Gloster Gauntlet

Published: March 21st, 2018     
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Author: Alex Crawford; Illustrator: Krzysztof Wołowski
Reviewed by: 
Hub Plott, IPMS# 31328
Company: Mushroom Model Publications
ISBN #: 978-83-65281-61-3
Other Publication Information: B5, 80 pages (28 in colour)
Price: $20.00
Product / Stock #: Orange Series

This is volume one in the Orange Series from MMP. The Gloster Gauntlet was the last open-cockpit fighter of the RAF entering into service in February 1935. In addition to the RAF, it saw service in the Commonwealth with the South African Air Force, Southern Rhodesian Air Force, and Royal Australian Air Force. Foreign users were Denmark and Finland.

The book is broken down into 10 main segments beginning with an Introduction and Development and Production chapters. The original Gauntlet design with the 450hp Bristol Mercury IIA engine but due to this engine's unreliability the Gauntlet lost out top Bristol's own design, the Bulldog. Five years later after steady design improvements and multiple engine installations the Gauntlet now being 40MPH faster than the Bulldog won a production contract.

The Gauntlet served the RAF well for about 3 years before in 1938 being removed from frontline service. 616 Squadron still had Gauntlets at the outbreak of WWII!

The book covers the use of the Gauntlet in the deserts of Africa. This service continued into the early days of WWII where in the East African desert the Gauntlet actually saw combat and was claimed/credited with shooting down two Italian aircraft!

Next, the service in Commonwealth Air Forces is covered. Thirty-two Gauntlets were given to the SAAF at the beginning of WWII along with some Gladiators and Furies. This was to augment the sixty-three old Hawker Hartbeeste and 18 Junker Ju-86s already in use. Three Gauntlets served in Rhodesia and six served with the RAAF in North Africa. After finishing front line service the type still served with a number of second line units into the early 1940s.

The only foreign users were the air forces of Denmark and Finland. Denmark purchased one from the RAF and produced 17 under license in country. After the German invasion, all Danish Gauntlets were stored until 1943 when the Germans formally took over the country and all stored equipment was sent back to Germany where their ultimate fate is still unknown.

When Finland began the Winter War with Russia in November of 1939 they were desperate for aircraft, any aircraft. The Prime Minister of South Africa raised funds to purchase 29 Gauntlets from the RAF for Finland. By the time they arrived the Winter War was done and the gauntlets never saw combat and were used as training aircraft.

The book concludes with color photographs of the only airworthy Mk II in the world, GT-400, is registered in Finland where it spends its summers in Kymi Airfield Aviation Museum near Kotka. Lastly, we are given side and top/bottom profiles of various Gauntlets as well as two color pages of all the various RAF top wing squadron markings.

This is an interesting book of an interesting aircraft. It will appeal to modelers and aircraft historians alike. 1/72 kits are available from AZ Model and HR Model. In 1/48 there is the offering by Aeroclub. If you have an interest in the between the warfighters or bi-planes, in general, you will like this book.

Our thanks to Mushroom Model Publications for the review copy and my thanks to IPMS/USA for the review opportunity

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