Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Messerschmitt Me 323
|Messerschmitt Me 323|
|Length||28.2 m||92 ft 4 in|
|Wingspan||55.2 m||181 ft 0 in|
|Empty||15,500 kg||34,000 lb|
|Loaded||29,500 kg||65,000 lb|
|Engine||6 Gnôme-Rhône 14N|
|Power (each)||700 kW||950 hp|
|Maximum speed||270 km/h||170 mph|
|Combat range||800 km||500 mile|
|Rate of climb||m/min||ft/min|
|Guns||(example) 18 × 7.92 mm MG81 machine-guns|
The Messerschmitt Me 323 "Gigant" was a German transport aircraft of the Second World War. It was a powered variant of the Me 321 glider. It was the biggest land-based cargo airplane of the World War II. Just over 200 are recorded as having been made.
To make the Me 323 fit for cheap mass production, it had been designed with a fabric-covered steel tube framing instead of a conventional light-alloy monocoque structure. Inititally, it was planned to power the Me 323 with four engines, but flight testing a prototype showed that six engines were necessary to achieve the desired load-carrying capability.
Capable of carrying 100 combat-equipped troops or a similar freight load of about 15 tons, the Me 323 was used in 1943 to ferry supplies and reserve troops from Italy and Sicily to the German Armies in North Africa. However, using Ultra intelligence, the transport formations' flight schedules were known to the Allies, and many transport aircraft, including Me 323s, were intercepted and shot down as a result.
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