Aviation of World War II
In accordance with the requirements prepared by the German Reich Ministry of Aviation, several companies submitted their proposals. Along with the Ago Ao 192 Kurier and Siebel Fh 104 Hallore models, the Gotha Go.146, designed by Albert Calkert, was a cantilever low-wing aircraft intended for the civilian market (courier aircraft) and for the military (communications aircraft). The first two prototypes of the new machine - Go 146V-1 (D-IFSZ) and Go 146V-2 (D-ILPC) - were of mixed light alloy and wood construction and were tested in 1936.
The aircraft had a rectangular fuselage made of light alloys; the pilot and passenger cabins were carried out separately, the latter accommodated two passengers with parachutes or three without parachutes (one more could be taken instead of a radio operator). The wooden wing had a small transverse V, the tail unit was of the usual type. Chassis - with a tail wheel, the main supports - retractable into the closing niches of the engine nacelles. Initially, the aircraft were equipped with Argus As 10C air-cooled engines with a power of 240 hp each. (179 kW), which drove two-bladed wooden propellers, but then began to use Hirth HM 508E engines with similar characteristics.
The characteristics of the Go.146 fully satisfied the requirements of the customer, but the choice had already been made in favor of the equally good Siebel Fh.104 "Hallore". The company built four more prototypes that entered limited operation.
The most important problem for the glider parts of the Go 242 was the return of empty "flying containers" after the mission was completed. Landing was not always carried out in the place where the towing vehicle could also land. To solve this problem, they tried to convert the Go 242 into a motor glider. Two Go 242s were equipped with an Argus As 10c (V-shaped, inverted) eight-cylinder air-cooled engine that could be mounted in the nose of the airframe. After landing and unloading, the pilots had to install the engine on four bolts and return under their own power. But the leadership of the Ministry of Aviation rejected this version of the motor glider, offering to equip the Go 242 with two more powerful engines and turn it into a simplified transport aircraft.
In the summer of 1942, three Go 244s were produced as a troop transport aircraft. All cars had radial air-cooled engines: the Go 244V1 was equipped with nine-cylinder BVW 132Z (660 hp), the V2 was equipped with two-row fourteen-cylinder Gnome-Ron 14M (700 hp), the V3 was equipped with captured M-25 (750 HP) from Soviet I-15 and I-16 fighters.
The planes were conventional Go 242B gliders with wheeled undercarriage, on which the motors were mounted in front of the tail booms. Improvements were minimal. They concerned only the placement of fuel and oil tanks, as well as the necessary equipment in the cockpit. Subsequently, several more aircraft were produced with M-25 and BMW 132Z engines. The greatest preference was given, of course, to the powerful M 25. But spare parts for it could only be obtained in the Soviet Union, and the main 244 series was deployed with Gnom-Ron engines. 14M Go 244 received three-bladed variable-pitch propellers, although some of the machines were equipped with four propellers with constant pitch Protective armament consisted of three machine guns MG 15 or MG 81Z (spark) caliber 7.9 mm
Various versions of the two-beam transporter 244V-1, V-2, V-3, V-4 and V-5 were produced. All of them were built on the basis of airframe modifications with the corresponding designation. After re-equipping 133 airframes, the plant in Budejovice (Czechoslovakia), owned by the Civil Air Fleet, switched to the production of Go.244b, delivering 10 aircraft in September 1942 and 29 in November.
The last options were C-1, C-2 and C-3. The Go 244C-1 and C-2 gliders had a four-blade propeller and a modified landing gear, while the C-3 was a powered version of the Go 242C-1 hydroplane /
"Flying containers" with engines were produced at the Gota factory in the Czechoslovak city of Budejovice, and in 1942 133 copies of the Go 244 were ready. However, the experience of using these aircraft on the Eastern Front and other theaters of military operations was considered unsuccessful. engines, problems with spare parts for capricious French "Gnomes" and low flight speed. Therefore, the production of Go 244 was stopped, the plant returned to the assembly of Go 242 airframes.
In March 1942, two transport squadrons of the Luftwaffe were re-equipped with Go 244 aircraft. These were KGrzbV 104 in Greece and KGrzbV 106 in Crete, flying three-engine Ju 52/3m. However, already in November of the same year, all Go 244s were replaced by the Me 323 "Giant" (a six-engine aircraft based on the Me 321 airframe). Therefore, the only unit that had "flying containers" with engines was 7./TG4 (7th squadron of the 4th transport group), based in southern Russia.
By this time, the operation of the aircraft on the Eastern Front revealed a number of shortcomings. As a result, having delivered two more Go.244b, the factory again returned to the assembly of Go.242. In March 1942, two groups with Ju.52 / Zm - K.Gr.k.b.V.104 and 106 received Go.244b, but in November the first was re-equipped with Me.323, and the second a few months later again received Ju.52 / Zm. Transport "Goths" were sent to flight schools - the power of their propulsion system was clearly not enough and they could not stay in the air on one engine.
Decommissioned Go 244 aircraft were transferred to training centers for the training of paratroopers.
Obviously, the non-motorized version of the Gotha "flying container" turned out to be more successful. This conclusion is confirmed if we compare the number of produced Go 242 and Go 244 copies. The last assembled airframe was rolled out of the shop in July 1944, the total production was 1528 machines, and of these, only 133 airframes were converted into twin-engine "244".
Armament. Four 7.9 mm MG-15 machine guns with 125 rounds per barrel and up to four infantry MG-34s