Gladiator file photo [81]


CountryUnited Kingdom
ManufacturerGloster Aircraft Ltd
Primary RoleBiplane Fighter
Maiden Flight12 September 1934


ww2dbaseThe Gladiator biplane fighters entered service in 1937 already considered obsolete, but they still performed reasonably well under the Finnish banner during the Winter War and under the Norwegian banner during the German invasion. In the latter campaign, seven Gladiators downed five German aircraft on 9 Apr 1940, including two Bf 110 fighters that were considered vastly superior to the Gladiators; by the end of that day, however, they were all destroyed or scattered as the Norwegian government quickly fell apart. In their home country's service, Gladiators served mainly in Norway and North Africa, mainly during the early stages of WW2. Their most significant contribution toward the British war effort was their valiant defense of Malta.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Aug 2006

Gladiator Timeline

12 Sep 1934 The prototype of Gloster Gladiator (K5200), the RAFs last biplane fighter, took flight for the first time.


MachineryOne Bristol Mercury IX radial engine rated at 850 hp
Armament4x7.7mm Browning machine guns
Span9.80 m
Length8.40 m
Height3.20 m
Wing Area30.00 m²
Weight, Empty1,560 kg
Weight, Loaded2,205 kg
Speed, Maximum414 km/h
Rate of Climb11.70 m/s
Service Ceiling10,200 m
Range, Normal710 km


Three British Gladiator biplanes in flight, circa 1930sGladiator aircraft being fueled, circa 1940sGladiator aircraft in flight, circa 1940sGladiator aircraft of the Norwegian Army Air Service in flight, between 15 Jul 1938 (date of delivery) and 9 Apr 1940 (date of no. 423
See all 9 photographs of Gladiator Biplane Fighter

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anatoly Kachurin says:
23 Mar 2007 07:02:05 PM

Your database keeps suffering from confusion of mph and kmh when you show max speed. For instance, Wikipedia rightly specifies 257 mph (414 kmh) at 14,600 ft (4,500 m)for Gloster Gladiator. Now look in your own page for the Gladiator!

There are many similar blunders throughout the database I pointed out a few earlier.

2. Commenter identity confirmed Hobilar says:
18 Sep 2007 01:58:03 AM

Sweden ordered fifty-five Gladiators in 1937 but requished thirty of these to the Finnish Government. The remaining twenty five entered service with Flygyapnet as the J8 and J8A (the latter having Nohab built 740 hp Mercury VII engines) During the Winter War between Finland and the USSR twelve of these Gladiators equipped the Swedish volunteer unit F.19 fighting along side the Finns.
3. Commenter identity confirmed Hobilar says:
21 Sep 2007 04:19:46 AM

The machines delivered to Finland were actually Sea Gladiators. A Navalised version, these differed from the Land Based models in having an arrester hook, catapult points, and a fairing beneath the fuselage for a collapsible dinghy.
4. Commenter identity confirmed Hobilar says:
25 Sep 2007 01:37:41 AM

By the Battle of Britain in 1940 only one R.A.F. Squadron still operated the Gladiator within the British Isles. This was No.274 Squadron based at R.A.F. Roborough (near Plymouth, Devon).
5. Commenter identity confirmed Hobilar says:
26 Sep 2007 01:49:42 AM

Their valiant defense of Malta by four Gladiators (actually Sea-Gladiators) has been rather over-exaggerated by wartime prpoaganda. In fact these aircraft operated alone for just ten days before being reinforced by Hawker Hurricanes. During this time they beat off only a few half-hearted raids by the Italian Air Force (probibly not shooting down any enemy aircraft, but likely spoiling their aim).
6. Commenter identity confirmed BILL says:
9 Mar 2009 07:04:10 PM

The last Gladiators on Malta, were named Faith, Hope and Charity.
7. Commenter identity confirmed BILL says:
10 Mar 2009 08:52:10 AM

Gladiators in Foreign Service: Latvia ordered 26 Gladiators, but 6 aircraft were lost in accidents before 17 June 1940, when the Soviet Union invaded Latvia. The Russians took over the surviving aircraft, overpainted the Latvian colors with red stars. When German forces overran the Baltic States in June of 1941, the Germans sent the surviving Gladiators to Germany for use by the Luftwaffe. Lithuania ordered 14 Gladiators, the Russians captured 12 aircraft the other 2 lost in accidents. When the Germans invaded Lithuania most of the Gladiators were destroyed on the ground, when the Germans invaded Russia in June 1941 Several aircraft were captured, and sent back to Germany. Norway ordered 12 aircraft 10 aircraft were serviceable for use against the German invasion. Sweden ordered 55 aircraft 29 were lost in accidents. 12 Gladiators were sent to Finland the Flygvapnet formed a volunteer unit to aid the Finns, fighting the Russians. After the cease fire on March 1940 the surviving aircraft were turned over to the Finns, and the Swedish volunteers returned to Sweden. Belgium ordered 22 Gladiators during the German invasion most of the aircraft were lost in combat the others in accidents. China ordered 36 Gladiators most of the aircraft were lost in action or became unservicable the last Gladiators flew in the training role until the early 1940's. Other countries that used the Gladiator: Ireland, Greece, Egypt, Iraq, Portugal, Finland, Australia, RAF, Royal Navy, Free French, South Africa, Germany and Russian used captured Gladiators.
8. Paweł Gąsiorek says:
22 Sep 2014 03:14:46 AM

Slow and old airplane.

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More on Gladiator
Notable Figure:
» Chin, Arthur

Related Document:
» Carrier Aircraft Specifications

Gladiator Biplane Fighter Photo Gallery
Three British Gladiator biplanes in flight, circa 1930s
See all 9 photographs of Gladiator Biplane Fighter

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