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PostPosted: Mon 13 Feb 2017 18:25 pm 
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I've been reading a lot of books lately about RAF and USAAF bomber operations and the Mosquito was used all of the time for photo recon duties. Why couldn't it be used as fighter support for missions deep in Germany?

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PostPosted: Mon 13 Feb 2017 18:43 pm 
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It was, for Bomber Command operations at night. The USAAF had single seaters that could fly as far as the bombers so there was no real requirement for a heavy fighter that would be less effective at dealing with the opposition by day.

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PostPosted: Mon 13 Feb 2017 18:44 pm 
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The Mosquito like most twin engined planes would have been at a disadvantage in a turning dogfight against a single engined opponent.
It was used as a night intruder, taking out enemy nightfighters which tended to be twin engined types.


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PostPosted: Mon 13 Feb 2017 18:47 pm 
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Wasn't it also used as Pathfinders for bombing missions?


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PostPosted: Mon 13 Feb 2017 18:53 pm 
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It was also used as a pathfinder for the RAF. In 1943, the fighter support for the USAAF ended in Belgium. Missions to Regensberg and Swienfurt didn't have any fighter support for an hour or more to the target. Once the P-51 came on board, they had support to anywhere in Germany. I understand that the twin-engined Mosquito wouldn't have been the best in fighter operations, but it probably would have been better than nothing.

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PostPosted: Mon 13 Feb 2017 19:03 pm 
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Johnnyb, there's lots of factors you could throw out as to why the Mosquito was not used for daylight bomber escort. Mosquito fighter production was mostly reserved for night fighter defense of the UK. USAAF senior command was still mostly wedded to the theory of unescorted deep penetration and the Regensberg and Schweinfurt operations were probably the final nail in that particular coffin. Personally I can't see any merit in committing Mosquitoes to escort that in itself requires engaging well armed single seaters. The prime raison d'etre of the Mosquito was evading well armed single seaters by using superior speed/climb.

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PostPosted: Mon 13 Feb 2017 19:23 pm 
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Thanks Paul. Your reasoning is sound.

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PostPosted: Mon 13 Feb 2017 19:45 pm 
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Bomber Support: Used as pathfinder, night Intruder and Night fighter all in support of main force operations.
The Mustang only came good when it was fitted with a British Merlin engine giving it the required range.

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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb 2017 13:20 pm 
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peebeep wrote:
USAAF senior command was still mostly wedded to the theory of unescorted deep penetration and the Regensberg and Schweinfurt operations were probably the final nail in that particular coffin.
But were they wedded to that theory because they genuinely believed that the B17s had the firepower to defend themselves or simply because they had nothing with the range to escort them all of the way in until the Merlin engined Mustangs started to appear? The necessity of war frequently demands that the senior leaders demand things of their people that in the ideal world would be undertaken with very different equipment if it were available.


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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb 2017 13:57 pm 
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All the commentaries I've read point towards the belief that a box formation of heavies with enough on-board fire power could batter its way through and back again with a sustainable casualty rate and that long range fighters were not developed sooner because it was thought they weren't needed. In fairness to the theorists, if you read accounts by defenders flying fighters against massed formations of 'Viermots' then they were indeed able to defend themselves robustly. Viermot kills counted as multiple toward a Knight's Cross award.

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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb 2017 16:35 pm 
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I have also read that it was believed that the box formations of bombers would be able to defend themselves. That was until the Germans developed the frontal attack. The top turret and the ball turret couldn't defend the front of the aircraft. Only the navigator and bombardier had a shot at the incoming planes. I also believe the USAAF didn't anticipate the introduction of the Fw190, which was more powerful than the 109.

My thought was this: if you could put a squadron of mosquitos at the top of the upper box of bombers, they could at least provide some fire power at the cent of the group at a point where the 190s begin their line of attack. I understand the RAF wasn't generally comfortable providing such close support - several Spitfires were damaged by USAAF gunners. Again, to have something there, at least until the bombers got into line for their bomb run, would be better than nothing. I know the Schweinfurt/Regensberg mission was the ultimate wake up call that bombers alone could t bring the battle deep into Germany.

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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb 2017 19:14 pm 
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A better question might have been, if there had been enough Mosquitoes to use en masse during daylight raids on Germany, could they have been used as bombers, negating the need for heavies & escorts.


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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb 2017 20:12 pm 
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Seems unlikely, given the difference in payload. Supposing enough Mossies could have been built (few thousand forests needed; same or more for chippies) I doubt there would have been the runways to put enough in the air to equal a 'heavies' raid. It should also be remembered the Mossie did not have a very good record as a bomber when faced with the FW-190 - it had to rely on ease of handling rather than absolute speed to evade contact, and often found itself at a height disadvantage.

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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb 2017 20:34 pm 
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I agree. There would be no substitute for the heavies. The overall tonnage was needed to destroy the industrial targets.

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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb 2017 20:36 pm 
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The point I was trying to make was that if there were enough Mosquitoes available to meet the multiply requirements on the type, they would have been better used in their original role, than in one they were clearly unsuitable for.

Why would a plane purposely designed to avoid Bf109s be thrown against them & Fw190s.

The Bf110 was so successful as an escort fighter in the BoB that it was quickly withdrawn from the theatre.


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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb 2017 22:09 pm 
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The Mosquito was used for Bomber Support in a BIG way.
Harris as early as October 1942 suggested that "Mosquito fighters might profitably be mixed in the bomber streams" and it began to be done in mid 1943.
Most Mosquito squadrons of Fighter Command/Air Defence of Great Britain between then and the wars end participated in general Bomber Support work.

I suggest you look up info on 100 (Bomber Support) Group. Their eight squadrons were dedicated to that work from the Groups formation.

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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb 2017 22:28 pm 
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We've already established Mossies were used very succesfully as night intruders, johnnyb's main point is why weren't they used as escorts for daytime USAAF raids.
The answer being it wasn't the best use of resources, because they would have probably suffered heavy losses to the JGs.


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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb 2017 22:28 pm 
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We've already established Mossies were used very succesfully as night intruders, johnnyb's main point is why weren't they used as escorts for daytime USAAF raids.
The answer being it wasn't the best use of resources, because they would have probably suffered heavy losses to the JGs.


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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb 2017 23:13 pm 
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I really appreciate your responses guys. I'm far from an expert on this topic. I guess I was initially writing out of a sense of frustration while reading about the carnage suffered by the bomber crews on the way to Schweinfurt. The leaky drop tanks on the P-47s prevented them from escorting the bombers further and it sounded as if there wasn't a fighter that the USAAF could employ that would fly as far as the target. Yet, a few hours after the mission, Mossies flew to both cities to take recon photos. Having read about the raid on Peenemunde, I definitely realize that Mossies were very extensively and effectively used in RAF Bomber Command missions. I also agree that they would have been at a serious disadvantage against the German single engined fighters. I guess my biggest frustration is with USAAF planners who seemed to have never envisioned frontal attacks on their fortresses!

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PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb 2017 04:35 am 
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The more military history you read, the more colossal blunders will be revealed. The Mosquito may very well have put some fear into the pilots of Ju-88's or Do-17's or even Bf-110's if they were used as day fighters as they were (IIRC) over Schweinfurt. But no.

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