Aviation of Word War II

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Me 323 Gigant

Super-heavy transport aircraft

Messerschmitt

Me 323

The Messerschmitt Me 323 Gigant ("Giant") was a German military transport aircraft of World War II. It was a powered variant of the Me 321 military glider and was the largest land-based transport aircraft of the war.

The aircraft was a strut-braced high-wing aircraft of a mixed design, with deck empennage, a multi-wheeled chassis that could not be removed in flight, and a six-engine power plant. The aircraft is based on the Me 321 airframe and is similar in design to it. The main differences are as follows.

The wing of the aircraft has been modified for the installation of propulsion engines. The main power truss of the center section is reinforced and equipped with overlays for engine mounts. Each plate is made as a single unit, which is attached to the truss with four bolts. In the toes of the center section between the internal engines, there are the cabins of mechanics, and there is a manhole for access to all the engines. The plywood sheathing of the socks in the areas of the engine exhaust pipes is covered with sheet metal. Around the wing cannon installations, the linen sheathing was replaced with plywood.

Tandem chassis - along each side of the fuselage there are 5 wheels covered with a duralumin fairing. The front pair of wheels is of a smaller diameter and has its own suspension system, the three main wheels have their own. The suspension includes a beam, rod levers for the suspension of the wheels, two (one for the front pair of wheels) liquid-gas shock absorbers and one (two) spring damper. The main wheels are equipped with pneumatic brakes.

The power plant included 6 piston engines. Basically, a radial two-row air-cooled Gnome-Rhone 14N48 / 49 engine with a metal variable-pitch propeller of the Raitier or Chanviere type was used. On the right half-wing, GR 14N48 motors were installed with the right rotation of the shaft, and on the left - GR 14N49 with the left rotation. The fuel was stored in six sealed tanks located in the center section. The total supply of gasoline reached (on the Me 323E) 10740 liters.

The hydraulic system was powered by hydraulic pumps installed on the propulsion engines.

A total of 213 are recorded as having been made, a few being converted from the Me 321.

Me-321/323
Me 321B Me 323V-1 Me 323D Me 323E Me 323E/WT Me 323V-16
Crew 6 8 10 12 17 12
Dimensions
Length, m 28.15 28.15 28.15 28.15 28.15 28.15
Wing span, m 55 55 55 55 55 55
Height, m 10.15 9.6 9.6 9.65 9.6 9.6
Wing area, m² 300 300 300 300 300 300
Weight
Empty weight, kg 1220 25400 27330 29000 32000 32000
Normal takeoff weight, kg 34400 34000 43000 48000 40000 48000
Maximum takeoff weigh, kg 39400 36000 45000 50500 42000 54000
Loaded weight, kg 22000 8000 12000 10000 - 18200
Wing loading, kg/m² 114,7 113,3 143,3 160 133,3 160
Powerplant
Engine - 6 x G-R 14N 6 x G-R 14N 6 x G-R 14N 6 x G-R 14N 6 x Jumo 211RN
Power, hp - 6 x 1140 6 x 1140 6 x 1140 6 x 1140 6 x 1140
Performance
Maximum speed, km/h (without loading) - 220 280 252 255 285
Cruise speed, km/h at altitude H=1500m - 170 186 208 225 220
Landing Speed, km/h 120 115 120 120 120 130
Ceiling, m - 2000 4500 4200 4500 5000
Range at altitude H=2000m, km - 1100 1100 1200 1100 1100
Take-off run, m 1200 900 850 800 800 900
Landing field length, m 400 500 600 700 600 700
Transported Soldiers 200 - 130 120 - 130
Armament
Pcs Cannon - - - 2 x 20 mm 11 x 20 mm 2 x 20 mm
Machine guns 2-4 x
7.92 mm
- 4-6 x
7.92, 13
5 x
7.92 mm
4 x
7.92 mm
5 x
13 mm

                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Photo Description
Drawing Me.323D-1     Drawing Me 323D-1
Me.323 and the lorry 'Follow me'     Me 323 and the lorry "Follow me"
Me. 323. Opened front cargo door     Me-323 - Opened front cargo door.
Me. 323 at airfield in Italy , August, 1943     "Gigant" at airfield in Italy , August, 1943.

Bibliography

  • Warplanes of the Third Reich /Green, William.н/
  • Messerschmitt Me 321/323: The Luftwaffe's "Giants" in World War II. /Dabrowski, Hans-Peter./