[5] A further stumbling point for many of the submitted designs was the placement of the machine gun breeches within arm's reach of the pilot. [75], According to Gustavsson, SAAF pilot (no. Developed privately as the Gloster SS.37, it was the RAF's last biplane fighter aircraft and was rendered obsolete by newer monoplane designs even as it was being introduced. "Oriental Gladiators: The combat debut for the Gloster biplane.". [7][8], In spring 1934, Gloster embarked on the construction of a single SS.37 prototype. (39029), No. [31] On 10 April 1941, 804 NAS took off from Hatston, in Orkney, to intercept a group of approaching German aircraft. "Gloster Gladiators and Fiat CR.42s over Malta 1940–42. [14][15] Gladiators were sold to Belgium, China, Egypt, Finland, Free France, Greece, Iraq, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Portugal, South Africa and Sweden. [102] This was the last confirmed victory in the Gladiator. He was the leading Allied pilot of the campaign. That battle highlighted the strong points of the Gladiator over the CR.42, especially the radio equipment, which had permitted a coordinated attack, being also crucial for obtaining the initial surprise, and the Gladiator's superior low-altitude overall performance, including speed and a markedly superior horizontal manoeuvrability over its Italian opponent. Tension had been building between Greece and Italy since 7 April 1939, when Italian troops occupied Albania. The 1941 Anglo-Iraqi War was unique in that the RAF and Royal Iraqi Air Force, used the Gladiator as their main fighter. On 25 April, a pair of Gladiators destroyed a Heinkel He 115 aircraft; Luftwaffe bombers carried out numerous retaliatory attacks upon the runway that day, wounding several pilots on the ground. This page was last edited on 23 January 2021, at 02:11. [37] By the end of the day, ten Gladiators had been destroyed for the loss of three German aircraft. [98] Irish Gladiators also overflew the site of the sinking of the liner SS Athenia in 1939 and offered the help of the Irish military. [16] Initial service with the type proved the Vickers guns to be problematical; the Gladiator was quickly armed with .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns, which were substantially more popular, leading to the other guns often only being resorted to if deemed necessary. Folland soon identified various changes to increase the aircraft's suitability to conform with the demands of the specification. Flight Lieutenant Joe P. Fraser, from No. Covering both modern military and civil aircraft, as well as classic types from yesteryear, it features subjects from … On 17 October 1940, British Gladiators scored their first success when No 607 Squadron "B" Flight shot down a Dornier Do 18 flying boat ('8L+DK' of 2.KuFlGr 606), on the North Sea. [99], After becoming obsolete, RAF Gladiators carried out non-combat tasks such as meteorological work, being operated as such across various parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Europe as late as 1944. Though often pitted against more formidable foes during the early days of the Second World War, it acquitted itself reasonably well in combat. During this action, Iraqi Gladiators took part in attacks on the British air base, repeatedly strafing it ineffectively. Second was Pilot Officer William "Cherry" Vale, from No. 94 Squadron performed various attacks on the Italian forces; typical targets included airfields, supply depots, and aircraft. [90] Before this force collapsed due to lack of supplies, replacements, and quality fuel in addition to aggressive RAF attacks, two Gladiators fought a pair of Bf. South African Air Force." A stock of 18 Sea Gladiators from 802 Naval Air Squadron had been delivered by HMS Glorious, in early 1940. The RAF used it in France, Norway, Greece, the defence of Malta, the Middle East, and the brief Anglo-Iraqi War (during which the Royal Iraqi Air Force was similarly equipped). British pilots claimed 13 to 16 confirmed victories and one to seven probables, while losing two Gladiators. [5], The first version, the Gladiator Mk I, was delivered from July 1936, becoming operational in January 1937. As part of this force, RAF units operating various aircraft were dispatched to contribute, including two Gladiator squadrons. In 1941, the sole RoIAF single-purpose fighter squadron, 4th Squadron consisted of seven operational Gloster Gladiators at Rashid Air Base. They have taut canvas wings, covered with magnificently inflammable dope, and underneath there are hundreds of small thin sticks, the kind you put under the logs for kindling, only these are drier and thinner. Hope dropped a message on Italian positions at Ambazzo: "Tribute to the pilot of the Fiat. The Gladiator pilots of the Norwegian Jagevingen (fighter flight)[33] were based at Fornebu Airport. [55] Another successful pilot over Malta was "Timber" Woods who managed to shoot down two S.79s and two CR.42s, also claiming a Macchi hit on 11 June and another S.79 damaged. La Kongelige Norske Luftforsvaret, spesso abbreviata in RNoAF e conosciuta internazionalmente anche con la denominazione in lingua inglese Royal Norwegian Air Force, è l'attuale aeronautica militare della Norvegia e parte integrante delle forze armate norvegesi.Gli impiegati civili della Kongelige Norske Luftforsvaret sono circa 1430; in caso di mobilitazione la RNoAF può … On 9 April, the first day of the invasion of Norway, the seven serviceable aircraft[34][35] managed to shoot down five German aircraft: two Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighters, two He 111 bombers and one Fallschirmjäger-laden Ju 52 transport. [5] Another design choice was the fitting of a cantilever main undercarriage which incorporated Dowty internally-sprung wheel struts. The Italian air force units deployed against Malta should have easily defeated the Gladiators but its manoeuvrability and good tactics won several engagements, often starting with a dive on Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 Sparviero bombers before the Fiat CR.42 and Macchi MC.200 escort fighters could react. Bellamy, who completed a flightworthy Gladiator out of parts from L8032 and N5903, which became the sole example of the type in such a condition.[101]. 112 Squadron, and Flight Sergeant Don S. Gregory, from Nos. 32035. 80 Squadron. [80], The Royal Iraqi Air Force (RoIAF) had been trained and equipped by the British prior to independence in 1932. 94 Squadron performed various attacks on the Italian forces; typical targets included airfields, supply depots, and aircraft. [38] Numerous German aircraft were downed by Gladiators during this deployment. During the Continuation War, against the Soviets, Glosters supported the advance of the Karelian Army around Lake Ladoga. [68] [59][60] Its pilot, Flying Officer Peter Hartley, scrambled at 09.45 with fellow pilots F. F. Taylor and Flight Lieutenant "Timber" Woods, to intercept an SM.79, escorted by nine CR.42s from 23° Gruppo. [5] Around the same time, Gloster proceeded to plan a further improved version, featuring an 840 hp (630 kW) Mercury IX engine, a two-blade wooden fixed-pitch propeller, improved wheel discs and a fully enclosed cockpit. Only the aircraft of the Royal Norwegian Navy Air Service (one M.F.11 and four He 115s) had the range to fly all the way from their last bases in northern Norway to the UK. It was under Finnish insignia that the Gladiator achieved its last air victory. The flight was fired upon by Royal Navy ships in attendance, consequently, the Irish Gladiators withdrew. [citation needed], The Luftwaffe used captured Latvian Gladiators as glider tugs with Ergänzungsgruppe (S) 1 from Langendiebach near Hanau during 1942–3. [2] Actually the British heavily overclaimed as it seems that Regia Aeronautica that day lost only two CR.42s. Tenente Franco Lucchini, of 90a Squadriglia, 10° Gruppo, 4° Stormo, flying a CR.42 from Tobruk, shot down a Gladiator; it was the first claim made against the RAF in the desert war. ", "New Zealanders with the Royal Air Force (Vol. ", Royal Air Force History: History of No. Experiences such as operating the Gladiator's landing flaps and familiarisation with its sliding hood have been attributed to having favourably impacted pilot conversion. Wong is believed to have shot down a second A5M, for the wrecks of two Japanese fighters were found. [38], Having re-equipped in Britain, 263 Squadron resumed its Gladiator operations in Norway when it returned to the north of Norway on 21 May, flying from Bardufoss airfield near Narvik. In February 1937, No. [5] This culminated in an initial order for 23 aircraft. On 1 July 1935, the aircraft formally received the name Gladiator. During a dogfight a CR.42 flown by Serg. On 29 December 1940, two Irish Gladiators were scrambled from Baldonnel to intercept a German Ju 88 flying over Dublin on a photographic reconnaissance mission, but were unable to make contact. 72 Squadron, based at Tangmere, became the first squadron to be equipped with the Gladiator; No. In China Gladiators were used extensively before the start of 1940 by the 28th, 29th and 32nd squadrons of the 3rd Group. Further three naval M.F.11s and one He 115 flew to Finland, landing on Lake Salmijärvi in Petsamo. Off. All MK II Gladiators also carried Browning 0.303-inch machine guns (licence-manufactured by the BSA company in Birmingham) in place of the Vickers-Lewis combination of the MK I. [5] A further stumbling point for many of the submitted designs was the placement of the machine gun breeches within arm's reach of the pilot. [87][73] A last resupply of Gladiators came on 17 May in the form of four more 94 Squadron aircraft. Developed privately as the Gloster SS.37, it was the RAF's last biplane fighter aircraft and was rendered obsolete by newer monoplane designs even as it was … Folland. The Gladiator saw action in almost all theatres during the Second World War, with a large number of air forces, some of them on the Axis side. Vickers Wellington 1936 tactical bombers are also available to be … Production of the initial batch was performed simultaneously, leading to many aircraft being completed around the same time. The Italian pilot took off to strafe British airfields at Dabat and Adi Arcai. On 17 October 1940, British Gladiators scored their first success when No 607 Squadron "B" Flight shot down a Dornier Do 18 flying boat ('8L+DK' of 2.KuFlGr 606), on the North Sea. Three were later shipped out to take part in the Norwegian Campaign and another three were sent to Egypt. Tactically, the SAAF aircraft erred by engaging the CR.42's in a piecemeal fashion and not en masse, and they were heavily outnumbered. The Mk II soon followed, the main differences being a slightly more powerful Mercury VIIIAS engine with Hobson mixture control boxes and a partly automatic boost control carburettor, driving a Fairey fixed-pitch three-blade metal propeller, instead of the two-blade wooden one of the Mark I. [45], The Gloster Gladiator was in operational service with 247 Squadron, stationed at RAF Roborough, Devon during the Battle of Britain. "Gloster Gladiators and Fiat CR.42s over Malta 1940–42. As part of this force, RAF units operating various aircraft were dispatched to contribute, including two Gladiator squadrons. [73] Immediately after launching his coup against King Faisal II in early April 1941, Prime Minister Rashid Ali al-Gaylani approached Germany and Italy for help in repelling any British countermeasures. [1][2], During the 1920s, Britain's air defences had been based around interceptor aircraft capable of flying only for short ranges and at speeds of 150 to 200 miles per hour (240 to 320 km/h); however, by 1930, figures within the Air Ministry were keen to supersede these aircraft. [50][51][52][53] More than three aircraft were operational, though not always at the same time; others were used for spare parts. The Gladiators landed on frozen lakes around Oslo and were abandoned by their pilots, then wrecked by souvenir-hunting civilians.[36]. "Gladiator, Gauntlet, Fury, Demon". I) Chapter 3 — Meeting the German Attack.". Ten of the aircraft were donated while the other 20 were bought by the FAF; all were delivered between 18 January and 16 February 1940, the first entering service on 2 February 1940. British pilots claimed 13 to 16 confirmed victories and one to seven probables, while losing two Gladiators. Top Finnish Air Force Gladiator ace was Captain Paavo Berg, who claimed 6 of his 11 victories with Gladiators. ", "Biplane Fighter Aces: Squadron Leader William Joseph ‘Bill’ Hickey DFC, RAF no. [71], In Eastern Africa, it was determined that Italian forces based on Ethiopia posed a threat to the British Aden Protectorate, thus it was decided that an offensive would be necessary, in which the Gladiator would face off against the Italian biplane fighters: Fiat CR.32s and CR.42s. [22], Chinese Gladiators scored several more victories over Japanese aircraft from 1938 to 1940 during the Second Sino-Japanese War. One Gladiator was shot down during the air battle by the future experte Helmut Lent, while two were strafed and destroyed while refuelling and rearming at Fornebu airport. [16], Although, by 1941, all Gladiators had been withdrawn from front-line duties defending the British Isles, a need to defend Britain's trade routes throughout the overseas territories of the British Empire had been recognised and therefore the RAF redeployed many of its Gladiators to the Middle East to defend the theatre and the crucial Suez Canal. [95], The Irish Air Corps was supplied with four Gladiators on 9 March 1939. Although the Gladiator was typically well liked by pilots, the accident rate during operational training on the type was so high that a small replacement batch of 28 Gladiator Mk IIs was hurriedly produced. [24] He and Arthur Chin were among a group of 15 Chinese Americans who formed the original group of American volunteer combat aviators in China.[25]. [65], On 4 August 1940, Fiat biplanes from 160a Squadriglia of Capitano Duilio Fanali intercepted four Gladiators commanded by Marmaduke "Pat" Pattle (eventually to become one of the top-scoring Allied aces with approximately 50 claims) that were attacking Breda Ba.65s while they were strafing British armoured vehicles. They were then to use rifles and shoot at any invaders. Official service release trials were not completed before the Sea Gladiators were replaced by later types – but some upper wing Brownings may have been fitted in the field, in particular in Malta. Le Gloan himself had to crash-land his damaged D.520 at his own air base. [16] The aircraft had a tendency to stall more abruptly, frequently dropping a wing while doing so. The Flying Regiment F 19 arrived in Finnish Lapland on 10 January 1940 and remained there until the end of hostilities. Top Finnish Air Force Gladiator ace was Captain Paavo Berg, who claimed 6 of his 11 victories with Gladiators. ", "ROYAL AIR FORCE OPERATIONS IN MALTA, GIBRALTAR AND THE MEDITERRANEAN, 1940-1945", "Forward fuselage of Gloster Gladiator Mk II (Salvaged remains only)", "Airframe Dossier - Gloster Gladiator II, s/n N5914 RAF, c/n Unknown", Håkans aviation page Biplane fighter aces, Håkans aviation page Biplane Fighter Aces, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gloster_Gladiator&oldid=1002146517, Articles with dead external links from July 2018, Wikipedia articles needing page number citations from September 2010, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from November 2007, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2008, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Gloster Gladiator in pre-war RAF markings, N5520 – Sea Gladiator fuselage on static display at the, N5641 – Gladiator II on static display at the, K8042 – Gladiator I on static display at the, N5628 – Gladiator II forward fuselage on static display at the, N5914 – Gladiator II under restoration at the. Although the Regia Aeronautica had started with a numerical advantage and air superiority, during the summer of 1940 the situation was reversed, with Hurricanes being delivered as fast as possible and gradually taking over the island's air defence.[57]. [82], On 2 May 1941, in response to a blockade established by increasing numbers of Iraqi forces on RAF Habbaniya and demands from the revolutionary Iraqi government, a preemptive RAF attack was launched to break the encirclement. In a confused battle, both sides lost one aircraft shot down and one severely damaged. [62] Hope (N5531) was destroyed on the ground by enemy bombing in May 1941. The RAF used it in France, Norway, Greece, the defence of Malta, the Middle East, and the brief Anglo-Iraqi War (during which the Royal Iraqi Air Force was similarly equipped). [5] The Bristol Mercury M.E.30 radial engine, capable of generating 700 hp (520 kW), was selected to power the SS.37, which provided a performance boost over the preceding Gauntlet.