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Messerschmitt Me 321 Gigant
ME 321
General Historical Information
Place of origin Germany
Speed 160 km/h on tow
General Ingame Information
Debut v0.25
Used by Germany
Special abilities Can transport vehicles
Seat 2 2x MG 15 Mg's
Seat 3 1x MG 15 Mg
Seat 4 1x MG 15 Mg
Seat 5 1x MG 15 Mg
Seat 6 1x MG 15 Mg
Historical Picture
Messerschmitt-me-321-glider-01he
Movie
FHSW Heinkel He-111Z "Zwilling" & Messerschmitt Me-321 "Gigant"02:36

FHSW Heinkel He-111Z "Zwilling" & Messerschmitt Me-321 "Gigant"

Hanna Reitsch - The Last Interview (Part 2 of 3)06:29

Hanna Reitsch - The Last Interview (Part 2 of 3)

Here are the 3 biggest aircrafts of FHSW, the Me 321 Gigant, Me 323 E-2 Giant and the Me 323 E-2WT Rhino. Actually they are all the same but with each his own specification. It start with the Me 321. In requist by the Luftwaffe for a Glider wich can transport a lot of troops and also on the same time equipment like artillery and tanks, Messerschmitt had built this giant glider. The results are the Me 321 Glider. The glider had an empty weight of 12400 kg and he can transport 130 troops or atleast 10 tonnes of equipment. With a length of 28.2 m, a wingspan of 55.2 m, a height of 10.15 m and a wing area of 300 m², the Me 321 and Me 323 are the biggest aircrafts that saw action World War Two and the Me 321 was the biggest glider of all time! 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. The doors 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, at around 100 m2, and could accommodate a gross cargo weighing up to 23 t. 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 Bf 109 tailwheels 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 the prototype Me 321 V1 took place on 25 February 1941, towed into the air by a Junkers Ju 90. It was piloted by Messerschmitt test pilot Karl Baur, and carried 3 tonnes of ballast. Baur reported that the controls were heavy and responses sluggish and it was decided to enlarge the cockpit to accommodate a co-pilot and radio operator and dual controls were fitted. Electric servo 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 takeoff difficulties, since the Junkers Ju 90 was not powerful enough, and as an interim measure three Bf 110 heavy fighters were used, in a so-called Troikaschlepp. This was a highly dangerous manoeuvre and Ernst Udet asked Ernst Heinkel to come up with a better tug. 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. Walter liquid-fueled RATO (rocket assisted takeoff) podded units were also used to assist takeoff from rough fields wich works!

The first Me 321 A-1 production aircraft entered service in May 1941 with Grossraumlastensegler 321 at Leipheim, initially towed by Ju 90s and later by the He 111Z and the Troikaschlepp arrangement of three Bf 110s. The later Me 321 B-1 variant had a crew of three and was armed with four 7.92 mm (.312 in) 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. It was impossible to move on the ground without specialized vehicles. Before the introduction of the He 111 Zwilling, the dangerous Troikaschlepp arrangement gave a one-way range of only 400 km (250 mi) which was insufficient for a safe operating zone. In spring 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 were to be used. The plan was abandoned due to a lack of towing aircraft. In 1943, the Me 321s were returned to Russia to be used in a projected operation to relieve General Friedrich Paulus’ besieged army at 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 either mothballed or scrapped, though some were converted into the powered variant, the Me 323 with six 895 kW (1,200 hp) engines. This was the biggest 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. In FHSW, the Me 321 can be found on desert battlefields in desert color, towned by the He 111 Zwilling.

Template:Gliders

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