Wooden Plane Most Successful Fighter-Bomber World War Two

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Wooden Plane Most Successful Fighter-Bomber World War Two

de Havilland Mosquito, one of the most successful aircraft of World War Two, had airframe comprised entirely of wood.



The Mosquito excelled in all its different roles including fighter-bomber. Above is a Mosquito being loaded or “bombed up” in RAF parlance. ” RAF station Swanton Morley in early 1942, this picture shows quartets of 500-pounder bombs going aboard a Mosquito Bomber B.IV of 105 Squadron.”

(photo courtesy imperial war museum)

Magnificent color photograph from IWM of a Mosquito being cared for by its ground crew.


A combat aircraft made of wood!? In World War Two? Yes. The fuselage of the Mosquito was made of balsa wood pressed between two layers of cedar plywood. The rest of the airframe was made of spruce, with plywood covering. Hard to believe but true.


how did the mosquito pictured below survive a direct hit by german flak gunners? Flak shredded the port wing and the port engine fell off. even a few feet of the starboard wing was sheared off by anti-aircraft.

The wing was built in one piece and attached to the lower side of the fuselage structure which gave substantial lateral strength to the wing which is probably the reason the plane managed to stay in the air and return slowly to Great Britain. The aircraft wasn’t very big: 41 feet long with a wingspan of 54 feet.


Royal Air Force Mosquito aka Wooden Wonder— as seen above —was hit by flak and you can see wood which comprised the wing.

21 February 1944 Severely damaged De Havilland Mosquito FB Mark VI, MM401 ‘SB-J’, of No. 464 Squadron RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) parked at Emergency Landing Ground, Sussex.

The aircraft, flown by Squadron Leader A G Oxlade (pilot) and Flight Lieutenant D M Shanks (navigator), was hit by anti-aircraft fire while attacking a flying-bomb site in the Pas de Calais on 21 February 1944.

The port engine was shattered, and the port undercarriage and most of the outer starboard wing was blown off. Despite the damage, the crew flew MM401 back and crash-landed safely at an Emergency Landing Ground. The port engine nacelle is seen here supported by a caterpillar tractor to enable the aircraft to be moved off the runway. The aircraft was written off.

The caption above from IWM photograph.

Copyright: © IWM.

Original Source: iwm.org.uk/collections/


Royal Air Force de Havilland Mosquito emblazoned with invasion stripes in flight. K “King” of No. 571 Squadron circa June/July 1944. (Photo courtesy Imperial War Museum).


On 4 June 1944, all Allied aircraft tasked to support Allied ground troops as they went shore during the Nor


The “Timber Terror” out-performed almost every other aircraft in World War Two. What made this aircraft so unusual was its versatility.  In addition to its initial role as a fighter-bomber, the Mosquito functioned equally well as a high altitude night bomber, night fighter, U-boat hunter, photo reconnaissance plane, daytime low altitude bomber, and daytime fighter.

No wonder its other nickname was the “Wooden Wonder.”

Loading_cookie_on_Mosquito_WWII_IWM_CH_12621Mosquito being bombed up with a 2,000 lb “cookie.”

(photo courtesy of Imperial War Museum)


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By | 2018-08-13T20:51:15-04:00 March 10th, 2014|Charles McCain, England, Mosquito, RAF, Royal Air Force, World War Two, ww2|Comments Off on Wooden Plane Most Successful Fighter-Bomber World War Two

About the Author:

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/