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One of the most aesthetic aircraft to ever grace the skies would have to be the de Havilland Mosquito. Used in various guises from unarmed bomber to heavily armed anti-shipping fighter-bomber with a 57mm cannon, the Mossie also was to be seen in many different schemes, some of which are shown on this and the following pages.

The first variant of the Mosquito to see service was the PR Mk.I, which entered service in the late summer of 1941. And flew its first combat mission on 17 September. From this date on the Mosquito was to become a common sight in the skies over the Axis powers.

BOMBER Mk.IV/FIGHTER Mk.II

Mosquito B Mk.IV DK333
PO Stephens/Ruskell
No.109 Sqn RAF

The first pattern carried by the Mosquitos was that seen on the other aircraft of Bomber Command - brown/green topsides with black undersurfaces. Aircraft codes and serials are in dull red.

Mosquito B Mk.IV DZ367
No.105 Sqn RAF

The next pattern seen on Bomber Command Mossies was gray/green upper surfaces and sky under surfaces along with light gray codes and black serials.

Mosquito B Mk.IV G-AGFV

During the war, Britain needed to keep in contact with neutral Sweden for such materials as precision-machined ball bearings and machine-tool steel. BOAC initially operated a pair of Lockheed Lodestars for this route, but the performance of the Lodestar resulted in it only being flown in bad weather and clouds to protect it from fighter interception. BOAC sought a replacement, and after refusing the government's suggestions of Whitleys and Albermarle, the Mosquito was selected. The first BOAC Mosquitos were B. Mk. IVs, followed by FB. Mk. VIs. With the Mosquito, interception by the Luftwaffe was unlikely, and the lines of communication remained open between England and Sweden. G-AGFV is seen in standard RAF camouflage, the only additions being its civil registration and a large red/white/blue horizontal stripe on the fuselage.

Mosquito NF Mk.II W4082
No.157 Sqn RAF
March-August 1942

The Mosquito was early on recognized as being suitable for modification into the fighter role. As such they were fitted with four 20mm cannon and four .303 machine guns. At the same time the need for night-fighters was becoming apparent and the Mosquito NF Mk.II was created by mating the F Mk.II with the Mk.IV AI (Airborne Intercept) radar - the result being the NF Mk.II. The only external difference was the arrowhead aerial on the nose and dipoles on the wingtips. These early Mosquitos were finished in a special matt black paint that was supposed to lessen the likelihood of being seen at night. Note the type A1 roundel and the early fin flash.

Mosquito NF Mk.II (Intruder) DD712
No.23 Sqn RAF
November 1942

The desire to take the war to the enemy led to many types of aircraft being employed in the intruder role. These aircraft roamed over Europe at night and were directed to cause the maximum disruption to the enemy's lines of communications as possible. One favoured tactic was to wait in the vicinity of a German airfield and shoot down any returning aircraft careless enough to think it was safely at home. The NF.IIs employed on this function had their radar removed. . and were to all intents and purposes standard F Mk.IIs. DD712 shows the next step in NF markings. . the roundel is now type C1, while the fin flash has had its white centre stripe reduced in width.

Mosquito NF Mk.II (Intruder) DZ716
No.605 Sqn

For night-fighters, matte black finish was found to less helpful in concealment at night, Therefore most were refinished in an overall gray with green disruptive camouflage. However as the NF Mk.II (Intruder) was still operating in an environment where searchlights were a real danger, many kept their black bottom surfaces, even after adding the gray/green uppers.

 

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Air Intelligence
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Reference Guides

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