TYPE: One seated biplane fighter
AMOUNT IN NORWEGIAN SERVICE: 6
4x 7.7x56mm Two synchronised 7.7x56mm Vickers machine guns in fuselage sides, two 7.7x56mm in Lewis machine guns, one beneath each lower wing.
Length: 8.36 m
Wingspan: 9.83 m
Height: 3.58 m
Wing area: 30.0 m2
Airfoil: RAF 28.124
Empty weight: 1,459 kg
Gross weight: 2,084 kg
Eigne: 1x Bristol Mercury IX 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, 830 Hp
Propellers: 3-bladed fixed-pitch metal propeller
Maximum speed: 407 km/h at 4,420 m
Cruise speed: 340 km/h
Stall speed: 85 km/h
Endurance: 2 hours
Service ceiling: 10,000 m
Rate of climb: 12 m/s
Time to altitude: 3,048 m in 4 minutes 45 seconds
This is the Mk.I there will be another post with the Mk.II since they have different specs/eignes
This covers both models, it is easier to include everything to avoid confusion and incorrect information
Beyond the 1930s, it was obvious that the Norwegian fighter defense was too poorly equipped, and several different types were evaluated. Internationally, this was a ground-breaking time in terms of aviation technology. Fast monoplanes and all-metal aircraft were gaining ground, but for Norway it was urgent to get a credible air defense. One therefore chose to order 6 Gloster Gladiator Mk.I late in 1937 as a temporary solution, and the aircraft were handed over to the Royal Air Force on 11 July 1938 at the factory in England. the planes were flown to Norway via the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark and formed part of the fighter defense along with three Armstrong Whitworth Scimitars at Kjeller.
The Gladiator was an improved version of the Gloster Gauntlet and first flew on 12 September 1934. The hull was a traditional construction of welded steel tubes. The front part, including the cockpit, was covered with aluminium, while the rest of the fuselage, wings and tail surfaces, were covered with fabric. The aircraft was already old-fashioned when it was put into service, and both the Hurricane, Spitfire and German fighters such as the Messerchmitt 109 and 110 were under development and testing at this time. nevertheless, the aircraft was in use throughout the war and achieved some remarkable results. It was very manoeuvrable.
Norway also attempted to purchase a further 25 Gladiator fighters through SAAB in Sweden, which wanted to produce them under licence. This was unsuccessful, but Norway was able to purchase 6 additional machines from England in the summer of 1938. These were delivered in crates in the basement late in 1939. These were Mk.II machines, equipped with two-bladed wooden propellers instead of the three-bladed metal propellers, which were common on the Mk. II. In the autumn of 1939, the planes were transferred to the newly opened Fornebu airfield to be closer to Oslo. The planes were also tested with ski undercarriage, which caused two accidents in early 1940 when the skis fell off or became detached in a dive
In combat with German Forces morning 9. April 1940!
There were many violations of Norwegian sovereignty at this time, and foreign aircraft were often seen over Norwegian territory. The gladiators were sent up, but were never able to reach any of the invaders again. On 8 April 1940, meanwhile, it was obvious that something was about to happen, and the engines of the 7 serviceable Gladiators were started several times throughout the night. On 9 April at 04:00 a flight was heard above the cloud cover and cannon fire south of the Oslofjord where the cruiser Blucher was in battle with the Oscarsborg festnig. At 05.00, Ensign Finn Thorsager went up with the only camouflage-painted machine, 433 and shortly after Lieutenant Arve Braathen. Both spotted alien, twin-engine aircraft, and Thorsager came into range and fired at the intruder. in the meantime three more planes had been sent up from Fornebu, but without discovering more planes. They therefore returned to the airport. A little later, new planes were reported heading north, and five Gladiators were sent up. Soon after, the last two also took off. At 07.30 they supported a German air force of 70-80 aircraft - mostly nJunkers Ju 52 transport aircraft, but also Heinkel He 111 bombers and 8 Messersmitt bf 110 twin-engine fighters - just south of Oslo. The gladiators had the upper hand and attacked. Many of the German planes were hit, and some were shot down
A Gladiator (427) had to make an emergency landing after shooting down a Bf 110, Two Gladiators were destroyed at Fornebu after landing there, and the rest landed on various frozen waters in the Eastland area. Only one of the planes could be used further, namely (423) which landed on Steinsfjorden. It was restored with parts from (429) which went through the ice outside Hamar, and reached Vangsmjøsa on 19 April. Two days later, it was used for reconnaissance over Gardermoen, but had engine problems just above the square and was about to crash in the forest. However, the pilot Per Waaler got the engine started again at treetop height and returned to Vangsmjøsa with extensive damage to a wing and with a spruce top wedged between the engine and the propeller. The plane never took off again, and eventually sank through the ice.
Parts of the aircraft were raised in 1991 and handed over to the Norwegian Defense Museum.
The British also had a Gloster Gladiator unit in Norway in the April days of 1940. A track had been plowed on Lesjaskogsvann, and on the evening of April 24 No 263 squadron landed on the ice with 18 Gloster Gladiator Mk.IIs. The aim was to provide air cover for the troops at the front and a British expeditionary force that had been landed in Årdalsnes on 18 April. in addition, they were to provide target guidance for the artillery. These were priority tasks, but the British had to fight a deadly battle against Norwegian winter conditions and German bombers that attacked the square for long periods. Some of the planes never made it back into the air, but those that did managed to destroy several of the German bombers. By the evening of the following day, only 5 Gladiator fighters were still airworthy. and it succeeded in transferring them to Setnesmoen near Åndalsnes. The next day, two machines were destroyed due to engine problems. That same afternoon, another machine managed to damage an HE 111, but that was the sqvadrone’s last fight in southern Norway. The planes were burned, and on 29 April the staff returned by boat to Great Britain. During these days they flew 49 sorties and attacked 37 German aircraft. 6 of these were declared shot down and 8 were damaged
On 20 May, the squadron arrived in Norway again, this time to Bardufoss with the new Gladiator Mk.II, at the same time No 46 squadron arrived with the Hawker Hurricane. They had been transported north on the aircraft carrier Furious. Some of the Gladiators operated out of Bodø where a primitive airstrip had been built. The stay in Norway this time lasted 18 days, and 389 flights were flown in the Narvik district. 26 German planes were counted as shot down. On 7 June, the fighting ended, and the remaining planes were flown back to Furious. Unfortunately, the aircraft carrier was sunk on its way back to Great Britain, and none of the ten airmen on board survived. One of the Gladiators that was damaged at Lierskogsvann was retrieved from the water in 1940 and taken care of by the Faye Hope family. This aircraft was restored at Rygge and then moved to the Aircraft Collection at Gardermoen. Today the plane is on display at the Air Defense Museum in Bodø., i might go there this year and snap some nice pictrues and post them here
Gloster Gladiator – Wikipedia
Håkans Flygsida - The Gloster Gladiator in the Norwegian Army Air Service (Haerens Flygevåpen)
Norske militærfly - norske militærfly 1912-2013 | ARK Bokhandel
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