Aircraft Type Index

WWW 2 Fighter Planes Index

                   

 

Gloster Gladiator WW2 Fighter

The Gloster Gladiator biplane fighter prototype first took to the air in September 1934 and soon went into production for the RAF as a  replacement for the Bristol Bulldog, production continued until early 1940 by which time a total of 768 Gloster Gladiators had been produced. By the outbreak of WW2 the Gloster Gladiator fighter had been nearly completely replaced in fighter command by the new generation of monoplane fighters, the Hurricane and Spitfire.

Gloster Gladiator Fighter Plane

 

Several squadrons of Gloster Gladiators fighters fought with some success in the early days of WW2 in France alongside the RAF's newer Hawker Hurricane, 247 Squadron equipped with Gloster Gladiator fighters were tasked with the defence of the Royal Navy Dockyards at Devonport and Plymouth during the Battle of Britain until replaced by Hawker Hurricanes.

Faith, Hope and Charity - Fact or Fiction ?

 

The Gloster Gladiator is probably best remembered for it's stoic defence of Malta when three Gloster Gladiators, nicknamed Faith, Hope and Charity, although outgunned and outperformed, held off the might of the axis air force until relieved by the Hawker Hurricanes of 261 Squadron.

The story of the RAF's Hal Far Fighter Unit based on Malta was not quite what is generally believed, the aircraft were in fact "borrowed" Royal Navy  Sea Gladiators, and there were considerably more than three Gloster Gladiator fighters in service, as individual flights were limited to a maximum of three aircraft many local's gained the impression that there were only three aircraft and they were flying a prodigious number of hours! The RAF at the time were not even aware the almost fictitious "lone" three Gloster Gladiators Faith, Hope and Charity - But it was a good patriotic story and with the aid of the press helped raise moral following the Italian entry in to WW2 on the side of Germany. The truth about the defence of Mata, although not quite that of popular belief, was certainly no less courageous, the air battles between the ultimate in biplane fighter planes, the Fiat CR.42 Falco and the Gloster Gladiator are certainly a unique piece of air warfare history.

 
 
 
Faith, Hope and Charity - Gloster Gladiator
 

Gloster Gladiator Specifications:

  • Crew: Pilot only
  • Span: 9.83 m           Length: 8.36 m
  • Engine: Single Bristol Mercury VIIIS3 840 hp radial engine
  • Max speed: 410 km/h at 4,400 m above Sea Level
  • Max ceiling: 10,500 m
  • Range: 715 km

Gloster Gladiator Armament:

  • Four 8 mm Browning machine guns
  • Various bomb loads
 
 
 
Gloster Gladiator
 
 
Gloster Gladiator Fighter
 

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