|First flight||1 September 1941|
The Soviet Union was the world's pioneer in designing transport gliders - the first design, Grokhowski G-63 was built in 1932. However, no transport gliders were produced in series before World War II. Shortly after the German attack in 1941, the Soviet headquarters realized a need of transport gliders and ordered to develop several designs. Vladimir Gribovski agreed to design a light glider in two months and the tests of a prototype started on September 1, 1941. It was initially designated G-29 or Gr-29. It appeared a successful design and was accepted for a production, under a subsequent designation G-11 (for Gribowski, 11-men including pilot).
G-11s were produced from late 1941 until mid-1942 in two factories: 138 were built in Shumerlya (factory no. 471) and 170 in Kozlovka village (factory no. 494), 308 in total. The production started again in 1944 in Riazan. From October 1944 there were also produced G-11U gliders with twin controls, fit for training. G-11 remained in production until 1948. There are no data as for a total production number, it is estimated in books at around 500-600.
In summer 1942 there was tested a variant with an auxiliary engine M-11, mounted over a fuselage, designated G-11M, then G-30, but it did not enter production.
G-11s, along with Antonov A-7 constituted a majority of Soviet transport gliders. They were mainly used from mid-1942 for supplying Soviet partisans with provisions, weapons, equipment and trained men. They were towed mainly by SB or DB-3 bombers. Most intensive use was from March to November 1943 in Belarus, in Polotsk-Begoml-Lepel area, on the Kalinin Front. Several hundreds of Soviet gliders (of all types) were used in night supply flights then. After landing, gliders were destroyed and pilots were sometimes taken back by aircraft. In April 1943 there occurred the only event of taking off from a short provisional partisan airfield, when a famous glider and test pilot Sergei Anokhin evacuated two wounded partisan commanders (it was hauled by SB bomber piloted by Yuriy Zhelutov, on a 10-m short rope).
Gliders were also used to supply partisans in some areas in 1944 and to transport sabotage groups behind enemy lines. G-11 gliders were also used in at least one small scale airborne operation, the Dnepr crossing, carrying anti-tank guns and mortars.
G-11 was a successful design of a light glider. It had more capacity, than the other type Antonov A-7, and its transport compartment was better fit for cargo, although light guns could only be carried in parts due to small hatches.
High-wing, all-wooden construction, plywood covered transport glider. Fuselage rectangular in cross-section. Single-seat pilot's cab in front, with a canopy opening upwards. Behind it, a transport compartment, not separated from a cab, 3.24 m long, 1.25-1.36 m width. There were two doors in opposite fuselage sides, dimensions 1.2 x 0.7 m. Later series had only one hatch on a left side, 1.4 m width. Troops sat on folding benches along sides. There were two small rectangular windows in each side. Wings were three-part, fitted with flaps for landing. Landing gear was fixed, but it could be folded by the pilot in order to shorten landing, then the glider land on a skid under a fuselage.
- Crew: one, pilot
- Capacity: 11 troops (including pilot) or cargo
- Payload: 1,200 kg (2,640 lb)
- Length: 9.8 m (32 ft 2 in)
- Wingspan: 18 m (59 ft 1/2 in)
- Height: 2.7 m (8 ft 10 in)
- Wing area: 30 m² (322.8 ft²)
- Empty weight: 1,200 kg (2,640 lb)
- Loaded weight: 2,400 kg (5,280 lb)
- Maximum speed: 280 km/h (towing) (150 kts, 173 mph)
- Cruise speed: 146 km/h (78 kts, 90 mph)
- Wing loading: 83 kg/m² (16.97 lb/ft²)
- Minimum sink rate : 2.2 m/s (443 ft/min)
- Best glide ratio: 5.2
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