Mr. Gaetani has supplied me with an abundance of information that I am still reading through and studying.
I really should wait until I have completely studied all of it but some statements recently posted require
answers. (In-other-words I'm a kid in a candy store with the lids off all the jars so I can't wait) .
The following quotes come from ' Desert Prelude Vol.2 "Operation Compass", 2010 by Ludovico Slongo and
H. Gustavsson. They also are the authors of Gladiator vs. C.R.42 Duel, Osprey 2012. (The 1.2:1 exchange
rate mention above comes from page 70 of this book.)
"Lighter than the C.R.42, with the same power installed, a slightly greater wingspan and the benefit of split
trailing edge flaps on all four wings, the Gloster Gladiator was more manoeuverable than its Italian opponent,
also retaining a similar speed up to around 3000 metres, while above that height the Fiat was definitely faster.
The radio equipment and a more effective armament of four Colt-Browning 0.303" machine guns made the
Gladiator a slightly better dogfighter than the Italian biplane. This was also confirmed by the outcome of the
encounters that the two types experienced in the early part of the conflict. In particular, during the first North
African camqaign, on the relatively few occasions in which the two fighters clashed 22-23 C.R.42s were shot
down by the Gloster biplanes in exchange for 15-24 Gladiators, with a victory to loss ratio that goes from
around 1:1 to 1.4:1 in favour of the Commonwealth units (the wider range on the number of Gladiators lost
to Italian action comes from the fact that very often losses suffered during a specific combat were attributed
by the British pilots to engine breakdowns, collisions with friendly aircraft, return fire or simply not identified
causes; this didn't apply to Italian losses). Results that give a ratio closer to 1:1 (or even in Italian favour)
were obtained in East Africa and over the Mediterranean, while over Greece the Gladiators were able to
gain a clear margin of superiority over the Falcos, and it seems that such benefits as radio equipment and
closed cockpit had a greater effect in the cold and cloudy environment of the winter sky over the Greek
" The real problem with the Gladiator was that its insufficient medium altitude speed rendered almost
impossible the interception of the faster S.M.79s, and in fact during the campaign Gladiators (which lost at
least two of their numbers in the process) only shot three of these machines down." "...against the Glosters
the Italian bombers were able to operate without escort and almost with impunity. On the other hand, the
Fiat fighters and the Falco in particular were much more effective against British bombers, with around
30 Blenheims shot down or obliged to force land or crash land, notwithstanding the highly ineffective
"...Commonwealth aircraft, even when outmaneuvered and hit during a combat, were often able to
disengage and return home, sometimes ending with a crash-landing or a force-landing that very often
resulted in the recovery of the shot down machine. Italian planes on the other hand, not being armoured,
were much easier to be fatally hit by the rifle caliber Browning fire, this resulting also in a much superior
number of casualties among pilots and crews."
"...Spanish 'tricks' that the Italian pilots adopted frequently: the preference for the head on attack in
order to use one of the very few advantages their machine gave them that was the longer range of their
12.7 mm. gun (only one, because it seems that in 1939-1940 Fiat had to substitute one of them with a
7.7 mm. in most C.R.42 and all the C.R.32s possibly to save weight but apparently because of a
general lack of this kind of weapon,..."
Edited by CORSNING, 18 May 2016 - 01:53 PM.