The best biplane fighter of the war

Discussion in 'Old Threads' started by Samu, Mar 6, 2004.

  1. Samu

    Samu Member

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    I like a lot the biplanes, so what was the best fighter? I have ear about the Cr 42 and the Gladiator, but what do you think?
     
  2. cheddar cheese

    cheddar cheese Active Member

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    i like biplanes a lot too, sadly i know very little about them :|
     
  3. kiwimac

    kiwimac Active Member

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    The Gladiator and the CR 42 were the very best biplane fighters ever built.
    It is impossible to choose between them.

    Kiwimac
     
  4. bronzewhaler82

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    I'm gonna blow on my own trumpet here and say that i know a hell of alot about Gloster Gladiators as i've been studying them and their history for some time - i also know a fair bit about other biplanes and though i agree with Kiwi that the Gladiator was one of the best biplanes ever built (in my opinion the best) but i disagree that it is impossible to say if it was better than the Fiat Cr.42 - it was!! :lol:

    I'll tell you why:

    The main advantage the Cr.42 had over the Gladiator was speed - but it was only in face 36mph faster than the Gladiator - although this is a substancial amount- its hardly groundbreaking is it?


    A)The Gladiator had better weapons than the Fiat with four .303 colt
    browning machine guns next to the Fiats two 0.50in machine guns
    B)It had a better range than the Fiat (Gladiator 440miles, Fiat 416miles)
    which was perfect for escort duties or patrols/raids over enemy lines
    C) Although it is a point to be argued wether or not the Gladiator was
    More manouvorable than the Fiat it can be somewhat proved by these
    accounts by Gladiator pilots in combat reports: This is an account from
    two Gladiator pliots from the 94th Squadron that engaged two Cr.42s in
    Africa "I saw two Cr.42s quite close to me at 1,500ft, circling to gain
    height. I flew towards them and at the same time they both saw me
    and turned towards me. I closed with lthe leading one and after a few
    seconds manoeuvring I suceeded in turning inside it and fired two long
    bursts at the cockpit, which immediately became a mass of flames and
    the aircraft at once fell nose-first to the ground, blazing fiercely" The
    other Cr.42 had latched onto the other Gladiator "A Cr.42 fighter
    appeared and got on my tail. After a few minutes manoeuvring i was
    able to get a good attacking position and fired my guns. The enemy
    aircrafts engine stopped and pilot started to glide, i attacked again and
    as the enemy aircrafts wheels touched the ground it went over first on
    one wing, then the other"

    In this particular instance two Gladiator fighters were able to engage and overcome two fiat cr.42s without any difficulty and despite the fact that the italians had clearly spotted the Gladiators before combat ensued - of course this is partly down to pilot skill but i think it indicates undoubably that the Gladiator was more manoeuverable that its Italian counterpart
    D) The Gladiator was more widespread (due to foreign sales) it was purchased and used by the RAF in some of the following countries Norway, China (In fact the first victims of the Gladiator were the Japanese during their scuffles with the Chinese in 1937-38), Iraq, Ireland, Russia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Greece, Africa to name a few -freezing wastelands to scorching deserts...the oeprational history of the Fiat was not that varied only being purchased in any real number from the Germans and the Swedish - they mainly operated from Europe and Africa.
    E) The Gladiators maximum ceiling was 33,200ft wereas the fiat was only capable of 32,265ft

    I think it is safe to say from the evidence here that the Gladiator was a more fearsome aircraft than the Fiat Cr.42...if only by a small margin - but judge for yourself 8)
     
  5. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    you argue a VERY good point for the Gladiator, but can i just put in a word for the fairey swordfish, whils not a fighter, and not that great, just thaught it was worth a mention for the role it played in the war...............
     
  6. kiwimac

    kiwimac Active Member

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    The CR42 was a delight to fly and the most manouverable biplane fighter of WW2. That its armament let it down is not an indicator of its usefulness at all. Interestingly long after it had come off day fighter missions it was still being used by both the Regia Aeronautica AND the Luftwaffe in both ground-attack and nightfighter roles.

    [​IMG]

    Indeed the RAF museum has this to say about the CR 42.

    Source: http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/fiat-cr42-falco.htm

    [​IMG]

    The CR42 was used by Italian, German, Swedish, Hungarian and Belgian airforces.

    Kiwimac
     
  7. bronzewhaler82

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    "National pride and political prestige, rather than military necessity, led the Italian Dictator Mussolini to send a force of bombers and fighters to take part in the air battles against Great Britain. Arriving at airfields on the Channel coast in October 1940 they proved something of an embarrassment to the Luftwaffe who had resisted the move for some time. Bad weather and obsolescent equipment meant that the venture was not a success"

    I think thats the section you ought to look at ;) - the Gladiator was never destroyed in such places as africa to such a scale than the biplane fiat cr.42s did during the Battle of Britain

    you also stated that its poor weaponry was not a statement of its usefulness at all - i couldn't disagree more strongly - if its weapons are poor, what chance does it have on inflicting much damage on anything? you could've built a plane faster than a spitfire during WW2 but if the pilot had to fire a pistol at the other aircraft i think you could safely call that a crappy fighter plane? ;) :rolleyes:

    The Italians had alot of misplaced faith in biplanes because of their sucess during the Spainish civil war

    I don't know the exact reason but the Italians didn't get rid of the Fiat til quite late in the war (their war anyway, they surrendered years before it finished) but it wasn't because it was such a great plane - just arrogance i think...i've read it said that the Italians even diverted funds from superior monplane fighters to build more Cr.42s.... their success rate wasn't that staggering..to be honest its part of the reason they fluffed up the war - their airforce was shite basically.

    As for early victories over the french....call me a sceptic but the French were hardly amazingly skilled opponents were they? pretty useless actually - another reason the italians had such a false hope in them
    The Gladiator was purchased by more countires than the Fiat and used on more fronts as i've said before - its clearly a close match but i know the Gladiator comes out on top -my figures clarly show that \:D/
     
  8. kiwimac

    kiwimac Active Member

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    There is no doubt that the CR42 was under-armed but it was an excellent fighting-machine.

    Kiwimac
     
  9. Crazy

    Crazy Member

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    Slightly off-topic, but since this is a biplane thread.....

    Who intends to buy Knights Over Europe when it comes out? It's supposed to be like Red Baron 3D on steroids 8) I've seen early screenshots




    The Fighting Irish are signed up to beta test it, whenever that may be




    And to stay somewhat on topic, I like the Cr.42 and the Gladiator pretty much equally, although the Gladiator was a better plane
     
  10. jj1982

    jj1982 Member

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    Well back to the earlier disscusions about the biplanes.... :lol: Perhaps the fact that the itais were hardly in a class of their own when it came to superior flying skills. Now dont get me wrong...i'm not saying that all italians couldn't fly planes, but although i must agree with bronzewhaler that the gladiator is utimalty a better machine....do you think thtat the out come could have been a bit different if the pilots were better trained??? If you for instance had a brit or god forgive me...a yank in a fiat....maybe the better class of pilot would be able to fly the plane better. Just some random thoughts that proabably make no sense to anyone but myself but hey!!! :rolleyes:
     
  11. bronzewhaler82

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    I agree with anyone who says the skill of the pilot is a factor but it is still the plane that does most of the hard work...Kiwi i don't doubt the Fiat Cr.42 was a damn fine plane and i would definately rate it the second best biplane fighter of all time - but i still beleive the Gladiator was better...a fine margin to be sure, but still better - in my opinion 8)

    Of course being British and a great fan of the plane anyway (A Gladiator squadron was based just down the road from where i lived during the Battle of Britain) I am heavily biased but i'm only going by the bare facts

    \:D/
     
  12. cheddar cheese

    cheddar cheese Active Member

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    well, the cr.42 was italian, its automatically better already.... :oops: but seriously bronzewhaler put across a vewry good point for the gladiator and he convinced me 8)
     
  13. GermansRGeniuses

    GermansRGeniuses Active Member

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    i dont know much about it, but i like the He-51 because it looks nice, not because its german but other than that i have no details on its performance or armament (i have the info but im too lazy to look through my book)
     
  14. Rell

    Rell New Member

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    Oh come off it Chedder you said yourself you dont know that much about it so your bound to agree with Bronze hes the one that has typed the most stuff :D
     
  15. Samu

    Samu Member

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    Oh, yes, the He 51 is a beautiful aircraft
    [​IMG]

    This is the data of the aircraft as appear in http://www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/LRG/he51.html

    It was the first fighter to be ordered by the newly formed Luftwaffe in 1935.
     
  16. cheddar cheese

    cheddar cheese Active Member

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    aha, wrong 8) if you look around the site you'll see that i agree with bronzewhaler on most occasions 8)
     
  17. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    cos
     
  18. cheddar cheese

    cheddar cheese Active Member

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    actually, kiwimac posts the longest 8)
     
  19. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    and we post the shortest..............................
     
  20. cheddar cheese

    cheddar cheese Active Member

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    yup, do you think that has anything to do with the number of posts we have? :rolleyes:
     
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