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Germany's Messerschmitt Me 321 transport glider


  • Messerschmitt Me 321 glider
  • Messerschmitt Me 321 glider


The Messerschmitt Me 321 was designed to be a glider to supply troops during invasions. It was to carry a company of troops, a gun, or a tracked vehicle.

The Me 321 was made of welded steel tube and fabric or plywood covering.

There were rockets that assisted with takeoff.


Initially the pilot had to be very strong to control the glider as there were no assistants and no power. Later there was a crew of three.


The Me 321 prototype first flew on March 7, 1941.


Production ended in April 1942.

  • Messerschmitt Me 321: 200, ~200
    • Me 321A-1: 1


  • Messerschmitt Me 321A-1: Pilot model. Had multiple wheels on each side.
  • Messerschmitt Me 321B-1: Larger cockpit for two pilots. Had two wheels each side.


The Me 321 was towed by three Messerschmitt Bf 110s or the five engine Heinkel He 111Z. The Me 321 could also be towed by a Junkers Ju 290. To assist in takeoff some Me 321s had rocket boosters (9,000 lb of thrust) attached.

When taking off from rough terrain the Me 321 couldn't get enough lift from the tow plane(s) to get off the ground.

Eastern Front

The Me 321 was first used on the Eastern Front in late 1941. It was used in delivering supplies to the rear areas and in assaults in the Baltic area.


  Messerschmitt Me 321
Type Heavy transport glider
Cargo 21 tons
21,380 kg
Span 180' 5.5"
55 m
Length 93' 4"
28.45 m
Height 31' 6"
9.6 m
  Messerschmitt Me 321B
Towing speed 112 mph
180 kph
Gliding speed 87 mph
140 kph
  Messerschmitt Me 321B-2
Crew 3
Cargo 48,500 lb
22,000 kg
Empty 26,896 lb
12,200 kg
Loaded 74,956 lb
34,000 kg


  1. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  2. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  3. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  4. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site