Gloster Gamecock

The Gloster Gamecock was a biplane fighter of the Royal Air Force, a development of the Mk III Grebe, that first flew in February 1925. It differed from the Grebe primarily by way of its Bristol Jupiter engine, which replaced the unreliable Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar. Other changes included improved ailerons, refined fuselage contours, and internally mounted machine guns.

Gloster Gamecock operated by the Finnish Air Force
Role Fighter aircraft
Manufacturer Gloster
First flight 22 February 1925
Status Retired from service
Primary users Royal Air Force
Finnish Air Force
Number built 108
Developed from Gloster Grebe
Variants Nakajima A1N

The Gamecock Mark I entered service with No. 23 Squadron RAF at RAF Henlow in May 1926 and they were also the last of six squadrons to operate the fighter until July 1931.[1] This was a fairly short RAF service life, partly because of its high accident rate – of the 90 operated by the RAF, 22 were lost in landing or spin accidents. These faults were remedied in the Mk. II version, by means of a longer upper wing and a modified tail unit.

During the Finnish Winter War 1939–40, a Gamecock was used to capture a Soviet Ilyushin DB-3 bomber. On 29 January 1940 the Finnish Gamecock strafed two Soviet DB-3s when they landed on Finnish soil (which they mistook for Estonia) to transfer fuel from one plane to the other. The strafed crews hurried into the one plane which had enough fuel remaining and escaped, leaving the DB-3 behind to be captured by the Finns.[2]


  • Gamecock Mk I : Single-seat fighter aircraft for the RAF. 90 built.[3]
  • Gamecock Mk II : Single-seat fighter aircraft with revised wing and tail. One new-built for RAF with another Mk I converted to Mk II standard.[4] There were three exported to Finland in 1928, with a further 15 built under licence in Finland from 1929–1930 as the Kukko. The type remained in Finnish service until 1944.[5]
  • Gamecock Mk III : One RAF Gamecock Mk II modified with lengthened fuselage for spin trials.[6]
  • Gambet : A carrier-based version of the Gamecock produced as a private venture. Manufactured under licence for the Imperial Japanese Navy as the Nakajima A1N; about 150 were operated from 1929 to 1935 and saw combat during the Shanghai incident in 1932.[7]


 United Kingdom

Specifications (Mk. I)

Data from The Era-Ending Gamecock [8]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one, pilot
  • Length: 19 ft 8 in (5.99 m)
  • Wingspan: 29 ft 9½ in (9.07 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 8 in (2.94 m)
  • Wing area: 264 ft2 (24.52 m2)
  • Empty weight: 1,930 lb (875 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 2,860 lb (1,297 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Bristol Jupiter VI 9-cylinder radial, 425 hp (317 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 155 mph [9] (135 knots, 250 km/h) at 5,000 ft (1,520 m), 145 mph (126 knots, 233 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3,050 m)
  • Range: 365 mi [10] (316 NM, 587 km)
  • Service ceiling: 22,100 ft (6,735 m)
  • Rate of climb: 7,066 ft/min (36 m/s) at 1,000 ft (305 m)
  • Wing loading: 10.8 lb/ft2 (52.9 kg/m2)
  • Power/mass: 0.15 hp/lb (0.24 kW/kg)
  • Climb to 10,000 ft (3050 m): 7.6 min
  • Endurance: 2.5 hours


See also

Related development

Related lists



  1. "Aircraft of the Month: Gloster Gamecock". Tangmere Military Aviation Museum. September 2008. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  2. Keskinen, Stenman,Niska: "Venäläiset pommittajat /Soviet bombers"
  3. James 1971, p.350.
  4. James 1971, p.119.
  5. James 1971, p.121-122.
  6. James 1971, p.118.
  7. Gustavsson, Håkan. "Nakajima (A1N) Type 3". Håkans Aviation page. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  8. Green and Swanborough 1983, p.7.
  9. Thetford 1957, p.223.
  10. Taylor 1989, p.421.


  • Green, William and Swanborough, Gordon. "The Era-Ending Gamecock". Air Enthusiast, Number 21, April–July 1983.Bromley, Kent:Pilot Press. p. 1–8, 58–62. ISSN 0143-5450.
  • James, Derek N. Gloster Aircraft since 1917. London: Putnam, 1971. ISBN 0-370-00084-6.
  • James, Derek N. Gloster Aircraft since 1917. London: Putnam and Company Ltd., 1987. ISBN 0-85177-807-0.
  • Taylor, M.J.H. (editor) Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London:Bracken, 1989. ISBN 1-85170-324-1.
  • Thetford, Owen. Aircraft of the Royal Air Force 1918–57. London:Putnam, First edition 1957.
  • Gloster Gamecock – British Aircraft Directory
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