There can be little doubt that de Havilland’s famous Mosquito was the Allies’ most versatile, multi-role combat aircraft of World War Two. Constructed mainly of lightweight plywood and balsa, and affectionately nicknamed ‘The Wooden Wonder’, each Mosquito was powered by two mighty liquid-cooled Rolls-Royce Merlins – the legendary 12-cylinder engine used for the Spitfire, the Hurricane and the Lancaster bombers. Those Merlins made the Mosquito one of the fastest piston-engine aircraft of the war, able to roam almost at will over enemy-occupied territory.
Able to carry practically every available weapon in the RAF’s arsenal, Mosquitos operated in numerous roles from fighter-bomber to pathfinder, intruder, photo-reconnaissance, night-fighter, torpedo bomber, anti-shipping and, thanks to the high-performance of those two Merlin engines, a deadly low-level precision strike aircraft famed for audacious attacks such as Operation Jericho on 18 February 1944 when a force of Mosquitos, including those of 464 Squadron RAAF, attacked and breached the walls of Amiens prison. Or the daylight precision raid carried out by the Mosquitos of 105 and 139 Squadrons on 30 January 1943 when they attacked Berlin’s main broadcasting station in a daring low- level strike just as Herman Goering was speaking on the 10th anniversary of Hitler becoming Chancellor of Germany. Not only was Goering’s speech cut off air in mid-sentence but a second sortie that afternoon interrupted a similar address by Goebbels.
Needless to say, Mosquito crews needed nerves of steel!Raiding the Reich
portrays aircraft from 464 Squadron carrying out another blistering attack, this time on Soltau railway station in February 1945 as part of Operation Clarion, the strategic bombing by the Allied air forces of over 200 enemy transport and communication targets in support of British and Canadian armies advancing through northern Germany during the Battle of the Reichswald.
This print is available as a portfolio pair with The Valiant Return
by Anthony Saunders.