De Havilland DH.98 Mosquito

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De Havilland DH.98 Mosquito
Mosquito 600pix.jpg
De Havilland Mosquito FB XVI
Type: Fighter bomber
Design country:

United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom


de Havilland Aircraft Company

First flight:

November 25, 1940



Production time:

1940 to 1950

Number of pieces:


The De Havilland Mosquito DH.98 was a multi-purpose aircraft of the time of the Second World War from a British production. The two-engine, two-seat machine was manufactured by the de Havilland Aircraft Company in wood construction and used with great success in the war and afterwards. Over 7,700 mosquitos were built between 1940 and 1950 . Due to its high speed and good high-altitude flight characteristics, the Mosquito was almost invulnerable to German air defense. In addition to Great Britain , the machine was also used by the United States , Canada , Australia and the Republic of China, New Zealand , South Africa , Czechoslovakia , Yugoslavia and Israel .

Development history

De Havilland DH.98 Mosquito, prototype, 1940

As early as 1938, a team led by RE Bishop began to design the concept proposed by Geoffrey de Havilland under the specification designation BI / 40. Because of the very high speed that the two Rolls-Royce-Merlin engines gave the aircraft, it was initially planned as a high-speed bomber without additional armament. In anticipation of the coming war situation, wood was chosen as a building material in order to save other resources that were important to the war effort. The British Air Ministry was very critical of the project because of this wooden construction and the lack of defensive armament - with the exception of Air Marshal Sir Wilfrid R. Freeman , who approved the design and thus jeopardized his reputation. One of the nicknames for the Mosquito was therefore "Freeman's Folly".

At the beginning of the war, however, the advantage of this construction quickly became apparent. On March 1, 1940, the first serial order for 50 machines was placed. In June 1940, however, the Mosquito fell out of priority production due to the war development, which was limited to the absolutely most important types. Three prototypes were built, including the first (W4050) as a bomber and the second (W4051) as a photo reconnaissance aircraft. The first flight of the pilot Geoffrey de Havilland Jr. took place on November 25, 1940. The first flight tests with a speed of over 630 km / h even exceeded the manufacturer's expectations and the representatives of the Air Ministry were now able to fully appreciate the efficiency of the aircraft convince. Initially, three variants were commissioned: the PR Mk.I as an unarmed reconnaissance aircraft (PR = Photo Reconnaissance), a bomber under the designation B Mk.IV (B = Bomber) and a night fighter with the designation NF Mk.II (NF = Night Fighter).

The first operational deployment of the PR Mk.I on July 14, 1941 confirmed the assessment that defensive armament was not necessary for the reconnaissance aircraft - the aircraft escaped three Messerschmitt Bf 109s who were chasing it by simply flying straight ahead at top speed the Germans had to break off the pursuit.

On November 15, 1941, the first B Mk.IV was delivered to the 105th Squadron, which had been using Bristol Blenheim bombers until then . In May 1942, the B Mk.IV came into combat with Squadron 105. In addition to the advantage of high speed, the robustness of the wooden construction also proved to be advantageous. One of the first missions was the attack by four aircraft of the 105th Squadron on the Gestapo headquarters in Oslo on September 25, 1942. Soon people in Germany were talking about the "mosquito plague".

On the night of December 30th to 31st, 1941, the NF Mk.II was also used for the first time. It soon replaced its predecessor, the Bristol Beaufighter , whose speed it exceeded by almost 80 km / h. Later V1 were also attacked by mosquitos at night; due to the location of their base RAF Ford , about 3 kilometers southwest of Arundel (West Sussex) , the No. 96 Squadron RAF took a brunt and shot 180 of the "doodlebugs". 620 of the flying bombs were shot down within the first nine weeks.

Numerous other variants followed, including the in February 1943 cannons and machine guns equipped fighter-bomber FB Mk.VI (FB = Fighter Bomber), who is also eight missiles could carry under the wings. This variant was also the most built with 2718 pieces. Mk.IX was a high-altitude bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, Mk.XVI was the most popular bomber variant with over 400 units. The Mosquito bombers had the lowest casualty rate of any RAF bomber in World War II. 18 Mk.VI were upgraded to the FB Mk.XVIII "Tsetse", which was used, among other things, with a Molins 57 mm cannon especially against ships. The FB Mk.26 and FB Mk.40 were built on the basis of the Mk.VI in Canada and Australia respectively and equipped with Packard-Merlin engines ( Merlin engines built under license from Packard in the United States).

A Mosquito B.IV of the 105th squadron during the attack on the AW Trier , April 1, 1943 (in the middle at the top of the picture)

97 NF Mk.II were with AI Mk.VIII - Radar for NF Mk.XII upgraded. In addition, 270 NF Mk.XIII were rebuilt with the same equipment. Other night fighters were named Mk.XV , Mk.XVII (from converted Mk.II ), Mk.XIX and Mk.30 . The latter carried the American AI-Mk.X radar. The NF Mk.36 with Merlin 113 engines and the NF Mk.38 with the British AI-Mk.IX radar were only built after the end of the Second World War. In the German Reich, the Naxos ZR radar detector was used to report mosquito night fighters equipped with "H2S" centimeter wave radars . The British, on the other hand, used systems called Serrate or Perfectos to locate German night fighters.

Because of the high speed, the crews took a while to get used to the machine. Therefore a training variant of the aircraft was built, the T Mk.III . The Australian variant of this type was named T Mk.43 .

50 TR Mk.33s were also built for use on aircraft carriers. These had wings that could be folded away upwards, a radome and mounts for torpedoes. With the original Mosquito, however, the entire wingspan was built in one piece to save weight and simplify the construction.

Other types of use were, among others, that of a high-speed bomber , escort fighter , attack aircraft , transport aircraft , mine layer and target tug . The Royal AF also used these target tugs at their base in the north of the island of Sylt until the end of the 1940s.

The wooden construction turned out to be problematic in tropical regions, as the wing spar sometimes gave way under these conditions and broke despite the high load-bearing capacity. There were also unexpected problems with transfer flights from Canada to Europe - some aircraft exploded in the middle of the Atlantic for reasons that are still unknown.

The last Mosquito - a NF Mk.38 - was built in Chester in 1950 . Some "Mossies" remained in use after the Second World War. In Great Britain the last reconnaissance planes were taken out of service in 1961.

6710 aircraft were built during the war. A total of 7781 aircraft were built, 1134 in Canada and 212 in Australia.

Design features

Scheme of the construction of the mosquito bowl

The plane consisted mainly of plywood , spruce and birch wood with an intermediate layer of balsa wood , which earned it the nickname “ Wooden Wonder ” (German: “Wooden Wonder”). The hull of the De Havilland Mosquito was manufactured as a monocoque in two half-shells, which managed with a few longitudinal stiffeners. Neither pressure nor heat was required to manufacture the bowls. The two positive molds, around 12 meters long, were either made of mahogany wood, but some concrete molds were also used, for example in the Canadian production. In the first construction stage, the hull bulkheads and other internal elements were built into slots in the mold. In the second stage, the inner hull skin was laid and the structural components were installed between the inner and outer plywood layers. At the rear of the fuselage, the plywood strips were glued at an angle in order to be able to better absorb the forces arising from the torsional load caused by the tail unit. The grain of the inner and outer stripes ran across each other.

The machine was driven by two Rolls-Royce-Merlin engines with propellers in the same direction of rotation. The radiators were located in the wing leading edges between the engine nacelles and the fuselage. The tip of the fuselage was glazed in bombers. A “radar nose” was used for some variants.

Production numbers

The Mosquito was built in the UK at De Havilland in Hatfield and Watford, at Standard Motors, Airspeed and Percival. In Canada and Australia, the construction took place at the respective De Havilland subsidiaries.

British production of the De Havilland Mosquito until July 31, 1945
version DH Hatfield DH Watford default Airspeed Percival total
PRI 10 10
F.II 360 230 590
T.III 202 4th 206
B.IV 300 300
FBVI 1132 901 12 2045
PRVIII 6th 6th
B.IX 54 54
PRIX 90 90
NFXIII 270 270
NFXV 4th 4th
B.XVI 205 182 387
PRXVI 435 435
NFXIX 220 50 270
NF30 530 530
PR32 4th 4th
PR34 83 83
B.35 106 106
NF36 92 92
total 3227 1176 901 12 182 5498

At the end of the war, the FBVI, T.III, PR34, B.35 and NF36 were still in production.

War production of the De Havilland Mosquito in UK 1941 to 31 July 1945
year Fighters / bombers Training aircraft number
1941 21st 21st
1942 429 12 441
1943 1149 72 1221
1944 2238 69 2307
until July 31, 1945 1455 53 1508
total 5292 206 5498
War production of the De Havilland Mosquito in Canada and Australia until August 15, 1945
version DH Canada DH Australia number comment
B.VII 25th 25th 5 aircraft to USAAF as F-8
B.XX 245 245 25 aircraft to USAAF as F-8
FB21 3 3
T.22 4th 4th
B.25 400 400
FB26 335 335 including 60 conversions in T.29
T.27 21st 21st
FB40 108 108
total 1033 108 1141
War production of the De Havilland Mosquito in Canada
year bomber Fighter bomber Trainer total
1942 approx. 3 approx. 3
1943 about 80 1 approx. 81
1944 337 2 2 341
1945 250 335 23 608
total 670 338 25th 1033

The war production of the DH Mosquito thus amounted to 6,639 aircraft.

Production of the De Havilland Mosquito in Australia
Fiscal year number
July 1, 1943– June 30, 1944 6th
July 1, 1944– June 30, 1945 80
July 1, 1945 to June 30, 1946 91
July 1, 1946– June 30, 1947 13
later 22nd
total 212

Military users

Dominican FB.6
Swedish NF.XIX 1949
AustraliaAustralia Australia
BelgiumBelgium Belgium
Burma 1948Burma Burma
Dominican RepublicDominican Republic Dominican Republic
FranceFrance France
IsraelIsrael Israel
Yugoslavia Socialist Federal RepublicYugoslavia Yugoslavia
Canada 1921Canada Canada
New ZealandNew Zealand New Zealand
NorwayNorway Norway
PolandPoland Poland
TaiwanRepublic of China (Taiwan) Taiwan
SwedenSweden Sweden
SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
Soviet Union 1923Soviet Union Soviet Union : A Mosquito B Mk IV was flown over and tested in April 1944.
South Africa 1928South African Union South African Union
CzechoslovakiaCzechoslovakia Czechoslovakia : Depending on the use, designated as B 36 (for Bitevní letoun, ground attack or attack aircraft) or LB 36 (for Lehka Bombardovací, light bomber).
TurkeyTurkey Turkey
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
United States 48United States United States

Deployment locations of the British Air Force of Occupation (BAFO) in Germany:

  • B. 151 / RAF Bückeburg , maximum July 1945 to September 1951 ( BAFO Communications Squadron / Wing )
  • B.118 / RAF Celle , May 1945 to November 1947 ( 84th Group Communication Squadron ), September 1949 to November 1950, Mosquito FB.6 / B.35 ( 4th , 11th , 14th Squadron )
  • B.152 / RAF Faßberg , November 1950 to February 1951, Mosquito B.35 ( 14th and 98th Squadron )
  • Y.99 / RAF Gütersloh , November 1945 to November 1947, Mosquito FB.6 ( 4th , 21st and 107th Squadron ), from June to August 1946 in Y.94 / Münster-Handorf (Gütersloh received its fortified during this time Start-and runway)
  • B. 168 / Fuhlsbüttel , June 1945 to April 1946, ( Air Despatch Letter Service Squadron )
  • B.108 / Rheine , April to May 1945, Mosquito NF.XIII ( 409th ( RCAF ) Squadron )
  • B. 164 / RAF Schleswigland , March 1953 to 1956, Mosquito TT.35 ( Towed Target Flight )
  • B. 174 / RAF Uetersen , November 1948 to March 1950 ( 85th Group / Wing Communication Flight / Squadron )
  • B.119 / RAF Wahn , March 1946 to September 1949, Mosquito FB.6 / B.16 / B.35 ( 4th , 11th , 14th , 98th , 128th and 305th (Polish) Squadron )
  • B. 170 / Westerland / RAF Sylt , July 1945 to February 1948 and February 1949 to October 1961 at the latest ( Training Squadron Sylt des Armament Practice Camp )

Technical specifications

de Havilland Mosquito NF.XIX
Parameter Mosquito B Mk.XVI (bomber) Mosquito NF Mk.XIX (night fighter)
crew 2
length 12.35 m 12.77 m
span 16.54 m
height 3.81 m 4.79 m
Takeoff mass 8660 kg 8900 kg
drive two V-12 engines Rolls-Royce Merlin 73
each 1,680 PS (approx. 1,240 kW)
two V-12 engines Rolls-Royce Merlin 25
each 1,635 PS (approx. 1,200 kW)
Top speed 635 km / h at 9740 m 604 km / h at 4025 m
Service ceiling 11,300 m 10,500 m
normal range 2195 km 2930 km
Armament 2 × 454 kg, 1 × 454 kg + 2 × 227
or 2 × 113 kg, 4 × 227 kg, 1 × 1814 kg bombs
4 × 20 mm automatic cannons Hispano-Suiza HS.404

Received aircraft

Today there are only three mosquitos left ready to fly. The FB.26 (KA114), flown for the first time in September 2012, is part of the collection of the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach (USA), another (B.35 VR796 / CF-HML) was only restored in 2014 and is in private Canadian ownership . The third, a T Mk.III (TV959), came into the possession of Paul Allen's Flying Heritage Collection from New Zealand in December 2016 after several years of restoration , where it was extensively overhauled and made its second maiden flight on June 25, 2017.

See also


  • Olaf Groehler : History of the Air War 1910 to 1980. Military publishing house of the German Democratic Republic, Berlin 1981.
  • Kenneth Munson: Bombers, Patrol and Transport Aircraft 1939–45. Orell Füssli Verlag, 3rd edition, Zurich 1977.
  • William Green, Gordon Swanborough: Fighter Planes of the World. An illustrated encyclopedia. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 3-613-30330-2
  • Gebhard Aders : History of the German night hunt 1917–1945. 1st edition, Motorbuch-Verlag, Stuttgart 1977, ISBN 3-87943-509-X .

Web links

Commons : De Havilland DH.98 Mosquito  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. Rolf-Dieter Müller, Florian Huber, Johannes Eglau: The bomb war 1939-1945. Ch.links, 2004, p. 148.
  2. ^ According to Kenneth Munson: Bomber, Patrol and Transport Aircraft 1939–45. Orell Füssli Verlag, 3rd edition, Zurich 1977, p. 121, the first war mission of the PR Mk.I took place on September 20, 1941
  3. ^ Martin Bowman: Mosquito Bomber / Fighter-bomber Units 1942-45. Osprey Publishing, Oxford 1997, p. 13.
  4. ^ Andrew Thomas, Mosquito Aces of World War 2 , Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013, ISBN 978-1-4728-0240-8
  5. Tony Harmsworth: The Return of "Wooden Wonderment"! In: Airplane Monthly December 2012, p. 51 f.
  6. a b Public Record Office (National Archives), Kew, stock AVIA 10/311
  7. Meekcombs, KJ: the British Air Commission and Lend-Lease, Tunbridge Wells 2000, pp 154 et seq; Birtles, Philipp: DeHavilland Mosquito, o. O. 2015
  8. Air Britain: Aeromilitaria, 1985, p. 59 ff.
  9. Official Year Book of the Commonwealth of Australia No. 37, 1946 and 1947, p. 1168
  10. ^ Hans-Joachim Mau, Hans Heiri Stapfer: Under the Red Star - Lend Lease Aircraft for the Soviet Union 1941-1945. Transpress, Berlin 1991, ISBN 3-344-70710-8 , pp. 98-1102.
  11. ^ Hans Joachim Mau: Czechoslovak aircraft. Transpress, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-344-00121-3 , p. 190
  12. Archived copy ( Memento of September 8, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  13. Video: First flight in the US for Mosquito TV959. Retrieved July 21, 2017 .
  14. After many years of restoration: Mosquito takes off . In: FLiEGERREVUE X . No. 66 . PPVMedien, 2017, ISSN  2195-1233 , p. 7 .