The de Havilland Mosquito as a Fighter Bomber

The de Havilland Mosquito as a Fighter Bomber

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The de Havilland Mosquito as a Fighter Bomber

Somewhat ironically the Mosquito FB VI fighter bomber saw most of its early service with Intruder squadrons of Fighter Command. It was only after the formation of the 2nd Tactical Air Force on 1 June 1943 that bomber squadrons began to receive the Mosquito fighter bomber. Here we will concentrate on the six squadrons of Mosquitoes that performed daylight raids with the 2nd Tactical Air Force.

The 2nd TAF inherited No 2 Group’s Boston, Ventura and Mitchell squadrons. The Ventura, which equipped Nos. 21, 464 (RAAF) and 487 (RNZAF) squadrons, was clearly obsolete by 1943, and so the first priority was to re-equip those units with the Mosquito. Between August and September 1943, all three squadrons were converted to the Mosquito FB Mk VI, forming No 140 Wing. A second Mosquito wing, No. 138, was formed over the winter of 1943-44 as Nos. 613 (October 1943 from the Mustang), 305 (December 1943 from the Mitchell) and 107 Squadrons (February 1944 from the Boston) converted to the aircraft.

The squadrons of No. 140 Wing gained their first operational experience with the Mosquito on 3 October 1943, when they took part in a raid against transformer stations in France. This was part of the prolonged campaign against targets that would help the upcoming invasion of Europe.

Both wings were involved in the campaign against the V-1 launch sites in the Pas de Calais early in 1944. The Mosquito was the ideal aircraft to attack these small targets, needed only a quarter of the explosives required by any other aircraft to destroy each site.

These squadrons were involved in two of the most famous of all Mosquito raids, pinpoint attacks on Amiens Prison and on the Gestapo records in The Hague. Amiens Prison contained over 700 French prisoners, many from the resistance. When it was discovered that the Germans were planning to execute a number of the prisoners, Nos. 487 and 464 Squadrons were sent to knock down the walls of the prison, and give the prisoners a chance to escape. This required some of the most precise bombing ever attempted, but the Mosquito crews were up to the task. On 18 February 1944 the walls of the prison were duly destroyed, and 255 prisoners escaped, of whom 73 remained at liberty. 37 prisoners were killed, many while trying to escape. Only one Mosquito was lost.

The second raid hit the Kunstzaal Kleizkamp Art Gallery in The Hague. This building was being used by the Gestapo to store the Dutch Central Population Registry. Destruction of these records would be a great help to the Dutch resistance. Accordingly, on 11 April 1944 No 613 Squadron was sent to attack the Gallery. Once again, the required building was hit, and most of the records destroyed.

These were only the most famous of many low level daylight attacks on specific buildings. Many of these raids hit buildings being used as barracks by the Germans.

While many of these squadron’s raids took place during the day, in the immediate aftermath of the D-Day invasions they also mounted many night time sorties in direct support of the fighting in France. Allied control of the air forced the Germans to move their troops at night, so the Mosquito squadrons were used to patrol behind the German front line, attacking troop movements and transport links, and generally disrupting German movements.

As the Allies advanced towards Germany, the two Mosquito wings relocated to France. No. 138 Wing was first, arriving at bases near Cambrai in November 1944. 140 Wing followed by February 1945, moving to Rosiäres-en-Santerre. This reduced the distances they needed to travel to reach their targets. The war was now moving into Germany. Nos. 138 and 140 Wings were heavily involved in attacks on the German transport system. Daylight operations tailed off after Operation Clarion, a concerted attack by over 9,000 allied aircraft designed to destroy what was left of that transport system. After the war these attacks on the transport system were credited with causing the virtual collapse of the German war economy in the last months of the war.

One unusual use of the fighter-bomber Mosquito was as a pathfinder aircraft outside the Pathfinders group. Leonard Cheshire, the commander of No. 617 Squadron, did not feel that the Pathfinders were accurate enough for the high precision raids that his unit performed. At first Cheshire used his Lancaster to drop flairs (almost turning the four engined heavy bomber into a dive bomber!), but in April 1944 he was given a Mosquito. He was so successful with this aircraft that No. 617 Sqn was given four more Mosquitoes, and formed a Pathfinder flight within the Squadron. These aircraft were then used to mark targets for No. 5 Group. The low level marking system allowed Bomber Command to hit Munich successfully for the first time on 24/25 April 1944.

De Havilland Mosquito : The Original Multirole Combat Aircraft

De Havilland Mosquito: The Original Multirole Combat Aircraft covers the creation, design and development of this beloved aircraft. Built in Britain, Canada and Australia, the Mosquito saw extensive service in Britain, Europe and Asia throughout the Second World War. It was initially designed as a twin-Rolls-Royce Merlin-powered unarmed bomber (with a two-man crew), but the aircraft’s versatility allowed it to carry out many more functions. The additional roles of the Mosquito included path finding and photo reconnaissance acting as a night fighter, an intruder, or a fighter bomber electronic counter measures and naval operations and high-speed courier missions.

This book is essential for those seeking to study this iconic British aircraft, featuring the experiences of Mosquito designers, construction workers and aircrew. It also contains many original, contemporary and previously unpublished photographs, which cover the aircraft’s service with RAF squadrons and overseas air forces in its many varied roles. For reference, there are detailed appendices describing production, the specifications of each variant, the RAF and RN units equipped with the type, and details of Mosquitos that survive today.

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The raid breached the walls of the prison and allowed many of the prisoners to escape, although Group Captain Pickard, the leader of the mission, failed to return.

There was also Operation Carthage, the low-level Mosquito raid on the Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen which was deliberately aimed at destroying all the records of the Danish resistance fighters to prevent them being rounded up and executed.

Sunshine through the hangar doors catching the Mosquito's nose. Picture: de Havilland Aircraft Museum - Credit: de Havilland Aircraft Museum

Many lives were saved by these and other Mosquito missions but there was an inevitable cost in aircrews and civilian casualties as well.

Our Mosquito FB.VI has been undergoing restoration for at least 15 years now – it served in Europe after the war and ended up at Delft University in Holland.

The fuselage came to the museum in 1975 and was mated up to the wings of another Mosquito.

Restoration has, of course, been halted temporarily but when we can restart, it won’t be too long before this huge project is complete.

The de Havilland Aircraft Museum is closed until further notice.

Visit for the latest news from the museum based at Salisbury Hall, London Colney.

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ISBN 13: 9780859791151

Thirsk, Ian

This specific ISBN edition is currently not available.

A private venture aircraft, the much-loved Mosquito was possibly the most versatile of all British aircraft of World War II. Revolutionary in its wood construction, the de Havilland Mosquito played a vital role in the war combining the maneuverability of a fighter with the payload of a medium bomber. It contributed to the war as a fighter an unarmed bomber, a reconnaissance aircraft and its different variants included the Sea Mosquito, the first British twin-engined aircraft to land on an aircraft carrier. De Havilland Mosquito An Illustrated History Volume 2 traces the fascinating development of the Mosquito from its construction through to operational fighter and bomber in frontline, Operational Training, Ferry and Maintenance Units. Human stories of RAF aircrew, ground crew and Commonwealth Air Forces are detailed in addition to coverage of the Mosquito operated by the Russians and that captured by the Luftwaffe. This volume is a comprehensive pictorial record of the Mosquito aircraft and the people who worked with and flew in her. Extended captions include performance tables, nose-art, advertising and a summary of preserved Mosquitoes. Aircraft numbers, specifications, dates, personalities, and background information coupled with over 500 black and white photographs, many previously unpublished and a color section, make this and its best selling companion Mosquito An Illustrated History Volume 1 a must for researchers and historians alike.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Barnett on Aviation (online), May 2007

“I cannot believe that any modeler wanting to build a Mosquito could do so without this book – it has details beyond galore, markings I'm not used to seeing on RAF aircraft (American-style nicknames, mission-marks, etc.), battle damage, weird offshoot uses . everything – including a special section on the anti-sub version with a 57mm (aka 6-pounder) cannon . As for historians, no one can really understand the operation of this magnificent flying machine without wading deep into the operational specifics of individual aircraft, and this book does it in spades . Cap that off with the clear superiority of Crecy book manufacturing standards, and this is a remarkable, fantastic book . Bottom line: if you have any interest in the Mosquito, you NEED this book.”

De Havilland Mosquito An Illustrated History Volume 2 Ian Thirsk- November 2006

Rex was called up on 5 May 1946, aged 18, and commenced his training at Locking, Weston-Super-Mare as a ground crew flight mechanic, airframes. After training, he was initially posted to Hawarden, near Chester, and then to the ex-American air base at Little Snoring, Norfolk, where he was involved in re-furbishing various types of Mosquitos for sale and export to Turkey and other countries.

Rex was in charge of a flight crew carrying out the refurbishment, and flew with the aircraft pilots on air test, before signing off as airworthy and clear for export He also worked on Halifaxes and Lancasters, but he maintains that the “Mossie was his true love”.

Of the book, Rex states: “I found it precise and objective with intimate histories of the various marks. The depth of accumulated information is so detailed that few questions remain. I found it difficult to put the book down. It vividly refreshed old memories.”

The de Havilland Mosquito as a Fighter Bomber - History

Visit Zeno's Flight Shop Aviation DVD Video Store - Great Mosquito film & lots more great RAF footage on our new DVD RAF WW2 Military Aviation News 1942-1945 --- All in all, more than 40 Mosquito variants were developed in the UK, Canada and Australia and the plane remained in service well into the 1950s. More than 7,000 Mosquitos were produced.

Pilot's Flight Operating Instructions for the De Havilland Mosquito FB VI - Click here to view or download Mosquito pilot' s manual (50 Pages, 600 kb Adobe Acrobat ".pdf" file ) -
I'll never forget the first time I encountered the De Havilland Mosquito. I was a teenager and the film was 633 Squadron staring Cliff Robertson and a reliable cast of British actors. The true star of the film was the squadron of real Mosquito fighter bombers flown in many sequences. The most famous scene is where the Mossies scream up a Norwegian fjord to attack the Nazi rocket fuel plant. (Though crude by today's special effects standards, it inspired George Lucas when he shot the climactic attack on the Death Star at the end of "Star Wars."). Those Mossies made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I was later to discover that this fictionalized account pales in comparison with the Mosquito's many remarkable real life exploits.

Geoffrey De Havilland originally developed the Mosquito early in World War II as a two man multi role aircraft that could be manufactured by traditional British artisans in small shops using still plentiful non strategic materials -- wood, glue, and canvas. This made a very lightweight yet strong airframe, which combined with a pair of outstanding Rolls Royce Merlin engines, resulted in an aircraft that excelled "right out of the box." She exceeded 380 mph and was put to use immediately as a day fighter, night fighter, bomber, fighter bomber and photo recon plane.

It turned out that the Mosquito had one huge, unanticipated advantage over it's contemporaries. The "wooden wonder" was almost undetectable by radar! Combined with the Merlin's adaptability for both high and low altitude performance, very high air speed, and good handling the Mossy became the preeminent "hit and run" strike aircraft of World War II.

High altitude bomber variants conducted small, squadron level night raids deep into Germany. By the time the Mosquitos were detected (often not until they dropped their 4,000 lb bomb loads) they were flying too high and too fast to be intercepted.

On the other hand, Mossies were also ideal for low level "Rodeos" over occupied Europe, barrelling in at well over 300mph at tree top level to strike rail yards, ammo dumps, oil depots and other targets requiring a high degree of accuracy. Since they had a two man crew and could carry a heavy radar set without losing performance, they were the RAFs first really successful night fighters. And the day fighter, equipped with four 303 machine guns and four 20mm canon was among the most effective aircraft for shooting down V-1 "Buzz bombs.

De Havilland Jet Mosquito

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 04/25/2019 | Content © | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The "Jet Mosquito" was a briefly-entertained conversion project of the classic de Havilland DH.98 "Mosquito" series fighter-bomber (detailed elsewhere on this site). The Mosquito excelled in various roles during World War 2 (1939-1945) and was produced in the thousands during, and after, the conflict. Its success only opened the aircraft to various proposed production types by the company, such was the over-battlefield potency of "The Wooden Wonder".

As the name suggests, the Jet Mosquito was to become a jet-powered development of the classic DH.98 offering. The airframe would have retained much of the form and function of the original save for slightly swept-back wing mainplanes. The original propeller-driven engines naturally gave way to underwing nacelles housing turbojet engines. The crew resided under a bubble-style canopy offering excellent forward vision. The tail unit would have incorporated a single vertical tail fin and low-set horizontal planes. A tail-dragger undercarriage arrangement was to be standard for ground-running.

Power was derived from 2 x de Havilland Halford H-1 (evolving into the "Goblin") series turbojet engines to which a maximum speed of 445 miles per hour was estimated. The Goblin powerplant went on to power several notable aircraft such as the Gloster Meteor and de Havilland Vampire aircraft. An internal bomb load of up to 2,000lb was projected.

The design, with paperwork appearing as early as mid-1942, did not progress beyond a few known drawings.

Some specifications on this page are estimated on the part of the author.

De Havilland Mosquito - British Bomber

The de Havilland Mosquito was unique among British World War II aircraft in that the aircraft was essentially built of plywood, and often was the fastest propeller driven aircraft in the war.

The twin engine aircraft was originally designed as a fast bomber, but found use in an amazing number of roles. As a long range, high altitude reconnaissance plane the Mosquito was the first plane to photograph war-time Berlin, and the first to photograph the V-2 rocket.

As a night fighter the Mosquito found a defensive role attacking German bombers and later V-1 Buzz bombs over England, and as an offensive night fighter over Europe attacking German night fighters. The Mosquito was used as a low level precision bomber of occupied territories to minimize collateral damage when attacking SS and Gestapo headquarters, prisons, or high value targets in urban areas.

The de Havilland Mosquito was used as an interceptor of German long range anti-shipping bombers, and later were armed with a 6 pounder canon, then 60 pound rockets to punch holes into U boats while outside the range of U-boat anti-aircraft guns. It was used by Bomber Command as a pathfinder for Allied heavy bombers marking the target with flares, disrupting German radar with chaff, and carrying out diversionary raids.

Some Mosquitoes had their bombays modified to accept 4,000 pound cookie bombs, to ensure that the diversionary raids were highly damaging of themselves. The Mosquito even found a commercial use as the only aircraft suitable for mail and small, high value payloads to and from neutral Sweden. The physicist Neils Bohr was transported to England from Sweden in a commercial version of the Mosquito.

The de Havilland Mosquito as a Fighter Bomber - History

The De Havilland Mosquito was so successful in many different combat roles that it was nicknamed "the wooden wonder". It was so fast and agile that it did not need gunners and gun turrets like all other bombers because it was faster than the enemy's fighters. Its loss rate was much lower than that of any other bomber, while it could perform long range precision bombing like no other bomber. It was also the best night fighter and photo reconnaissance aircraft, and an excellent fighter-bomber and long range bomber interceptor.

The sad fact that the superb De Havilland Mosquito did not also replace the big and slow heavy bombers as the main allied bomber in Europe, even when British authorities had all the updated combat-proven evidence and statistics to support that, is another example of how long a conservative beaurocratic inertia can actively reject significantly better available alternatives, at a heavy cost in blood and money being wasted as a result.

The plywood bomber

Making an aircraft mostly of wood, plywood, balsa and glue might seem obsolete even for 1938, especially for a high performance aircraft, but in fact the De Havilland Mosquito was the third in a family of excellent aircraft built from those materials by the De Havilland company, using highly advanced construction methods which resemble those used today to build large parts of the most modern military and civilian aircraft from strong, lightweight, and easy to shape composite materials, or in other words made of plastic.

In 1934 De Havilland built the wooden Comet racer aircraft, which won the 11,000 mile England-Australia air race. It followed with the wooden four engine Albatros commercial passenger aircraft, and in 1938 when Britain began rearming itself against the Nazi aggression, the De Havilland design team realized that they had the technology and capability to develop a long-range military aircraft with unprecedented performance. The idea was simple, combine the best available engines with the best aerodynamic shape and build it much lighter than an equivalent metal-made aircraft, and you are bound to get superior performance.

They naturally wanted to develop a bomber, but the air ministry insisted that bombers must have gun turrets for self defense. Gun turrets just didn't fit in De Havilland's lightweight and streamlined design. De Havilland claimed that instead of turrets, their proposed aircraft would rely on its speed and agility to avoid being intercepted by enemy fighters, but the doubtful air ministry totally rejected this bold idea.

It's important to note that there were precedents to building faster-than-fighters bombers. Two early 1930s German light bombers, the Heinkel 70 and Dornier 17, and the Russian Tupolev SB-2, were faster than their contemporary fighters and proved almost impossible to intercept during the Spanish civil war. But they also carried rear gunners for self defense, so De Havilland's proposal to rely solely on speed and agility for self defense was indeed unprecedented.

The outbreak of World War 2 in September 1939 which made rearmament more urgent than before, plus the fact that building the wooden Mosquito would not require the strategic resources of metal and the metal industry, plus the personal friendship of Mr. De Havilland with Air Marshal Freeman of the Air Council, finally changed the Mosquito's fate, and prototype construction was authorized. The Mosquito was powered by two Rolls-Royce Merlin engines, the superb engine which also powered the Spitfire, Hurricane, Lancaster, Mustang and other top allied aircraft of World War 2.

The first operational flight, in September 1941, absolutely justified De Havilland's promises when the Mosquito, on a photo reconnaissance mission over southern France, simply outran the German Me-109 fighters sent to intercept it, leaving them behind at over 400mph. Since then and until the end of World War 2, Mosquitoes streaked all over Europe, the North atlantic, and elsewhere, by day and night, at very high and very low altitudes, with amazing achievements and low losses, in a quickly growing variety of missions and types. There were missions that no other aircraft could perform, like precision bombardment of far targets located among the dense occupied population of European cities, which of course could not be mass bombed like German cities. Only the two-seat Mosquito could get there, very low and fast, quickly identify and aim at a particular building in the middle of a city, or even at a particular part of a building, and destroy it without causing heavy casualties to the nearby friendly occupied population, and without being decimated by the enemy's anti-aircraft defenses. With today's technology it's easier. Before the Mosquito it was practically impossible. The targets in those precision attacks were mainly offices and jails of the German GESTAPO, the nerve centers of the Nazi occupation.

The most versatile aircraft

  • Unarmed long range photo reconnaissance aircraft.
  • Long range day fighter, used mainly against German bombers and maritime aircraft, and later against V-1 cruise missiles, with a massive firepower of four 20mm guns and four machine guns, all in the nose, and a total of 9200 rounds and bullets.
  • Night fighter versions, with similar firepower, and equipped with increasingly advanced radars. Later versions included additional electronic sensors which detected German aircraft RADAR emissions, and other electronic warfare equipment, making them highly successful long range night fighters which operated not just over Britain but also deep over German territory. Their excellent performance gave them additional advantage over German night fighters.
  • Long range fighter-bomber versions, with similar firepower, plus four small bombs or eight rockets or additional fuel or torpedoes.
  • And finally, an unarmed light/medium bomber with a glass nose, initially carrying four 500lb bombs, but later the bomb compartment was fitted to carry a single 4000lb bomb nicknamed "cookie". Their attack radius reached Berlin and beyond.

When the first bomber-version Mosquitoes were delivered to the Royal Air Force, its crews quickly discovered its abilities as a bomber and demonstrated them in day and night bombing missions. They became enthusiast advocates of the Mosquito as a bomber, but the British Bomber Command and air ministry remained locked with their beliefs and thought that the Mosquito can only be used in small numbers as a day bomber.

Group commander Donald Bennett, who later commanded the Pathfinder Force of Mosquito bombers which were equipped with the latest electronic navigation equipment and located and marked targets for the formations of heavy bombers which followed, described this beaurocratic attitude well:

Mosquito in Worldwar [ edit | edit source ]

When the Race invaded Earth in 1942, the Mosquito was being used as a night fighter. The twin engined planes had the highest operational ceiling of any British fighter, not to mention their wooden skins and skeletons made it difficult for radar to acquire. It was for this reason that the Mosquito was the first fighter craft to be used by the RAF for attacks on Killercraft. The RAF used Lancasters that carried portable radar sets to direct Mosquitos to their targets.

Watch the video: Το κουνούπι. The mosquito