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Enemy Air-Borne Forces, Military Intelligence Service, Special Series No. 7, December 2, 1942
[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the wartime U.S. War Department publication. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


The Gotha 242 Glider, larger than the DFS-230, is used for troop transport in training and for freight-carrying. Six of them were captured partially destroyed at Derna. The flying characteristics are said to be such that any pilot can handle one with ease, either towed or solo. Steep turns, nevertheless, are to be avoided, and acrobatics are forbidden. Recent photographic reconnaissance has identified two powered types, experimentally equipped, respectively, with twin air-cooled radial, and twin in-line, engines.

a. Construction

The Gotha 242 is a twin-boom monoplane, with fuselage of tubular metal construction, and wings, tail boom, and tail unit made of wood. Landing is effected on three skids or on wheels, the latter of which can be jettisoned.1 The central fuselage (37 feet long) is detachable, and is also hinged at the top, forward of the trailing edge of the wing, on which hinge the rear portion lifts upwards, making an opening 7 feet by 6 feet for loading by means of ramps which are carried in the aircraft.

b. Dimensions

The Gotha 242 has a span of 79 feet and a length of 52½ feet.

c. Crew and Armament

This glider carries two pilots. Control is dual, and the first pilot's seat is fully armored to a thickness of from one-tenth to three-tenths of an inch. Four light machine guns are fitted, two firing forward from the nose, and two firing aft; four more may be fitted in lateral positions.

d. Equipment

Instruments are more numerous than in the DFS-230 and include a telephone for communication with the towing aircraft, activated, with the remainder of the electrical installation, by a 24-volt storage battery. A landing light is fitted underneath the port wing. Two first-aid kits are carried, and a ballast container capable of holding up to 925 pounds.2

e. Seating Arrangements

When fitted with seats, the Gotha 242 holds 21 fully equipped men in addition to the 2 pilots.

f. Weight and Load Statistics

The empty weight of this glider, with fixed equipment, is 7,168 pounds. The gross weight is 12,750 pounds, leaving a useful load of 5,582 pounds. Freight storage space is 20 by 8 by 6½ feet.

g. Towing

The Gotha 242 is normally towed by one Ju-52, by means of a steel cable 80 to 300 yards long. An arrester gear may be fitted to shorten the landing run.

h. Table of Glider Speeds

Maximum towing speed    149 mph
Maximum gliding speed    180 mph
Minimum gliding speed (when landing fully loaded)     87 mph

1 Some of these gliders are said to have retractable landing gear.
2 Ballast is used only when the glider is empty.

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