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. A total of 213 are recorded as having been made, a few being converted from the Me 321.
All images by the Bundesarchiv / Wikipedia, click on them for a larger version.
- Crew: 5
- Capacity: 130 troops or 10–12 tonnes of equipment
- Length: 28.2 m (92 ft 4 in)
- Wingspan: 55.2 m (181 ft 0 in)
- Height: 10.15 m (33 ft 3.5 in)
- Wing area: 300 m² (3,228 sq ft)
- Empty weight: 27,330 kg (60,260 lb)
- Loaded weight: 29,500 kg (65,000 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 43,000 kg (94,815 lb)
- Powerplant: 6 × Gnome-Rhône 14N-48/49, 1180 PS for take-off (868 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 285 km/h (177 mph (154 kn))
- Cruise speed: 218 km/h (136 mph (118 kn))
- Range: 800 km (500 mi)
- Ferry range: 1,100 km (684 mi)
- Service ceiling: 4,000 m (13,123 ft)
- Rate of climb: 3.6 m/s (710 ft/min)
The AirplaneLet’s walk around the airplane first so you will see how big it actually is!
Standing on the wing of the Giant, looking toward the other wing, what a beast!
A Giant in says Russia 1944
The ME 323 next to a Junkers JU 52, not small plane by itself as that could carry 17 paratroopers!
In front of the Giant is a Focke-Wulf Fw 58 “Weihe”, on the right a Focke-Wulf Fw 190.
A Giant in Russia, 1943.
A Giant in Italy, March 1932. In the background two Junkers Ju 290.
Luftwaffe mechanics observe the engines of a Giant in Pisa, Italy, 1943
A Faun ZR 567 in front of a Giant
And the nose which are also the doors to load and unload the Giant
Inside the GiantIn the nose of the Giant, note the machine-gunner on the right.
Inside the cargo space of the Giant looking forward, the crew is wearing his lifejacket. December 1942
The cockpit of the Giant
CargoThe Giant could carry massive cargo, almost 20.000kg, here are some examples of what it could carry.
Unloading a Giant, an Opel Maultier half track towing an artillery piece is driven out of the cargo bay.
An Opel Blitz inside the Giant.
Two big German Vehicles, Zgkw. 12t and a Praga T6-SS are pulling a loaded Giant on an airfield in Tunisia 1942
~All images from the Bundesarchiv / Wikipeda, all caption by Joris Nieuwint for War History Online