The de Havilland Mosquito distinuished itself
as both the worlds fastest operational piston engine aircraft, and
the most versatile combat aircraft - built during World War II.
The Mosquito excelled in a variety of roles during
World War II, including as day or night fighter, strike fighter-bomber,
photo-reconnaissance, pathfinder, intruder, maritime strike, and
surprisingly, a few BOAC mailplane variants flew regular nightly
services over Nazi-occupied Europe!
It was conceived as a fast twin engined day bomber
that could outrun all contemporary fighters.
With no heavy defensive armament to man, the crew was reduced to
pilot and navigator so the aircraft was lighter, faster and overall
more efficient. de Havilland chose a radical construction technique
initially developed for their earlier Comet racer - by utilising
a laminated ply and balsa skin formed in concrete moulds by civilian
craftsmen, the Mosquito was extremely strong, light, and flexible,
yet placed minimal drain on esential materials and skilled-labour
during Britains 'darkest
hour' in 1940 - 1941.
Powered by a pair of the latest "Merlin XX" two-speed
single-stage supercharged engines, three prototypes were built.
The first to fly was the bomber prototype W4050
on November 25, 1940 followed by the night fighter model on May
15, 1941 and then the photo-reconnaissance model on June 10, 1941.
Mosquitos were widely used by the RAF Pathfinder
Force to mark targets for night-time strategic bombing, and Mosquito
bombers hauled a 4,000 lb (1,800 kg) "block-buster" bomb in their
internal bomb bay to Berlin at a comparitively fractional cost when
compared to the contemporary B-17 or Lancaster running costs and
The Mosquito ended the war with the lowest loss
rate of any aircraft in RAF Bomber Command service during WWII.
The last RAF Mosquito to remain in operational service was retired
in 1956. Total Mosquito production was 7,781 of which 6,710 were
built during the war - De Havilland accounted for 5,007 aircraft
built in three factories in the UK. Mosquitos were also built by
Airspeed Ltd, Percival Aircraft Company and Standard Motors. 1134
Canadian and 212 Australian built Mosquitos were also produced by
the Commonwealth. The last Mosquito (NF Mk 38) was completed at
Chester in November 1950.
/ W4050 at Hatfield, after its journey from Salisbury Hall prior
to its maiden flight. The aircraft was painted bright yellow, as
were most prototypes at this stage of the war to avoid anti-aircraft
fire from gunners who didnt recognize the aircraft, but the film
stock (orthochromatic) reproduces colours in different shades of
grey than the human eye expects to see, so the aircraft appears
to be a dark colour. W4050 is currently undergoing complete restoration.
As conceived - faster than a Spitfire!
Faster than anything else flying at the time!
DE HAVILLAND MOSQUITO B.IV
The B.IV had a glass nose for a bombardier and
although designed to carry four 112 kilogram (250 pound) bombs,
this was ingeniously increased to four 225 kilogram (500 pound)
bombs before Series I aircraft reached operational units in 1941.
The first B.IV Series II was delivered in May 1942, and the first
strikes were performed at the end of the month.
Although initially being used for bombing attacks,
Bomber Command decided that the best use of the Mosquito bomber
was as a "pathfinder" marking enemy targets with coloured flares
that following waves of bomberss would use as an aiming point. B.IVs
were fitted with the latest top secret electronic navigation aids
for night and overcast conditions, including "Oboe" and "H2S".
Bomber Command then began to employ the growing
number of Mosquitos for nuisance attacks and from 1943, many B.IV
Mosquitos carried a single 4,000 lb High Capacity "Cookie" bomb
in their modified internal bomb bay, and could deliver it to a precise
location in Berlin at a comparitive fraction of the running-cost
and operational-losses of the contemporary Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
or the superb Avro Lancaster.
60 B.IVs were also modified to carry the "Highball"
antiship bomb, a design based on Barnes Wallis's famous 'Dam Buster'
DH MOSQUITO B.IV SERIES II
wingspan: 16.51 meters
wing area: 33.54 sq. meters
length: 12.43 meters
height: 4.65 meters
empty weight: 5,942 kg
max loaded weight: 10,150 kg
maximum speed: 612 KPH (380 MPH)
service ceiling: 9,450 meters
range: 1,965 kilometers
Two Rolls Royce Merlin XX = lots of horse power!
DE HAVILLAND MOSQUITO PR.34
181 PR.34s were built (50 by Percival in England) and although
intended for service in the Far East, they were mostly deployed
the Pacific in August 1945. These late models had phenomenal performances.