What if the USAAF and RAF had solely used Mosquitos instead of Lancasters, Halifaxes, B17s, B24s etc in Europe

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
maltesefalcon
Member
Posts: 1796
Joined: 03 Sep 2003 18:15
Location: Canada

Re: What if the USAAF and RAF had solely used Mosquitos instead of Lancasters, Halifaxes, B17s, B24s etc in Europe

Post by maltesefalcon » 23 Apr 2019 23:38

In large formations the Mossie would lose much of its freedom of movement and be easier prey for fighters. As for flak, the danger is somewhat random, so a large formation of aircraft bunched together is vulnerable at 250 mph or 400 mph.

Being fast and manouvreable does not mean invulnerable. Look how many P-51s went down.

And as for bombload. Let's be fair and call the bombloads for B-17 and B-24 comparable to the Mosquito.
Not so for the Lancaster. Not even close.

And what would happen to Pratt and Whitney? All those radials would never be built. Without heavy bomber experience would there be a B-29 engine? Even IRL there were teething problems with these engines....

User avatar
T. A. Gardner
Member
Posts: 1864
Joined: 02 Feb 2006 00:23
Location: Arizona

Re: What if the USAAF and RAF had solely used Mosquitos instead of Lancasters, Halifaxes, B17s, B24s etc in Europe

Post by T. A. Gardner » 24 Apr 2019 00:14

On that last, the whole of the US aircraft industry would have to be reoriented to manufacturing the Merlin engine, or the US would have to make serious, serious changes to the Mosquito as designed in order to accommodate its production. For example:

Without enough Merlin engines, I could see the US deciding to re-engineer the plane to take an Allison V 1790 with a turbocharger to get equal performance, and even a boost in high altitude performance out of the plane. That'd take a bit of doing.

Next, as I pointed out, it is highly unlikely the US would use British / Commonwealth production techniques to build the plane.





Note that the narrator says they use "cold water glue." That's a casien glue (aka "Elmer's" glue). DeHaviland made it reasonably waterproof by covering the plane in canvas and doping it with a waterproof paint.

I could see the US going to all "Duramold" process for the plywood as it's massively stronger than the phenol or urea formaldhyde and casien glues used on the Mosquito.

Then you have to re-engineer it to take US made insturments and other items like a US made bombsight.

After that, you have to redo all of the drawings and probably many of the jigs and assembly tools to meet US specifications and assembly methods. The US had to do this with other foreign equipment they adopted from the 40mm Bofors to the 6 pdr (US M1 57mm) antitank gun.

Then comes the shift in production from what the US is building to the Mosquito. I could foresee this meaning that it's not until late 1943 or early 44 that true mass production of the plane is achieved due to the time it takes to switch over to its manufacture.

maltesefalcon
Member
Posts: 1796
Joined: 03 Sep 2003 18:15
Location: Canada

Re: What if the USAAF and RAF had solely used Mosquitos instead of Lancasters, Halifaxes, B17s, B24s etc in Europe

Post by maltesefalcon » 24 Apr 2019 00:43

Yep, but the US especially would still need radials. Thunderbolts and a variety of Naval aircraft still used them. Plus B-25 and A-26 for example.

So P&W or Wright would not be likely be retooled to build the inline engines to replace the 47,000 four engine bombers built during the war. A lot of work for Allison and Packard....

Aussiegoat
Member
Posts: 15
Joined: 03 Feb 2017 06:23
Location: Sydney

Re: What if the USAAF and RAF had solely used Mosquitos instead of Lancasters, Halifaxes, B17s, B24s etc in Europe

Post by Aussiegoat » 26 Apr 2019 04:54

Kingfish wrote:
23 Apr 2019 10:23
Aussiegoat wrote:
22 Apr 2019 11:31
Mosquitos did use different tactics to the heavy bomber streams (on account of their superior performance), and accounted for approximately half the pathfinder force. I'm not a Mosquito expert but I assume they were used in this role for a reason. I imagine you'd feel much safer in a Mosquito looking for your target knowing you're harder to engage than a heavy bomber, giving you more time to find your target and bomb.
Correct, they used different tactics due to different performance, but you can't assume the same tactic would produce better results in a far different mission requirement.

After all, a destroyer is far faster and more maneuverable than a battleship, but you wouldn't want to use them as the primary component for a NGFS mission or a stand up fight against another BB.
One example of the Mosquito's superior accuracy was an RAF study that found Mosquitos took only 40 tons of bombs on average to destroy V1 launching sites, versus 165 tons for a B-17 (2x bombload of a Mosquito over this range) and 182 tons for a B-26 (same bombload as a Mosquito). This means for every Mosquito sortie, which would have suffered fewer losses per sortie, there would have to be at least 4 B-17 and 4.5 B-26 sorties.

For me, it really comes down to this: Would you have rather, given the choice, fly a manoeuvrable 400 MPH Mosquito or a heavy 250-280 MPH B-17 (or B-17/25/26 for that matter) over occupied Europe and Germany?

Aussiegoat
Member
Posts: 15
Joined: 03 Feb 2017 06:23
Location: Sydney

Re: What if the USAAF and RAF had solely used Mosquitos instead of Lancasters, Halifaxes, B17s, B24s etc in Europe

Post by Aussiegoat » 26 Apr 2019 05:11

maltesefalcon wrote:
23 Apr 2019 23:38
In large formations the Mossie would lose much of its freedom of movement and be easier prey for fighters. As for flak, the danger is somewhat random, so a large formation of aircraft bunched together is vulnerable at 250 mph or 400 mph.

Being fast and manouvreable does not mean invulnerable. Look how many P-51s went down.

And as for bombload. Let's be fair and call the bombloads for B-17 and B-24 comparable to the Mosquito.
Not so for the Lancaster. Not even close.

And what would happen to Pratt and Whitney? All those radials would never be built. Without heavy bomber experience would there be a B-29 engine? Even IRL there were teething problems with these engines....
The Light Night Striking Force (12 squadrons by the end of the war) didn't operate in the Lancaster standard bomber streams, therefore maintaining their freedom of movement.

Flying at 250 MPH means you spend at least 1.6 more time over the target than an aircraft flying at 400 MPH, which definitely makes you more vulnerable. The Mosquito was not invulnerable but it suffered the lowest bomber loss per sortie for a reason. On a side note, late on in the war, as a result of statistical analysis, the Operational Research Section of the RAF's Bomber Command, put forward a case for the removal of the majority of the Lancaster's defensive armament. They argued that this would reduce the overall loss rate as it would have the benefit of increasing the Lancaster's cruise speed by up to 50 mph (80 km/h). They also considered that the modification would be justified regardless of the envisioned decreased loss rate as, by requiring fewer crew to serve as defensive air gunners, that would be a lower number of human losses incurred with each aircraft lost.

Yes, the Lanc had a huge bombload, but its losses were correspondingly high. Bomber command suffered 44% losses for a reason.

User avatar
T. A. Gardner
Member
Posts: 1864
Joined: 02 Feb 2006 00:23
Location: Arizona

Re: What if the USAAF and RAF had solely used Mosquitos instead of Lancasters, Halifaxes, B17s, B24s etc in Europe

Post by T. A. Gardner » 26 Apr 2019 05:29

I'd rather have a variety of planes making it hard for the opposition to focus on just one type. As for the RAF study, I seriously doubt any bomber of WW 2 had greater precision than any other type assuming equal bombsights and operating at equal altitudes. So, if B-17's at say 25,000 feet used 165 tons of bombs having a better bombsight while Mosquito operating at 5,000 feet used 40 tons, I'd say there's no real equivalence and the danger would be that with the Mosquito the Germans would quickly up the light flak around V 1 sites meaning far more danger in the mission than with B-17's.

Once the Luftwaffe starts putting up a fighter (or fighters) that can catch a Mosquito (and loaded with bombs it doesn't fly 400 mph it cruises at closer to 300 mph) that can catch and destroy one, and they will since that's the only target they have, what's the alternate game plan? You aren't going to be able to raise the speed much, if at all. If you start sticking defensive armament and armor on it, it's going to get slower or you lose bomb load.

If you switch solely to night bombing, you leave the daytime to the Germans.

And, you are going to lose considerable production and production time for the US to switch to making the plane. As I pointed out, it would be a major shift to do so. The plane would also be unsuitable for many other missions and in many other theaters outside Europe.

maltesefalcon
Member
Posts: 1796
Joined: 03 Sep 2003 18:15
Location: Canada

Re: What if the USAAF and RAF had solely used Mosquitos instead of Lancasters, Halifaxes, B17s, B24s etc in Europe

Post by maltesefalcon » 26 Apr 2019 13:43

The concept of the Mosquito was in part to use non-traditional materials, thus saving use of additional aluminum.But aluminum was still available for aircraft construction and it would be foolish not to use the resource to full advantage.

maltesefalcon
Member
Posts: 1796
Joined: 03 Sep 2003 18:15
Location: Canada

Re: What if the USAAF and RAF had solely used Mosquitos instead of Lancasters, Halifaxes, B17s, B24s etc in Europe

Post by maltesefalcon » 26 Apr 2019 13:50

Aussiegoat wrote:
26 Apr 2019 05:11
maltesefalcon wrote:
23 Apr 2019 23:38
In large formations the Mossie would lose much of its freedom of movement and be easier prey for fighters. As for flak, the danger is somewhat random, so a large formation of aircraft bunched together is vulnerable at 250 mph or 400 mph.

Being fast and manouvreable does not mean invulnerable. Look how many P-51s went down.

And as for bombload. Let's be fair and call the bombloads for B-17 and B-24 comparable to the Mosquito.
Not so for the Lancaster. Not even close.

And what would happen to Pratt and Whitney? All those radials would never be built. Without heavy bomber experience would there be a B-29 engine? Even IRL there were teething problems with these engines....
The Light Night Striking Force (12 squadrons by the end of the war) didn't operate in the Lancaster standard bomber streams, therefore maintaining their freedom of movement.

Flying at 250 MPH means you spend at least 1.6 more time over the target than an aircraft flying at 400 MPH, which definitely makes you more vulnerable. The Mosquito was not invulnerable but it suffered the lowest bomber loss per sortie for a reason. On a side note, late on in the war, as a result of statistical analysis, the Operational Research Section of the RAF's Bomber Command, put forward a case for the removal of the majority of the Lancaster's defensive armament. They argued that this would reduce the overall loss rate as it would have the benefit of increasing the Lancaster's cruise speed by up to 50 mph (80 km/h). They also considered that the modification would be justified regardless of the envisioned decreased loss rate as, by requiring fewer crew to serve as defensive air gunners, that would be a lower number of human losses incurred with each aircraft lost.

Yes, the Lanc had a huge bombload, but its losses were correspondingly high. Bomber command suffered 44% losses for a reason.
12 squadrons is a small number of aircraft . If the Mosquito comprised the entirety of the 1000 plane bomber force, they would not only be flying in the bomber stream, they would in fact be the bomber stream. The risk of collision would be higher, thus restricting their movements somewhat. There was also a time on target element to ensure the bombing runs were concentrated and keep the planes together to saturate the defences.

User avatar
EKB
Member
Posts: 538
Joined: 20 Jul 2005 17:21
Location: United States

Re: What if the USAAF and RAF had solely used Mosquitos instead of Lancasters, Halifaxes, B17s, B24s etc in Europe

Post by EKB » 30 Jul 2019 09:45

Aussiegoat wrote:
19 Apr 2019 08:56
The USAAF and RAF suffered extremely high losses among their bomber forces. What would have the European aerial campaign looked like had the allies diverted production away from Lancasters, Halifaxes, B17s, B24s, B25s, B26s etc towards Mosquitos?
This is a common question. The answer is that the RAF gave the Mosquito Mk IV a one year test drive for unescorted, strategic bombing. No. 105 and 139 Squadrons did the missions and the results were not encouraging to Bomber Command.

From 31 May 1942 to 31 May 1943, 48 Mosquito day bombers went missing on 726 sorties. The loss rate of 6.7% exceeded the 5.0% average for RAF night bombers, considered the maximum sustainable rate of attrition.

In the first six months of operations, the Mosquito loss rate was about 8% because many day time sorties were carried at high altitude. The planes were detected by radar unless they flew low and vapour trails betrayed position and heading. The Merlin 21/25 engines lost power rapidly above 24,000 ft.

The squadrons later settled on low level attack as preferable, but that was not always the best option. Fuel economy was significantly worse. Weather and factory smoke reduced visibility of the horizon, hills, tree tops, utility poles and towers, power lines, chimneys, ship masts and flocking birds. The most feared hazard was flak traps of prepared cross fire.

Aussiegoat wrote:
20 Apr 2019 05:06
The Mosquito … ultimately had one of the best (if not the lowest) loss rate of any allied bomber.
The loss rate declined in step with decline of the Luftwaffe.

Mosquito fighter-bombers had a much higher loss rate because interdiction was more dangerous than lower risk sideshow missions in Bomber Command. For example in February 1945, No. 138 and 140 Wings stood down from day operations for one month due to heavy losses during Operation CLARION. In 143 sorties, 21 Mosquitoes failed to return and 25 others were damaged by flak.

Mosquitoes were relegated to support because they were more useful in those roles. Bitter experience confirmed that they needed fighter escort on day operations. Including high altitude photo and weather flights as the threat increased from German jets, rocket-planes and higher performing piston fighters.

Aussiegoat wrote:
26 Apr 2019 04:54
One example of the Mosquito's superior accuracy was an RAF study that found Mosquitos took only 40 tons of bombs on average to destroy V1 launching sites, versus 165 tons for a B-17
This is misleading because it confuses aircraft with height of bomb release. The planners knew that a low flying plane had a better chance of hitting a small target with a bomb or rocket than a high flying plane that dropped a bomb from 20,000 feet. The bad news was that the lower the planes flew, the more they were exposed to automatic flak and small arms fire.

Aussiegoat wrote:
19 Apr 2019 08:56
The time a Mosquito was airborne over Germany was also far less than a heavy bomber, reducing the time you have to respond. And even if the Germans had Ta154s, Do 335s or Me262s, they could never be produced in numbers like previous German fighters, again reducing the number of opportunities to intercept the Mosquitos.
All of this overlooks that Mosquitoes were best known for propaganda raids on soft targets. A random Gestapo office or French prison was not equal to heavily defended sites like important factories, warehousing, oil refineries, seaports and U-boat bunkers. No light bomber could pull off the Dambusters raid and the battleship Tirpitz was capsized from two direct hits of 12,000 lb. bombs. A Mosquito could not lift the Upkeep, Tallboy, Grand Slam or Atomic bombs.

Aussiegoat wrote:
19 Apr 2019 08:56
And concerning the tonnage delivered by the heavies, the vast vast majority missed their targets anyway.
Without guided bombs or atomic energy, saturation by massed attack was the only practical way to cause widespread damage to industrial areas. The Lancaster was more appropriate for this job than a Mosquito, although from the view of economists the cost of the RAF strategic bombing campaign was not affordable to the U.K.

User avatar
EKB
Member
Posts: 538
Joined: 20 Jul 2005 17:21
Location: United States

Re: What if the USAAF and RAF had solely used Mosquitos instead of Lancasters, Halifaxes, B17s, B24s etc in Europe

Post by EKB » 30 Jul 2019 09:48

Aussiegoat wrote:
26 Apr 2019 04:54
Flying at 250 MPH means you spend at least 1.6 more time over the target than an aircraft
flying at 400 MPH, which definitely makes you more vulnerable.
These statements have no basis in reality. Engine full power was officially restricted to five minutes duration. That limit was sometimes exceeded, but there was risk of boiling the engines, blowing a head gasket, or failed bearings, pistons and connecting rods.

Aussiegoat wrote:
26 Apr 2019 04:54
For me, it really comes down to this: Would you have rather, given the choice, fly a manoeuvrable 400 MPH Mosquito or a heavy 250-280 MPH B-17 (or B-17/25/26 for that matter)
Maximum performance had little real world application to long range formation bombing. It was a marathon not a sprint. There was limited room for error when managing fuel. Running engines at high power for long periods drained the 100 octane quickly. Note that any formation flew only as fast as the slowest aircraft in the group.

Aussiegoat wrote:
19 Apr 2019 08:56
I reckon the Luftwaffe's worst nightmare would have been 1,000s of Mosquitos attacking by day and night. Would have been almost impossible to combat.
I reckon a nightmare of air traffic control if thousands of bombers did not fly in a carefully pre-planned format. If the planes were spread too thin this would dilute the collective hitting power, similar to comparing an open hand to a closed fist.

Mosquito bombers had no defensive weapons. If attacked, the pilots would have no choice but to scatter or be shot down. With so many planes in the sky - flying in close proximity and suddenly breaking formation - there was bound to be a spike in collisions.

Aussiegoat wrote:
19 Apr 2019 08:56
Mosquitos did use different tactics to the heavy bomber streams (on account of their superior performance) The Light Night Striking Force (12 squadrons by the end of the war) didn't operate in the Lancaster standard bomber streams, therefore maintaining their freedom of movement.
When they didn’t have fighter escort the Mosquito squadrons learned to time the bomb release just before night fall so the planes could return in darkness, reducing exposure to German day fighters. The Mosquito raids were better suited to special operations, using stealth and surprise. Sending out a thousand planes at once would defeat the purpose of those tactics.

Aussiegoat wrote:
19 Apr 2019 08:56
It was one thing slipping underneath a lumbering Lancaster and unleashing some Schräge Musik - it was another chasing down and getting in position to shoot an agile and fast bomber like the Mosquito.
It’s wrong to put too much emphasis on speed.

The Mosquito was rare in the Far East yet record matching shows at least four were shot down by Japanese Ki-43 fighters. The Hayabusa was light and agile, but its best speed was similar to the obsolete Hurricane II.

User avatar
EKB
Member
Posts: 538
Joined: 20 Jul 2005 17:21
Location: United States

Re: What if the USAAF and RAF had solely used Mosquitos instead of Lancasters, Halifaxes, B17s, B24s etc in Europe

Post by EKB » 30 Jul 2019 09:53

Aussiegoat wrote:
19 Apr 2019 08:56
Mosquitos had the performance to match most enemy fighters
This is an exaggeration. The “brochure” speed quoted by the builders on the first prototype Mosquito was 25-35 mph higher than actual speed of production line aircraft checked by the British Air Ministry testing station (A&AEE).

De Havilland claimed the original, hand-built Mosquito (W4050) had a high speed of 392 mph at 22,000 feet with Merlin 21 engines and saxophone flame dampers. And 437 mph at 29,000 ft with Merlin 61 engines and multi-stub exhaust.

Serial MP469 was the fastest Mosquito tested by the A&AEE. Top speed was 408 mph at 27,800 ft. Also a prototype stripper, of the rare Mark XV night-fighter. With a pressure cabin the original loaded weight was 22,485 lb. This was cut to 17,465 lb. after the standard bullet-proofing, fuel load, and four 20-mm cannons were removed. The reduced range and weak firepower of four .303 guns made this aircraft impractical. Despite the record setting climb to 43,000 ft, production stopped at five aircraft.

One of the slowest Mosquitoes tested at Boscombe Down was serial W4096, a Mark II night-fighter with Merlin 21 engines. The initial top speed of 358 mph was reduced to 346 mph at 16,000 feet with tropical intakes.

Aussiegoat wrote:
20 Apr 2019 05:06
In May 1942, the earliest Mosquito bomber - The B Mk IV - entered service with a maximum speed of 380 mph
The A&AEE trials report for Mosquito B IV DK290 (September 1943) noted 380 mph, but with non-standard open exhaust stubs instead of the original saxophone flame dampers. The same aircraft was 13 mph slower with the saxophone covers preferred for night flying, because exhaust glow was less visible.

Aussiegoat wrote:
20 Apr 2019 05:06
range of 2,040 nmi (3,780 km) This range was more than enough to reach any conceivable target in Germany.
According to Martin Sharp, after the Oslo raid in 1942 it was estimated that Mosquito IV bombers had a maximum operational range of about 1,350 miles, but that figure was later reduced to 1,220 miles based on averages.

Aussiegoat wrote:
20 Apr 2019 05:06
ceiling of 34,000 ft (10,000 m), and a climb rate of 2,500 ft per minute (762 m), and subsequent models improved all performance aspects.
The A&AEE did not agree. Mosquito B IV DK290 was not climb-tested but Mosquito FB VI HJ679 completed full trials by September 1943, with more powerful Merlin 25 engines and multiple stub exhaust. The chart below shows its official performance mesurements compared to the war prize FW-190 fighter-bomber tested at Wright Field.

Chart Forum.png
http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/ ... quito.html
http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/ ... b-104.html
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Return to “What if”