakajima Kikka had been inspired by the successful German Messerschmitt Me 262, but the similarities to that aircraft were limited to the general configuration. On the other hand, the design team led by Iwao Shibuya based the Karyū far more closely on the German aircraft, which had already proven itself quite formidable.
The Ki-201 project was ordered by the Imperial Japanese Army between October and December 1944, with the Army laying out a performance requirement of an 800~1,000 km/h top speed, 12,000 meter practical ceiling, and 800~1,000 km range. The design was advanced by Nakajima during 1945 and the basic drawings were completed in June.
Nakajima anticipated the completion of the first Karyū by December 1945, and the first 18 units by March 1946. Most sources agree that work on the first prototype had not yet begun by the time of the Japanese surrender due to the fact that the Japanese Army had selected the Rikugun Ki 202 Shūsui-Kai (“Autumn Water, improved”) for priority development (Ref.: 24).
For comparison the German Messerschmitt Me 262A-2 Schwalbe (Swallow) armed with R-4-M Orkan, Stab JG 7 is shown.
TYPE: Heavy bomber, Long-range reconnaissance aircraft
ACCOMMODATION: Crew of nine
POWER PLANT: Six BMW 801D radial engines, rated at 1,700 hp each plus two Junkers Jumo 004 turbojet engines, rated at 900 kp thrust each
PERFORMANCE: 450 mph (estimated)
COMMENT: The Focke-Wulf Ta 400 was a large six-engined heavy bomber design developed in Nazi Germany in 1943 by Focke Wulf Aircraft Company as a serious contender for the Amerika Bomber project. One of the first aircraft to be developed from components from multiple countries, it was also one of the most advanced Focke Wulf designs of World War II, though it never progressed beyond a wind tunnel model.
In response to the RLM guidelines of January 1942, Kurt Tank of the Focke-Wulf company designed the Ta 400 as a bomber and long-range reconnaissance aircraft, to be powered by six BMW 801D radial engines, to which two Junkers Jumo 004 turbojet engines were later added. Design work was begun in 1943, much of it being carried out by French technicians working for Focke-Wulf at the Arsenal de l’Aéronautique at Chatillon-sous-Bagneux near Paris, with contracts for design and construction of major components being awarded to German, French, and Italian companies in an attempt to speed the process and begin construction of prototypes as soon as possible.
The Ta 400 had a shoulder-mounted wing with 4° dihedral, with a long straight center section extending to the middle engine on each wing, and highly tapered outer wing panels. It had twin vertical stabilizers mounted at the tips of the tailplane. Like the American Boeing B-29 Superfortress, the Ta 400 was to have a pressurized crew compartment and tail turret, connected by pressurized tunnel, as well as multiple remote-controlled turrets. The crew was to be protected by a heavy defensive armament, including ten 20 mm MG 151 cannons; and the same Hecklafette quadmount tail-turret with two MG 131 machine guns, as the later model Heinkel He 177A series aircraft and Heinkel He 177B bombers would have used. Fuel supply was to have distributed across 32 fuel tanks. Another design feature was tricycle landing gear.
The maximum bomb load was to have been 24 t. With a gross weight of 80.27 tonnes, the Ta 400 with Daimler Benz DB 603 engines was estimated to have a range of 7,500 mi in the reconnaissance role, cruising at 202 mph. The two bomber versions would have 76.07 tonnes and 80.87 tonnes gross weights with estimated ranges of 2,800 mi and 6,600 mi respectively. The projected Jumo-powered aircraft would have had a maximum range of 8,700 mi for long range reconnaissance and 8,100 mi as a bomber.
As with the Heinkel He 277 competitor for the Amerikabomber contract, no prototype of the Ta 400 was ever built It never progressed beyond a wind tunnel model, and performance, range and dimensions here are based solely on the designers’ estimates. The master aircraft designer Ernst Heinkel himself remarked in October 1943, while both designs were still being worked on, that he thought that only the Ta 400 could be a worthy competitor to his firm’s He 277, for the Amerika Bomber competition. The Ta 400 was essentially a backup design for the Messerschmitt Me 264. As the design required more materials and labor than the Me 264, the RLM became convinced that further development of the Ta 400 was a waste, and on October 1943 notified Focke-Wulf that the program would be terminated, but the minutes of a meeting in Italy between Tank and Italian aviation industrialists on April 1944 – just two days before the entire He 277 program was also cancelled – confirmed that work on the design was still ongoing and proposed the cooperation of Italian industry in the project (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: One Hitachi GK2B Amakaze 21 radial engine, rated at 515 hp
PERFORMANCE: 140 mph at 5,577 ft
COMMENT: The Kyushu K11W Shiragiku (“White Chrysanthemum”) was a land-based bombing trainer aircraft which served in the Imperial Japanese Navy Airforce Service (IJN) in the latter years of World War II.
In late 1940 work on a single-engined crew trainer began at K.K. Watanabe Tekkosho to meet the requirements set by the Japanese Navy in the 15-Shi specification calling for an aircraft intended to replace the Navy Type 90 Operations Trainer Mitsubishi K3M. Even though the aircraft was to be used to train a complete bomber crew, Watanabe retained a single-engine configuration and, with its wings mounted at mid-fuselage, deep belly and retactable main undercarriage, the aircraft bore a strong resemblage to the North American O-47 observation monoplane. The pilot and radio-operator/gunner were seated above the wing under a transparent canopy while the instructor, navigator and bombardier were housed in a cabin under the wing.
Powered by a 515 hp Hitachi GK2B Amakaze 21 air-cooled radial, the prototype K11W1 made its first flight in November 1942, and the flight trials programm was completed rapidly, as no major problems were encountered. Shortly after the reorganization of K.K. Watanabe Tekkosho into Kyushu Hikoki K.K. , the company received a production contract for the K11W1 which entered service in summer 1943 as the Navy Operations Trainer Shiragiku (White Crysanthemum) Model 11. For armament training the Shiragiku carried a single flexible rear-firing 7.7 mm machine-gun and two 30 kg bombs, but late in the war the aircraft was modified to carry a single 250 kg bomb for Kamikaze sorties.
Development of the Shiragiku led to the K11W2, an all-wood version, which was built in small numbers and saw limited service as a utility transport and anti-submarine aircraft. Experience with this version led to the design of a specialzed anti-submarine patrol aircraft, the Q3W1 Nankai (South Sea). The Nankai was a two seater retaining much of the structure oft he K11W2 and fitted with redesigned square-tipped tail surfaces, but its development was suspended when in January 1945 the maiden flight of the single prototype ended in a wheels-up landing (Ref.: 1).
ACCOMMODATION: One or two pilots, up to 23 troops or freight
POWER PLANT: Two Gnome-Rhone 14M-04/-05 radial engines, rated at 700 hp each
PERFORMANCE: 180 mph at 9,800 ft
COMMENT: The Gotha Go 244 was a transport aircraft used by the German Luftwaffe during World War II.
From an early design stage of the Gotha Go 242 transport glider, consideration was given tot he possibility of introducing a degree of „motorization“, either on a temporary or permanent basis, both to simplify the retrieval of empty gliders from forward airstrips and to provide a transport capable of operating out of fields too small for towplane-glider combinations. Numerous project studies were prepared, these ranging from the temporary application of a single engine which could be „bolted on“ after the Go 242 had performed its supply mission, enabeling the empty glider to return to its base under ist own power, to the permanent installation of one or more power plants to remove entirely the aircraft’s dependence on towplanes.
An early proposal for temporary „motorization“ of the glider envisaged the provision of an Argus As 10C air-cooled engine complete with oil tank, oil cooler and firewall as a „power egg“ which could be attached to the nose of the Go 242 by means of four bolts. The scheme envisaged the Go 242 being employed as an orthodox tranport glider for the supply mission. After landing and being unloaded, the glider was to have the As 10C „Power egg“ bolted to the nose of the fuselage and in this form it was expected to be capable of returninjg to base without assistance. This and several similar proposals failed to find approval with the RLM, but the projected installation of a pair of air-cooled radial engines in the 500 – 750 hp category on a permanent basis was accepted, and during early summer 1942 the Gotha Waggonfabrik adapted several Go 242B airframes to test various types of air-cooled radial engines as prototypes for the Go 244.
The first prototype, the Go 244 V1 was powered by two 660 hp BMW 132 radials, while the second prototype had two 700 hp Gnome-Rhone 14Ms and the third two 750 hp Shwetsov M-25 A radial engines, with this model of Shvetsov OKB engine design being essentially a Soviet-built Wright Cyclone American-based nine-cylinder radial. Although only the third prototype offered adequate engine out performance, the Luftwaffe had large stocks of captured French Gnome engines, so this was chosen as the basis for the production conversion — usually fitted in counter-rotating pairs in production — although a few more aircraft were fitted with the BMW and Shvetsov engines.
The Go 244B series was the main production model, being based on the Go 242B with a wheeled tricycle undercarriage and with fuel and oil carried in the tailbooms. 133 aircraft were converted from Go 242 Bs, while a further 41 were built from new before production reverted to the glider Go 242.
The first examples of the Go 244 were delivered to operational units in Greece, based in Crete in March 1942. Some were also assigned to Transport Geschwader in North Africa and the Eastern Front but on the former front they proved vulnerable to anti-aircraft fire and were withdrawn, being replaced by Junkers Ju 52 or Messerschmitt Me 323 Gigant aircraft.
The Go 244B was decidedly underpowered and was incapable of remaining airborne on one engine othe than empty conditions (Ref.: 7, 24).
POWER PLANT: Three Toku-Ro I Type I solid-fuel rocket engines, rated at 100 kp thrust each
PERFORMANCE: 190 mph
COMMENT: In November 1944, the Navy Aviation Bureau looked into the possibilities of an aircraft to undertake suicide missions. While the mission was not unique, the fact that the aircraft being investigated would be a glider was unique. The Bureau envisioned that gliders would be launched with rocket boosters from caves or shore positions and pilots would guide the aircraft and the 100 kg explosive payload inside into Allied ships or tanks should the Japanese home islands be invaded. The Bureau assigned the Yokosuka Naval Air Technical Arsenal at Yokosuka the task of turning the glider into reality. The project was realized by a number of teams that would each be responsible for one part of the glider. The different sections were the wings, the fuselage, control surfaces, aerodynamic testing and test flights once the prototype was complete. The Navy Aviation Bureau gave instructions that the glider must be built from as much wood as possible.
This restriction was imposed for two reasons. The first was that in using wood and keeping the use of metal to an absolute minimum, the glider could be manufactured in any small shop using only wood working tools, and secondly, as a consequence, what metals were available would be conserved for other military uses. A number of concepts were discussed and sketched and after much deliberation among the design teams the prototype was complete by May 1945, and the Mizuno Corporation, a small glider manufacturer better known for sports equipment, had almost finished the glider.
The glider was very simple and used a high-wing monoplane form. The straight and flat wings were wide but had a short span and were designed to ensure that the glider was easy to handle given that inexperienced pilots would be at the controls. Also, the platform would be able to accommodate the rocket engines that were to be used to boost the glider into the air. The pilot sat in an open cockpit. The design was sent to the Navy Aviation Bureau for review with the result that several changes were necessary.
After these had been made the design was approved. Work began on the revised Jinryu (Divine Dragon), as the glider was now called, by the middle of June 1945. Construction of the Jinryu was again given to Mizuno Corporation. Working around the clock, the company completed two prototypes with such speed that wind tunnel testing of the design was still underway. In fact, the first flight of the Jinryu occurred in mid-July 1945 at the airfield in Ishioka, a city located about 90 km northeast of Tokyo. The Jinryu was towed into the air by a Tachikawa Ki-9. These tests showed that the glider was stable and possessed good handling characteristics. For the second flight the diving capability of the the Jinryu was tested and the glider reached a speed of 190 mph.
The Jinryu was modified by adding some strengthening in the enlarged tail and the the next phase of a powered flight began. The glider was modified to accept a group of three Toku-Ro I Type I rocket engines that together would produce 300 kg of thrust during a 10-second burn. Testing of the rocket array showed two serious flaws. The first was the quality of the rockets that resulted in a number of failures. The second reason was the inconsistency of the burn times. Despite the changes made to the glider to improve the flight characteristics, it was a challenging aircraft to fly and as a result the Jinryu was found to be unsuited for suicide missions. In total only five Jinryu gliders were produced.
Nevertheless, it was suggested that instead of being used for suicide operations, the the design was modified to a much enlarged glider fighter aircraft. Provision was made that the glider should be modified to take six rocket engines each with a 30-second burn time. It was estimated that at maximum burn the new design could attain a speed of 470 mph, and for weapons it was envisioned that it could carry ten explosive charges adapted from artillery shells used by the Imperial Japanese Army Airforce (IJA) in their 100 mm guns. This new aircraft was designated Shinryu (Divine Dragon II) and could be used against tanks and ships but added that it could also be used to attack US Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers. All work was stopped with the end of WW II (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: One Daimler-Benz DB 603G liquid-cooled engine, rated at 1,874 hp plus one Junkers Jumo 004C turbojet engine, rated at 950 kp thrust
PERFORMANCE: Not available
COMMENT: The Dornier Do 435 was a heavy all-weather fighter projected by the Dornier aircraft manufacturer for the German Luftwaffe during World War II. The design based on the twin-engine Do 335 „Pfeil“ (Arrow) heavy fighter, Luftwaffe‘s fastest piston-engined aircraft of World War II.
In May 1942, Dornier submitted a design Do P.231/1 for a twin-engine single-seat „Schnellbomber“-like high-speed bomber/intruder with a 1,000 kg bombload. The performance of this project was predicted to be better than other twin-engine designs due to its unique push-pull configuration and the lower aerodynamic drag of the in-line alignment of the two engines.The proposed front engine was a Daimler-Benz DB 605E and drove a puller-type propeller while the second DB 605E was located in the rear part of the fuselage and drove a pusher-propeller.
This project was selected as the winner after beating rival designs from Arado, Junkers, and Blohm & Voss. A development contract was awarded, by the RLM issuing the Dornier firm the airframe approval number 8-335, for what after many manfications would become known as the Dornier Do 335 „Pfeil“ (Arrow). In autumn 1942, Dornier was told that the Schnellbomber Do 335 was no longer required, and instead a multi-role fighter based on the same general layout would be accepted. This delayed the prototype delivery as it was modified for the new role.
The first prototype Do 335 V1 flew on 26 October 1943. However, several problems during the initial flight of the Do 335 would continue to plague the aircraft through most of its short history. On May 1944, the RLM ordered maximum priority to be given to Do 335 production. The first preproduction Do 335 (A-0s) were delivered in July 1944. But only approximately 22 preproduction aircraft were thought to have been completed and flown before the end of the war.
Early in 1943, while the first prototype of the Dornier Do 335 was under construction the Dornier design team dicussed the possibility to increase the performance of this new heavy twin-engine fighter. With the availability of the brand new incomming turbojet engines the original Dornier project Do P. 231/1 was redesigned and had the company’s internal designation Do P.231/3. The design was a single seat fighter aircraft with conventional empennage. The nose-mounted Daimler-Benz DB 603 piston engine remained unchanged while the rear DB 603 engine was replaced by a non specified turbojet engine. The piston engine would be used for normal flight and cruising and the turbojet added for high-speed flight.
On May 1943 Dornier submitted a further development, the single-seat Do P.323/2. The DB 603 was replaced by a 1,874 hp DB 603G and a tail-mounted Junkers Jumo 004 delivering app. 900 kp thrust was provided. The two air intakes for the turbojet were lokated at both sides of the mid fuselage. The air-flow duct was later positioned on the rear back of the fuselage (project Do P.232/3). While the development made progress the RLM decided to convert the design to a night-/bad weather fighter. The air-ducts were relocated to the fuselage sides and a navigator/radar-operator was seated in between on the upper surface in a glass-covered cockpit. A FuG 220 “Lichtenstein SN-2” radar with “Hirschgeweih” (Stag’s Antlers) aerial array was provided. The airframe was designated Dornier Do 435 and was in summer 1944 in an advanced project stage. For modification as prototype the Dornier Do 335 V4 was envisaged. But in autumn 1944 the RLM decided to stop all further work on the project. Nevertheless, Allied intelligence reports from early May 1945 mention spotting a Do 435 at the Dornier factory airfield at Löwenthal (Ref.: 24).
Scale 1:72 aircraft models of World War II
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