Gloster Gladiator Fighter History
The Gloster Gladiator was designed by Henry Phillip Folland, chief designer at Gloster Aircraft Company Ltd. in the mid 1930's as a biplane fighter. The Gloster Gladiator and it's navel variant the Gloster Sea Gladiator, represented the end of the biplane fighter era, as such it was the most advanced to date featuring an enclosed cockpit (a first for a British fighter) and sprung cantilever undercarriage, armament consisted of dual machine guns in the fuselage and twin under-wing machine gun pods.
Gloster Gladiator Obsolete on Introduction
Bt the time the Gloster Gladiator biplane entered RAF service in 1937, it was almost immediately made obsolete by the introduction of new monoplane fighters. As the Gloster Gladiator fighter existed in considerable numbers at the beginning of WW2 they were allocated to the less demanding theatres of war so they could be effectively used without facing the latest German monoplane Fighters.
Gloster Gladiator Defence of Malta in WW2
The Gloster Gladiator is best known for it's contribution to the defence of Malta in 1940 against Italian forces. Shortages in fuel and other essential commodities resulted in normally only three aircraft flying on patrol at a time, this lead to the local population coming to believe there were only three Gloster Gladiators left to defend them, because of this misunderstanding the local population famously named the three fictitious Gloster Gladiator aircraft Faith, Hope and Charity.
When the RAF formed a fighter wing in the Falkland Islands after the 1988 war, they named their aircraft Faith, Hope and Charity after the fabled three Gloster Gladiator aircraft that had supposedly defended the island of Malta in WWII during 1940.
Gloster Gladiator Fighter Specifications:
Crew: Pilot only
Wingspan: 32 ft 3 in (9.83 m)
Length: 27 ft 5 in (8.36 m)
Loaded weight: 4,594 lb (2,088 kg)
Engine: Single Bristol Mercury VIIIS3 840 hp radial engine
Maximum speed: 253 mph (407 km/h)
Rate of climb: 2,300 ft/min (11.7 m/s)
Service ceiling: 10,500 m
Range: 715 km
Gloster Gladiator Armament: Four 8 mm Browning machine guns, Various bomb loads.