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"Is the Mosquito the greatest warplane of all?" Topic

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1,277 hits since 23 Jul 2013
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP23 Jul 2013 1:11 p.m. PST

"While the Spitfire and Hurricane are remembered as the machines that saved Britain from Nazi invasion, the Lancaster and Halifax are lauded as the warhorses that took the fight to the Third Reich.

But there is an argument that the country's greatest aircraft of the Second World War was none of these, but the less heralded de Havilland Mosquito.

This versatile, two-man machine, designed by the British aviator pioneer Geoffrey de Havilland, served with distinction as a fighter, bomber, U-boat hunter and night fighter, as well as in reconnaissance roles and as a pathfinder on large-scale bombing attacks.

It was behind some of the most stunning raids of the war among them the precision operation to attack the Gestapo headquarters in Oslo, Norway; and another to breach the walls of a prison in Amiens to allow the escape of condemned resistance fighters.

Its greatest attribute, its speed, came from its unusual construction. To preserve metal reserves, it was made of wood, its parts crafted by carpenters and joiners in workshops turned over from furniture and cabinet-making. The components, from spruce, birch, balsa and plywood, were then put together with glue.

But at the end of the war, this unique characteristic became its biggest weakness. While metal-framed aircraft endured, most Mosquitos simply rotted away in their hangars.

For almost 20 years, there have been no airworthy Mosquitos since the last one crashed at an air show near Manchester in 1996, killing both crew members.

This lack of airborne Mosquitos and the higher profile enjoyed by the Spitfire and Lancaster, in particular, has led some to overlook the contribution made by the so-called "Wooden Wonder".

But tonight, a Channel 4 documentary, The Plane that Saved Britain, seeks to correct that. And for the presenter, Arthur Williams, the show is also a more personal quest. The former Royal Marine has been fascinated with aviation and, above all, the Mosquito since childhood. But he took up flying only after a car crash in 2007 had left him in a wheelchair.

In the show he traces the history of the Mosquito: he speaks with a designer who overcame official doubts to create the revolutionary machine, as well as several of those who flew it. But he also travels to the US in an attempt to get aboard a newly restored one…"
Full article here



GROSSMAN Supporting Member of TMP23 Jul 2013 1:32 p.m. PST

Pretty plane, but still doesn't beat out the Spitfire in my opinion.

boy wundyr x Inactive Member23 Jul 2013 1:57 p.m. PST

My grandfather worked at de Havilland's Downsview (Toronto) plant during the war, building Mosquitos, but I'd still put it second to the Spitfire. Both in impact and looks.

GarrisonMiniatures Inactive Member23 Jul 2013 2:04 p.m. PST

In terms of the competition, Spitfire/Me109 not a lot of diference what do do you compare Mosquito to? Me110? Ju88? Both?

boggler23 Jul 2013 2:07 p.m. PST


Calico Bill23 Jul 2013 2:35 p.m. PST

""What do you compare Mosquito to ?" Most Japanese aircraft, as they were also light, fast, and nimble due to little or no armour.
It was a good plane that did good service, but a game winner? No.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine23 Jul 2013 3:29 p.m. PST

Was there a more versatile plane in the British inventory during WW2 Mosquitos came in photo recon, bomber, fighter, night fighter and fighter bomber variants I doubt to many planes can say that.

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member23 Jul 2013 3:38 p.m. PST

Simple answer. No. Robert

Mako1123 Jul 2013 4:19 p.m. PST

It was certainly the most versatile one that I can think of, ever.

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member23 Jul 2013 4:57 p.m. PST

I seem to remember creating a thread about the Best multi-purpose/versatile aircraft with a big debate about the Mossie and Ju-88 as both filled many roles. I did post one hereabout it,
It was used as a Bomber,Dive bomber,Nightfighter,Recon,Torpedo bomber,Flying bomb (mistel),Heavy dayfighter,Train-buster in Russia,Long-Range ocean patroller,Long-range Pathfinder,Panzerjager/anti-tank, Night intruder, Weapons Test platform aircraft,mine layer ,radio communication aircraft,liason transport,Research aircraft,Missile launcher and carried parachutist.It was also the basic frame of other conversions and upgrades such as the Ju-188.IMO versatile doesn't mean the best or greatest.

wminsing Inactive Member23 Jul 2013 7:04 p.m. PST

The Mosquito was a good plane, but it was a bit of a missed opportunity. It didn't really mature until 1943 (in terms of capability, doctrine, and quantity of aircraft), at which point it was just another useful aircraft in the rapidly growing Allied arsenal. If the Mosquito had been ironed out and ready in late 1941 or 1942 it would probably be remembered as a GREAT aircraft.


Mako1123 Jul 2013 8:21 p.m. PST

Yes, the Ju-88 was pretty versatile as well, and very similar in layout, and towards the end, in overall performance.

I dare say though, that the Mossie shot down more Ju-88s than the latter did of the former, in aerial combat, making that a good point if a tie-breaker is needed.

Klebert L Hall Inactive Member24 Jul 2013 5:45 a.m. PST

Ju-88 was the best German bomber, but that really wasn't saying a whole heck of a lot. It was pretty mediocre by Allied standards, they only used it in so many roles because they didn't have anything better.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2013 7:02 a.m. PST

It's certainly one of the most amazing ones ever made. A firm favourite of mine.

ancientsgamer Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2013 8:02 a.m. PST

In arms race situations, the latest tends to outshine the former in many ways. I think actual impact on the outcome of the war or longer campaigns has to be measured as well. It would be hard to argue that the German Stuka didn't have a huge impact in the first couple of years of the war even though it was outclassed by many planes, it performed its role extremely well.

I don't buy into the theory that just because a plane can perform the most functions makes it the best plane either. While the Mosquito was certainly versatile, it wasn't the best plane for more than one role when compared to planes that specialized in each or several roles either. But it was a great and durable plane and during its day was a real force to be reckoned with. But, did it have as great of an impact as other planes of the war; I don't know?

The P-38 certainly was very versatile and had its place in the sun for some time but was outclassed by the P-47 and the P-51 later on (although it can be argued that the P-51 was nowhere near as durable as both of the former planes)

We mustn't forget the Soviet Sturmovik either. Very important plane on the Eastern Front. One wonders if it would have had as much impact though if the Allies hadn't been bombing the daylights out of the Axis in Europe though, which caused less availability for Axis planes in the East eventually.

shaun from s and s models Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2013 11:20 a.m. PST


HardRock24 Jul 2013 11:54 a.m. PST


Kaoschallenged Inactive Member24 Jul 2013 1:23 p.m. PST

Totally agree ancientsgamer. Reasons why I tend to not like any of the these "Best" questions. Robert

jgibbons Inactive Member24 Jul 2013 5:52 p.m. PST

A definite favorite of mine… Very flexible…

A plywood plane with two Merlins – whats not to like :-)

Wasn't one of the first encounters of the ME262 by a photorecon Mossie?

Peter Constantine Inactive Member25 Jul 2013 6:49 a.m. PST

I don't know if the Mosquito was the UK's 'greatest' aircraft of the Second World War. I do think it was significant and is possibly overlooked as it did not take part in the Battle of Britain and because there are no flying examples in the UK.

It holds the record for the most sorties completed by any single allied bomber and was probably the best photo reconnaissance aircraft of the war. It could carry a bomb load not too far short of that of a 'heavy' bomber. I've seen it quoted that in terms of bang per effectiveness the Mosquito was nearly five times cheaper than the Lancaster (not sure how that was calculated though!).

The TV programme was fascinating. I especially liked the interview with the veteran who'd flown anti-submarine missions with 57mm/6 pounder equipped Mosquitos… he said the aeroplane seemed to almost come to a halt when the gun fired.

It's still available to watch if you're in the UK or RoI:


Lion in the Stars25 Jul 2013 12:55 p.m. PST

In terms of creating a new airframe without tying up any currently-producing factories (they had furniture makers working on it!), I'd say the Mossie is an excellent aircraft.

But best English aircraft? Nope, gotta go with the Spitfire.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2013 1:16 p.m. PST

In the top 5…


J. P. Kelly

By John 5410 Aug 2013 1:48 p.m. PST

jgibbons, the Mossie NEVER undertook Photorecon missions.

PhotoRECCE however, oh yes, sir.


wardog11 Aug 2013 1:55 p.m. PST

guys these were manufactured in Canada and Australia also
question were these kits /final assembly
or did Canada and Australia manufacture complete aircraft
cast their own engines
have their own production jigs for the airframes

Etranger Inactive Member11 Aug 2013 9:07 p.m. PST

The Australians certainly built their own & IIRC the Canadians did too. There was a full production line at Bankstown NSW. link

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