Mosquito - the alternative strategic bomber

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Timppa, Sep 11, 2016.

  1. Timppa

    Timppa Active Member

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    De Havilland Mosquito

    Any objections ?
     
  2. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Timppa - I don't recall the Mossie having the range to go to Munich with 4,000 pound bomb load. Could be wrong.
     
  3. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    London to Berlin - 580mi

    London to Munich - 572mi.
     
  4. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    My only objection is historical, it requires a complete change in the mind set of bomber command AND the Mosquito to come into service before the start of the war. The concept of a fast bomber was not new the Blenheim and Hampden were fast when introduced and quickly became obsolete. Getting any ministry to accept the idea of a bomber with no defence apart from speed in the 1930s would be like getting the Pope to become a Buddhist. Even though the Mosquito was designed as an unarmed light bomber/recon there was a mock up of one with a turret, slapping turrets on everything was in vogue at the time.

    I disagree that the Lancaster was not a precision bomber, it could do the jobs when asked to and it hit the Tirpitz, submarine pens, viaducts and V3 gun sites when asked to.
     
  5. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    IMO if you used the Mosquito as a precision bomber (and say it carried a Mark XIV, Norton or Sperry type bomb sight), you've just placed yourself at speeds where you still could be easily intercepted or blasted out of the sky by flack until you delivered your bombs, and even then the chances of interception are great. I could agree with a pathfinder role (like was done with the P-38) but I think to use the Mosquito in a strategic role would have been disastrous and it would have squandered some of the best attributes of this aircraft.
     
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  6. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    Also dont be led too much by the weight of a cookie which is a can full of explosive. To cause serious damage to refineries water mains etc you need heavy bombs, of which the mosquito could carry a couple if any at all.

    mosquito with cookie - Google Search
     
  7. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Apart from the article being based on the false premise that the Mosquito was a more precise bomber than a Lancaster or anything else?

    Bomber Command did a lot of work to discover which bombers and what bomb loads would do the most damage to Germany's infra structure, and a large force of Mosquitoes was not the answer it came up with.

    A Lancaster could bomb just as accurately using Oboe, H2S, Gee or any other system as a Mosquito could. At the end of the war many PFF squadrons operated Lancasters. 8 Group flew 19,601 Lancaster and 28,215 Mosquito sorties. 5 Group's more or less independent pathfinder force flew just 1,133 Mosquito sorties during the war. There is a common assumption that the Mosquito dominated the PFF which it did not.

    The Mosquito was well used in numerous other roles by all of the RAF's Commands (including Bomber Command) and excelled in most if not all.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
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  8. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #8 stona, Sep 11, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016
    The bomb loads were developed to suit the mission. A successful area raid used incendiary munitions to best effect. This in turn was discovered to be dependent on three conditions. The target had to be relatively intact (possessing considerable combustible material); the bombing had to be concentrated in time and space; the overall bomb load had to contain sufficient high explosive to be a threat to fire services and anti aircraft gunners.

    The Mosquito was not capable of carrying the requisite loads. If we accept the argument that it was no more capable of precision night bombing then The Command's heavy bombers (and it wasn't) then it would be tasked with a mission it could not carry out.
    You can be sure that Bomber Command closely examined what the Mosquito could and could not do, before using it with considerable success, in a bombing role, in the Light Night Striking Force. In this role the aircraft caused much confusion to the Germans, taxing air defence systems and shutting down entire cities, driving the population into shelters, simply by dropping a few Target Indicators and some 'Cookies'. The Force could do this over several cities on any given night, even when the Main Force was not operating.

    It is difficult to extract the bombing operations of the LNSF and 8 Group aircraft from other vital work, but Bowyer estimates that the LNSF flew 26,255 sorties for the loss of 108 Mosquitoes. About 10,000 'Cookies' were dropped, 26,000 tons of bombs. 68% of LNSF operations were flown, to keep the pressure on Germany's defences and cities, when the heavy bombers were not operating.

    This aircraft does not represent a missed opportunity for a strategic bomber, in fact I would argue that the RAF exploited it to the maximum in other roles to which its unique abilities were far better suited.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
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  9. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    I agree Stona, I was just saying that with a completely different attitude and the Mosquito being available before the war started a different use could be made, it wouldnt take much effort to equal the early night bombing raids with Mosquito raids in daylight because most missed the target. As I said if everyone had a different attitude to bombing, if the mosquito was available 5 years before it was and if it was produced in huge numbers a different strategy could have been used .....but that is a lot of "ifs".

    Another point is that the Mosquito only had a crew of two but they were the two who had the most training of any air crew pilot and navigator, bomb aimer flight engineer, it isnt just a question of counting the number of people.
     
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  10. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I think it is important to emphasise the link between the need for heavy bombers to deliver sufficient bombs on a target given the likely accuracy of the attack.
    I gave some figures a while ago on the density of bombs required to destroy a marshaling yard. Essentially three 500lb bombs per acre were required. Using the most accurate navigational aid (Oboe), to ensure a 50% and 75% chance of success, required 114 and 168 Lancaster sorties respectively. Just how many Mosquitoes is the writer of the article proposing be used by Bomber Command? Are bombers to be manufactured to the detriment of all other versions of the aircraft? Which aircraft would replace them as Intruders, Rangers, Fighter Bombers, Airliners, in Coastal Command's Strike Wings etc., etc.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
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  11. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    This is a fantasy scenario, more mosquitos instead of battles and wellingtons and halifaxes used to keep damaged targets damaged with a lot more smaller raids on refineries etc.

    I think there was a place for many more mosquitos but it is a fantasy scenario, I think I read somewhere long ago that production of the mosquito was stretching the supply of the woods used. If we head into a war in Europe again and jet engines are no longer possible maybe we should consider it.
     
  12. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Well, yes. The basic premise is that the Mosquito could replace the 'heavies' as a strategic bomber because, being so much more accurate, a lesser weight of bombs would need to be delivered. This, unfortunately, is nonsense.

    Incidentally, Bennett, quoted in the article slightly without context, was keen on the Mosquito. He was equally keen on the Lancaster and never to my knowledge proposed the replacement of it by the Mosquito. Bennett was just about senior enough (even in 1942 as a Wing Commander) and certainly well connected enough in 8 Group to have been privy to most of Bomber Command's ORS reports. I won't bore us all with the circulation and categorisation of said reports here, but some, particularly relating to losses and survival rates, were severely restricted, technical ones generally not. Bennett was certainly smart enough to have understood the ones he saw.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  13. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    Stona, I wouldnt propose replacing all the heavies just have many more mosquitos continually attacking refineries marshalling yards and airfields that had been previously attacked by heavies. Raids were done here is a brief account of one

    German Jet Encounters
     
  14. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    As the Mosquito carried the approx. bomb load as the American heavies, could it have replaced almost all of the American heavies?
     
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  15. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    We see the Mosquito-only option every few years and the same old arguments come up. Perhaps we should have a dedicated "what-if" subforum so the frequent what-ifs could be made sticky posts. Then only the people interested in what-ifs would ever go there.

    Just a thought, but we've dealt with this particular one at least three of four times previously, unless I recall incorrectly. Stranger things have happened.
     
  16. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    The idea of using the Mosquito to replace heavy bombers is to my mind ridiculous it would mean massed formations over targets heavily defended by flack. My proposal would be to use its strengths, for one example not making a massed raid on a marshalling yard but many raids like the transport plan hitting trains and rail lines all over Germany.
     
  17. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Like the 100lb - 250lb bombs the USAAF regularly used against refineries and synthetic oil plants?
     
  18. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    I'd suggest one Mosquito could do that 93 500lbs on an acre of ground) at low level in the daylight....
     
  19. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    #19 pbehn, Sep 11, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016
    Yes, a cookie was a bomb to blow off roof tiles it had most effect when it exploded above ground, such a bomb would have almost no effect on the important parts of a refinery, if you see the remains of German cities they were burned to the ground but the brick structure ws standing, a steel structure would be unaffected.

    To wreck a refinery you need a huge blast to destroy or undermine the pressure vessels which take months to construct or repair, damaging pipework and instruments can be rectified in days.
     
  20. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The later Mark Mossies could carry a max. of 4,000 pounds, but what was the trade-off in range and speed under a max. load condition?
     
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