Category Archives: Cargo


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).

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).

Junkers Ju 352 “Herkules”, (“Hercules”), (Airmodel, vacu-formed)

TYPE: Transport aircraft

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of three to four

POWER PLANT: Three BMW Bramo 323 R-2 Fafnir radial engine, rated at 1,184 hp with MW-50 each

PERFORMANCE: 230 mph at 16,565 ft

COMMENT: The Junkers Ju 352 “Herkules” (“Hercules”) was a German WW II transport aircraft that was developed from the Junkers Ju 252.
During the late spring of 1942, the Junkers-Dessau project office was instructed by the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM, Reich Air Ministry) to investigate the possibility of redesigning the structure of the Junkers Ju 252 transport to make maximum use of non-strategic materials, simultaneously replacing the Junkers Jumo 211F engines of the Ju 252 (production of which could barely keep pace with the demands of combat aircraft) with BMW Bramo 323R radial engines. The result followed closely the aerodynamic design of the Ju 252 but was an entirely new aircraft. The wing of the Ju 352 was similar in outline to that of the Ju 252 but, mounted further aft on the fuselage, was entirely of wooden construction.
The Ju 352 also had a similar hydraulically-operated “Trapoklappe” (“Transportklappe”, rear loading ramp) to that of the Ju 252. The ramp allowed the loading of vehicles or freight into the cargo hold while holding the fuselage level. Theoretically it was possible for any wheeled vehicle up to the size of a large “Kübelwagen” to drive up the Trapoklappe into the freight hold, although in practice it proved necessary to winch the vehicle into the hold by means of a manually-operated block- and tackle arrangement owing to the risk of damaging the structure.
In general, the Ju 352 was considered a major improvement over the original Junkers Ju 52 but noticeably inferior to the Junkers Ju 252. Deliveries of the Ju 352 had only just begun to get into their stride when, during the summer of 1944, the worsening war situation resulted in the decision to abandon further production of transport aircraft. In September the last two Ju 352As rolled off the assembly line, 10 pre-production Ju 352s and 33 production Ju 352s having been manufactured. Several developments of the basic design were proposed before production was halted, these including the Ju 352B with more powerful engines and increased defensive armament (Ref.: 24).

Junkers Ju 52/3mg14e (Italeri)

TYPE: Cargo and troop transport aircraft

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two plus 18 troop

POWER PLANT:  Three BMW 132T-2 radial engines, rated at 830 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 168 mph at 2,000 ft

COMMENT: The Junkers Ju 52/3m (nicknamed “Tante Ju”, “Aunt Ju”) was German trimotor transport aircraft manufactured in Germany from 1931 until the end of WW II. In total 4.845 aircraft have been built.
Initially designed with a single engine but subsequently produced as a trimotor, Junkers Ju 53 /3m – suffix “3m” means “Drei Motoren” (three engines) it saw both civilian and military service from mid1930 onwards.
The Ju 52 was similar to the company’s previous Junkers W 33, although larger. Designed in 1930 at the Junkers works at Dessau, Germany, the aircraft’s featured an unusual corrugated duraluminium  metal skin, pioneered by Junkers during WW I, strengthened the whole structure.
The Ju 52 had a low cantilever wing, the midsection of which was built into the fuselage, forming its underside. It was formed around four pairs of circular cross-section duralumin spars with a corrugated surface that provided torsional stiffening. A narrow control surface, with its outer section functioning as the aileron, and the inner section functioning as a flap, ran along the whole trailing edge of each wing panel, well separated from it. The inner flap section lowered the stalling speed and the arrangement became known as the “Doppelflügel” ( “double wing”).
The outer sections of this operated differentially as ailerons, projecting slightly beyond the wingtips with control horns. The strutted horizontal stabilizer carried horn-balanced elevators which again projected and showed a significant gap between them and the stabilizer, which was adjustable in-flight. All stabilizer surfaces were corrugated.
The fuselage was of rectangular section with a domed decking, all covered with corrugated light alloy. There was a port side passenger door just aft of the wings, with windows stretching forward to the pilots’ cockpit. The main undercarriage was fixed and divided; some aircraft had wheel fairings, others not. There was a fixed tailskid, or a later tailwheel. Some aircraft were fitted with floats (Junkers Ju 52/3mg5e) or skis instead of the main wheels.
Originally powered by three Pratt & Whitney R-1690 “Hornet” radial engines, later production models mainly received 770 hp BW 132 engines, a license-built refinement of the Pratt & Whitney design. The two wing-mounted radial engines of the Ju 52/3m had half-chord cowlings and in planform view (from above/below) appeared to be splayed outwards, being mounted at an almost perpendicular angle to the tapered wing’s sweptback leading edge (in a similar fashion to the Mitsubishi G3M bomber (Allied code “Betty”) and Short “Sunderland” flying boat; the angled engines on the Ju 52 were intended to make it easier to maintain straight flight should an engine fail, while the others had different reasons). The three engines had either “Townend” ring or NACA cowlings to reduce drag from the engine cylinders, although a mixture of the two was most common, with deeper-chord NACA cowlings on the wing engines and a narrow “Townend” ring on the center engine, which was more difficult to fit a deeper NACA cowl onto, due to the widening fuselage behind the engine. Production Ju 52/3m aircraft flown by Luftwaffe usually used an air-start system to turn over their trio of radial engines, using a common compressed air supply that also operated the main wheels’ brakes.
In service with Lufthansa, the Junkers Ju 52/3m had proved to be an extremely reliable passenger airplane. Therefore, it was adopted by the Luftwaffe as a standard aircraft model and flew as a troop and cargo transport.. The Luftwaffe had 552 Ju 52/3ms in service at the beginning of WW II. Even though it was built in great and production continued until approximately the summer of 1944; when the war came to an end, there were still 100 to 200 aircraft available (Ref.: 24).

Gotha Go 242A-1 (Italeri Models)

TYPE: Assault and transport glider

ACCOMMODATION: One or two pilots + 23 troops or equivalent freight



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 kp 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).

Gotha-MMW Ka 430A-0 (Huma)

TYPE: Medium Assault and Freight Glider

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two + 12 troops or 1,600 kg freight



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)