Gloster Gladiator Fighter History
The Gloster Gladiator was designed as a biplane fighter
by Henry Phillip Folland, chief designer at Gloster Aircraft
Company Ltd., in the mid 1930's. The Gladiator, and it's navel
variant the Sea Gladiator, represented the end of the biplane
fighter era and, as such, were the most advanced to date. They featured
an enclosed cockpit (a first for a British fighter) and sprung
cantilever undercarriage, armament consisting of dual machine guns in the
fuselage and twin under-wing machine gun pods.
Gloster Gladiator Obsolete on Introduction
By 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
fighters existed in
considerable numbers at the beginning of WW2, they were allocated to
the less demanding theatres of war so that they could be effectively used
without facing the
latest German monoplane Fighters.
Gloster Gladiator Defence of Malta in WW2
This aircraft is best
known for it's contribution to the defence of Malta, in 1940, against
Italian forces. Shortages in fuel and other essential commodities
normally resulted in only three aircraft flying on patrol at a time,
led the local population to believe that there were only three
aircraft 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 aircraft
that had supposedly defended the island of Malta in WW2 during 1940.
models, model kits and plans of this aircraft have been available in
the market place.
Gladiator 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:
Various bomb loads.
4 x 8 mm Browning machine guns