Escorted Mossies

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by mhuxt, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    #1 mhuxt, Aug 6, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
    To avoid hijacking the other thread, I'll post what I have here.

    USAAF Mossies escorted by USAAF Mustangs meeting jets:

    German Jet Encounters



    I mentioned the Tuskegees escorting Mosqsuitos, their chronology is here

    http://www.afhra.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-100413-023.pdf

    and here

    http://www.sammcgowan.com/311 Missions.pdf

    Both give dates of Mosquito escorts and areas photographed.

    I wasn't aware the Tuskegees escorted Mossies until I saw one of those "aviation art" websites which had a painting of them doing it. I then found an interview with Leon Spears on the web, which since seems to have been removed. I copied the relevant bit:

    Interview with Leon Spears::

    Q: Please relate your first combat encounter with enemy aircraft.

    Spears: I had an air combat encounter in Kitten when my flight of about five aircraft escorted a... I believe it was a British Mosquito reconnaissance plane over a target area. He led us while we kept him in sight. We escorted him to the Munich area to this German ball bearing factory. As soon as he started his photo run, we backed off a little so he could do his work. He had to fly straight and level. The Mosquito was a very fast plane. When we came back from the target area he just out ran us. We could not keep up with him because of his speed. We heard him say on the radio "Ta, ta, chaps!" and just keep on going past us. As we started after him we noticed a He-l 11 bomber turning our direction. Well, we turned into him. When he saw us turning, I could see little specks coming out the bottom of the bomber, which meant he was firing his hand-held machine guns. He did not hit us. I think he waited too long to fire because we were just right on top of him. By the time he made his turn we started to fire on him. We keep firing and I could see pieces coming off and then smoke and fire would come out and then the plane went in toward the ground sideways. Both me and James Mitchell destroyed this aircraft and shared the victory.


    (I actually believe he is mistaken in stating that the He 111 was shot down on the escort mission, haven't checked against the chronologies though...)

    Tuskegee Missions 193 and 209 are clear matches with the 60 SAAF Operations Record Book. By February 1945 680 Sqn was working the Balkans / Greece area, so anything from February onwards which involves the Tuskegees escorting Mossies almost certainly has them with the South Africans (the ranks of the Mossie crews involved clearly shows they were SAAF, not RAF in a SAAF squadron)


    The Mediterranean photo-recce Mossies were also escorted by the 31st FG, according to Sharp Bowyer.

    I guess it's more than ironic that a South African unit was under the protection of Black airmen, though I don't suppose it would have mattered a damn to the men involved, whether they knew who their escorts were or not.

    Edit - Good (and in parts wickedly funny) interview with Spears here:

    http://www.goldengatewing.org/proptalk/speaker.cfm?ID=122
     
  2. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    What I love about this is the recurring theme of the Mustangs being unable to stay with the Mosquitos. I can hear the teeth-gnashing from the P-51 camp already...lol
     
  3. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Heheheh, being faster than the fighters had its benefits though (from the 60 SAAF summary for March '45):

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    Mossies on daylight ops were escorted by a number of different single engine types. Off the top of my head, I can think of Spitfires, Typhoons and Mustangs all providing escort on various bombing and strike missions. Operation Jericho and the Banff Strike Wing come immediately to mind.

    Mosquitos even escorted other Mosquitos on some occasions.
     
  5. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #5 GregP, Aug 7, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2013
    They didn't cruise as fast, but their top speed was faster ... IF they had the fuel to spare. If you are over Berlin, the primary mission temaining is to get home with the fuel you have.

    There was NO Mosquito faster than any Merlin-powered Mustang. But they did cruise faster when they wanted to. Coincidentally, they also cruised faster than Spitfires, Hurricanes, Bf 109's, and Fw 190's, too ... not jusy Mustangs.
     
  6. OldSkeptic

    OldSkeptic Active Member

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    Good point Greg, too many people get into the 'top speed' of a particular aircraft.
    But if you can only do it for 5 mins, so what, particularly if you are chasing something, use is it?
    Or, alternatively even if you can keep it up you have sod all fuel to able to maintain it?

    There is, hard to find now, an actual film, of the famous Ameins raid. On the way there the actual filmed crew of this particular plane, at one point saw 'snappers' behind them. Watched closely and kept going and they fell behind.

    On that raid, several things, for mem come to mind. I've been to the town read an account of one the pilots who flew down the main street and said that he had to angle the plane as it was too narrow for the plane (translated h was flying well under the roof tops). Basil Embry should have led the attack but was banned from it at the last moment, Pickard, the chosen commander of the raid, was far less experienced in low level attacks, which sadly, probably contributed to his death. Plus they were both bomber people.

    They used FB VIs, with 4x20mm 4x.303 guns as well as bombs.

    I might be wrong in this, but a more experienced Mossie FB pilot, used to 'mixing it with 109s and 190s (as per the Banff wing) might have gotten away with not being shot down.

    Note only 2 planes was lost out of 17.
     
  7. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Mustangs, Tiffies and other Mossies I can recall, can't however put my finger on Spit escorts, where should I be looking?

    (Genuine question, not trying to stir the pot...)
     
  8. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Excerpt from the April '45 ORB, to balance the negativity of the March entry.

    Seems the Red Tails themselves provided cause for concern at one point in March - some red-tailed P-51s chased a Mossie for 20 minutes before breaking off:

    60APRIL.JPG
     
  9. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    Hi Greg,
    Yep, important point - it was the Mosquito's high sustainable speed that made it so difficult to intercept, not it's maximum speed. The Germans had 'faster' engine fighters pretty much the whole time the Mossie was in action, they just weren't faster enough! Kinda like having a 100 meter sprinter and a 400 meter runner taking off from the same starting line, only a hundred yards apart. The Sprinter might be faster flat out, but he could never tag the runner, because he would tank before he could make up the distance.
     
  10. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Terrific info, Mark; very informative.
     
  11. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    There were some Spitfire escorts of FB Mk VI daylight missions in the second half of 1944 and early 1945. I'll try and find the specific reference. I remember wondering if the Spitfires had trouble keeping up.
     
  12. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I don't think Mustangs had any trouble cruising at 330 mph but, if they did, they probably wouldn't make the round trip. Once a Merlin is heat-soaked, it needs to cruise at moderate boost for awhile to cool down.

    Mosquitoes, on the other hand, could cruise pretty fast for a long time. The trick was never shooting them down, that wasn't difficult. The trick was to know where they were and when so you could be in position to catch them and shoot them down before they accomplished their mission and disappeared. vSince they were hard to pick up on radar, that made it all that much harder since they then had to reply on airplane spotters to ctach the Mosquitoes and that was difficult to coordinate with speed and precision.

    All a Mosquito flight would have to do is to fly a dogleg to the target and make a 30° or more turn some relatively small distance from target and the manual plane spotter plots would be useless for interception. The defenders would be waiting where the original course pointed to no avail. Of course, you can't fly straight for TOO long or they will spring the trap before you turn.

    It was a game of cat and mouse that the Mosquitoe pilots were pretty good at.

    Altogether a good aircraft, and I never have thought otherwise.
     
  13. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like the Mosquito would have made a good strategic bomber if more could have been had.

    Fast Mosquitoes (in and out fast) instead of the trundling along B-17/B-24s.:)
     
  14. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    Oh God, here we go again...
     
  15. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Nahhh, I won't take the bait again. However, if you were fishsing, Milosh, I'd say that was a damned good cast ...

    Trundling along ... heh, heh ... hadn't ever thought of it quite that way, but they WERE cruising about 50 - 60% of top speed or so.
     
  16. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    And at ~50% of the Mosquito's cruise speed
     
  17. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    #17 Erich, Aug 10, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2013
    I'd sure like to know why a 605th squadron crew was shot down in their Mossie FB VI over Sylt by my cousin in an old crate Do 217N ........... yes OT but with superior speed can only imagine the Mossie crew thought they were unapproachable. my cousin served in 4./NJG 3 at the time during 1943. the date of the above op was : 2 of August 1943.
     
  18. OldSkeptic

    OldSkeptic Active Member

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    Oh anything could be shot down by anything if the circumstances (or luck)were correct. I'm sure there were some 109s shot down by bi-planes somewhere and at sometime in WW2.

    Bob Braham (the great night fighter ace) tells how he stuffed up in his Mossie and got got shot down, admitted it was totally his fault, got caught going way too slow in a danger area.

    Never underestimate the power of sheer dumb luck at times, good and bad, as well. Remember a story about a bofors crew shooting down (from memory) a 262 with only a couple of shells, the odds against it were immense, but it happened.
    Plus stuffing up. Another one was the Banff strike wing story of the Mustang escort Squadron Leader, winning a hard and long dog fight with a 190, then flew straight and level right after it and got shot down himself. Who knows why, exhaustion?

    I always wonder how many fighters got shot down in large 'furballs', with all those shells flying around everywhere, even by their own side.
     
  19. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Heyas E,

    I thought we also had the Dornier crashing, 80% damage and 3 wounded, in the same general area, IIRC we reckoned the Mossie may have taken a pop at the Dornier near the airfield, overshot and found itself on the wrong end of the exchange.
     
  20. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    After Baer shot the Mossie down he returned towards base so he and his crew thought and then felt the sting of another Mossie on their tail and nearly blew the Do 217 out of the skies 4 km south of Rantum. pretty weird day for the LW crew I'd say.
     
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