Gotha Go.244 - Nazi Germany, 1941
Detailing the development and operational history of the Gotha Go.244 Military Transport.
Entry last updated on 5/1/2015; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The Gotha Go.244 transport was the powered form of the original Go.242 unpowered glider transport.
The Gotha Go.244 was based on the original Go.242 glider model of 1941 though now the design had evolved to become a twin-engined, self-powered aircraft with dedicated military transport in mind. The Go.242 proved a useful aircraft in the scope of German airborne assaults though it was essentially a "one-way" aircraft, having to be towed into action by a host which tied additional resources to a given operation. As a self-powered version, the Go.244 alleviated this logistical issue and was able to take-off and land in conventional fashion without requiring anything more than a semi-prepared runway.
At least three Go.242 gliders were pulled from the original 1,528-strong stock to serve in Go.244 development and these were marked as V1, V2 and V3. V1 (also A-1) was outfitted with BMW radial engines of 660 horsepower whileV2 was given use of French Gnome-Rhone radials of 750 horsepower. V3 was granted a pair of Soviet Shvetsov M-25A series radials in turn. While all three engine models showed value, it was decided to outfit the Go.244 line primarily with the French Gnome-Rhone line - simply due to the large stocks captured in the conquer of France.
Initial production models were the Go.244 B-1 and these featured a basic, fixed undercarriage approach. The B-2 followed with a revised undercarriage system that included a semi-retractable nose leg. Twin doors for improved cargo bay access greeted the upcoming infantry-minded B-3. The B-4 was a "combination" design based on the B-2 with the twin-door arrangement of the B-3 model. As with the Go.242 line, the Go.244 saw a dedicated trainer version emerge as the B-5, this with a dual-control cockpit arrangement.
With its engine and fuselage configuration, the Go.244 B-1 was capable of speeds nearing 180 miles per hour though cruising was closer to 170 miles per hour or less. Operational range limited to 255 miles while the aircraft could reach a service ceiling of 27,400 feet. Despite being a transport, the Go.244 was most often times armed for self-defense by way of 3 x 7.92mm MG 15 or MG 81Z series machine guns.
Like the Go.242 before it, the Go.244 was pressed into service as soon as stocks allowed. Many emerged as conversions from existing Go.242 airframes and saw first actions over Greece during March of 1942. Additional service forced them over North Africa and, eventually, over the Eastern Front following the German-led invasion of the Soviet Union.
The Go.245 was a proposed Go.242/244 offshoot in which Argus pulsejets were to be mounted under the wings to provide for additional thrust.