Night Bandits - Air Defense Museum
Back to chronicles
Night Bandits - Air Defense Museum
Source : Air Defence Museum

Night Bandits

World War II (1939 - 1945)

The Mosquito’s maiden flight took place in November 1940, despite the obstructionism of the British Ministry of Air Defence. One of the main reasons the Ministry was reluctant to acquire the aircraft was that the exterior was constructed of wood, whereas aluminum was preferred by all aircraft companies. Eighteen months later, the Mosquito carried out its first bombing operation on the city of Cologne. Built primarily for reconnaissance missions, its exceptional performance prompted the Royal Air Force (RAF) to convert it into a light bomber. Machine guns and bombs were added and the Mosquito became a fast bomber that could evade the German flyers.

The Mosquito was one of the RAF’s most versatile and useful aircraft. It could carry out a variety of operations, such as photographing potential bombing targets, troop movements and enemy bases and destroying power plants. The Mosquito also saw service in night sorties starting the summer of 1942. The pilots were frequently victorious against the German flyers because their plane was faster. These pilots were thus dreaded by the Germans, who nicknamed them “Night Bandits.” It was not until the revolutionary Me-262 jet fighter came into use that the Luftwaffe began to achieve success against the Mosquitoes.

Photo : Several Canadian pilots flew in this formidable light bomber.