Gloster Gladiator vol. I
Development and Operational History
Gladiator był ostatnim dwupłatowym myśliwcem w służbie RAF. Pomimo tego, że był już przestarzały wziął udział w 2 w.ś. i to na wielu frontach, od Afryki do śniegów Finlandii. Jest to piereszy tom z dwuczęsciowego zestawu. Alex Crawford opisał kompletną historię Gladiatora. W tomie I znajdziemy opis rozwoju konstrukcji oraz użycie samolotu przez wszystkie kraje do jakich trafił. Dodatkowo wykaz jednostek, które używały Gladiatora a także pełne zestawienie zwycięstw osiągniętych na tym typie samolotu.
The Gladiator was the last biplane fighter in service with the RAF. Despite its obsolescence in 1939 it saw considerable active service in WW2, from the African desert to the snows of Finland. In this two-volume set, Alex Crawford tells the complete story of the Gladiator. Volume 1 covers the development and operational history of the aircraft, with full details of all the units which flew the Gladiator, the many foreign users, and air-to-air claims made by Gladiator pilots. In Volume 2, the technical specifications, details of surviving airframes and more colour schemes will be presented. Both volumes contain many photos, scale plans, and colour profiles. Together they represent the most detailed coverage of this classic fighter available, an invaluable resource for aviation enthusiasts and historians.
BMFA News issue No. 95 2011-01-26
Reviewed By Brian R. Baker, IPMS #43146
The Gloster Gladiator was one of those airplanes that, while outdated when it went into service, managed to hold the line until more modern aircraft became available. Having the distinction of being the last fighter biplanes in British service, they held their own against their Italian opposition in the Western Desert, primarily because of their rugged design and highly trained pilots, who used tactics that helped them to survive against more modern monoplanes. Of course, when the Hurricanes and Spitfires became available, the Gladiators were relegated to second line duties, where they were very useful until the end of World War II.
In addition to Royal Air Force and Navy service, the Gladiator was used by the air forces of Belgium, China, Egypt, Erie, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iraq, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Portugal, Russia, and Sweden, although some of these countries used examples captured from their previous owners. Nevertheless, the Gladiator served faithfully all over the world, and it is surprising that so few survive today.
I had read several of the author's previous Mushroom publications, including those on the Hart, Fury, Bulldog, and Gauntlet, so I knew what to expect. I expected a well-written, complete, detailed history of the type, along with excellent detail drawings, color illustrations, and photographs, and that's what I got. It kind of reminded me of a "big print" edition, since the previous books had drawings in "real scale", 1/72, whereas this book is much larger, containing drawings in 1/48 scale, and although the type is not noticeably larger, there is a lot more information presented than in previous publications. The author did some very thorough research for this book, including tables showing the entire service history and final disposition of each airplane, squadron service records, and claimed kills over enemy aircraft. There is a wealth of information here on the Gladiator, and anyone interested in the type should certainly obtain this book.
The book provides a very detailed and complete narrative history of the type's development and service use. Although a few of the photos were familiar, most were not. Many were of the personal type, people in front of airplanes, wreck photos, etc., but all would be useful in modeling. In fact, after thoroughly reading this book, I feel that this is probably the definitive work on the Gladiator. There will be a volume two, which I would assume would contain more photos and color drawings of the Gladiator in Royal Air Force and Royal Navy service, as the emphasis in this volume seemed to be on foreign Gladiator operations, especially in the color drawing section. The flyer stated that volume two will include a full technical description, detail photos, and information on surviving examples, making this two volume set indispensable to the serious modeler.
This is an excellent publication, and anyone interested in modeling the Gladiator in any scale should obtain this book, and probably volume two, as a reference. Get one while you can. Then get out those old Matchbox, Frog, and Heller Gladiator kits and get cracking.
Catalina Society Magazine (October 2009) 2011-01-26
Format: Soft back, 272 pages, an abundance of black and white photographs, English text, 1:48 scale drawings of Gladiator variants and a colour section of side views.
A quite comprehensive tome on the development and operational history of the Gladiator. This book is not aimed specifically at the modeller, although there is a wealth of photographs in black and white which show some of the many schemes carried by the Gladiator. Unfortunately there is nothing to aid the super-detailers all photographs being of complete aircraft.
If you are interested in the history of the Gladiator however, there is much here to inform and educate. In the Operational History section the detail goes down to the level of individual claims by pilots in all squadrons which used the Gladiator. There is a breakdown of production and users, also comprehensive. The final section is a selection of colour side views, although, disappointingly, only one of these relates to an aircraft in British use. If you are a fan of the Gladiator then this book is for you.
Product Article by Nick Moore on Jan 26 2011
Alex Crawford writes this first Volume in Mushroom’s telling of the Gloster Gladiator story. This and the follow-up Volume are the culmination of 25 years of research into the Gladiator so it is abundantly clear that Crawford is a devotee of the subject. Widely researched and with an impressive bibliography, this book comes in at 272 pages. It is supported by interesting photographs and excellent colour profiles by Artur Juszczak, of which you receive no less than sixteen.
In the main the text deals with the Gladiator’s active service with the RAF. This is followed by a separate history of the Sea Gladiator and finally the Gladiator’s Foreign Service is described.. A testimony to the quality of the Gladiator can be seen in the colour profiles at the rear of the book. This aircraft saw service under a great many flags and the Foreign Service section of the book describes their use by a great many countries. The photographs in this section in particular are quite fascinating for the variety of markings, crews and environments the Gladiator appears in and alongside of.
The book as a whole contains a number of very good photographs showing the Gladiator from many points of view. Some will prove especially useful to modelers as they show weathering on the airframe to great advantage. Many photographs show crew, uniforms and the bases the planes flew from. The book is interspersed with 1:48 scale line drawings showing various plans and elevations of Gladiators Mark I, Mark II, Sea Gladiator that also include equipment variations.
Tabled information at the end of the book includes operational data for all RAF Gladiator units and victory claims.
I’ll just make a comment regards the attached photographs in this article. As you all appreciate, Mushroom will have gone to a great deal of effort to produce this book and are entitled to copyright protection. The images reproduced here are of low quality to give you an idea of what the book contains. The photos and drawings in the book are of much better quality so if you want to see them all – you’ll just have to buy it!
An indispensable book for Gladiator fans but also well recommended to anyone interested in the campaigns they participated in or for interwar aircraft enthusiasts.
Aeroplane Magazine no 01/2010 2011-01-26
By Ray Mehlberger
Mushroom Models Publications (MMP) is a publishing company based in in Redbourn, Herts, UK. They are patnered with Stratus Puglications in Sandomierz, Poland, where they are printed in English. The book is available from MMP.
This new book is in soft-cover format of 272 pages. Of all the aircraft books I have received in the past from MMP, this one has the MOST pages ever.
The pages are of 8 ¼” x 11 ¾” size.
The book describes the design, development and operational history of the Gloster Gladiator, the last biplane fighter used by the RAF. Developed from the Gauntlet, the Gladiator entered squadron service in February 1937. Although essentially obsolete even then, with the Hurricane and Spitfire also coming into service, Gladiators served with many RAF squadrons at home and abroad, and was drafted into service as a carrier-based fighter by the Fleet Air Arm. In British service the Gladiator had significant front-line wartime service, and remained on second-line duties until 1945.
The Gladiator was used by a wide selection of air arms before and during WWII, and saw active service with many of them, from African desert sands to the Arctic wastes of northern Finland. The full operational history of the type is described and illustrated in this boo, which is a major update of Alex Crawford’s best-selling earlier edition from MMP. So much extra information has come to light and been included in this present work that it has had to be extended into two volumes, and in larger format. This second book will be titled “Gloster Gladiator, Vol. 2, The Survivors in Detail” and available in the future from MMP.
In volume 1, the design, development and history of the Gladiator is described, with 1/48th scale line drawings (9 of them-some as multi-views) and a 184 black and white wartime photos (mostly of Gladiators, with a few of their pilots thrown in for good measure). There are no less than 58 pages of data lists at the rear of the book and 14 full color profile illustrations. These are (one each) side profiles of Gladiators in service with:
Belgian Air Force
Chinese Air Force
Royal Egyptian Air ForceIrish Air Force
Finish Air Force
Free French Air Force
Greek Air Force
Lithuanian Air Force
Norwegian Air Force
Portugeuse Air Force
Lithuanian Air Force
Swedish Air Force
The cover art is a color shot of the second production Gladiator K6131, during a pre-delivery test flight. This aircraft was delivered to 72 Squadron on 22 February 1937. It served for just over a year before being wrecked in a forced landing. This photo is repeated again, in black and white on page 7.
The back cover of the book has a color photo of a close-up of he plaque that was fitted to F/Lt. Joe Fraser’s Gladiator. The Greek text on it read “Slow but steady”. At the top were a row of X’s that indicated Fraser’s claims, while the X’s at the bottom indicated either damaged or probable kills. There is also a color shot of the cover art for the second future volume of the Gladiator book.
In volume 2, the technical specifications, details of surviving airframes and more color schemes will be presented as well as scale plans and many photos. These 2 volumes, together, will represent the most detailed coverage of this classic biplane fighter available, and invaluable resource for aviation enthusiasts, historians and modelers.
I want to thank Dr. Roger M. Wallsgrove, Editor-in-Chief of MMP…and Stratus for this review sample. Very highly recommended.
Reviewer: Scott Van Aken
Once again, the folks at Mushroom Models Publications have provided us with what amounts to a tome, this time the initial volume on a favorite of many, the Gloster Gladiator. This is one of those British fighters that was the end of the line for a type. In this case, the biplane. Developed from the very popular and similar Gauntlet, the Gladiator was about as modern as it could get with an enclosed cockpit and four machine guns. It entered service just before the Spitfire and about the same time as the Hurricane. It was well received by those who flew it and went on to be the main type for many RAF units. It also served with the FAA and a number of foreign countries.
Being developed and available at a time of great tension in the world, it was not unusual that there would be a demand for the type. With Germany re-arming and war seemingly inevitable, many nations were scrambling to bolster their defenses. Many looked to the Gladiator to help do that. When war came, the Gladiator was to be found on all fronts from Norway to North Africa where it put up a gallant defense against generally more modern aircraft. It was the Mediterranean where it was the most effective as the Italians were not quite a well equipped as were the Germans. The type soldiered on throughout the war in second line units, being the main type for many Meteorological Flights.
Mushroom Models tells the full story of the development of the Gladiator and the different variants that were developed. This volume also covers the many nations that used the type from Belgium to Sweden and many in between.At 2722 pages, this is a very large softcover book and a lot of space is needed to tell the story. The first 196 pages are the historical background and unit use. These are chock full of superbly chosen photographs. Some may be old friends, but many are new to me and clearly printed. . The rest of the book are appendices such as a production list, what aircraft flew with what squadrons, a detailed listing of air to air claims and several pages of very large color profiles and three views; one for each country that flew the type. Many more are to come in the second volume.
I would have to say that this has to be amongst the best aircraft history and reference books of the year. I know I have said this before, but you simply cannot go wrong with a Mushroom Models Publication book. It is really that good.May 2009
Amazon.co.uk bestseller list 2011-01-26
Unlike the Orange series which is more destined to modellers, the White Series is made for historians first, even if we can find 1/72nd scale plans and representative artwork for every country. As Alex Crawford’s main field of interest is the British biplanes, we could be certain that the job would be well done, and actually it is. There are 270 pages in the book, and around 200 are reserved for the development and history of the Gladiator all around the world. Of course, the British part is the most important, and many combat reports are giving a valuable primary source for this aircraft. More than 200 photos illustrate the book, some being pretty rare (like the Baltic or Soviet Gladiators) and seen for the first time. The career of the Gladiator for each country is complete as far it can be, even if more could be expected for the career of the Swedish Gladiators.
The rest of the book is reserved for the appendices. The first and main one is the list of all Gladiators in Commonwealth service. Even if this can be useful, 40 pages for this list can be seen as a bit too big, as not a single photograph comes to illustrate this part. But the full list of claims is very interesting but surprisingly only the British claims are detailed.
Nevertheless, the book is a good value and bring something new to the Gloster Gladiator bibliography, and this at a very reasonable price. A second volume (containing a full technical description, more colour profile and much more) is under preparation, but no need to wait for it to make a good deal in purchasing the volume one today, and I do recommend the book without hesitation.Phil Listemann
SAM June 2009 2011-01-26
Air Modeller #24 2011-01-26
Reviewed by Rob Baumgartner
F i r s t R e a d
The Gloster Gladiator was the last biplane fighter used by the RAF.
It was developed from the Gauntlet but by the time it entered service in February 1937, obsolescence had set in. Despite this, the Gladiator served with many RAF squadrons both home and abroad and even spent time in the Fleet Air Arm.
Many other countries used this aircraft as well, which saw it fly in areas as diverse as the sands of Africa and the Arctic ice of Finland.A
lex Crawford wrote an earlier book on the Gladiator which was a best-seller in its own right. As a result of a lot of new information, we have this expanded edition which is not only in a larger format but has to be extended to 2 volumes.
Consequently this issue contains 272 pages between the soft card covers. The book measures 21cm by 30cm and tells the story of the design, development and history of this fighter. Volume 2 will complete the narrative by giving a full technical description as well as detail shots of the airframe.
This publication is logically broken up into a number of sections, these being:
The Beginning – Obviously this is where it all started with Gloster’s chief designer improving their Gauntlet in a bid to meet Specification F.7/30 which in 1930 called for a new fighter aircraft.
Entry into service – The RAF receives its first machines and they enter service on 22 February 1937 with the newly formed 72 Sqn. The trials and tribulations of this introduction are explained as well as its further deployment to other units later in the year.
The Munich Crisis – Here we see the RAF’s response to this period of unrest and how it affected the future organization of their squadrons.
Gladiators in the Middle East – The RAF thought it was a good idea to strengthen the defense of this area and the text looks at the various squadrons assigned to the task.
The Gladiator goes to war – This is one of the larger sections in the book as it has a lot of ground to cover. WWII saw the Gladiator in action in many theatres and these include Norway, North Africa, the Balkans, East Africa, Persia and Iran. Other sub-sections talk about the aircrafts involvement in the Battle of Britain, the Iraqi conflict and various second-line duties. Not forgotten is an informative summary of RAF camouflage and markings.
Sea Gladiator – The Fleet Air Arm was in need of a single-seat fighter and the Air Ministry looked to the RAF. After adding an arrestor hook, the Gladiator was trialed for carrier deck operations onboard HMS Courageous. With a few other modifications the type was accepted and No.801 became the first Fleet Air Arm squadron to operate the type. The narrative describes this introduction and takes the reader through the rest of the Sea Gladiator’s life as it sees spirited action during WWII. As per the previous chapter, the colours and markings of these machines are also covered in detail.
Foreign Service – The Gladiator was used all around the world and 73 pages are devoted to this section. It was exported to 11 countries as well as being transferred to another 4. The text covers this admirably in addition to describing the livery worn by each.
Gladiator Production – There were 747 Gladiators built at the Hucclecote factory and the author has tabled each production contract with the aircraft type and its allocated range of serial numbers.G
loster Gladiator in Commonwealth Squadron Service – With an update from Alex Crawford, Håkan Gustavsson has compiled a list that details the arrival and departure dates of aircraft serving in their various squadrons. This also includes notes on its service history as well as serial numbers and codes where known.
Gloster Gladiator claims – Amazingly, Gladiator pilots claimed to have shot down over 400 aircraft. This rises to over 600 if one includes “probables”. There were 17 pilots that achieved “ace” status in the Gladiator with another 30 having scored some of their total while using this aircraft.
Colour profiles – Sixteen lovely colour profiles are included that depict upper, lower, and both sides of the airframe. Many different nationalities are covered by the interesting array of markings and these should prove an inspiration to modellers.
Scattered throughout the book are over 200 black and white photographs. These are complimented by scale plans in 1:48 scale which take a look at the Gladiator Mk.I and Sea Gladiator. Also in this scale are selected side elevations which highlight foreign aircraft and those that were modified for specific purposes. Examples are Norwegian, Swedish, and Finnish Mk.Is as well as those fitted with tropical and meteorological equipment.
C o n c l u s i o n
There is a lot of information packed into this publication and being volume 1…there’s more to come.
The text reads well and covers a vast amount of information. The layout is excellent and it’s easy to find your way around thanks to the detailed breakdown of the contents.
The result is a book can be enjoyed by modellers, enthusiasts and aircraft historians alike.
Model Airplane International no. 50 September 2009 2011-01-26
By Chris Banyai-Riepl
The Gloster Gladiator was the last British biplane fighter that saw limited action during the opening stages of the Second World War. Although outclassed in many areas by the newer monoplanes coming out, the Gladiator still managed to hold its own, and its pilots often sung its praises as a good plane to fly. Its solid performance made it an excellent aircraft for export, and the Gladiator found its way into the air forces of several small nations throughout Europe. The latest title in Mushroom Model Publications' White Series is the first of two volumes and covers the development and operational history of this famous biplane. The second volume will cover the technical specifications and notes on surviving examples (and will probably include a thorough photo walkaround). Combined these will likely be the most detailed history of the Gladiator available.
Although titled as covering the development of the Gladiator, this is actually remarkably brief. There is not much development history to tell with regards to the Gladiator, as it is simply the pinnacle of a design that had been evolving for the previous twenty years. As such, the development is nicely summed up in just a few pages. This leaves the rest of the book devoted to the operational history, of which the Gladiator had quite an extensive one. This is even more impressive when the reader notices that the operational record includes all of the foreign nations that flew the Gladiator.
The Gladiator is a British aircraft, though, so the operational record begins with the RAF and the Munich Crisis & operations in the Middle East. Following this is the wartime record, with chapters covering the Phoney War, Norway, the Blitzkrieg and the Battle of Britain, North Africa, the Balkans, East Africa, Iraq, and Persia/Iran. The Sea Gladiator is also covered, including a detailed chapter on Malta and the defense of Crete. Moving to the foreign coverage, this includes Belgium, China, Egypt, Eire, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iraq, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Portugal, Russia, and Sweden.
Complementing the text are many photos, which is a boon for those interested in small air forces, as those sections are well illustrated. Speaking of illustrations, there are quite a few of those as well, again documenting all of the operators of the Gladiator. The second volume is destined to have even more illustrations, so color and marking aficionados will be quite happy.
This is a great new title from Mushroom Model Publications, and one which Gladiator fans will be glad to have.
Jet Age Museum News, August 2009 2011-01-26
Outstanding new Gladiator book
The Gloster Gladiator has been Alex Crawfordʼs passion for many years and his book on Henry Follandʼs famous fighter published in 2002 became a sought-after classic. A reprint seemed likely.But Alexʼs researches have continued, more information and photographs have come to light and Gladiator restoration projects have made great progress in the last seven years. Publisher Roger Wallsgrove, himself a Gladiator enthusiast, decided that Mushroom Model Publications should produce the most up-to-date and comprehensive Gladiator book possible and this is the result: up from 160 small-format pages to 272 pages in A4 format - and thatʼs just Volume 1, now published, with Volume 2 to follow. Alex has even found a pre-WW2 colour photograph for the cover, a fine air-to-air shot of the all-silver second production Gladiator K6131. Pre-war development and service, including the Munich Crisis and Middle East Gladiators, are covered fairly briefly in 13 pages but itʼs the typeʼs wartime service where Alex really gets into his stride with chapters on the Phoney War, Norway, the Blitz and the Battle of Britain, North Africa (including the Australian contribution), the Balkans, East Africa, the Iraqi revolt and Persia/Iran.
No Faith, Hope and Charity
He rounds off his section on RAF Gladiators with chapters on secondline duties and camouflage and markings before moving on to the Sea Gladiator. Gladiator operations over Malta are covered in great detail without any reference to the propaganda myth of Faith, Hope and Charity: “Four aircraft, N5519, N5520, N5522 and N5531, were assembled and test flown... The six pilots were split into two flights... In May two further Sea Gladiators, N5524 and N5529, were also made available. Other crated aircraft would be used as a source of spares.” Alex then turns to the Gladiatorʼs extensive service with foreign air forces: Belgium, China, Egypt, Eire, Finland, the Free French, Greece, Iraq, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Portugal and Sweden, as well as captured Gladiators serving with the Luftwaffe and the Russians. All this is illustrated with numerous black and white photographs, many of which have not been published before. Itʼs a truly impressive collection of images, accompanied by 1/48 scale line drawings and 16 pages of colour artwork. Not content with narrative and pictures, there are no less than 58 pages of tables. They start with Gladiator production and move on to individual aircraft listings for Commonwealth squadrons, RAF and Fleet Air Arm Fighter Flights, Station Flights, Meteorological Flights, Operational Training Units, Flying Training Schools and other miscellaneous units. Eight pages of combat claims and a page on Gladiator aces follow. “During its combat career,” Alex writes, “Gladiator pilots claimed over 400 aircraft shot down. Add to this the number claimed as probably destroyed and damaged then this brings the number up to at least 600 claims. (...) A total of 17 pilots achieved ace status while flying the Gladiator, and claimed 34 % of the total victories.
This is quite amazing considering the Gladiator was technically obsolete when it entered service.”
IPMS UK Magazine 4/2009 2011-01-26
Skrzydlata Polska nr 5/ 2009 2009-05-18
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