Category Archives: Luftwaffe

Deutschland / Germany

Focke-Wulf Single-Seat Fighter with BMW P.8011 (

TYPE: High-altitude Interceptor

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot in pressurized cockpit

POWER PLANT: One BMW P.8011 radial engine with two turbochargers, rated at 2.900 hp

PERFORMANCE: 451 mph in 26.215 ft

COMMENT: By the beginning of 1942, the Focke-Wulf Fw 190A was established in production and service, and most of the more serious shortcomings that has revealed themselves during the fighter’s gestation had been ironed out. A solution had still to be found out. However, the performance of the aircraft at high altitudes was inadequate. So one of the preproduction airframe was fitted with a nitrous oxide injection or GM 1 system for use above the rated altitude of the engine. The nitrous oxide, which was retained under pressure in liquid form in a tank aft of the cockpit, provided additional oxygen for the engine, but sometimes also acting as an antidetonant.
Flight testing proved disappointing. Effective combat altitude was boosted to some 26.000 ft, but insufficient nitrous oxide could be carried to increase power for more than brief periods, difficulties were experienced in lagging the pipelines, and the weight of the system, with its compressed air cylinders and heavily-lagged GM 1 tank, was almost as much as the total gun armament of the standard fighter.
Focke-Wulf was convinced that the desired performance could not be achieved with the BMW 801, and that the engine should be replaced by a liquid-cooled power plant. The design team with Prof. K. Tank favored the Daimler-Benz DB 603, but this engine was viewed with disfavor by the RLM, having been developed by Daimler-Benz without official sanction. Tank was informed that the improved performance now being sought should be achieved with developments of the BMW 801 air-cooled radial.
Meanwhile BMW was working on the BMW 802, a large air-cooled radial engine consistig of two rows of nine cylinders. It was essentially an 18-cylinder version of the 14-cylinder BMW 801. The BMW 802 emerged with an almost identical displacement to the American 18-cylinder Wright R-3350 Duplex Cyclone and somewhat larger than the British Bristol Centaurus. Although promising at first, development dragged on and the project was eventually cancelled.
Another idea to improve the performance was to bolt two BMW 801s back to back. Although seemingly a simple concept, the resulting, 83.5 litre displacement BMW 803 was in fact fantastically complicated. The power of the engine could only practically be used in extremely large propellers, or, as selected, a contra-rotating pair of propellers. This required a large gearbox on the front of the engine, which combined with the layout of the cylinders, left no room for airflow over the cylinders. This demanded the addition of liquid cooling.
Based on this concept of a twin-engine a further improvement led to the BMW P.8011. This engine was, able to produce 2.900 hp at take-off. The supercharger was replaced by two gas turbines enclosed in an aerodynamic engine cowling and driving two contra-rotating three-bladed propellers.
These engines were too heavy and powerful for the standard Focke-Wulf Fw 190 airframe. It was necessary to design a heavier airplane. The answer was a 125% scaled-up version of the Fw 190 with a wing of 42,7 ft span ad 371 sqft surface. The BMW P. 8011 was 38.7 ft long and the maximum weight was more than 11.900 lbs.
This new fighter was provided with an armored pressure cabin and used as high-altitude interceptor. Due to the war situation the project was cancelled in late 1944.
This monster fighter lacked any official designation and was only known as “Focke-Wulf Einsitzer mit BMW P.8011” (Focke-Wulf Single-seater with BMW P. 8011). By the end of 1944 in an article by General “Hap” Arnold, USAAF, published on 29 May 1944 in “Aviation News” refers it as Focke-Wulf Fw 290. But that is an error because the RLM Number “290” was given to the Junkers Ju 290 four-engine maritime control and transport aircraft (Ref.: 7, 24).

Lippisch Li P.01-117, (A+V-Models, Resin)

TYPE: Interceptor, Project

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot, in prone position

POWER PLANT: One BMW 109-510 or one Walter HWK 109-509 liquid-fuel rocket engine, each rated between 300 and 1,500 kp thrust

PERFORMANCE: 550 mph (estimated)

COMMENT: This Lippisch Li P.01-117 project dates from July and August 1941 after Alexander Lippisch and his design team moved to the Messerschmitt A.G. in Augsburg in early 1939. At that time a trio of Lippisch Li  P. 01 designs were conceptualized within three weeks – the P.01-117 on July 22, the P.01-118 on August 3 and the P.01-119 on August 4.
The first design P.01-117 featured a cockpit where the pilot laid on a couch, chin up and head forward, the second boasted a novel tilting seat arrangement to improve the pilot’s visibility during a steep near-vertical climb, and the third had a pressure cabin for high altitude operations. Each of them was to be powered by a BMW or Walter HWK rocket engine but only the P.01-118 also had a second rocket engine to provide greater endurance for level flight. From this point on, all mention of the P.01 ceased and the project continued as the Messerschmitt Me 263.
The Lippisch Li P.01-117 was a tailless aircraft, with a swept wing at approximately 35 degrees. The overall plan resembled the later Messerschmitt  Me 163 “Komet” rocket-powered fighter. The fuselage held the fuel tanks and a rocket engine was mounted in the rear fuselage. A pressurized cockpit was located in the aircraft’s extreme nose, and the pilot faced the front in a prone position and looked out through a blister of bulletproof glass. Up to six MG 151/20 20mm cannon were mounted around the nose of this aircraft. Take-off was accomplished by means of a releasable trolley, sometimes additionally boosted by two solid fuelled Schmidding 109-563 take-off rockets with 500 kp thrust each. Additional jettisonable solid-fuelled rockets could be attached to the fuselage. Landing was to be accomplished on a retractable skid, as was later done on the Messerschmitt Me 163. This design went no further than the preliminary design phase, but the Messerschmitt Me 163 went into production and was used operationally by the Luftwaffe (Ref.: 20).

Lippisch P.01-115, (Unicraft Models, Resin)

TYPE: Interceptor, Project


POWER PLANT: One BMW P-3304/109-002 turbojet engine and an undetermined Walter rocket engine, thrust of each engine unknown

PERFORMANCE: No data available

COMMENT: The Lippisch Li P.01-115 was another design under the Li P.01 series, all designed by Alexander Lippisch and his team while at Messerschmitt A.G.
Dated July 2, 1941, the Li P.01-115 had a similar plan form to the others in the P.01 series (which were similar to the Messerschmitt Me 163 rocket fighter). The fuselage held the armament, fuel and power plants. This was one of the first designs to feature a dual powered fighter. A small BMW P-3304/109-002 turbojet engine was located in the upper rear fuselage and was fed by an air intake on top of the fuselage. In addition, a BMW 109-510 rocket engine was mounted beneath the turbojet and provided takeoff and perhaps emergency power. The wings were swept back at 27 degrees, and only a single vertical tail and rudder was to be fitted. In this tailless configuration, the pilot sat in a cockpit in the front of the plane.  For take-off, a pair of wheels, each mounted onto the ends of a specially designed cross-axle, were needed due to the weight of the fuel, but the wheels, forming a take-off dolly under the landing skid, were released shortly after take-off. and landing was accomplished on a retractable skid. Two forward-firing fixed MG 151 15mm cannon located in the forward lower fuselage comprised the armament.
As with other designs in the Lippisch P.01 series, this design went no further than the drawing board stage. All work was later devoted to the Messerschmitt Me 163 “Komet” and later variant rocket fighters (Ref.: 20).

Messerschmitt Me 609 NJ (Nachtjäger, Night fighter), (RS Models)

TYPE: Night- and bad-weather fighter

ACCOMMODATION:  Pilot and radar-operator/navigator

POWER PLANT: Two Daimler-Benz DB 603g liquid-cooled engines, rated at 1,726 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 472 mph at 27.800 ft

COMMENT: As early as 1940, the Messerschmitt design bureau concerned itself with the idea of fusing two fighters into a single airframe to provide a considerable increase in range and payload. The work was based on a RLM edict to simplify the number of combat aircraft to a few basic models.
Known as Messerschmitt Me 109Z Zwilling (twin) and Messerschmitt Me 609, the layouts were primarily intended as Zerstörer (Destroyer), Schnellbomber (Fast bomber or Nachtjäger (Night fighter). Following detailed examinations, the most suitable solution capable of early production indicated the use of a Daimler-Benz DB 605A-powered Messerschmitt Me 109G. A considerable performance increase, however, was to be expected if  2,000 hp Junker Jumo 213 engines were installed, requiring only a few alteration to incorporate complete major components of the standard aircraft. The modifications were limited mainly to the need of a completely new constant –cord wing center section and tailplane that simplified manufacture. Besides relocation of the undercarriage attachment points and the use of larger wheels, the ailerons and outboard leading-edge slots were lengthened and auxiliary fuel tanks were installed. In the course of development work on the twin aircraft, the Messerschmitt Me 309 was also considered and resulted in the Messerschmitt Me 609 destroyer, fast bomber and night fighter. The more powerful engine intended for the Messerschmitt Me 609 led to improvements in flight performance.
For the Night fighter version a FuG 217V/R “Neptun” radar with smal “Hirschgeweih” (Stag’s Antlers) aerial array was provided. These were mounted at the wingtips close to the leading edge. When all work on the unsuccessful Messerschmitt Me 309 was stopped all further effort on the Me 609 was cancelled (Ref.: 24).

Messerschmitt Me 509 (RS Models)

TYPE: Fighter, Fighter bomber, Project


POWER PLANT: One Daimler-Benz DB 605B liquid-cooled engine, rated at 1,455 hp

PERFORMANCE: 470 mph (estimated)

COMMENT:  Although the Me 509 can trace its roots back to the Messerschmitt Me 309, very little information has survived. The aircraft was to be of an all-metal construction. A new fuselage was designed, with the pressurized cockpit being moved well forward near the nose.  The Daimler Benz 605B 12-cylinder engine was buried in the fuselage behind the cockpit, and drove a three-bladed, Me P 6 reversible-pitch propeller by an extension shaft which passed beneath the cockpit (similar to the US Bell P-39 Airacobra).  The wing was tapered and had rounded wingtips, and was mounted low on the fuselage.  Other Me 309 components were to be used, such as the tricycle landing gear, and the vertical tail assembly was similar to the one used for the Me 309 V1.  Armament was not decided upon for the 509, but it is thought that two MG 131 13mm machine guns and two MG 151 20mm cannon were to be used. Although there were advantages of better cockpit visibility and relocation of the engine weight from the nose gear. That was important, since the Me 309’s nose gear often collapsed. The Messerschmitt Me 509 design and development was stopped when the Me 309 program was ended in mid-1943.
In April 1945, the Japanese completed a very similar project, the Yokosuka R2Y Keiun. Although no firm evidence exists, it is possible that the Messerschmitt Me 309/509 information was licensed to the Japanese military, as were a number of other German designs (Messerschmitt Bf 109, Heinkel He 100, Messerschmitt Me 163, Messerschmitt Me 410, among others). (Ref.: 17).

DFS 230B-1 (Huma Models)

TYPE: Transport glider

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot plus 9 equipped troops 600 lb cargo


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).

Messerschmitt Me 323D-1 „Gigant“, 5./ TG 5, (Italeri Models)

TYPE: Military transport aircraft

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


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 Mammuts 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).

Messerschmitt Me 321B-1 „Gigant“, (Giant), Italeri Models

TYPE: Cargo glider

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of three plus 200 equipped troops or 20,000 kg of cargo / military equipment


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).

Focke-Wulf Ta 400, (Antares Models, Resin)

TYPE: Heavy bomber, Long-range reconnaissance aircraft


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).

Gotha Go 244B-1 (Italeri Models)

TYPE: Transport aircraft

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).