34 Pictures of the Best Warbird of WWII – De Havilland Mosquito

 
 
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‘We believe that we could produce a twin-engine bomber which would have a performance so outstanding that little defensive equipment would be needed’.
Geoffrey de Havilland – September 1939

The de Havilland Mosquito is one of the most iconic British aircraft of WWII. The ‘Wooden Wonder’, as it was called, due to its frame being made almost entirely out of wood, participated in a wide range of operations throughout the war, from the transport of valuable cargo across enemy-held airspace to high-precision bomb raids on prisons and Gestapo headquarters. If you needed to get in, wreak havoc and get out fast, the ‘Mossie’ was your weapon of choice.

Conceived as a multi-role combat aircraft and manned by a crew of two, it served as a low- to medium-altitude daytime tactical bomber, high-altitude night bomber, pathfinder, day or night fighter, fighter-bomber, intruder, maritime strike aircraft, and fast photo-reconnaissance aircraft.

The Mosquito’s operational history began in November 1941, when it started performing as an unarmed, high-speed, high-altitude aircraft engaged in photo-reconnaissance missions. Justifiable, since it was among the fastest airplanes in the world at the time.

It quickly became clear that this wooden beauty could do much more damage than just providing intelligence on enemy positions. It was soon equipped with 4,000 lb (1,800 kg) Blockbuster bombs, usually dropped from high altitude.

Its role became that of a “nuisance bomber,” either by diverting the attention of military defenses from raids occurring elsewhere or engaging “Targets of Opportunity” such as trains, convoys, and troop movements.

Apart from serving as an offensive aircraft, de Havillands pride and joy helped defend the skies above Britain on numerous occasions, successfully intercepting German night raids during Operation Steinbock in the first months of 1944.

After this final push, the Luftwaffe abandoned the idea of bombing Britain with conventional aircraft and almost entirely switched to the use of V1 and V2 rockets.

This lead to Mosquito pilots countering the threat by conducting raids on rocket production facilities deep in enemy territory.

Some of its most notable actions include the famous raid on Amiens prison in German-occupied France, in an attempt to cause a massive breakout of prisoners, most of whom were members of the French resistance.

Other daring exploits in which the Mosquito played a vital role include the attack on the Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the bombing of the Philips factory at Eindhoven, Netherlands, in 1942, which caused a major disruption in the production of electronic equipment used by the Germans.

It remained active within the RAF, as well as other air forces supplied by the British, until the 1950s when it was subsequently replaced by the jet-powered English Electric Canberra.

 

Navigators position. On one occasion a Mosquito daylight attack knocked out the main Berlin broadcasting station on the very day Herman Göring (German Commander in Chief) was giving a speech to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Nazis’ seizing of power.

 

Even with this bomb on board, the Mosquito could out fly most German night fighters, and on numerous occasions it attacked far-off Berlin and German V1 flying-bomb sites.

 

“Mosquito of the 13 squadrons of RAF patrol the Suez canal in Egypt.
The second prototype (W4051) served as the basis for the photo-reconnaissance variant which was actually the first type to enter service as the Mosquito PR1 and flew its first operational sortie in June 1941.

 

‘Happy Xmas Adolf’ – ground staff ‘bombing up’ Mosquito Mk XVI MM199 of No. 128 Squadron, No. 8 (PFF) Group, at Wyton with a 4,000 lb ‘Cookie’. This aircraft was shot down by flak and crashed near the village of Benthe while on an operation to Hanover on the night of 4/5 February 1945. Lt Lt J K Wood and Fg Off R Poole were both killed.

 

RAF night fighter pilot Eric Loveland and navigator Jack Duffy in the cockpit of their Mosquito March 1945.

 

More unusual weapons carried by some Mosquitos included a 57 mm cannon for ground attack (this devastating gun was capable of destroying any armored vehicle), and the 4,000 lb. ‘block-buster’ bomb

 

 

Manufacture Line

 

The Mosquito flew its last war mission on 21st May 1945 when it joined in the hunt for German submarines that might have been tempted to disobey the surrender order.

 

Flight Lieutenant A Torrance of Stonehouse, Lanarkshire, Scotland, a pilot serving with ‘A’ Flight, No. 27 Squadron RAF, climbs into his De Havilland Mosquito FB VI at Parashuram, India, for a sortie over Burma, March 1944.

 

Mosquito aircraft in at low level attacking two armed merchantmen In Norwegian Fjord with cannon and rocket fire, 4th April 1945

 

A Mosquito NF Mark XIII. View looking into the cockpit through the starboard entry hatch in the nose.
The prototype made its first flight on November 25, 1940. This was only ten months and twenty-six days after detailed design work had commenced.

 

DH 98 Mosquito

 

RAF nightfighter pilot Eric Loveland and navigator Jack Duffy standing in front of their Mosquito March 1945.

 

Originally conceived as a high-flying, unarmed photo-reconnaissance aircraft

 

the Mosquito saw service in wide-ranging roles from bomber, fighter-bomber, night-fighter, anti-shipping strike, trainer, torpedo bomber and target tug.

 

Molins gun and Mosquito FB Mk.XVII

 

Performed multiple roles as a fighter aircraft and a fighter bomber.

 

The business end of the fighter version of the Mosquito – was armed with four 20 mm cannons in its belly and four .303 machine guns in its nose

 

The Mosquito saw glory on a number of occasions, the most famous being Operation Jericho on 18th February 1944.

 

It served in Europe, the Middle and Far East and on the Russian front.

 

Night-fighter Mosquitos downed over 600 enemy aircraft during the war

 

The first Mosquito sortie was made on September 20, 1941, when a single aircraft made a reconnaissance flight over France.

 

Baker, Briggs and “F-for-Freddie” at de Havilland Canada’s Downsview base in Ontario on May 6, 1945

 

Mossy cockpit

 

The design made use of a wooden sandwich construction

 

Mosquitos attack ships off Gironde France 1944

 

Mosquito FB VI HJ759 of No. 27 Squadron RAF in the CBI 7 June 1945

 

Mosquito B Mk IV coded GB-H of No. 105 Squadon RAF

 

Lend-Lease Mosquito B IV DK296 3

 

Mosquito KB300 Anacostia April 1943