Mosquito versus B17 – what's best?

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  • Mosquito versus B17 – what's best?
  • Deveron53
    Member

    Whilst geekily perusing specs of these two aircraft I was somewhat surprised to learn of the following facts:

    Mosquito B MK XVI
    Bombload 4,000lb
    Max Speed 415 mph
    Range with 4,000lb bombload 1300 nautical miles
    Crew 2

    B17 Flying Fortress
    Bombload 6,000lb
    Max Speed 287 mph
    Range with 6,000lb bombload 2000 nautical miles
    Crew 10

    What a waste of lives and metal and money! The Mosquito was superior. It had a rate of climb not much less than ME109 and FW190, could outrun ME109s and almost outrun FW190s so would have been much less vulnerable to fighters. The B17 was rubbish!
    The Lancaster was a proper heavy bomber though, I’m not daring to knock that behemoth of destruction. 22,000lbs of bombs per load – eek!

    marcus7
    Member

    bit apples and oranges if you ask me…

    legend
    Member

    Given that London-Berlin-London (using London just as an obvious landmark) is 1160miles. Might have been cutting things a bit too close in the Mosquito, a canter for the B-17 though. Plus you would need 1/3 more planes to have the same impact.

    As Marcus says, don’t think you can really compare

    Pigface
    Member

    I would think the figures are wrong for the payload of the Fortress

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Well the WWII Pilot I spoke to last week reckoned the best by far was the Mosquito, better than a Spitfire eve. He hated the flying American aircraft said they were a nightmare to manoeuvre.

    That’ll do for me.

    legend
    Member

    8,000lbs according to wikipedia, 17,600lbs overloaded 😯

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_B-17_Flying_Fortress

    so would have been much less vulnerable to fighters.

    I’m not sure that would of been the case with a full bombload?
    Also, the B-17 was supposed to be performing “precision” bombing (I know the reality was different)not sure if the Mosquito would of survived a bomb run with no defensive armament.*

    I do love the Mosquito though!

    *I am no expert so I just guessing really.

    5thElefant
    Member

    I liked the mosquito they fitted with a cannon for shooting submarines. Screwing a cannon to some wooden spars just appeals…

    Premier Icon BigEaredBiker
    Subscriber

    Really designed a few years apart when thoughts on the best strategy differed greatly.

    The Americans stuck with the philosophy that bombers with heavy defensive armament would always get through right up until the end of the war. Bomber Command on the other hand learned early on (as did the Luftwaffe) that night bombing was really the only option. The Mosquito’s did a fantastic job as path finders setting the cities ablaze so the heavies could easily find them and annihilate the poor people below.

    Kato
    Member

    eThe B17 could be overloaded to 22000lbs. So I read at the RAF museum the other day anyway

    Edit. Maybe that was 17000 then. I can’t remember. The Mosquito was a lovely looking thing though

    CountZero
    Member

    For it’s size, the B-17 wasn’t all that impressive, only being able to carry 6000lb, when a Lanc could get airborne with a 22,000lb bomb slung underneath!

    A long, unobstructed bomb bay meant that the Lancaster could take even the largest bombs used by the RAF, including the 4,000 lb (1,800 kg), 8,000 lb (3,600 kg), and 12,000 lb (5,400 kg) blockbusters, loads often supplemented with smaller bombs or incendiaries. The versatility of the Lancaster was such that it was chosen to equip 617 Squadron, and was modified to carry the Barnes Wallis designed Upkeep “Bouncing bomb” for Operation Chastise, the attack on Germany’s Ruhr Valley dams. Although the Lancaster was primarily a night bomber, it excelled in many other roles, including daylight precision bombing: in the latter role some Lancasters were adapted to carry the 12,000 lb (5,400 kg) Tallboy and, ultimately, the 22,000 lb (10,000 kg) Grand Slam earthquake bombs (also designed by Wallis).[4]

    The Mossie is a fighter-bomber, so not comparable to a B-17; it’s closest American equivalent would be a North American B-25.
    A bit bigger, and with more crew, but twin-engined, and fast and manoeuvrable. One of my favourite aircraft, was even capable of being carried on an aircraft carrier. Lots of weapons options, too; a bloody great cannon poking out the nose being one.

    Pigface
    Member

    Flying Fortress could take a real pounding, which is why they did the daylight raids.

    CountZero
    Member

    Also, the B-17 was supposed to be performing “precision” bombing (I know the reality was different)not sure if the Mosquito would of survived a bomb run with no defensive armament.*

    They could and did, by flying so low that AA couldn’t hit them. It was not unusual for Mossies flying low-level sorties to come back with tree branches stuffed into the radiator intakes in the wing leading edge! PR aircraft never carried defensive armaments anyway.
    [Edit]
    Oslo bombing raid:

    The operation involved a round trip distance of 1,100 miles (1,800 km), with a flying time of 4.75 hours, making it the longest mission flown with Mosquitos at that date. The bombers crossed the North Sea at heights of less than 100 ft (30 m) to avoid interception by enemy aircraft and navigated by dead reckoning.[1] Each aircraft was armed with four 500 lb bombs with 11 second delayed action fuses since in such a low level attack the bombs had the potential to damage the aircraft that had dropped them.
    Despite their low altitude, the Mosquitos were intercepted by two Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighters of 3/JG 5 flying from Stavanger, causing Gordon Carter’s Mosquito to make a forced landing in Oslofjord. Rowland and Reilly were pursued by the other Fw 190 until it clipped a tree and was forced to break off the attack.
    At least four bombs penetrated the Gestapo HQ; one failed to detonate, while the other three crashed out through the opposite wall before exploding. The building was not destroyed, but several civilian residences were, and 80 civilians were killed or injured. The Norwegian government in exile, which did not know about the raid, later expressed serious concern to the British government. Official announcements by the German occupation forces claimed that several British aircraft had been shot down, when in reality a single Mosquito had been lost.[2]

    Note the bit I’ve highlighted…

    tadpole
    Member

    Would the mosquito be able to do 415mph with a full bomb load? I’ve often wondered what a 4 engined mosquito could have done.

    Deveron53
    Member

    8,000lbs according to wikipedia, 17,600lbs overloaded

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_B-17_Flying_Fortress

    It could carry 8,000lbs but only on a very short 800 mile range… hence my comparison with range with said bomb loads. The Mosquito had wing spars for extra bombs and drop tanks so in theory could ‘overload’ as well.

    Premier Icon irc
    Subscriber

    I remember reading a book years ago where the author argued the RAF made a major error not using more Mosquitos and less Lancasters on it’s bombing campaign. The Mossie was cheaper to make – wood rather than metal, only 2 engines. It needed fewer highly trained aircrew. It had the lowest losses o any aircraft with Bomber Command.
    According to wikipaedia

    Post war, the RAF found that when finally applied to bombing, in terms of useful damage done, the Mosquito had proven itself 4.95 times more cost-efficient than the Lancaster.[2]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Mosquito_operational_history

    Deveron53
    Member

    The bit from Wikipedia which sort of tickled me was this:

    In one example of the daylight precision raids carried out by the Mosquito, on 20 January 1943, the 10th anniversary of the Nazis’ seizure of power, a Mosquito attack knocked out the main Berlin broadcasting station while Commander in Chief Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring was speaking, putting his speech off air. Göring himself had strong views about the Mosquito, lecturing a group of German aircraft manufacturers in 1943 that:

    In 1940 I could at least fly as far as Glasgow in most of my aircraft, but not now! It makes me furious when I see the Mosquito. I turn green and yellow with envy. 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? There is nothing the British do not have. They have the geniuses and we have the nincompoops. After the war is over I’m going to buy a British radio set – then at least I’ll own something that has always worked. “

    bullheart
    Member

    The Mossie is a fighter-bomber, so not comparable to a B-17; it’s closest American equivalent would be a North American B-25.
    A bit bigger, and with more crew, but twin-engined, and fast and manoeuvrable. One of my favourite aircraft, was even capable of being carried on an aircraft carrier. Lots of weapons options, too; a bloody great cannon poking out the nose being one.

    Not really. The Mitchell was a light bomber. For a more realistic comparison, the A/B-26 or A-20 in nightfighter configeration were similar in performance.

    The mossie wasn’t very damage tolerant I don’t think. The Water cooled Merlin engines cooling systems were susceptible to being hit unlike the B17s air cooled engines, and I’m not sure what the mossie was like at altitude. It was more of a low level precision bomber. The b17 had more redundancy having 4 engines. Fantastic bit of kit though, the mossie. Shame there are no flying examples around. But I guess the bombing strategy was all about laying down tonnage of bombs and winning by attrition and you’d have needed many more mossies to do the job the B17s did, which we’d have struggled to build. It was pretty handy to have the Americans come in with thousands of bombers when they did and the willingness and bravery to fly them during the day. Meant we maintained a 24/7 bombing campaign.

    Flying Fortress could take a real pounding, which is why they did the daylight raids

    The Americans also had the benefit of a fighter, the P-51, that could go all the way to the target and back with the bombers, that’s why they bombed during the day. The British never had the luxury and so bombed by night.

    LsD
    Member

    not sure if the Mosquito would of survived a bomb run with no defensive armament

    Would have…would have survived. 😡

    ANYWAY….Leonard Cheshire did it on a number of occasions. Though of course, he had an astoundingly massive pair, and they gave him a VC for doing it.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    irc – Member

    I remember reading a book years ago where the author argued the RAF made a major error not using more Mosquitos and less Lancasters on it’s bombing campaign.

    True, but then there’s a good argument that by the later spell of the war in europe they were wasting resources on either. Militarily, at least, if not politically/grand strategically.

    I just finished Bomber Command so this is quite fresh in my mind, he comments at one point that there weren’t enough skilled carpenters left in the UK to build mosquitos on the scale required. Struck me as odd, presumably you could industrialise the production of the spars etc and most of the bomber builders were trained from scratch anyway, but he seemed confident.

    CountZero
    Member

    Not really. The Mitchell was a light bomber. For a more realistic comparison, the A/B-26 or A-20 in nightfighter configeration were similar in performance.

    Ah yes, the Invader, I’d completely forgotten those, and yes, you’re right, much closer in configuration.

    The Americans also had the benefit of a fighter, the P-51, that could go all the way to the target and back with the bombers, that’s why they bombed during the day. The British never had the luxury and so bombed by night.

    The P-51 was built to a British specification for a long-range support fighter, and the early versions were pretty poor, so the Americans never bothered with it.
    Until we put RR Merlins in, and a bubble canopy, and completely transformed the performance and range, at which point the Americans woke up to the advantages of the Mustang.
    They also used them in Vietnam, as the Stallion, fitted with RR turboprop engines.

    The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang was an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War II, the Korean War and other conflicts. The Mustang was conceived, designed and built by North American Aviation (NAA) in response to a specification issued directly to NAA by the British Purchasing Commission. The prototype NA-73X airframe was rolled out on 9 September 1940, 102 days after the contract was signed and, with an engine installed, first flew on 26 October.[3]
    The Mustang was originally designed to use the Allison V-1710 engine, which had limited high-altitude performance. It was first flown operationally by the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a tactical-reconnaissance aircraft and fighter-bomber (Mustang Mk I). The addition of the Rolls-Royce Merlin to the P-51B/C model transformed the Mustang’s performance at altitudes above 15,000 ft, giving it a performance that matched or bettered the majority of the Luftwaffe’s fighters at altitude.[4][nb 1] The definitive version, the P-51D, was powered by the Packard V-1650-7, a license-built version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin 60 series two-stage two-speed supercharged engine, and armed with six .50 caliber (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns.[6]
    From late 1943, P-51Bs (supplemented by P-51Ds from mid-1944) were used by the USAAF’s Eighth Air Force to escort bombers in raids over Germany, while the RAF’s 2 TAF and the USAAF’s Ninth Air Force used the Merlin-powered Mustangs as fighter-bombers, roles in which the Mustang helped ensure Allied air superiority in 1944.[7] The P-51 was also in service with Allied air forces in the North African, Mediterranean and Italian theatres, and saw limited service against the Japanese in the Pacific War. During World War II, Mustang pilots claimed 4,950 enemy aircraft shot down.[nb 2]
    At the start of the Korean War, the Mustang was the main fighter of the United Nations until jet fighters such as the F-86 took over this role; the Mustang then became a specialized fighter-bomber. Despite the advent of jet fighters, the Mustang remained in service with some air forces until the early 1980s. After World War II and the Korean War, many Mustangs were converted for civilian use, especially air racing, and increasingly, preserved and flown as historic warbird aircraft at airshows.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    If you’re near London you can visit the RAF museum at Hendon, which is free. We went at the weekend with the kids, what an amazing place.

    You get a chance to sit in some planes and turrets. How those that served coped with sitting in a turret for hours during a flight I’ve no idea – its as cooped up as you can get and that of course is the start of your issues…

    crankboy
    Member

    A song
    “We’re flying Flying Fortresses at 40 000 feet
    “Flying Flying Fortresses at 40 000 feet
    “We’re flying Flying Fortresses at 40 000 feet
    “We’ve got bags of point five ammo and a teeny-weeny bomb”

    “Glory, glory shall we drop it?
    “Glory, glory shall we drop it?
    “Glory, glory shall we drop it?
    “We’ve got bags of point five ammo and a teeny-weeny bomb”

    “We’re flying Avro Lancasters at zero zero feet
    “Flying Avro Lancasters at zero zero feet
    “We’re flying Avro Lancasters at zero zero feet
    “We’ve got sod-all ammunition and a bloody great big bomb”

    “Glory, glory shall we drop it?
    “Glory, glory shall we drop it?
    “Glory, glory shall we drop it?
    “We’ve got sod-all ammunition and a bloody great big bomb”

    Defender
    Member

    It’s horses for courses, both played their part in the battles of the air, but had very different roles.
    The Mosquito was a more versitile aircraft and the lowest loss rate in Bomber Command, most probably due to it’s speed and manoverability.
    You could shoot great lumps out of the Flying Fortress and it could still get home, a USAAF Colonel just returned from a mission over Germany was asked about the state of his ‘Fortress, he said something along the lines of,’standard operational configuration’ when pressed added ‘two turning, two burning’.

    If you can get hold of one read “the first and last” by Adolf Galland. It covers all the aspects of the air war in Europe and talks about the Mosquito as “a plague to our Command and the population” , he also talks about the American precision bombing and the RAF night bombing the losses on the raids. It’s was only when the P51 Mustang came on the scene were the losses reduced.

    It’s a good read.

    Premier Icon finishthat
    Subscriber

    Fantastic bit of kit though, the mossie. Shame there are no flying examples around

    get yourself here and turn thesound up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGfQQWOsoB8

    ask1974
    Member

    Brilliant thread. Can’t comment on the OPs point other than to say the Mosquito was lovely, but the Wiki link by Legend got me surfing about WWII ordinance and heavy bombing by the US and RAF. I remember reading about the Tallboys but had never heard of the Grand Slam at 22,000lbs 😯

    This then led to a link about the German submarine manufacturing facility at Velentin that we put out of business about two months before it was due to start production, although we were lucky to hit the 4.5m ceiling with two Grand Slams as the 7.5m section would have held… Blimey! The following quote is from Wiki describing the raid on Valentin and nearby oil facility – 227 aircraft total…

    “The Valentin factory was attacked by the RAF on 27 March 1945. The attacking force consisted of twenty Avro Lancaster heavy bombers of 617 Squadron which had, after the “Dambusters” raid, developed precision bombing methods. Simultaneously, a force of 115 Lancasters bombed the nearby fuel oil storage depot in the village of Schwanewede. The bombers were escorted by ninety RAF North American Mustang fighters of 11 Group”

    Bloody heroic. Epic on a huge scale and this was just one of the big sorties.

    Premier Icon benji
    Subscriber

    Whilst we are on the topic of Mosquito’s is there a flying one left anywhere in the UK? See the Lancaster loads through out the year, always empties the workshop at work to see the old girl over head.

    Operation Jerico. That was a mission Charles Pickard
    That would make a great modern movie in 3d or slightly off topic a remake of the Battle of Britian, CGI wow.

    Premier Icon finishthat
    Subscriber

    Only flying in Australia I think

    dannyh
    Member

    In terms of excellent ‘do it all’ airframes from WWII, at least ones that saw service on a large scale, you can’t go past the mosquito and the Ju88. Both capable as night fighters, could give a single engined fighter a run for its money in daylight as well. Both capable light/medium bombers and the Ju88 (earlier marks certainly) was also kitted out with dive brakes, so could be used as a dive bomber.

    b r
    Member

    One thing that the Mosquito couldn’t do that the B17 (and B24’s) could was help in taking out the Germans fighter during 1944/5; when one of the key objectives was to destroy them in the air. For this we need big fleets of slow bombers as bait and vast numbers of P51’s to shoot them down.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Week

    Marmoset
    Member

    Not sure about all the technical aspects but my fave will always be the mossie. I used to see one fly over my house every couple of days for a good 20 years when I lived in Chester, until sadly it crashed at an air show, taking it’s crew with it 🙁

    Was the best sounding plane ever – even better than a spitfire…

    Defender
    Member

    Unfortunately there aren’t any flying examples in the UK, there’s one in Canada or the USA I think.
    There are several in preservation in the UK, including 3 at the DeHavilland Museum, just off the M25 near St Albans, I went there a couple of years ago, it’s where they were developed.
    It’s not the best laid out museum I’ve been to, but I found it facsinating to see so many examples from this once great aircraft manufacturer including the original prototype DH98 (W4050) Mosquito.

    pondo
    Member

    not sure if the Mosquito would of survived a bomb run with no defensive armament

    Would have…would have survived.

    ANYWAY….Leonard Cheshire did it on a number of occasions. Though of course, he had an astoundingly massive pair, and they gave him a VC for doing it. [/quote]
    617 used em for target marking – IIRC as a precision bombing unit, they started off using Lancasters to target mark in the same way they dropped bombs, but it needed a long straight run at altitude and they were dependent on the target being unobscured and visible through the spotlights and flak from a distance (and them not being shot down), which wasn’t always the case, and Tall Boys and Grand Slams were too precious to drop on the off chance. Micky Martin was playing around one day and divebombed some seaweed (as you do in a four-engined heavy bomber), and the thought occured that that would be an ideal way to mark the target, great visibility and accuracy. They tried it on some “easy” targets and found it worked a treat, so snaffled four Mozzies (they being a bit more suitable for the role) solely for marking purposes. It worked so well they ended up marking for the whole of 5 Group, and Cheshire (who won his VC not for one action, or one battle, but for valour of many years – a genuinely remarkable man) had the thought that, if the smaller, twin-engined Mosquito was better for marking than the Lancaster, then an even smaller, faster plane would be better still. So they borrowed a Mustang and he marked with that – on one occasion, when marking over the strongly-defended Berlin, either his markers wouldn’t release or they didn’t ignite when dropped, can’t remember which. So rather than just send everyone home, Cheshire turned as tight a circle as he could over the target, getting shot to bits all the time, and said “if you can see me, aim at me”.

    I got all that from The Dambusters, by Paul Brickhill, which is the best book on the war I’ve ever read. Everyone should read it.

    pondo
    Member

    Ooo – when they were using Mozzies still, they were tasked with marking Berlin. They filled em brim-full and even got internal tanks, that slid down the inside of the fuselage, but it was absolutely on the limit of the Mosquito’s range. They took off without warming up in the expectation that all of them would run out of fuel before they made it home, which is a mental level of bravery. The great thing is, they all made it back, and none of them had more than a few minutes of fuel left…

    Different times.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    Guy I work withs Dad flew photo-reconnaissance Mosquito’s. Got a DFC.

    I think he preferred the Beaufort he had before that as they could fire back.

    Premier Icon ratherbeintobago
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    Ooo – when they were using Mozzies still, they were tasked with marking Berlin. They filled em brim-full and even got internal tanks, that slid down the inside of the fuselage, but it was absolutely on the limit of the Mosquito’s range

    Not sure Berlin was at the limit; the (Mosquito-equipped) Light Night Striking Force of No. 8 Group bombed Berlin with an average of 60 aircraft/night for 36 nights in a row which suggests that it was well within combat range from East Anglia.

    pondo
    Member

    Not sure Berlin was at the limit; the (Mosquito-equipped) Light Night Striking Force of No. 8 Group bombed Berlin with an average of 60 aircraft/night for 36 nights in a row which suggests that it was well within combat range from East Anglia.

    Hmm, maybe not, then! I’ll look it up tonight. 🙂

    My grandfather flew them reconnaissance too. No guns, mental! I don’t know if he did other mission types such as the marking though.

    Deveron53
    Member

    You get a chance to sit in some planes and turrets. How those that served coped with sitting in a turret for hours during a flight I’ve no idea – its as cooped up as you can get and that of course is the start of your issues…

    I went to the Coventry air museum and got inside the Vulcan. The pilot and co-pilot on the top deck got ejector seats. The poor bu33ers on the lower deck had to bail out through the tiny hatch…

    Deveron53
    Member

    On the question of altitude. B17 service ceiling was 35,600 ft, Mossie was 37,000. Mossie B XVI had a pressurised cockpit.

    hammyuk
    Member

    BBC1 now, South today. Article on the 22,000 Earthquake Bomb
    And testing in the New Forest

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