But it all began very, very sadly.
In the middle of the 30-s, when the tension was growing by leaps and bounds, the company “De Havilland” began work on a certain project, which turned out to be implemented exactly by the 1938 year. That is, Europe was already shared by those who could afford it, and before the start of World War II there was nothing left. But this was not yet known, but the essence of the matter was completely different.
Most interestingly, there was no need at all for the development of De Havilland. On paper. The UK had as many as four twin-engine bombers, theoretically covering absolutely the entire niche in the Royal Air Force. Blenheim, Wheatley, Wellington and Hampden.
Here you can throw stones at this four as many as you like (especially at Wheatley and Hampden), but they were. Proven, able to perform tasks (or not very capable). But all-metal bombers in Britain were.
And here Sir Geoffrey De Havilland rushes about with a project of some kind of wooden structure (fi, the last century), and even with motors from Rolls-Royce. Motors undeclared and very slurred. It was then that the Merlin diamond sparkled with all its facets, and in the beginning they were very tormented with it.
Sir Jeffrey De Havilland
Plus, Sir Jeffrey constantly pressed the brains of defense officials, arguing that in the event of a war, duralumin in a belligerent country at 100% would become scarce, and the woodworking industry, on the contrary, would be unloaded. The veracity of Sir De Havilland's calculations was confirmed very soon.
As well as the fact that of the aforementioned four only Wellington turned out to be more or less a combat aircraft. The rest, sadly to say, turned out to be outright flying junk. This was especially shown by the Japanese, having cut out all the Blenheim in Southeast Asia in just a month.
All in all, war for the British bomber aviation to put it mildly, not really. And then there is Sir Jeffrey with his piece of wood ...
But Jeffrey De Havilland was a very gifted man. And in the 1938 year he built the DH.95 "Flamingo".
“Flamingo”, however, was all-metal. The machine was designed to carry 12-17 passengers and had a flight range of more than 2000 km, and the maximum speed was 390 km / h.
Well, Sir Geoffrey, just in case (well, almost by accident) instructed to carry out approximate calculations for remaking the liner into a bomber. Actually, did the Germans do this easily and naturally in general, why did the British worse?
Redid. With 1000 kg of bombs, an aircraft could fly 2400 km at an average speed of 350 km / h. Plus 5 machine guns for defense. In general, it turned out to be Albermal, which, although it went into the series, turned out to be probably the worst British bomber.
Sir Jeffrey continued with the tenacity of a woodpecker to hollow the idea of a high-speed wooden bomber. Moreover, his plans got a new round thanks to the work on Albermal, and De Havilland decided to completely get rid of airborne defensive weapons in favor of speed.
By the way, besides saving weight, it was voiced ... saving people! Machine guns can protect the bomber from fighters, but anti-aircraft artillery - here they are powerless. Meanwhile, the development of anti-aircraft guns hinted that there would be no easy walk. And here is a direct calculation: the loss of two people of the crew of such a bomber or 6-7 people of the crew of a four-engine bomber.
Meanwhile, facilitated by the removal of defensive rifle installations and their shooters, the bomber will become more high-altitude, high-speed and maneuverable, which will allow him to easily evade both fighter attacks and enemy anti-aircraft fire.
Of course, De Havilland’s calculations could only be confirmed by practice. That is war.
And she did not keep herself waiting. And when the German air defense in the person of anti-aircraft batteries and fighters slightly thinned out the formation of British bomber aircraft, here in the military department they seriously considered the proposal of De Heaviland. Well, the Messerschmitts turned out to be too fast.
At the end of 1939, De Havilland introduced three new solid wood unarmed bomber projects: two with Merlin engines and another with the latest Griffins.
According to calculations, the maximum speed of any of the options with a load of 454 kg of bombs exceeded 640 km / h. In fact, the only fighter that could oppose something to De Havilland's plane in terms of speed, oddly enough, in 1940 was the Soviet MiG-1. The rest is doubtful.
In the end, it worked. And the prototype aircraft went into construction with two Rolls-Royce Merlin RM3SM engines with 1280 horsepower. at an altitude of 3700 m and 1215 hp at an altitude of 6150 m.
There was a little trick in the design, simply impossible for designers from other countries. The design of a three-layer upholstery of the wing and fuselage was applied, which made it possible to radically reduce the number of reinforcing stringers, frames and ribs.
The upper and lower layers of the casing were made of plywood, and the middle layer was made of light balsa with spruce power spacers. Balsa is the lightest tree growing in South America (Tur Heyerdahl built his Kon-Tiki raft from it), and spruce is Canadian black spruce, whose viscous and resilient wood has long been used in marine business.
Everything was glued under pressure with formaldehyde glue, the skin of the machine was easily putty and sanded before painting, after which it was glued with a cloth. Since there were practically no seams, hence the excellent aerodynamic qualities.
It happened, and in March 1940, the Ministry of Aviation signed a contract with De Havilland to build 50 reconnaissance bombers. However, force majeure circumstances intervened in the form of problems in North Africa and Northern Europe and the deafening plunge of Dunkirk.
All of Britain's efforts focused on the production of Hurricane and Spitfire fighters, and the Wellington, Wheatley and Blenheim bombers.
"Mosquito" also came under the distribution. De Havilland actually performed a miracle by persuading Minister Beaverbrook not to stop the Mosquito production. In return, Sir Jeffrey promised to simplify the design of the aircraft so that nothing could interfere with the construction of the first stage aircraft, plus De Havilland, as a kind of compensation, promised to organize the repair of Hurricane aircraft and Merlin engines by the company.
November 25 1940 of the year was the birthday of Mosquito. It was on this day that the chief pilot of the company, Jeffrey De Havilland, Jr. (all three sons of Sir Jeffrey worked as test pilots for their aircraft, two died during the test) took the plane into the air for 30 minutes.
Jeffrey De Havilland Jr.
On February 19 on February 1941, the aircraft was handed over to state tests at the Boscomb Down flight research center. At first, the plane was rather frivolous, the small wooden structure did not cause respect. But when it became clear that the Mosquito was flying faster than the Spitfire (approximately at 30 km / h), the ratio changed dramatically.
During tests in Boscombe Down, the maximum true flight speed of 624 km / h was recorded at an altitude of 6600 m with a flight weight of 7612 kg.
On July 23 1942 in one of the flights, an aircraft equipped with Merlin-61 engines developed a top speed of 695 km / h at an altitude of 5100 m. In October 1942, the same aircraft with even more advanced Merlin-77 engines managed to reach the highest absolute Mosquito indicator - 703 km / h at an altitude of 8800 m. Conventional production vehicles flew, of course, a little slower, and yet the B.IX main production bomber on factory tests carried out in March-April of 1943 demonstrated speed 680 km / h at an altitude of 7900 m. Its power plant consisted of two x Merlin-72 engines with 1650 horsepower Faster than the "nine" at that time did not fly any serial fighter in the world.
In general, Mosquito can safely be called the first British multi-purpose aircraft.
"Mosquito" worked as a "clean" bombers, heavy fighters, reconnaissance, were involved to provide night flights of four-engine bombers.
Mosquito interfered with enemy radars, led large groups of aircraft on targets, and marked targets with colored landmark-signal bombs. In fact, combined the functions of reconnaissance aircraft and electronic warfare.
Naturally, Mosquito came in handy in the royal navy. They quite normally tracked the enemy’s submarines and “treated” them with depth charges.
The Mosquito nose locator actually registered.
But the start of the Mosquito military path as a bomber, contrary to popular belief, can hardly be considered successful. Despite the astonishing speed, the planes were still shot down by anti-aircraft artillery. In the first months of combat use, one loss averaged on 9 sorties.
But there were also pleasant moments. It turned out that the FW-190 at low altitude could not catch up with Mosquito. It should be emphasized that in all cases, German aircraft did not have an advantage in altitude. When the Germans attacked with an advantage in height, the British pilots had a very difficult time. Four FW-190A guns turned a wooden structure into sawdust.
An interesting fact: the very existence of a new bomber in Britain was hidden not only from the enemy, but also from its public. In the summer of 1942, only vague information about a certain “miracle plane” leaked to the press.
The information was very scarce; the outline of the car was outlined in the most general terms. Moreover, to mislead the Germans, English censorship carefully eliminated all references to the absence of defensive weapons on the bomber version of the aircraft. On the contrary, in all articles the reader was unobtrusively convinced that any Mosquito carries 4 machine guns and 4 guns. This was true, but only with respect to fighter and fighter-bombers.
Success and fame, as well as serious propaganda success brought "Mosquito" the destruction of the Gestapo building in Oslo. The British claimed that more than 12 thousand cases against the Norwegians were burned during the fire.
But the operation itself and its execution was quite: seven bombs fell into the building from twelve dropped, three shot through it and exploded in the basement.
Yes, naturally there were German fighters (all the same FW-190) who managed to knock out one of the Mosquito that fell on the territory of Sweden. The Germans also had losses, in the pursuit race one of the Germans lost control and crashed.
From June 1 to 1943, the Bomber Command officially stopped participating in daytime tactical bombing of enemy territory. In this regard, the functions of Mosquito have changed. The era of nightly harassing German air defense system raids began.
Actually, there was an experience of such actions: on the night of April 21 1943, the nine Mosquito attacked Berlin demonstratively, congratulating the Führer on his birthday.
At the same time, a large group of heavy bombers raided Stettin. The success was complete: the British recorded in the air defense control networks radiograms containing a refusal to allocate additional fighters for the defense of Stettin, since the capital of the Reich itself was attacked.
This tactic of “pulling away” gave good results and subsequently became stereotyped. The Germans for a long time could not find effective countermeasures for her, because it was very difficult to come up with because of the insufficient level of the then technology.
It is a total deception of the German air defense detection system. Several Mosquitoes dumped tapes of aluminum foil of a certain width, which, hanging in the air, disrupted the operation of the radars and virtually eliminated the determination of the scale of the raid.
And so, the small Mosquito group, which interfered, on the radar screens blurred into a huge flare, plausibly simulating an armada of four-engine bombers.
Fighter jets, wasting fuel and motor resources in vain, intercepted nonexistent formations. At the same time, the real “Lancaster” and “Halifax” turned into an ashes a completely different German city.
The best example is an operation carried out on the night of June 22, 1943. The distracting four “Mosquito”, having previously interfered, bombed on Couloni.
Naturally, the interceptors were sent there. Naturally, even the German night fighters armed with the Liechtenstein did not find anyone. Firstly, the Mosquito had already escaped, and secondly, the wooden structure with a minimum of metal (only motors) was very difficult to take to the radars of that time.
At this time, the main forces of the bomber command brought their blow to the enterprises in the city of Mulheim.
Sometimes Mosquito was involved in the mining of water from the air. It was Moskito that was able to block the Kiel port channel with mines. Yes, a small cargo ship was blown up on delivered mines, which received minor damage. But mine took a week, during which the port did not work. The supplies of the German group in Norway and the delivery of alloying materials from Sweden were actually disrupted.
In the fall of 1944, the Me-163 and Me-262 jet interceptors appeared in the sky above Germany. The former were not at all scary because of their short flight range, with the latter it was more difficult. But Swallow could not become a real threat to Mosquito. The point is the maneuverability of aircraft. Yes, the 262 was faster and could completely catch up with Mosquito. But the turbines of the Messerschmitt engines did not possess the necessary flexibility, and the Mosquito easily departed precisely due to maneuver in the horizon.
This is not to say that many of these aircraft were manufactured. In total, 7700 aircraft of all modifications were produced, which in general is not a god knows what indicator.
Mosquito bombers at the European theater of operations performed 26255 sorties. 108 vehicles did not return to their airfields due to German opposition, and 88 was decommissioned due to combat damage.
The only drawback of Mossi, noted by the leadership of the Bomber Command in the final report for the war years, was the fact that “these aircraft have always been too few ...”
We got acquainted in detail with "Mosquito" and in our country. In 1944 — 1945 Using Mosquito, a courier connection was established between the governments of the USSR and Great Britain, and scouts regularly landed at our northern airfields when the Tirpitz was being hunted.
One copy was put at the disposal of the flight test institute (LII) of the NKAP, where the leading pilot N. S. Rybko, test pilots P. Ya. Fedrovi and A. I. Kabanov and the leading engineer V. S. Pankratov carefully studied and circled the plane .
It turned out that in terms of performance characteristics the Moskito was practically equal to the Tu-2 with the difference that the latter had good defensive weapons, and the British aircraft was somewhat faster over the entire altitude range. The bomb load was about the same.
Mosquito flew quite normally on one engine. It turned out that it is possible to perform deep turns with a roll towards the turned off engine. In general, the handling of the British aircraft was praised.
There were also negative points. It turned out that the bomber is unstable in the longitudinal relation, and its lateral and track stability, by the standards of the LII, was insufficient. Landing was relatively uncomplicated, but on the run the car had a tendency to vigorously turn around.
In general, the Mosquito was a very good aircraft, but it required pilots with a high level of training, which in wartime was not an easy task.
But from the point of view of operation, the car was beyond praise. Good access to the main units, ease of replacing the engine, thoughtful and reliable petrol and oil systems, an abundance of machine guns that facilitated the work of the crew in flight - all this impressed our experts.
It is clear that the purpose of the tests in the LII was with an implication. The possibility of organizing a licensed (or unlicensed, as with Tu-4) production of Mosquito in the USSR was studied.
Yes, the solid wood construction bribed. Alas, these dreams were not destined to come true, because the technology of manufacturing the wing and especially the fuselage was unacceptable to Soviet aircraft plants.
To top it all, in our country there was no balsa, there were no motors like the Merlin. Therefore, plans had to be abandoned.
Strange, of course, but the wooden plane turned out to be a very good combat vehicle. And despite the archaic nature of the materials, it had an impact on aircraft builders in other countries.
With a slight stretch, the really multipurpose Me-210 and Me-410 aircraft can be considered German copies of the Mosquito, but what is it, the Germans themselves wrote that this was a response to the appearance of the British with such a machine. We Myasischev also created the project Pe-2I, very similar to the Germans, that is, all-metal.
But such fame was gained only by the British Pinocchio "Mossi", which served until 1955 year.
LTX Mosquito B Mk.IV
Wingspan, m: 16,51
Length, m: 12,43
Height, m: 4,65
Wing area, м2: 42,18
- empty aircraft: 6 080
- normal takeoff: 9 900
- Maximum takeoff: 10 152
Engine: 2 x Rolls-Royce Merlin 21 x 1480 hp
Maximum speed km / h: 619
Cruising speed, km / h: 491
Practical range, km: 2 570
Rate of climb, m / min: 816
Practical ceiling, m: 10 400
Crew, prs: 2
bomb load up to 908 kg: one 454-kg bomb and two 227-kg bombs or four 227-kg bombs.