CR 42 vs Gladiator

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Vincent Biondi
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CR 42 vs Gladiator

Post by Vincent Biondi » Fri Jan 08, 2010 12:12 pm

Hello Al,
Which aircraft do you think was better overall?
Here is my choice and the reasons why:

The CR42,
1. Armaments 2x 12.7mm MGs superior to 4x7.7mmMGs in Gladiator

2. Top Speed significantly higher, allowed the CR42 to compete with slower Monoplanes such as the Hawker Hurricane and Battle, the 12.7mm MGs also proving more useful vs the aforementioned due to their robust construction.

3. CR42 could carry a decent bombload, an attribute that made the 42 useful as a fighter/bomber, night fighter and interceptor aircraft throughout the war. In comparison, the Gladiator was only used as a fighter escort.

4. Cr42 was more manuverable and had better rate of climb as well as a higher wing loading would allow the CR to outmanuvre the Gloster in the vertical.

5. The CR42 had a very good combat record against more modern monoplane fighters as was seen in the East African Campaign against Hurricanes.

6. The CR was also constructed from less flamable materials, which had obvious advantages.

Vincent.

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Post by Editor » Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:29 pm

I agree. If you get a chance read through Hakan and Ludovico's book, I think you get a clear sense of the superiority of the Fiat Cr.42. Also note the surprising high number of kills registered against the Hurricane.
Vince Tassone

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Post by Vincent Biondi » Fri Jan 08, 2010 7:44 pm

Hi Vince,
Happy New Year!
Your absolutely right.
The CR42 registered quite a few kills against Hurricanes in the Balkans and also East and North Africa.
I have a copy of Hakan and Ludovico's book and in the book, the authors detail the string of kills obtained by the C42 against the Hurricane.
Vincent.

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Post by jrlucero » Sat Jan 09, 2010 8:25 am

Hi Vincent, from Hakan and Ludovico's book FIAT CR.42 aces you get the sense of the superiority of the Falco over the Gladiator even when it's armament was degraded to a single 12.7 mm and 7.7 mm machine gun. It's higher rate of climb and dive speed ment that the CR.42's piltos could engage at will the slower Gladiator and pose a real threat to the faster Hurricane with it's higher maneuverability.

There was a critical aspect of combat where Gladiator had an advantage, that was high G turning engagement. Many Falcos where lost this way but the italian pilots quickly learned to cope with this using boom and zoom attacks.

To me the CR.42 was the finest biplane fighter of WWII and it's combat record proves it.

Best regards,
Just build it!

José Lucero

Working on:
1/35 Autoblnda AB.41
1/48 P-47D Brazilian Jambock Squadron Senta Pua!

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Aeroal
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CR42 and Gloster Gladiator

Post by Aeroal » Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:16 am

Hello all,

I wrote my original comments as an appreciation of what I would consider to be probably the two best biplane fighters of WWII, although fans of Nikolai Polikarpov may disagree. I don't know which is the better machine, which is why I posed the question. I know that the restored fighters can never be pitted against each other as their designers intended, but it will be absolutely lovely to see and hear them in the air together, once again. The FIAT should be the better fighter as it was a later, and therefore theoretic technical improvement in design than the Gladiator, but I am not convinced of this. Not being professionally involved in aviation in any way, and in response to Vince Biondi's fascinating comments, for the record, here is my enthusiast's tuppenceworth :

1) Armament - Killing power is dependent on weight of lead on target. The Falco's guns were both slowed by interrupter gear, two of the Gloster's guns were not, therefore I feel the Gloster may have marginally more firepower.

2) Top Speed - The FIAT wins by a slight margin.

3) Bombload - The FIAT obviously wins as it was developed as a light fighter-bomber, but then it is no longer a caccia in the strictest sense of the word.

4) Manoeuverability - The FIAT was the heavier of the two and had less wing area, generating a higher wing load. I would have thought that the higher the wingload, the aeroplane had, the less manoeuverable it would have been. We are also comparing a sesquiplane with upper wing ailerons, only, against a biplane of larger wing area, with four ailerons. The FIAT may have a small advantage, climbing or diving, but the Gloster would probably better it in a turning fight. The effect of a climbing or diving attack could be negated by opposing tactics. A turning fight could probably only be broken by one plane diving out, if that plane had a substantial speed advantage over the other, not a small one as between the FIAT and Gloster.

5) Combat Record - I accept that the FIAT had a good combat record in AOI, but the Gladiator was not to be taken lightly, either. Combat records will obviously depend on strength of numbers, aircraft condition, pilot abilities and force tactics. There was such wide variation on both sides in different situations that it is not possible for me to make a meaningful comment, here.

6) Construction - I am not sure that the construction was so radically different that the FIAT would be less flammable. I think one fabric covered biplane would burn just as easily as the other.

You will see from the above, that I am unsure that the CR42 would triumph. I understand that I could be accused of bias, being a Brit, but I hope my observations will be taken in the good humour in which they are offered. Please feel free to disagree. Any convincing, pertinent input would be very welcome.

Kindest regards to all the cognoscenti.

Aeroal.

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Post by Alex T. » Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:07 am

hehehe I love these debates about "which one you think is better"? It must be a men thing, as we do it with everything: cars, bikes, women, BBQs..

Don't get me wrong, I used to do that too, but then I came to the conclusion that it doesn't matter who's better on paper, it's all about the context of where and how things are used: an Audi R8 is superior on paper to a Subaru Impreza, but put them on a rally track and the Audi won't go far..

In the hands of a skilled pilot, the Gladiator would have still been quite a handful, and considering the similar performances, it would have all gone down to tactical situation and pilots' skills.

I once read of a Fiesler Storch being chased over a city by a Mustang: the Storch pilot wouldn't have stood a chance against the superior P-51, so he started flying over streets at building top height, with the Mustang desperately trying to chase him until giving up for he ran out of ammo!

Having said this, I talked to several former Regia Aeronautica pilots who all said the Cr.32 was better in handling and manouverability than the Cr.42.. :wink:

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Post by Editor » Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:58 pm

I don't think they can have it both ways, if the Gladiator was a better aircraft than the Cr.42, then we must say the Fiat was a better aircraft than the Hurricane? Without demising the Gladiator I think its fair to say that the Fiat was more modern, faster and just a better plane overall than the elderly Gladiator. And one thing that's generally forgotten is that the RA never had in mind that the Fiat would be its frontline fighter, it was an interim fighter until the G.50, Re.2000 and the C.200 became available and in this role it fulfilled its mission.
Vince Tassone

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