Mosquito: Did It Have the Biggest Impact on WW2?

by FliteTest | January 30, 2019 | (9) Posted in Just Fun

The Spitfire and Mustang are certainly up there as the most famous, but did the Mosquito make the biggest difference?

Yesterday, I came across a community chuck glider design by Nic Lechner.It got me thinking - “you know, the de Haviland Mosquito is a little underrated”.

Check out the 'ChuckSquito' glider and the free plans on Nic's website.

The Mosquito was a two-man aircraft that was designed by the Geoffrey de Havilland, an individual behind many legendary 20th-century aircraft designs. During the war, it served as a high-speed reconnaissance spotter, night fighter and precision bomber… to name just a few of its varied roles.


The aircraft was responsible for one of the most daring bombing operations of the war including the attack on the Gestapo headquarters in Oslo, Norway and another to breach the walls of a prison in Amiens to allow the escape of condemned resistance fighters. It was also used to target V1 facilities on the French coast around 1944 along with various attacks on installations, radio communications and railways infrastructure. Suffice to say, with the Mosquito, the Allies wielded a fine scalpel, not a blunt fist. 

However, there is one key reason the Mosquito stands out: it was fast (and I mean really fast). 


Surprisingly, one of the allies most advanced aircraft that could fly close to 400mph, reach altitudes of 30,000ft and have extraordinary range was made primarily of wood. To be specific, it was largely constructed from ply, spruce, balsa and wood glue, not unlike some of our model planes. This led to the nickname, the “Wooden Wonder”.

‘We believe that we could produce a twin-engine bomber which would have a performance so outstanding that little defensive equipment would be needed’.

Geoffrey de Havilland – September 1939

The plane was immensely beautiful, being almost carved from the wooden sheets used in its construction. The airframe was light yet strong and able to carry, almost literally, a ton of weaponry in the form of large cannons in the nose, bombs in the fuselage and even large torpedoes slung underneath. 

Workshops all over the UK were transformed into Mosquito-building micro-factories. This was a move to split up production to avoid air raids targeting a single factory and an initiative to mobilize the nation’s cabinet makers, joiners and carpenters. Everyone could help to build the Mosquito. 


Indeed, it’s not simple to assess exactly how much of an impact the Mosquito had when compared to other military aircraft of WW2; the measuring points are not linear - we can’t stand the Mustang, for example, next to the Mosquito and compare them equally as they served different roles at different times in different situations. However, it’s certainly the case that the multi-purpose precision bomber possessed a long list of achievements and successful missions in the latter stages of the war. It paved the pay for the liberation of Europe and stung mighty blows to the Axis war machine. 

The 'Wooden Wonder' also pioneered a new form of bombing - precision strikes. Many historians believe the Mosquito was more of a technological triumph than the Spitfire for this reason. Furthering this, it could be quickly adapted to take on other roles when needed. As Eric “Winkle” Brown said, “The Mosquito was particularly important because it wasn’t just a fighter or a bomber. It was a night fighter, a reconnaissance aircraft. A ground-attack aircraft. It was a multi-purpose aircraft.” 

If validation from the allies wasn’t enough, the Luftwaffe too were somewhat in awe of the Mosquito - whilst simultaneously being morally downtrodden by its mightiness. Pilots were actually allowed to claim two kills for each one they were able to shoot down - if they could catch up.

“The British, who can afford aluminium better than we can, knock together a beautiful wooden aircraft that every piano factory over there is building, and they give it a speed which they have now increased yet again. What do you make of that?”

- Hermann Göring (whilst particularly irritated). 

If you liked this article, you may enjoy:

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Article by James Whomsley

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Mosquito: Did It Have the Biggest Impact on WW2?