Aeroplane Monthly 1977-06
B.Gunston - Gigant
The sequence of three photographs taken at Leipheim, show a triple tow take-off. A Me 321A is being towed by three Bf 110C fighters, and in the first photograph the Troika-Schlepp (triple tow) is about to unstick. Note the Me 321As being assembled in the foreground.
The sequence of three photographs taken at Leipheim, show a triple tow take-off. In this photograph the Me 321’s rockets have burnt out, and can be seen under the wings.
Two of the three Bf 110Cs of the Troika-Schlepp at Leipheim.
An Me 323 overtaking a train on the Russian Front - no easy feat. Note the 20mm MG151 cannon in the wing barbette and the mass-balanced control surfaces.
A Czech LTH tank stands in front of an Me 323 somewhere on the Russian Front.
Troops loading an operational Me 323-E2 with a mobile 3.7cm flak gun. Note that the front wheels of the undercarriage are off the ground. If they touched the centre of gravity was too far forward.
An Me 323 with starboard inner feathered.
A Czech LTH tank, one of hundreds taken over in 1938, about to be loaded during trials at Leipheim.
The tail unit of an Me 323-E2 gives some idea of the size of the manually-operated control surfaces.
An Me 323 taxies for take-off. Note that the front wheels are not quite in contact with the ground, indicating correct loading.
Two views of an Me 323-E2 cockpit. The pilot needed a large hand to open six throttles at once, and the flight deck seems rather sparse for an aircraft nearly the size of a Boeing 747. The six magneto keys with their retaining chains can be seen just above the rev counters.
An air gunner mans one of the MG131 beam guns. Up to 17 guns were mounted in the 323. This photograph was taken over the Eastern Front, where Germany enjoyed a large measure of air superiority. Even so, the 323 was appallingly vulnerable to fighter attacks.
An early Me 321A, possibly one of the prototypes (note the very small national insignia and lack of unit markings, also the single cockpit, although the first 100 production aircraft also had single cockpits).
An Me 521A, with rockets at full chat, about to unstick at Leipheim. Note the height of the cockpit from the ground, about 60ft, or two millibars.
Two R Gerate units under the wing of an Me 321A; note the parachutes packed on the front of the units.
A Me 321, towed by a Ju 90, fades away behind its own murk at Leipheim. The 321 has yet to jettison its front wheels, but the main wheels have already gone.
W3+SF, an Me 321A, over Leipheim.