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Gloster Gladiator

The Gloster Gladiator was a biplane fighter, used by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy, during World War II. The aircraft had four .303 Browning machine guns and a top speed of around 414 km/h. Gladiators were also modified for carrier operations and flown by the Royal Navy, where it was known as the Sea Gladiator.

Table of contents
1 History
3 Notable Gloster Gladiator Pilots
4 External Links
5 References


Gloster Gladiator, photographed in England in 2002.

First flown in 1934, and introducted into service in 1937, the Gloster Gladiator was developed from the Gauntlet biplane fighter. Even when it was introduced the design was being eclipsed by the new generation of monoplane fighters, such as the Spitfire and Messerschmitt Bf 109. When WW2 began the Gladiator was used in combat in France and Norway, but was found to be outclassed by the German fighters in all respects. Two squadrons were sent to France, but all the aircraft were lost in ten days of fighting. The remaining aircraft were relegated to secondary duties or sent to other theatres, including North Africa and the Far East.

In the North African theatre the Gladiator achieved some success against the Italian Air Force, which was equipped with a mix of biplanes and early design monoplanes. Its most notable exploit came in the defence of Malta, where for a brief period three Sea Gladiator aircraft, named Faith, Hope and Charity formed the entire air defence of the island.

In the Far East the Gladiator fared little better against the modern machines of the Japanese than it had against the Germans. It played a part in the short-lived defense of Singapore.

Carrier based Gladiators were more successful, since its slower speed made it more suitable for carrier operations and it was less likely to be facing modern figher opposition.

The Gladiator was also exported for use by the air forces of 13 other countries.


See also:

Notable Gloster Gladiator Pilots

External Links