Mosquito Missions, RAF and Commonwealth De Havilland Mosquitoes

B1810

This is a book that covers what it says on the cover, but also includes former colony, the USA, and Mosquitoes after WWII in Switzerland and other countries. The author has established a formula that works very well for recounting the histories of classic warbirds. He incorporates background information with first hand accounts from Mosquito aircrew. This includes previously untold tales and provides a very interesting and entertaining book. To add to the valuable information and views, there are two fine photo plate sections, one in full colour.

The author has done a very good job in setting out this remarkable history and adding the human content of the crews who flew Mosquitoes. This is an important history, but it is also a book that can be read and enjoyed by those who may not hold aviation and warplanes as a primary interest. First class effort.

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NAME: Mosquito Missions, RAF and Commonwealth De Havilland Mosquitoes
CLASSIFICATION: Book Reviews
FILE: R1810
DATE: 220213
AUTHOR: Martin W Bowman
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 217
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Wooden Wonder, Mosquito, fighter, fighter bomber, bomber, phto reconnaissance, shipping strike, Highball, bouncing bombs, anti-submarine, RAF, night fighter, radar, WWII, Second World War, 1939-1945, post-war RAF, post-war FAA
ISBN: 1-78159-167-9
IMAGE: B1810.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/betq3au
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: This is a book that covers what it says on the cover, but also includes former colony, the USA, and Mosquitoes after WWII in Switzerland and other countries. The author has established a formula that works very well for recounting the histories of classic warbirds. He incorporates background information with first hand accounts from Mosquito aircrew. This includes previously untold tales and provides a very interesting and entertaining book. To add to the valuable information and views, there are two fine photo plate sections, one in full colour.

The Mosquito was one of a small number of combat aircraft, designed in Britain in the opening months of the war, that were intended to be constructed mainly from non-strategic materials. Apart from assault gliders and glider transports built from wood and canvas, the Mosquito was the only design to be produced in quantity and to make a notable impact on the air war.

Although Capt “Winkle” Brown RN took a Mosquito to sea, early in its career, for deck landing and take-off trials, priority was given to other roles and it was not until late in the Mosquito’s career that a fully navalized version was built with folding wings, arrestor hook, and thimble radar. There were some initial FAA concerns that the glue and wood construction of the Mosquito would not prove durable as a carrier aircraft on a normal deployment and even the navalized folding wing version delivered from 1945 was too large to fit the 20 foot hanger lifts on British carriers. FAA crews did fly Mosquitoes but only rarely. The Sea Hornet which was developed from the Mosquito did prove a successful carrier aircraft and served well into the jet age. In RAF service and with Commonwealth airforces, the Mosquito was to prove the outstanding multi-role aircraft of WWII.

There was a bomber variant with glazed nose to accommodate a bomb aimer. This was able to outrun German fighters when it first appeared and could carry a heavy bomb load for a twin engine two seat aircraft, over long distances. It was used at high level and for precision bombing at very low level, but it was also used as a pathfinder to mark targets for fleets of heavy bombers. Considering the relative size of the two aircraft, it may be surprising to note that early B-17 Flying Fortress bombers of the USAAF carried the same maximum bomb load as the Mosquito and the B-17 was unable to carry a 4000 lb bomb which was part of the armoury open to the Mosquito.

However, much of the bombing missions flown by Mosquitoes were flow by the fighter-bomber version that carried a similar bomb load, but also carried a heavy gun armament of four 20mm canon and four rifle calibre machine guns. This proved to be a very versatile machine because it could defend itself in a dog fight and was able to attack targets of opportunity with guns and bombs. The guns were mounted together in the nose which meant they could achieve full rate of fire, because they did not require interrupter gear or convergence to avoid propellers, and were often very effective at suppressing anti-aircraft fire, either when making a precision low level bomb run, or in support of other bombers.

Its heavy armament made it suitable for anti-shipping strikes and it was effective against surfaced U-Boats attempting to leave their French bases for their patrol stations. As many shipping targets employed armour, small numbers of Mosquitoes was equipped with a 57mm Mollins gun. This weapon was modified for use in the Mosquito to be fed from a magazine designed from the workings of a cigarette machine. In use the gun was effective but did suffer stoppages and was rapidly succeed by 60 lb underwing rockets. Where the Mollins gun required some serious modification to the aircraft, the launch rails for unguided rockets could be fitted or remove quickly and could be used together with the standard nose armament of machine guns and canon, with the bomb bay being available to carry iron bombs up to the total weapons weight of the aircraft. That could enable a torpedo to be carried. The result was that the quiet and fast Mosquito could catch German naval units on the surface and destroy them, making a small difficult target for the ships’ anti-aircraft gunners.

The speed of the Mosquito made it an obvious machine for photo reconnaissance missions. It served in this role both as a standard Mosquito carrying cameras, and as a dedicated photo reconnaissance aircraft.

As a night fighter and interdiction night combat aircraft, the Mosquito once again excelled. Having a heavy nose armament and radar meant that the Mosquito could lay an effective weight of fire on a target in a very short period, maximizing the chances of achieving a fatal hit on an enemy aircraft at night. Although the original intension was for the night fighter to be used to defend against German bombing attacks at night, often employing small numbers of single seat fighter bombers, it was quickly realized that Mosquitoes could fly in the nightly bomber streams attacking German targets and defend the bombers against night fighters.

There seemed nothing the Mosquito could not be used for. As a result, the USAAF demanded Mosquitoes at an early stage and production expanded to meet the demands of the RAF, FAA, USAAF and Commonwealth air forces. Once WWII had ended, the Mosquito not only continued in RAF and FAA service for many years, but it was eagerly sought by new air forces fighting the series of limited conflicts that rumbled on around the world.

The author has done a very good job in setting out this remarkable history and adding the human content of the crews who flew Mosquitoes. This is an important history, but it is also a book that can be read and enjoyed by those who may not hold aviation and warplanes as a primary interest. First class effort.

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