Biplane fighters were a significant force during the 1914-1918 and 1936-1941. But as the monoplane arrived sooner, the importance of the biplanes faded away with time. The two-winged planes served during the operational combat in World War 1 and World War 2. However, not all the biplanes had the opportunity to serve gloriously in the wartime. But few made history on their own. Here are few biplane fighters that were excellent among other biplanes apart from I-153, CR.42, and Gladiator:
Kawasaki Ki-10: Japanese Ace Biplane Fighter
Today, Kawasaki Ki-10 is virtually unknown. However, in World War II, the aircraft showcased their air superiority in the guise of “Perry”. Japanese army found their first ace to establish their air superiority over their arch-enemy China after a long time. The aircraft triggered the almost-pathological obsession of Japan with maneuverability over other fighter attributes. The obsession ultimately led to the creation of Mitsubishi A6M Zero.
The interesting fact is that during the war, Ki-10 was considered a superior biplane over the monoplanes like the Nakajima Ki-11. It was the last time when a fighter biplane got preference over a rival monoplane. During service, Ki-10 established its place as a master two-winged plane until 1939 during the “Nomonhan incident”. Japan understood that biplanes would no-longer serve well and so they focused on monoplanes.
Polikarpov I-15: A Gem Of Soviet Union
If a comparison between the I-15 and CR.32 has been drawn for the looks, then CR.32 was elegant. But beyond the looks, the gull-winged I-15 was the one to give a tough comparison. This aircraft of the Soviet Union was a little slower. But it was aggressive and more maneuverable. For individual combat, if the plane didn’t have a height advantage, the piloting skill would decide which was better. Do you know Polikarpov outclassed one of Germany’s best fighters, the Heinkel He 51? After getting released from jail, Nikolai Polikarpov designed the I-15 in exuberant. The conventional model of I-15, opened up the Soviet Union’s fighter design for the contemporary world, until the nation’s demise.
Nationalists named it as “Curtiss”, but the reason for such nickname is still not apparent to anyone. On the other hand, Republicans nicknamed it as “Chato’ meaning flat nose. Until I-16 arrived in the scene, I-15 was the premier fighter for the Republicans. The focus shifted to speed, climb and dive during wartime and so the excellent maneuverability of the I-15 became irrelevant. But for a couple of years, it was among the best biplane fighters to exist.
FIAT CR.32 Freccia: Great Rival To I-15
Both CR.32 and its arch-rival I-15 were leading contenders, while the last major conflict between the biplane fighters took place. At that time, their time in the service was brief, but their importance was unquestionable. In a short time, monoplanes, G.50, and I-16 replaced CR.32 and I-15, respectively. Celestino Rosatelli brought the Fiat into the line of pioneering fighter planes for a confident Italian army. However, during the war between China and Japan, both CR.32 and I-15 fought side-by-side for the Chinese air force.
CR.32 was superior to Boeing P-26 and Curtiss Hawk, in China. But for operational use, the scarcity of fuel made the aircraft’s capacity limited.