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De Havilland DH 98 Mosquito

Discussion in 'De Havilland Mosquito' started by Spitfire XIV-E, Aug 16, 2007.

  1. Spitfire XIV-E

    Spitfire XIV-E New Member

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    Like most of the world's great combat aircraft the Mosquito owed nothing to any official specification but was the result of dogged persistance by far-sighted engineers. In this case the De Havilland Aircraft Company even had to overcome 2 years of official disinterest, and flat disbelief in the whole idea. Fortunately the company prevailed, and once the aircraft was in the air it dominated every field it entered until by the end of the war - which it did much to hasten - it was by far the most versatile Allied Aircraft. The original idea in 1937 was a fast bomber version of the Albatross Transport, but by October 1938 this was changed to a twin Merlin Engined design with such speed that it could do away with defensive armament and fly with just pilot and navigator. Like the Albatross however it was to be made of wood, pressed and bonded in to smooth curving shapes. This was a sandwich like construction made up of layers consisting of Ecuadorian Balsa Wood & Canadian Spruce Pine. The trouble was that nobody believed in an un-armed bomber, far less a wooden one. By sheer relentless effort, Sir Geoffrey De Havilland and C.C.Walker managed to get specification B.1/40 written in January 1940, and, after the DH 98 had twice been cancelled in the panic of that summer, the yellow prototype flew at Hatfield on 25th November 1940. According to Walker - "When they saw it fly, even the RAF understood what the Mosquito was all about". In September 1941 a PR Mk I Mosquito took photographs down the French Atlantic Coast, and simply outdistanced Bf 109's sent to intercept it. 2 months later 105 Squadron began to take delivery of the B Mk IV with a 2000 lb Bomb Load. First seeing action in May 1942, Later making many pinpoint raids on Gestapo HQ's & Offices, Nazi Rallies and the famous raid on Amiens prison where many Maquis fighters escaped through the shattered walls. BOAC flew a civilian version to Sweden carrying VIP's and urgent cargo and also to other places under the noses of Fw 190's. The Bomber family grew with the B Mk IX and it's 2 stage Merlins, paddle propellers and Electronic Navigation equipment such as "Gee" & "Oboe" which equipped the Pathfinder Squadrons who led the Bomber Streams to their targets. The next version was the B Mk XVI which had a pressurised cockpit and a bulged bomb bay for a 4000 lb "Cookie" which was also used by heavy bombers like the Lancaster. Next to be developed was the Night Fighter version. The F II was first flown on May 15th 1941. This had a different layout to the bomber version with 4 20mm Hispano Cannons fitted under the floor and 4 Machine Guns in the nose. AI Mk IV Radar was fitted and once it was operational would become the best Night Fighter yet produced. As better Centimetric Short Wave Radar was developed and the aircraft was upgraded further there were several NF Mosquitos produced throughout the war. The most produced version was the FB Mk VI Fighter/Bomber which packed a punch with Cannon, Machine Guns, Bombs & with the introduction of the FB Mk XVIII, Rockets and centre line, internally mounted 57mm Molins Gun for Anti-Shipping strikes. PR Mosquitos were also supplied to the USAAF which were deignated F8. 7781 Mosquitos were produced and they saw service in most theatres of WW2 including the Far East. About 1000 were built in Canada & a further 212 in Australia. These versions powered by Packard built Merlins. It wasn't until the advent of later versions of the Bf 109, Fw 190 and the first Me 262's that the Germans had anything capable of catching the Mosquito and a few PR Mosquitos were shot down in 1944 but it was still able to evade most enemies if given enough warning. The Germans also tried to build their own version, the Focke Wulf Ta 154 Moskito. Although not successful it was used by De Havilland post war to develop the Hornet which would succeed the Mosquito.



    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Left to Right - FB Mk VI, Advertisement, B Mk XVI & B Mk IV
     
  2. Spitfire XIV-E

    Spitfire XIV-E New Member

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    NF Mk II Night Fighter under restoration & The FB Mk XVIII with 57mm Molins gun protruding under the nose.




    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  3. Spitfire XIV-E

    Spitfire XIV-E New Member

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    The later Night Fighter versions such as the NF 36 were used until the mid 1950's as All Weather Night/Day interceptors, The squadrons equipped with these pioneering the concept. The last Mosquitos in service were the TT Mk XXXV Target Tug aircraft in the 1960's. 3 of these were used in the making of the 1964 Film "633 Squadron" based on the book by Frederick E.Smith. They were re-painted in to WW2 colours and Squadron Markings for the role.
     
  4. Jamie 111

    Jamie 111 New Member

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    Great topic mate! Very informative.

    I worked at one of the factories where they made this great aircraft. They made them, then wheeled them onto a runway outside the workshops doors, and flew them away! (Part of the runway was still there when I retired)

    The other great thing about the Mosquito was that it could not be picked up on radar (or so I was told?) because of its wood construction. Great aircraft.
     
  5. Dave War44

    Dave War44 Member

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    Another excellent thread.

    It had its flaws though sadly. I hear that master bomber Guy Gibson was for years thought to have been shot down and killed over Holland while flying one. More recently it emerged that he ran out of fuel, faulty gauges I believe. Also, the very last flying example, which tragically crashed and burned at an airshow in Manchester a few years ago, was discovered to have an engine fault. I did a post on this once but I fear it may have been in a previous incarnation of War44.
    I also read that the two hugely powerful Merlins on such a light frame made flying them a job for only the most talented pilots. If the revs didn't match then the thing could spin....

    Still, for me , the most beautiful aircraft ever built.
     
  6. 10cents

    10cents New Member

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    Hi!

    The mosquito is probably the first multi-role fighter. I always thought its plywood construction brought up-to-date with modern technology is perfect for counter-insurgency (COIN aircraft) operations at present.
     
  7. Spitfire XIV-E

    Spitfire XIV-E New Member

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    [YOUTUBE]-cb6SmK_c2g[/YOUTUBE]


    Some great footage of the "Wooden Wonder" in action and being built.
     
  8. eireann

    eireann New Member

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    Those are very cool pictures, and the video was great to watch! I must admit, as someone who studies films or, in other words, very well-acquainted with the names of the people in the film industry, the first thing that popped into my head was the question, "Does this have anything to do with the actress Olivia de Havilland?" :lol:
     
  9. Dave War44

    Dave War44 Member

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    Excellent video there Spit. It's such a pity that none still fly.:sad:
     

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