Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Håkans Aviation Page

Håkan Gustavsson is a Swede with an unusual area of expertise: the peculiar subset of World War II fighter aces who flew and scored kills in biplanes. These two-winged holdovers from World War I often performed little better than their Great War forebears: they were slow, draggy, had open cockpits, were generally made from tube-and-fabric construction, and were armed with two measly rifle-caliber machine guns. They were sitting ducks for more heavily armed and much faster modern monoplanes.

Welcome to my site about biplane fighter aces, their aircraft and major aerial operations were biplane fighters took part.
The site also contains other aviation related subjects which I find interesting, including information about Swedish voluntary aviators from the Second World War.
If anyone could provide me with corrections/additions, feel free to email me!


via Håkans Aviation page – Biplane Fighter Aces from the Second World War.

We found one of the most interesting pages to be the one on Swedish volunteers in Finnish service. But in general there are more, and more interesting, biplanes and pilots involved in the war, on all sides, than we ever imagined.

8 thoughts on “Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Håkans Aviation Page

  1. Martin

    I would object to sitting ducks. It’s always the man behind the stick, even though statistically yes, biplanes were obsolete. However, they were able to score against better aircraft, just like there have been some jets downed by the propeller aircraft.

    Also, biplanes had a great agility, and could simply outmanoeuver the monoplanes if they got into manoeuver horizontal dogfight.

    Some later biplanes had four rifle-caliber machine guns (at least our Avia B-534 and some Soviet Polikarpovs, perhaps Gladiator too), and Italians gave their Fiats (CR-32 and 42) two 0.5″ machine guns.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Well, you will really enjoy the site. There’s a good bit on the Avias in the Slovak Air Force (both as German ally and in SNP).

      1. Martin

        Yeah, I had a plastic kit of B-534 in the past, of course, the Uprising version.

        I was born in Slovakia, and during the last decade of communist era, the Uprising was quite pushed forward as a very important historical event. So much that it was mocked in the jokes. Like:

        Q: What was the Second World War?
        A: A small event in the background of Slovak National Uprising.

        Or: Partisan recalls:
        In the morning, we attacked the Germans in the woods and dislodged them.
        However, before noon, they got reinforcements, attacked us and we had to retreat from the woods.
        But in early afternoon, we got reinforcements, made an assault on the woods and we drove the Germans out.
        In late afternoon, the Germans regrouped, attacked us and drove us from the woods.
        However, in the evening an enraged gamekeeper arrived and drove both us and the Germans from the woods.

        On the other hand, there was a standard ideology and history, and a lot of details were hidden at least from the school kids. But we had a math teacher who was right in the beginning, and he told us about the shoot-out and killing of the German delegation from Romania, which was in Martin en route to Germany. He was a young soldier in the barracks then. This sparked the Uprising way too early when something was not prepared yet. Our math teacher fought later in the Uprising as soldier of the Uprising Slovakia army and was wounded in the shoulder.

        1. Hognose Post author

          Hah, I bet I had the same kit, from Kovozavody Prostejov. I used to trade model kits with Eastern European modelers by mail, because there were no Western kits of many interesting aircraft like the Avias and the MiG-19, to remember two.

          1. Martin

            Exactly! :-) On the box there was this scene of Fero Cyprich shooting down the Hungarian Ju-52.

            Those were abundant here. Unlike my first long dreamed Hurricane, 1/48 from Airfix, that I got from Austria which my grandparents could visit around 1985.

  2. SAM

    “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” ― Mark Twain

  3. Y.

    These two-winged holdovers from World War I often performed little better than their Great War forebears: they were slow, draggy, had open cockpits, were generally made from tube-and-fabric construction, and were armed with two measly rifle-caliber machine guns.

    …umm.. not?

    Most of the biplanes used as fighters in WWII were way, way better than WWI planes. Top speed almost 2x high, use of .50 or quick-firing rather than ordinary machineguns, cannons, etc.

  4. ToastieTheCoastie

    There’s something incredibly romantic about the interwar military aircraft, all the more so because many were never used in anger, like the Grumman F3F. Beautiful planes.

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