Sea Gladiator Mk I
|This page is about the British naval fighter Sea Gladiator Mk I. For other versions, see Gladiator (Family).|
The Sea Gladiator Mk I is a rank I British naval fighter with a battle rating of 1.0 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.49 "Weapons of Victory".
The Sea Gladiator Mk. I is the last of the Fleet Air Arm biplane naval fighters and, as the name suggests, is a naval modification of the regular Gladiator seen in the RAF tech tree. As a result, its handling characteristics are very similar to said plane type.
The Sea Gladiator Mk I has very similar performance to the Gladiator Mk II; they are effectively the same aircraft, only the Sea Gladiator has a tail hook, so is slightly heavier and slightly less aerodynamic. This means it has good speed an acceleration for a bi-plane, and like most other biplanes is far better at turning than the monoplanes it faces; it is also one of a limited number of biplanes with flaps, which are hard to break off and can be used to further improve turning performance.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 4,420 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run|
|Combat flaps||Take-off flaps||Landing flaps||Air brakes||Arrestor gear|
|Wings (km/h)||Gear (km/h)||Flaps (km/h)||Max Static G|
|Optimal velocities (km/h)|
|< 240||< 180||< 330||> 190|
|Optimal altitude||100% Engine power||WEP Engine power|
|4,100 m||810 hp||850 hp|
Survivability and Armour
There is no armor protection on this aircraft, and all modules are focused at the front of the plane.
- No Armor Protection
- Self-Sealing Fuel Tanks
Modifications and economy
The Sea Gladiator Mk I is armed with:
- 2 x 7.7 mm Browning .303 machine guns, fuselage-mounted (600 rpg = 1,200 total)
- 2 x 7.7 mm Browning .303 machine guns, wing-mounted (400 rpg = 800 total)
Usage in battles
At rank I with a battle rating of 1.0 (AB/RB/SB), this plane will typically be one of the first fighters a new player will research. However, the Sea Gladiator, like its land-based cousin, may be difficult to seek success in, especially in Realistic Battles mode. Within RB, when up-tiering comes into play, it will have to deal with not only biplane adversaries such as the CR.42, F3F and the very manoeuvrable Ki-10, but also more advanced fighters such as the P-40E, Bf 109s, I-16s, and Ki-43s. All these plane types have several varying advantages against the Sea Gladiator, which can make early grinding a bit unbearable for some players.
There are a couple of issues with the Gladiator, all of which can make it an easy target at times:
- Its power plant configuration, which includes a three-blade fixed-pitch propeller, can make the Gladiator a slug in acceleration and climb. In flight testing the Gladiator can usually only sustain at most around 3,000 ft/min (roughly 15 m/s) in a climb at around 180-200 km/h (111-124 mph) indicated airspeed, and its top speed isn't great either (at sea level it can only manage around 335 km/h, and testing has yielded 396 km/h at 4,000 m altitude).
- The Sea Gladiator manoeuvres well. However, it bleeds a lot of speed in sharp turns, and while its turn radius is good enough to shake off reserve planes, the loss of speed can make the plane a slower and henceforth more vulnerable target to any other enemy planes in the area. Using flaps does help a bit with decreasing the amount of speed lost in a turn, but it is not beneficial enough to allow for minimal loss of speed. And like most early British fighters, it hates high speeds in dives.
However, the Sea Gladiator has four 7.7 mm (.303) Browning machine guns with a total of 2,000 rounds on hand. The Gladiator's four Browning armament can come in handy at times - when equipped with tracer belts, the plane is capable of taking down even the fiercest of opponents if you play your cards right. A good approach to combat is to attempt to side climb as much as you can on any given map, then use your altitude advantage and turn advantage wisely.
The Sea Gladiator is outclassed by most of the fighters it comes across. It is inferior in manoeuvrability to the F3F, I-16 and Ki-43, in speed to the 109s, P-40 and CR.42, and in armament to the Bf 109E-3 and P-40E.
The Gladiator is a lovely plane to learn with in Sim. It can be used in turnfighting and bomber interception. Like in AB and RB, it is excellent in turning tightly and continuously, and it has lovely low-speed handling and low stall speeds, making it a great starter plane for Sim. Also it has a decent reflector sight for an early biplane, unlike other early planes with those awful telescope-like sight, which is an advantage in all engagements. However it does have its drawbacks: the rather big nose blocks the visibility a lot, offering very poor over-the-nose visibility which is a disadvantage in a turn fight, because when leading a shot the enemy will always get obstructed by the engine, making the player guess the shot. Also its upper wings and various frames and strings between the wings will get in the way when you look aside.
Note: it is recommended to set the convergence within 300 m, with vertical convergence on, because the majority of turnfights happen at that range or closer.
Before engaging a fight, it is better to have an altitude advantage first. When approaching the fight try to figure out which is your teammate and which is the enemy, to avoid going for a second pass, as the energy retention of the Gladiator is rather slow. Also pick your target carefully. For easier aiming, you want to go for those unmanoeuvrable twin engine aircraft like Ju 88 or Ki-45, or bombers if there are any. Given the bad forward and sideways visibility of the Gladiator, these are the best options as they are quite slow and sluggish, and are a bigger target to hit. However getting hits on them doesn't mean good damage, so you must be patient. When dealing with fighters, it is way harder to aim. The elevator control of the Gladiator is quite sensitive, giving it good manoeuvrability, but at the same time, bad handling. The Gladiator will respond in a very fast turn upon moving your stick/mouse by a little bit, which makes tracking nimble planes quite hard. But once you get used to it, try to lure every enemy into a turnfight, as that is where the Gladiator shines. Quite a bit of bullets are required to effectively damage the enemy so you must be patient. If you find an enemy at your six, utilise your great turning ability and simply do tight turns, most monoplanes won't be able to cut inside your turn and they might disengage. However with biplanes you will need some defensive manoeuvres like barrel rolls.
If you are not very experienced in Sim, you can also go for even bigger targets (bombers) for easier aiming. However you want to be more careful when hunting bombers, since with the Sim control (whether it be mouse joystick or a real stick) the plane will manoeuvre much more gently, making itself a great target for the bomber's gunners. DO NOT follow behind a bomber's six unless you are sure that its tail gunners are unconscious. Chasing behind a bomber makes yourself stationary for the tail gunners, and you will be showered with bullets. Your big radial engine will usually get damaged. Instead, before attacking, get an altitude advantage over the bomber by flying around 2 km above it. The bomber should only fill up about 1/6 of your gunsight. The best position for an attack is at the bomber's high six so you can adjust the lead much easier. Dive at the bomber, but not directly at it, try to predict where you two will crash by imagining yourself as a missile, that's where you should aim at (deflection shooting). To maximise the damage it is better to aim for their wings and engines, as the fuselage usually soaks up quite some bullets. Only fire when the bomber passes in front of your guns. This short window might seem inadequate to do anything, but with a accurate burst on the engine the 4 MG can at least damage it. With an engine damaged most bombers cannot go far.
Enemies worth noting:
Those commonly seen planes are equally good at turnfights and will be a hard target to down since they are very small and agile. To deal with them you need to practice leading and deflection shots, plus manoeuvres like barrel rolls and scissors. They still need plenty of bullets to get damaged, so these kind of targets are the hardest to kill and requires great skills from the player. Specific notes to the I-15: do not try to out-turn it. Use the Gladiator's speed advantage over it.
This early twin engine plane always shows up as an AI controlled recon aircraft that you have to down, which is a good news as AI won't manoeuvre aggressively. However this plane is extremely durable for the Gladiator's weak MGs. When it shows up as an AI, deflection shots are not recommended as the small shooting windows really does nothing. Instead, try disabling its 2 gunners first, then just sit behind it and burst on its wings and engines. When attacking the gunners try to not get your engine damaged by pulling evasive manoeuvres as soon as the bullets come close, since the Do 17 might outrun the Gladiator in a level flight if your engine is damaged.
Manual Engine Control
|Controllable|| Not controllable
Not auto controlled
| Not controllable
Not auto controlled
| Not controllable
Not auto controlled
|Separate|| Not controllable
Pros and cons
- Armament is equal to or better than other fighters in its BR class
- Good manoeuvrability in a turn
- Tracer belts, like all other planes fitted with Browning machine guns, can be deadly
- Has flaps, unlike most other biplane fighters
- Sluggish in acceleration and top speed (fixed-pitch propeller can emphasise this problem)
- Performance deficiencies can make it an easy target for experienced or more difficult adversaries
- Not the best climber
- Bleeds speed in turns, even when using flaps
The Gloster Sea Gladiator was, as the name suggests, a naval modification of the Gladiator biplane fighter in use by the Royal Air Force (RAF). Ninety-eight Sea Gladiators were completed: 38 "interim" airframes modified from the existing Gladiator Mk II production line (serial numbers N2265 – N2302), and 60 purpose-built airframes (serial numbers N5500 – N5549 and N5565 – N5574); differences from the Gladiator Mk IIs in service with the RAF included the planes being fitted with catapult attachment points and a tail hook, the airframe being strengthened to withstand carrier landings, and a dinghy lifeboat being made mountable to the underbelly of the plane. As with the Gladiator Mk II it was based off, the Sea Gladiator was powered by a nine-cylinder Bristol Mercury VIIA radial engine rated at 840 hp and mated to a three-blade Fairey metal fixed pitch propeller, and armed with four 7.7-millimeter (.303) Browning machine guns. 54 Sea Gladiators were still in service with the Fleet Air Arm by the time Britain declared war on Germany in September 1939.
Sea Gladiators saw service in the Atlantic aboard Royal Navy carriers, and in the Mediterranean theater during the Siege of Malta.
- English Wikipedia article on the Gladiator (all variants)
- War Thunder live camouflages for the Sea Gladiator
|Gloster Aircraft Company, Limited|
|Fighters||Gladiator Mk II · Sea Gladiator Mk I · Gladiator Mk IIS · Tuck's Gladiator Mk II|
|Jet Fighters||Meteor F Mk 3 · Sea Meteor F Mk 3 · Meteor F Mk 4 G.41F · Meteor F Mk 4 G.41G · Meteor F Mk 8 G.41K · Meteor F Mk.8 Reaper · Javelin F.(A.W.) Mk.9|
|Export||J8A · Iacobi's J8A · ␗Gladiator Mk I · Gladiator Mk IIF|