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The Gloster Gladiator

The Gloster Gladiator

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{detailed description}The Gloster Gladiator ranks in history, not so much as one of the greatest aircraft, but as one of the most important, for it represented Britain's ultimate biplane fighter design, and served during that vital period while the first monoplane fighters—the immortal Hurricane and Spitfire—were finding their feet. In a rapidly advancing world of technology, H. P. Folland's Gladiator won a victory for the conventionalists and in so doing gave the Royal Air Force its first operational fighter capable of more than 250 m.p.h., four-gun armament, and enclosed cockpit.
For twenty years Folland had striven to perfect the biplane fighter, and Glosters in turn had built his famous Grebe, Gamecock, and Gauntlet family for the R.A.F. This book follows the evolution, dealing at some length with the Gauntlet (for its destiny was closely linked with that of the Gladiator, and many pilots expressed a preference for the older aeroplane), before introducing the development of the Gladiator and its entry into the R.A.F. and foreign service.
Nor had the old biplane disappeared by the Second World War and this story covers the Gladiator's service and campaigns in Britain, France, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Norway, China, Latvia, Lithuania, Aden, Italian East Africa, Somaliland, the Western Desert, Iraq, Greece, Crete, Malta and Syria, as well as with the Fleet Air Arm. In R.A.F. Service alone, Gladiators destroyed almost 300 enemy aircraft.
Following the scope of previous Macdonald Aircraft Monographs Mr. Mason has prepared The Gloster Gladiator with considerable assistance from manufacturers, aviation ministries, and many private individuals both at home and overseas, and includes tone general-arrangement drawings of the principal aircraft variants, full technical data and historical notes on all Gauntlets and Gladiators built.

Born in the final months of the great economic depression of the nineteen-thirties and at the time of German military resurrection. H. P. Folland's Gloster Gladiator represented the epitome of orthodox design development—while Britain's Hurricane and Germany's Messerschmitt Bf 109 were successful contemporary ventures into the realms of brilliant technological progress.
Had War broken out at the time of Munich, the immortal Few would have fought in Gladiators, for the Spitfire had hardly appeared in service and only a small number of early Hurricanes had been delivered. In the event, the Gladiator, at the outbreak of war in 1939, was being sent overseas to defend Britain's vital trade routes, yet served with the R.A.F. in France and Norway against the might of the German Luftwaffe.
Spanning the transition from the balmy days of peace with the brightly polished, spritely biplanes of "the best flying club in the World", to the drab, purposeful eight-gun fighters of the 1940 Few, the Gladiator was symbolic of Britain's efforts to make up for the twenty year absence of coherent defence planning. How well its pilots fought has become something of a legend. Their battle honours make a bright Chapter in the history of Air Warfare.
{Author / Publisher / Date}by Francis K. Mason
Published by Macdonald 1964 1st edn. 136pp profusely illustrated, index, appendix. 19x25
{condition}very good, in slightly worn d/j, not torn.
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