· Status: On display
· Category: Military
· Length: 8,36 m
· Wingspan: 9,85 m
· Height: 3,15 m
· Max weight: 2150 kg
· Max speed: 414 km/t
· Max height: 10 000 m
· Range: 708 km
· Engine: 1 Bristol Mercury IX, 830 Hk
· Other details:
4 x 7,7 mm MG
Gloster Gladiator II
British single-seater fighter Aircraft.
Biplane fighters were outdated and consigned to history from the middle of the 1930s. The Gloster Gladiator was the exception that proved the rule. The aircraft was introduced in 1934 as a further development of the Gloster Gauntlet. The requirement for the new fighter was that it should have a top speed of more than 210 knots and be armed with least four machine guns. The Gloster Gladiator met the requirements in style and had outstanding flying qualities. By the spring of 1940, 537 Gladiators had been produced, in three different models. Almost half were exported to European countries. When the second world war started, the British authorities prioritised the use of the Gloster Gladiator in combat operations abroad. The more modern fighters, the Hurricane and the Spitfire, were allocated to the defence of Great Britain.
The German state’s upgrading and expansion plans caused the Norwegian authorities to order twelve Gloster Gladiators in 1937. The first six were of the Mk. I type, while the next six were Gloster Gladiator Mk. IIs. This model was equipped with a different engine (a Bristol Mercury VIII A), electric starter and new, modern instruments in the cockpit. The Norwegian Gladiators were drawn together in Jagervingen (‘the Fighter Wing’), which operated from Fornebu, outside Oslo. Jagervingen was in reality Norway’s only fighter aircraft unit in 1940. Seven aircraft were operational when the Germans attacked. Pilots from Jagervingen claim four German aircraft shot down.
The Royal Norwegian Air Force Museum’s Gloster Gladiator Mk. II – N5641/HE-G was built at Gloster’s aircraft factory in 1938. In February 1940, the aircraft was transferred to 263 Squadron of the RAF and given the registration letters HE-G. After the German attack on Norway on 9 April 1940, 263 Squadron was transferred to Norway in the aircraft carrier ‘HMS Glorious’. On 24 April, 18 aircraft landed on Lesjaskogsvatnet. HE-G was being flown by Reginald Steward Mills when it crashed on 25 April during combat operations against the Luftwaffe. The aircraft was left on the ice when the British withdrew and it was later dismantled and stored. The restoration project started in 1980.
Camouflage-painted in dark green and ‘dark earth’. The underneath is painted matt black and white (‘night’). The rudder carries the national flag colours in matt red, white and blue. The cowling is blue, with the serial number in black. The squadron letters are in medium grey. There are RAF roundels on the fuselage, and top and bottom of the wings. The roundel on the fuselage has yellow edging. (‘RAF at war’ was taken into use in June 1940.)