de Havilland Mosquito photo

The Mosquitos’ origins date back to the company’s DH.88 Comet racer of 1934 – only a handful of these machines were built, but they won world attention when one of them, Grosvenor House, was used to win a race between London and Melbourne. Powered by a pair of Gipsy Six engines, the Comet used wood construction and stressed skin to cut weight – such a structure was also easy to build. De Havilland used the Comet experience to help design the DH.91 Albatross airliner with a similar construction.

Thus, as war clouds once again began appearing over Europe de Havilland was well situated to offer the RAF a derived military type, one that would use wooden construction to offer both high speed and ease of construction. This would prove vital in wartime, as the British supply of wood was plentiful, and there were many furniture workers who could be put to work making subassemblies in existing dispersed facilities.

The company’s planning eventually gelled around the DH.98, a twin-Merlin design that obviously owed much to the larger Albatross. This was to be a relatively small, two-seat aircraft that relied on speed and altitude performance rather than defensive guns for protection – this was another radical concept for the RAF, which tried without success to insist on rearward-firing guns.

de havilland Mosquito

Although displayed in the colors of a PR. Mk XVI – the USAAF flew the Mossie in some numbers in the photo recon role – the National Museum of the US Air Force’s Mosquito is actually a former target tow aircraft converted from a B.35. It was flight delivered to Dayton in February 1985, and later restored to represent a PR Mk. XVI of the 653rd BS/25th Bomb Group. and flown to Dayton in early 1985


F Mk II: First night fighter variant, also the first Mossie to have extended nacelles. AI Mk IV/V radar, 4x20mm under the floor, and a quartet of .303 machine guns in the nose.

T Mk III: First trainer model, production examples of which were preceeded by an NF.2 conversion. Production was resumed postwar, and the type flew with Bomber Command until 1953.

B Mk. IV Series 1: Initial bomber version with short nacelles; operated by No 105 Squadron and first used in anger in May 1942 against Cologne.

B Mk. IV Series 2: Lengthened nacelles.

B Mk. IV Special: Conversion of approximately twenty aircraft to carry a single 4,000lb weapon in a modified, bulged bomb bay.

B Mk. IX: Universal wing able to carry 500lb bombs or 100-gallon fuel tanks underwing; two-stage Merlin 72/73s for increased altitude capability. some were equipped with the Oboe navaid system, and were used as pathfinder aircraft.

NF Mk XV: Pressurized model with AI Mk. VIII and based on the B. Mk V; intended to intercept Ju 86Ps at high altitudes.

B Mk. XVI: Pressurized cabin; bulged bomb bay.

FB Mk VI: First fighter-bomber model; 4x20mm, 4x.303, 2x250lbs internal bombs, plus wing hardpoints

FB Mk XVIII: Tse-Tse Fly fighter-bomber for Coastal Command, with 57mm cannon, 4x .303, and rockets/bombs for attacking shipping targets

B. Mk7: B. Mk5 with Packard-built Merlin 31s.

B. Mk 20: Packard Merlin 31/33

FB Mk.21: Three Canadian-built FB Mk6s

T Mk.22: Three Canadian-built trainer versions of the FB Mk.21

B Mk.23: Proposal for a Merlin 69 powered version of the B Mk.20, to have been built in Canada

FB Mk.24: Solitary Packard Merlin 301-engined aircraft

B Mk.25: Mk.20 with Merlin 225s

FB Mk.26: Mk.6 with Merlin 225s

T Mk.27: Mk.22 with Merlin 225s

FB Mk.28: Merlin 25s

PR.32: High altitude derivative of the PR.XVI.

NF.38: Last new-build Mosquito variant; postwar model first flown in November 1947, derived from the NF.36 and equipped with the British-supplied AI Mk.IX set.

TT.39: Postwar conversion of B.XVIs to target tow configuration for the Royal Navy, with an extended glazed nose.

DH.101: “Super Mosquito” three-seater powered by Napier Sabres driving contrarotating propellers. Not built.

DH.102: “Mosquito II” with Merlin 61s or Griffons; two aircraft started to meet B.4/42, but not completed.

Jet Mosquito: Proposal for a Mossie with a new wing design and powered by a pair of Halford H.1 turbojets.


Recommended Reading & Photo References:

Photo: a pair of Mosquito B.35s of Spartan Air Services Flight 26 August 1955 p.280

R.J. Wilson “Mosquitos at Exeter” Air Pictorial February 1963 p.54-55 The final RAF Mossies – includes an in-flight picture of TT.35 VP191

Mosquito NF XIII and NF.30 side view marking drawings Airfix Magazine November 1976

Photos: SAAF Mosquito II, PR.IX LR480, and PR.XVI N5644 Air Pictorial February 1979 p.56-57

“Mosquito: De H’s Beautiful Bomber” Air International January 1983 includes a B Mk. XVI cutaway diagram

Photo: Mosquito PR Mk.XVI with invasion stripes RAF Yearbook 1984 p.63

Captain Eric Brown “The Wooden Wonder Goes Aboard” Air International June 1984 Includes a photo of an FB Mk.VI in semi-navalized configuration, Sea Mossie prototype LR387, and a large cutaway drawing of a Sea Mosquito TR Mk.33.

Peter Cooke “Mosquitoes in Miniature” Aeroplane Monthly February 1987 p.82-83 1/24th scale Mossies.

“Personal Album” Aeroplane Monthly March 1987 p.136-137 Images of postwar Mosquito B.35 operations.

Fred Atkin “Mossies over the Med” Aeroplane Monthly October 1989 Recollections of postwar operations by PR.34 Mosquitos of No.13 Squadron RAF.

Ken Sommerfield “Confound and Destroy: Mosquito Night Fighters flown by Wing Commander F.F. Lambert” FineScale Modeler March 1992 p.24-27. Includes color profiles of NF Mk.II HJ659, and FB Mk.VIs PZ338 and HJ781.
Richard Franks “Mosquito! Part 3” Scale Aviation Modeller September 1996 includes numerous B.35 internal photos

Gavin Law “Death of a Mosquito” FlyPast January 1998 1954 loss of TT.35 TH992.

Photo: 487 Squadron Mossie HX917 F-EG FlyPast January 1998 p.87

Photo: Fuselage of PR XVII Mosquito A52-600 FlyPast December 1998 p.20

“Award-Winning Mosquito” FineScale Modeler May 2001 p.24-26 Tamiya Mosquito Mk. VI.

“Mossie Completed: Another to Fly” Aeroplane April 2005 FB.26 and B(TT)35 TA719

Review of the Pavla 1/72 Mossie B Mk.IV cockpit and bomb bay detail sets Skymodel 8/06 p.58

Peter Hewley “Airshow Idol” Aeroplane October 2006 Recollections of flying Mosquito T.III RR299

Preview: The 1/48 Revell Mosquito B Mk. IV Model Airplane International March 2009 p.49

Photo: color shot of Spartan Air Services B.35 CF-HMQ Warbirds International April/May 2013 p.62

Edward Ward “Mosquito Fighter Variants: Day and Night Destroyers” Aviation News December 2016

The Encyclopedia of 20th Century Air Warfare p.110 color profile of a Mosquito Mk.IV of No.105 Squadron

Bill Gunston Aircraft of World War II Mosquito coverage p.53-57: Includes a large color 5-view illustration of a Mk.IV, plus color profiles that include a USAAF F-8, Sea Mosquito, Yugoslavian night fighter, Royal Navy TT.39, and a Dominican aircraft.

Gerry Manning 1000 Preserved Military Aircraft p.82 photos T.3 RR299, TT.35 N35MK, Chinese FB.26, TT.35 TA639, Belgian NF.30 MB24

Tony Buttler British Experimental Combat Aircraft of World War II p.254: close-up of dummy dorsal turret fitted to W4050

Kenneth Munson Pageant of the Air p.61:photo of Mosquito PR.34 RG177 making a very low pass

Aircraft Anatomy of World War II: Technical Drawings of Key Aircraft 1939-1945 Paul Eden, Soph Moeing, editors p.34-37: Mosquito B.XVI cutaway, large color artwork of PR.34A RG177


What-If “High Speed Handley Page Bomber”

PR Spitfire at NMUSAF