Military Review

"Mosquitoes" of the Royal Air Force

The British aircraft De Havilland DH.98 Mosquito is rightfully considered to be one of the most unusual aircraft of World War II, although outwardly this aircraft did not stand out in any particular way, one could even say it was beautiful. This twin-engined high-profile British was used during the Second World War in the Royal Air Force as a multipurpose bomber and night fighter. The aircraft was operated from 1941 to 1953 years, during this time more than 7700 "Mosquito" of all modifications was released.

Amazing this plane was for several reasons. First, its body was completely made of wood. The British themselves considered the wooden structure archaic, initially even rejecting the very idea of ​​building this aircraft. However, at the end of 1939, under wartime conditions, they returned to this project again. Creating an all-wood plane in the face of a shortage of aircraft-grade aluminum was a justified decision, and it also allowed the wood-processing enterprises to load their capacities. The second feature of this aircraft in the version of the bomber was the complete absence of defensive rifle weapons, typical of all bombers of that period. The only defense of the aircraft was to become its speed, which for those years was very high.

The twin-engine, high-profile De Havilland DH.98 Mosquito had two engines with boost compressors, specially designed to work at high altitudes (the ceiling reached 11 000 meters). The crew consisted of two people. In the construction of a multipurpose bomber, a thick three-layer lining with outer plywood layers and inner balsa with spruce inserts for strength was used, on top of it was pasted over with a canvas. This design allowed to achieve the required values ​​of strength with a small weight of the structure. Moreover, German radars did not “see” the plane badly, noticing the “Moskito” only at a short distance, since the bomber had only metal engines and some controls.

De Havilland DH.98 Mosquito Mk.4

This "mosquito" was used by the British for "point" bombing, as well as a target designator for night bombardment of German cities. Despite the complete absence of defensive small arms and cannon weapons, the losses among the "Moskito" were among the lowest among all aircraft that participated in the Second World War. Mosquito, which belonged to the Bomber Command, during the war years made almost 40 thousands of sorties, while losing the entire 254 aircraft. Thus, the level of losses was - 0,63%. It was much lower than that of any other type of bombers that were in service with the Royal Air Force.

Such low losses were explained by the excellent flight performance of the aircraft: the high speed and flight altitude made the "mosquito" less vulnerable to German anti-aircraft artillery fire and fighters. The maximum flight speed of the aircraft was about 640-675 km / h, and the practical ceiling is about 11 kilometers. With such high-speed characteristics, the aircraft was almost invulnerable to the attacks of German fighters Messerschmitt Bf.109G-6. Only the first German fighter jet, the Messerschmitt Me.262, could effectively fight this multipurpose bomber.

Due to its characteristics, the aircraft gained respect both among the British and their allies, and among the enemy. But the military always want to get something more perfect and invulnerable, and the designers are always ready to offer it to them - at first only in the form of drawings on paper, and then possibly, embodied in metal, although in this case it is more appropriate to say in wood. So the creators of the aircraft "Moskito" created several projects for the development of their offspring - DH.99 / DH.101, DH.102, "Jet Mosquito", which were never implemented, but this did not become less interesting.

DH.99 / DH.101

In November 1941, the Ministry aviation Great Britain released specification B.11 / 41, which was actually a description of a rather interesting project Hawker P.1005. By its ideology, this project was close to the Mosquito multipurpose bomber, it was supposed to be its replacement. It was about creating the same unarmed high-speed bomber, but notable for its larger size and powerful engines. It was planned to install two Napier Saber engines on the plane. In this case, the bomb load and the speed of the bomber should have increased. After the upgrade, the aircraft could be used as a long-range fighter.

Naturally, De Havilland did not even think of giving its rivals the niche of a high-speed bomber, which was so hard won by the Mosquito, which first had to overcome the resistance of skeptics. Therefore, in October 1941, the company began to implement the project under the designation DH.99. Unofficially, this aircraft received the nickname "Super Mosquito" or "Charged Mossie" (Hotted-up Mossie). In December of the same year, the project received a new DH.101 index, and the old DH.99 index was handed over to the unrealized project of a twin-engine light civil aircraft.

In addition to the companies De Havilland and Hawker, Miles took part in the competition to create a new high-speed bomber, promoting the rather unconventional project M.39, which could be called the strangest experimental bomber of those years. It was about a car with a tandem arrangement of the wings. Like the aircraft, designed by Hawker engineers, the DH.101 was planned to be equipped with two Saber engines. Externally, the "Super Moskito" grew by about 1,5 times compared with its predecessor. He had to surpass the usual "Mosquito" in everything: to carry more bombs at a greater distance with greater speed and at greater height. In many ways, the improvement of performance designers planned to achieve through the use of new powerful H-shaped 24-cylinder engines Napier "Saber".

"Mosquitoes" of the Royal Air Force

The crew of the bomber was supposed to grow from two to three people. The flight speed with Saber engines of the first modifications was to reach 671 km / h at an altitude of 7925 meters, and with a more advanced version of these engines with an 2180 horsepower capacity of hp, the speed should increase to 692 km / h. In the bomb bay inside the fuselage of the bomber, 4000 pounds (1814 kg) of bombs were placed, another 2000 pounds (907 kg) of the aircraft could be carried on the wing assemblies. The aircraft was supposed to carry its deadly cargo for a distance of approximately 1500 miles (2400 km), and with additional fuel tanks to 1700 miles (2700 km). The estimated speed of the DH.101 aircraft with a maximum bomb load should be 650 km / h, and the ceiling - 8300 meters. With more sophisticated Saber engines, the plane could climb to an altitude of 10 700 meters. The wing span of the projected aircraft was 21,3 meters, the wing area - 66 square meters. For comparison, the wingspan of the usual "Mosquito" was 16,51 meters, and the area of ​​the wing - 42,18 square meters.

According to the developed specification B.11 / 41, a new high-speed bomber after a small upgrade could turn into a heavy fighter. In this version, the aircraft was equipped with very powerful weapons, represented by four Hispano 20-mm cannons or the same number of 40-mm cannons. Initially, the new bomber was taken very favorably. Experts noted the continuity of the wooden structure (as in the Mosquito bomber), the absence of complex and reducing the speed characteristics of the machine defensive installations, the use of more powerful engines.

Despite the excellent set of tactical and technical characteristics that exceeded the performance characteristics of the competitor Hawker P.1005, the aircraft was never built. 4 on April 1942 was announced to De Havilland about the impossibility of equipping the new aircraft with Saber engines. The company Napier at that time simply could not cope with the mass production of its aviation supermotor. The motor was raw, very unreliable, and the production base of Napier did not allow the serial production of these engines, which would be sufficient for the implementation of the DH.101 project and all its competitors. It was suggested that the aircraft was equipped with other engines - a star-shaped Bristol Centaurus or a Rolls-Royce Griffon liquid-cooled engine, but the company refused this idea, reasoning that the DH.101 characteristics would inevitably be worse with other engines, therefore the project was minimized.


Refusing to install a new engine on the DH.101 bomber and withdrawing from the competition on the B.11 / 41 specification, De Havilland initiated a new, no less ambitious project - DH.102. This development received the code name Mosquito “Mosquito”, it was developed as a replacement for the speed bomber DH.98 “Moskito”. In general, the new aircraft was supposed to repeat its ancestor. However, it was planned to equip the car with two Rolls-Royce Merlin 61 engines with a two-speed supercharger (at the first stage, Rolls-Royce Griffon engines were considered). In this case, the bomber was to become a triple, and its cockpit - airtight. His bomb load was also increasing - up to 5000 pounds (2268 kg). But the estimated speed of the aircraft was less. DH.102 was supposed to exceed DH.98 in size, but was smaller than DH.101.
The Ministry of Aviation ordered two prototypes of the new aircraft, which received the serial numbers MP478 and MP481, and began building them.

Model DH.102,

However, at De Havilland itself, this project eventually began to be treated without due enthusiasm, preferring other developments. Priority for the autumn 1942 of the year was given to the DH.100 jet fighter (the famous “Vampire” in the future), as well as to the twin-engine DH.103 fighter “Hornet”, also equipped with two Merlin 61 engines. At the same time, the installation of this engine on the already produced conventional "Moskito" allowed freeing up the strength of the company's engineers for the implementation of more promising projects. And the customer, represented by the military, agreed with the arguments of De Havilland and 26 in December 1942 of the year canceled the issued order for DH.102 aircraft

Reactive "Mosquito"

Already in January, 1942 began the review of the project of the jet Mosquito, which was planned to be equipped with two Halford H.1 TRDs. In the UK, it was the second jet engine. It was created by Frank Halford from April 1941. At the same time, in 1943, De Havilland bought his company, and the engine later became known as De Havilland Goblin. The Moskito version of the jet bomber did not receive the company's internal index. He was simply denoted - Aircraft A (Airplane "A"). A variant of this jet, dated June 1942, was distinguished by the following characteristics: maximum speed - 716 km / h at 12 200 meters altitude, bomb load - 2000 pounds (907 kg). The wingspan of the aircraft was supposed to be 19,81 meters, length - 15,09 meters. Both parameters were less than those of the DH.101 project, but more than those of the serially produced Mosquito, but the bomb load was completely identical.

Model DH.102 with jet engines,

The company believed that the new turbofan engines would be significantly simpler in design than the Napier Saber piston engines, but they could not completely abandon and forget about them by developing the Aircraft B variant. An interesting feature of the piston machine was the use of coaxial propellers. Work on these two projects was stopped at the stage of another pre-sketch design. Unfortunately, for all the above projects, very few graphic materials have survived to this day.

DH.103 Hornet

It should be noted that during the Second World War there was no further development of the Mosquito bomber concept, but the original Komar, thanks to the improvement work, advanced significantly towards the 1945 year, remaining still elusive for its opponents. At the same time, the Moskito fighter branch was further developed as an excellent, very high-speed twin-engine DH.103 Hornet fighter, which was mass-produced.

The outline design of this long-range escort fighter began as early as September 1942. The layout of the aircraft was shown after 5 months. He absorbed all the best from his predecessor and aroused genuine interest in the Ministry of Aviation Industry of Great Britain. In June 1943, the serial production of the DH 103 fighter was officially recognized as a priority. The first DH 103, which got its own name Hornet (Hornet), was released on 20 on July 1944 of the year. The car made its first flight July 28 of the same year. By the time Japan surrendered, it was possible to manufacture all 60 of such aircraft in the Mk.1 modification. The fighters began to flow from the factory to the airfield at Heartfield from the end of 1944. The first of these cars were flown in February 1945 of the year. The lead aircraft of the series was sent to the flight research center, where he passed state tests. During the test, the aircraft was able to reach the speed of 760 km / h at an altitude of 6700 km, an excellent indicator for a piston fighter.

DH.103 Hornet

This long-range escort fighter was late for his war and practically did not participate in hostilities after World War II, but managed to distinguish himself in another. In September, 1949, the two Hornet serials, performed a record non-stop flight to Gibraltar in honor of the next anniversary of the air battle for Britain. Lieutenant Peebles’s aircraft, which started from the Bovington airfield, covered the entire distance at an average speed of 575 km / h, and after his return to 19 on September, Captain Carver repeated the route at an even greater cruising speed - 701 km / h.

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  1. bionik
    bionik 28 March 2016 08: 06
    English fighter "Mosquito" (De Havilland "Mosquito") in the USSR at the airport of the Air Force Research Institute after the accident.

    The “Mosquito” V.IV plane with tail number DK296 was handed over to the Soviet side in the autumn of 1943 in England and on April 20, 1944 by a crew of senior lieutenant pilot I.D. Polosukhin and the navigator of Lieutenant Kekishev was surpassed by his own power to Moscow at the Vnukovo airport. There, on the basis of the 1st Air Division, the aircraft did not stay long and never took off. From April 25, he was already in the LII of the NKAP at the Kratovo airfield, where flight tests began. The leading engineer was BC Pankratov, piloting the aircraft N.S. Rybko. A thorough study of the Mosquito design was aimed at determining the possibility of its licensed construction in the USSR. However, according to TsAGI experts, the design and aerodynamics of the aircraft did not show anything fundamentally new, and the impossibility of delivering a large amount of balsa wood to the USSR and the deployment of the production of Merlin engines finally forced to abandon this idea.

    May 15, Major General A.I. Kabanov with the navigator P.I. Perevalov onboard drove the Mosquito to the airfield of the Air Force Research Institute, where they were going to continue testing. But on landing, the pilot lost control, the bomber turned to the left, stepped off the strip to the ground and demolished the landing gear. The crew was not injured, but the car was hopelessly damaged and was no longer being restored. The only “Mosquito” that got into the USSR after the accident was disassembled into separate units distributed to various organizations for study.
    1. iouris
      iouris 28 March 2016 15: 40
      Most likely, this is a legend. Just a plane dismantled for study.
  2. bionik
    bionik 28 March 2016 08: 10
    "Mosquito" (De Havilland Mosquito FB. Mk VI) of the 143rd Squadron (No. 143 Squadron RAF) of the wing "Banff" (RAF Banff Strike Wing) in flight.
    1. bionik
      bionik 28 March 2016 16: 18
      Technicians suspend NAR.
  3. rubin6286
    rubin6286 28 March 2016 09: 54
    The article is interesting and quite detailed. For some reason, the author paid little attention to the DH-103 "Hornet" aircraft. Soviet specialists became interested in this aircraft in about the fall of 1944 and expressed a desire to acquire a license for the full cycle of its production. For its time, the aircraft had extremely high flight performance, had an all-metal structure, could land on an aircraft carrier, and a radar was allowed.
    The pilots noted good controllability and a slightly higher cabin noise level compared to the Mosquito. With all this, "Hornet" demanded a higher culture of production and qualifications of workers, in comparison with the Pe-2. Perhaps this, along with the refusal to sell English motors and the need to convert the mass-dimensional characteristics to the metric system, was the main obstacle in the organization of production in Soviet factories.
  4. parusnik
    parusnik 28 March 2016 10: 01
    Beautiful car ... Thank you ..
    1. xan
      xan 28 March 2016 13: 35
      I like it too. Perhaps the most beautiful plane in Britain since WWII.
  5. Cap.Morgan
    Cap.Morgan 28 March 2016 10: 22
    Mosquito is not a bomber, but rather a scout.
    But the article is certainly interesting. For example, for the first time I hear about jet Mosquito.
    1. andrey-ivanov
      andrey-ivanov 28 March 2016 13: 43
      Mosquito is not a bomber, but rather a scout.

      Mosquito was created precisely as a high-speed bomber. The basis (in terms of the number of issued) was the B Vk.IV bomber modification, and the typical load was 4 bombs with a caliber of 500 pounds (227 kg). It should be noted that for almost the entire war the British Air Ministry with maniacal persistence tried to push the installation of defensive weapons onto the Mosquito. The designers of the De Havilland firm pretended that they were working on this issue, but in fact it did not go further than talk.
      1. iouris
        iouris 28 March 2016 15: 42
        Not just a bomber, but a daytime bomber who was able to fight fighters.
  6. Taoist
    Taoist 28 March 2016 10: 48
    It is a pity that the author forgot to mention that the "base" for the Mosquito was the record racing "Comet", and the number of modifications is clearly much more than stated here ... (by the way, there were options with a turret)
    In general, I can recommend a much more detailed article on this topic:
  7. kvs207
    kvs207 28 March 2016 12: 27
    Quote: parusnik
    Beautiful car...

    I will support.)))
    I first read about it in the "Modelist-Constructor" magazine, there was also a rather detailed article with drawings.
  8. qwert
    qwert 28 March 2016 13: 18
    Article plus. Although, Sergey, it would be more correct to write a larger article about such iconic machines, or rather even an 2-3 article. There is something to tell
    1. Amurets
      Amurets 28 March 2016 16: 00
      Quote: qwert
      Article plus. Although, Sergey, it would be more correct to write a larger article about such iconic machines, or rather even an 2-3 article. There is something to tell

      I support completely. The machine deserves it.
    2. svp67
      svp67 28 March 2016 19: 27
      Quote: qwert
      such cult cars

      And in what do you see "cult" "Mosquito"? Yes, the plane is interesting, with no less interesting combat biography, but in other air forces there was no place for his imitations, unlike the really "cult" I-16 and Me-109 ...
      1. Cap.Morgan
        Cap.Morgan 28 March 2016 19: 56
        Quote: svp67
        Quote: qwert
        such cult cars

        And in what do you see "cult" "Mosquito"? Yes, the plane is interesting, with no less interesting combat biography, but in other air forces there was no place for his imitations, unlike the really "cult" I-16 and Me-109 ...

        Unusual car.
        Plywood. And at the same time high-speed, faster than many fighters. High altitude.
        This is more a record plane than a military one.)))
  9. Alf
    Alf 28 March 2016 21: 46
    My personal opinion on the issue of use on the Eastern Front.
    I think that Mossy wouldn’t go with us for the following reasons.
    1. The need for better service, which was not always possible to provide, one gasoline with the number 100 worth.
    2. Application tactics. Mosquito plane "pin pricks". On the Eastern Front of the Red Army, the plane of the "big club" was needed more. This, incidentally, indirectly confirms the fact that such an aircraft never appeared in the American Air Force.
    3. Mossi showed all of his remarkable flight data at altitudes of more than 6000 meters, on the Eastern Front, fights took place at 2–3 thousand.
    4. The low-altitude flight profile used for Mosquito would lead to gigantic casualties from German MHA.
    4. As a night fighter on the Eastern Front, Mossi was not needed, because the Luftwaffe did not make big night raids.
    5. As an attack aircraft, well, it's not even funny.
    In short, the car is beautiful, but for the corresponding theater of operations.
    1. The comment was deleted.
    2. yehat
      yehat 29 March 2016 15: 03
      You want to say that a medium-range bomber with a load per ton and great speed would not replace IL-4 and DB3? Especially with the American new bombing scope.
      the Pe-2 load was no better, they dived not always. So he had a niche for a lot of work. And the fact that we used in large quantities vulnerable to air defense il-2 is not only a plus, but also a minus.
  10. hohol95
    hohol95 28 March 2016 22: 54

  11. Dekabrev
    Dekabrev 29 March 2016 23: 36
    I heard that the Germans also wanted to build their own "mosquito" (wooden twin-engine high-speed). It seems that the main reason for the failure of the Germans was the destruction of their factory for the production of special glue. This, it seems, was the forty-fourth and the Germans did not have time to revive the production chain. Although, this is probably not the only reason. I read that the wooden structure made it easier to obtain very clean aerodynamic forms (no rivets and joints of duralumin sheets). This contributed to an increase in the fraction of the surface with laminar flow and, as a consequence, to a decrease in drag and an increase in speed.
  12. Dekabrev
    Dekabrev 29 March 2016 23: 47
    This, by the way, is Ta-154. He had problems with workmanship and durability. They were supposed to be used mainly as a night fighter. Then it was one of the most important types of aircraft for Germany, unfortunately bombarded at night. Although, the installation of a bomb sight on this device was also assumed. So they followed the "mosquito" in other countries, after all, there were, but not very successful.
  13. Alex_623
    Alex_623 April 3 2016 02: 26
    Och such a bomb is impressive ...

    Armourers wheel a 4,000-lb HC bomb ('Cookie') for loading into a De Havilland Mosquito B Mark IV (modified) of No. 692 Squadron RAF at Graveley, Huntingdonshire. No. 692 Squadron was part of the Light Night Striking Force of No. 8 (PFF) Group, which specialized in fast, high-flying night raids on Germany, particularly Berlin. The specially-modified Mosquitos were fitted with bulged bomb-bays in order to accommodate 'Cookies'.

  14. Alex_623
    Alex_623 April 3 2016 08: 52
    Quote: andrey-ivanov
    Mosquito is not a bomber, but rather a scout.

    Mosquito was created precisely as a high-speed bomber.

    Well, actually this concept was traditional for the British:
    the same Bristol Blenheim;
    the same Bristol Beaufeiter ...
    All three machines were very successful high-speed bombers, and - due to their excellent thrust-weight ratio and high speed - they were quite suitable for fighter purposes.
    So the British, thanks to their success in engine building, Pts successfully managed to solve the issue of a twin-engine multipurpose aircraft capable of solving a wide range of tasks.
    Neither in the USSR, nor in Germany with such a bright and such a decision as Blenheim, like Bofayter, like Mosquito did not work out ...
    And perhaps in the USA too - the same Douglas A-20 didn’t reach Bofayter or Mosquito ...