Conway pioneered a new type of pocket manual and it is great that this series is continuing to be supported by new owners Bloomsbury. What was revolutionary was the production of pocket manuals that actually did fit into pockets, were priced within the reach of even the younger reader, but provided content to satisfy the professional and the serious enthusiast. This new addition to the series covers the De Havilland Mosquito, an all-time great of fighter design and production. A fitting book for an immortal aircraft, most enthusiastically recommended.
NAME: The Mosquito Pocket Manual, All Marks in Service 1941-1945
AUTHOR: Martin Robson
PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury. Conway Books
BINDING: hard back
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Mosquito, fighter, bomber, night fighter, escort fighter, interdiction, maritime attack aircraft, anti-submarine aircraft, fighter bomber, reconnaissance aircraft, Mollins Gun, rockets
DESCRIPTION: Conway pioneered a new type of pocket manual and it is great that this series is continuing to be supported by new owners Bloomsbury. What was revolutionary was the production of pocket manuals that actually did fit into pockets, were priced within the reach of even the younger reader, but provided content to satisfy the professional and the serious enthusiast. This new addition to the series covers the De Havilland Mosquito, an all-time great of fighter design and production.A fitting book for an immortal aircraft, most enthusiastically recommended.
This book packs in more information than books on the subject that are more than twice the size and three times the price. There are great images, in the form of photographs and drawings, through the body of the book. Information in tabular form offers condensed detail. Some may say that the print is small, but a tiny price to pay for such excellent value – buy a new pair of glasses and enjoy.
A small number of aircraft stand out from the many developed since the first powered flight. The Mosquito is one of these immortal designs. In so many ways, it broke new ground. The design’s basic format saw the Rolls Royce Merlin employed in a two engine design and married to a unique wooden airframe. The fuselage was manufactured in two parts, fitted out with wiring, control lines and other equipment, before being glued together in much the same way as a plastic scale model kit. The resulting structure was extremely strong and its only weakness was in the stability of the structure under prolonged wet conditions, such as would be experienced on an aircraft carrier. The crew of two sat side by side, but the early bombers had a perspex nose with bomb sight, requiring the bomb aimer to move to this position before the bomb run. Later bombers and fighter bombers dispensed with this and used sights fixed in the cockpit, freeing the nose to carry the four rifle calibre guns and four 20mm canon that were standard fitments in the fighter variant. Initially, the speed of the Mosquito allowed it to operate without defensive armament.
The Mosquito is arguably the first true multi-role combat aircraft. It certainly operated in all combat roles, often without any modification. It carried bombs up to 4,000 lbs, placing it in the same category as many four engine heavy bombers with their crews of up to eleven, and need for fighter escort. Even at the end of the war, the Mosquito was very difficult to catch, although jets and some late model propeller aircraft could match its speed.
As a fighter, it was fast and manoeuvrable, with a heavy gun armament firing from the nose without the need for interrupter gear and without the alignment challenges of wing mounted guns that had to be set to converge at a point ahead of the aircraft. This meant that the pilot could fly and fire the guns in the optimum manner. Some effort was expended in trying additional turret mounted guns, to be fired by the second crew member. However, the weight of the turret reduced performance without adding anything significant to the fighting ability of the aircraft. The greater merit was in equipping the aircraft with radar to enable it to serve as a night fighter and fly with bomber streams as a night escort and counter to German night fighters.
As a bomber, the Mosquito was versatile and carried not only very large bombs, but a mixture of bombs of various sizes, and flares. This enabled it to attack a wide variety of targets and act as a Pathfinder, marking targets for large raids by heavy bombers. Amongst its possible payloads was the High-ball ‘bouncing’ bomb for attacks on dams and warships. Special Mosquito squadrons were tasked with pin-point attacks on sensitive and high value targets from very low level. One of a number of attacks on German interrogation centres saw Mosquitoes flying below roof top height along French roads and dropping a bomb through the front door of a Gestapo/SS building, killing Germans hiding in the bomb shelter. Raids in conjunction with French Resistance fighters included breaching prison walls to allow the escape of prisoners.
As a fighter-bomber, the Mosquito was formidable and able to attack deep into enemy-held territory, taking out bunkers and trains. Once rocket rails were added, the Mosquito could carry and fire eight unguided rockets at hard land targets.
As a marine attack aircraft, the Mosquito could take on and kill submarines on the surface and armoured warships. To increase killing potential, the Mosquito was fitted with the 57mm Mollins Gun. This weapon was used successfully but the availability of unguided rockets soon made the gun obsolete for attacking hard marine targets. Bombs could be carried underwing and in the internal bomb bay and a torpedo could be carried under the fuselage.
As a reconnaissance aircraft, the Mosquito could fly high and fast or at tree-top height. It proved to be a very effective photographic platform and its speed not only meant it was virtually invulnerable to interception by German fighters, but it also meant that sortie time was greatly reduced by the high speed transit to and from the target.
As a shipboard aircraft, the Mosquito achieved new records, first being landed and flown off at sea by the indomitable Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown who will probably never be replaced in the Guinness Book of Records for his unique and amazing career as a military test pilot. The Mosquito was not only the largest aircraft to land and take off at sea from a carrier at the time, but it was the fastest and most formidably armed. Equipped with folding wings and radar it offered a major capability increase for British naval aviation.
Those are just a few of the highlights for this amazing and iconic aircraft, covered so effectively by this handbook.