Well, the Germans liked it big before it was cool. This cool transport aircraft ME-323 seems to have been made by an engineer who had a relatively fair idea of how aircrafts are made. But, he forgot to add some key features like streamlined body and proportional fuselage. Hell, this kind of aircraft could now be manufactured by college students with relative ease. But considering the times, this was a crucial aircraft for the Nazis during the war and helped bring their blitzkrieg philosophy to life.
The military plane was a rough variant of the ME 321 military glider that had a different purpose because of its unpowered flight. The German military used this motorized version in a devastating manner, rapidly transporting troops, heavy artillery and even tanks to the battlefield. This capability of their planes was unrivalled and contributed to the efficient running of their military juggernaut.
With a minimal crew of five people, it could accommodate more than 130 troops or 12 tonnes of equipment. More than 128 of these handy aeroplanes were made, so in a single lift, all of them could carry more than 20000 troops to a forward area. This application of the ME 323 was exploited very well by the Germans, and they airlifted personnel wherever they could. It had a big wingspan of 55 meters and a height of 10 meters. It also had a curious engine allocation as six engines three on either side powered the aircraft. They were Gone-Rhone of origin and were able to propel the plane to a cruising speed of 218 Km/h at 13,000 feet. The broad wings of the aircraft allowed it to have a sufficient range of 800 km that enable it to reach most of the battlefields where the German army was mobilized.
These pictures will show this serious piece of classical aeronautical engineering:
Belly landed in Russia
Next to JU-52 which was no small plane itself!
Look at the Number of landing gears!
Technicians on duty
Aiding Axis Allies in Italy
Soldiers sleeping in the ample shade of its wings
Looks like an Antonov from this angle
The nose was retractable to load and unload the aircraft
The cockpit of ME-323
Cargo that can be transported
Unloading heavy artillery from the plane