Mosquito Mk XVII
One of the rarest and least documented versions of the versatile de Havilland Mosquito, the Mk XVIII "Tse-tse" was armed with a 57mm gun. Originally intended for anti-tank duties, the 17 airframes produced served instead with Coastal Command on anti-ship and anti-submarine missions. This book tells the full story of the development and operational service of the Tse-tse (so-called because it was like a mosquito but with a bigger sting!), and is fully illustrated with photos, scale plans, detail drawings and colour profiles.
Aeroplane, Jan 2009 2013-05-13
Reviewed By Paul Bradley, IPMS# 35554
Two new books from Mushroom Model Publications that take the theme of anti-naval vessel warfare, in two different eras.
The first is a look at a very specialized aircraft, the Mosquito XVIII "Tse-tse." In an effort to create an effective anti-ship weapon, DeHavillands fitted a Mosquito with the large 57mm Molins gun, originally designed as an anti-tank gun. Only 17 of these aircraft were built, and these equipped two squadrons of Coastal Command, but there were problems with the installation and, as the advent of the 25lb rocket negated the need for the Tse-tse, they disappeared before war's end.
Author Alex Crawford has produced a compact history of the type, its development and service, getting right down to the individual aircraft service histories. The text is accompanied by numerous fascinating photos, plans and colour profiles not only of the aircraft, but of their opponents - the ships that they attacked. There are a number of photos of a preserved Molins gun - it will be interesting to see which aftermarket company will be the first to produce a conversion for the new 1/24 scale Airfix kit!
I liked this book - it's a nice compilation and tells an interesting and little-known story.
So very much a mixed bag from Mushroom. I really enjoyed "Shipbuster", but had a hard time with the Gannet book. While I can thoroughly recommend the Mosquito book, in the end, whether you buy "Submarine Hunter" is down to whether you have an interest in the subject.
InternetModeler.com 2013-05-13By Chris Banyai-Riepl
With the imminent release of Revell’s new 1/48 Mosquito, many modelers will once again be returning to this attractive wooden aircraft. The latest in the Mushroom Model Publications’ White Series covers the “Tse-tse” Mosquitos, the Mk. XVIII in the shipbuster role. This heavily armed Mosquito prowled the seas in search of prey, and while few were built, the damage inflicted was great.
The Mosquito Mk XVIII numbered only eighteen, including the prototype, and the primary difference between other marks was the 6pdr Molins gun. This 57mm weapon was used in both the army and navy as a standard weapon, but for the Mosquito, some changes were needed. An automatic loader was used, as it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to manually reload in flight. The gun replaced the four 20mm cannons in the Mosquito, and was mounted slightly offset from center. An extensive amount of structural changes were needed to both mount the gun and enable the airframe to handle the recoil. Ground trials took place in June 1943, with aerial trials the following month. By autumn 1943, the Mosquito XVIII was in service with 618 Squadron, attached to 248 Squadron.
This book does an excellent job of telling the history of this aircraft and its mission. For the installation of the gun itself, there are several photos and drawings showing all sorts of details. The operational record is broken down by month, and follows the aircraft from late 1943 through to the end of the war. Complementing the text are many color illustrations, and in an interesting departure from what one would expect, these drawings include both the Mosquito and its adversaries. These include the Ju 88, the Z23 escort ship, a Sperrbrecher, Type VIIc U-boats, and an Fw 190. For the Mosquitos, a couple interesting options are also included, such as the silver and red example flown by Jean Doar in an Around the World Speed Record attempt.
While small in number, the fascinating story behind the ‘Tse-tse’ Mosquitos makes for a good read. This book provides just that, and is highly recommended to any Mosquito fan.
Model Aircraft Monthly 2013-05-13
http://www.aerostories.org 2013-05-13The Mosquito is one of the best known British aircraft of WW2. By the end of the war, it was serving as night fighter, reconnaissance aircraft, light bomber, and fighter-bomber. Its contribution to the success of the RAF during WW2 was essential in many ways. Many variants were built to fulfil RAF requirements and many books have been published so far, but one variant was still to be deeply detailed : the Mosquito XVIII, also known as the Tse-Tse. It was intended as a tank-buster but was eventually adapted for Coastal Command use in the anti-ship and anti-submarine role. With so few aircraft built, it can’t be said that its contribution was essential with about 300 sorties performed in 18 months, but with its 57mm cannon installed in the belly, the Mosquito was nevertheless a very powerful and deadly weapon for small enemy crafts.
After a short introduction which explains how the Mosquito XVIII was developed, the main body relates the operational history of the “Tse-tse”. The study of this part is very interesting, highly detailed with a full of information. It will be difficult to add anything after that. Nevertheless, it must be said that very few photos of this aircraft appear in this book, less than we could expect to see at first. Unfortunately, it seems that not many photos of the “Tse-tse” exist. The author and editor tried to fill the gap in publishing photos of potential targets, sometimes interesting, sometimes less, but even with this shortcoming, the book remains a good reference to anyone interested in the Mosquito in general and probably the best reference of this variant in particular today.
The publisher is establishing a fine list of historic aviation titles. This title is an A4 sized softback edition that contains first class photographs and coloured drawings. It is really two stories, one of the Molins gun and the other of one of the least known Mosquito marks. The De Havilland Mosquito was an amazing aircraft that employed wood for much of its construction and was able to outrun most aircraft on its two Merlin engines. It became an accomplished multi-role aircraft, serving as fighter, night fighter, bomber, fighter bomber, interdictor, reconnaissance plane, high altitude fighter, pathfinder, and anti-shipping aircraft. It packed a heavy punch with four 20 mm and four .303 machineguns in the nose. It also had a capacious bomb bay that could carry a 4,000 bomb, the HiBall bouncing bomb, a mixture of smaller bombs or additional fuel tanks. Of almost 8,000 Mosquito aircraft of all marks, only seventeen Mk XVIII were completed as conversions of Mk VI airframes. The Mk XVIII replaced the normal tray of 20 mm canon with a single 57mm Molins 6 pdr gun. They were originally intended to replace Hurricane tank-busters that were equipped with two 40 mm under-wing canon. The Molins gun was also widely used to equip tanks and gunboats. It was a much more practical option than the earlier plan to fit a British 3.7 anti-aircraft gun to a Mosquito. The 3.7 was the British equivalent of the feared German 88 mm but curiously lacked the ammunition to serve in the anti-tank and air to ground roles. As the smaller Molins 57 mm demonstrated, a larger weapon would have presented serious challenges in fitting to a Mosquito. In the event, the task intended for the Molins-equipped Mosquito aircraft was better filled by the new rocket projectiles that could be added to many British combat aircraft with minimum modification. As a result, the Mosquito MkXVIII became another hand-me-down passed to Coastal Command, where it was put to good use.
Flown in the Channel against U-Boats and German surface craft, the Mk XVIII achieved good results and the US Navy requested a Tse-tse for evaluation. Arriving in the US in April 1945 this Mk XVIII arrived too late in the War to justify issuing to US Navy squadrons. The Molins guns carried a special automated magazine that held twenty three rounds and a twenty fourth round in the breech ready to fire. This meant that the gun was a reasonable competitor with the rocket, only eight of which were carried by rocket equipped aircraft.
Against this numeric advantage the gun did sometimes jam, but then rockets also failed to fire and some broke up in flight. The author tells the story of the Mosquito MkXVIII in journal style with some helpful annex information. The result is an interesting and easy to read book at an affordable price, covering a seriously neglected part of the Mosquito story.
Reviewed by Glen Porter
First, we had the “Dambusters”, book and movie. Then came “Ghostbusters”, the Hollywood movie, “Mythbusters”, a TV show loved by some, hated by others. Now we have “Shipbusters”, a new book from Mushroom Model Publications on the development and operational history of the D.H. Mosquito Mk. XVIII “Tse-tse”, an FBVI fitted with a 6 pdr Molins gun under the nose replaceing the cannon armament.
The Molins gun was a development of the 6 pdr anti-tank gun as fitted to some British tanks. An automatic version was built for the Army but before development could be finished the Army lost interest. The Royal Navy picked up the idea and used it on Motor Gun Boats and MTBs but theirs was only semi-automatic, ie, the gunner had to press the trigger for every shot. The RAF then took the baton and ran with it while looking for a replacement for the Anti-tank Hurricanes by fitting the gun into the nose of a Mosquito. So was born the Mk. XVIII “Tse-tse”. Although not used against armour, it was found quite effective against ships and submarines and was used in that way until replaced by rocket armed aircraft.
After a brief introduction, the first chapter describes the development of the Molins Gun from single shot tank gun to fully automatic, aircraft mounted anti-ship weapon. This is accompanied by several diagrams and a set of very clear full colour “Walkaround” type photos.
The second chapter covers the development of the aircraft with the gun mounted, ground trials, air firing trials and into service. Next is Area of Operations followed by a month by month description of operations from November 1943 to January 1945 when they were moved to North Coates to combat a growing midget submarine menace against allied ships supplying the invasion forces during April and May 1945. The last chapter is about the last “Tse-tse” then in existence. It was sent to the USA in April 1945 to evaluate large calibre weapons fitted to aircraft that also included a B-25H and after the trials had concluded, it passed through several civilian hands until a landing accident did considerable damage. After the engines were rescued, the rest was given to the local Airport Fire Department for training. A sad end to the last of a unique aircraft.
Throughout this book, there are many full colour profiles of the aircraft at various stages of their short life including a top and bottom plan view showing the D-Day stripes they carried. There are also several profiles of targets such as ships, U-boats and aircraft that brings me to the only criticism I can offer.
On page 29, there is a profile of a Type VIIc U-boat. It shows red anti-fowling paint below the water-line. Now I was led to believe long ago that this did not exist. Pre-war perhaps, but during the conflict they were all a very dark grey. Oddly, on page 33 the artist got it right with another U-boat correctly coloured.
C o n c l u s i o n
Apart from the old Airfix Mosquito in 1/72nd scale, I don't know of any “Tse-tse” option in any other kits but there are several in resin in various scales, but even if you don't want to build one, this book is worth having in your library.
Reviewer: Scott Van Aken
This new book from Mushroom Models Publications covers one of the lesser known, but more interesting aircraft types of WWII, the Mosquito Mk. XVIII 'tse-tse'. This was one of a multitude of variations on the Mosquito airframe that turned out to be quite effective in its job. In a nutshell, it was the installation of a 57mm Molins anti-tank gun into a standard Mosquito FB.VI airframe.
Initially designed to perform anti-tank work, the aircraft was moved over to Coastal Command for use on enemy shipping in the last years of WWII. It was discovered that ground based anti-tank weapons would work as well as if not better than an airborne gun, so this variation was put to work on German submarines and coastal shipping in the Bay of Biscay and along the Norway coast. It proved to be quite effective in this task and sank or badly damaged a considerable number of U-boats and ships.
Author Alex Crawford has put a lot of effort into tracking down the details of the development and operational employment of this aircraft. Named the 'tse-tse' as it is like a Mosquito but has a bigger sting, only 17 aircraft were converted, operating with just a few squadrons during the war. As much information as can be found has been collected and we now have what is pretty much the definitive reference source, listing all of the unit moves and operational sorties carried out by this most interesting aircraft.
As with other MMP books, this one is full of superb period photographs and a bevy of excellent profiles of not on the Mossie, but some of its victims as well. This makes for an outstanding reference for the historian, enthusiast and modeler alike. A book I know that you will thoroughly enjoy and one that I can highly recommend. .
By Ray Mehlberger
The de Havilland Mosquito was one of the first true “multi-role combat aircraft” A superb design which excelled in many roles an was used by all RAF commands. The story of the “Wooden Wonder” has been told many times, but one variant has been rather overlooked. The Mk XVIII was armed with a 57 mm gun, intended initially as a tank-buster but then adapted for Coastal Command use in the anti-ship and anti-submarine role. Nick-named the “Tsetse” (like a Mosquito but with a bigger sting!). This variant was only produced in small numbers but served effectively with Coastal Command until the end of the war. This new book from Mushroom Model Publications/Stratus (MMP) describes the development of the Mk XVIII, its operational history, and details of every airframe. One aircraft ended up post-war in America, in civil guise (but without the gun…)!
MMP is based in Redbourn, Herts UK. Their books are mostly printed in cooperation with Stratus, which is based in Poland. The books are in the English language however.
This new book is in 11 ¾” x 8 ¼” soft-cover format of 72 pages.
The heavy gun installation is described and illustrated with 20 color walk-around type photos. There is a 1/72nd scale 3-view illustration of the Mk XVIII, 48 black and white wartime photos of the Mk XVIII and some of it’s enemies and some of the pilots, 4 illustrations from tech manuals. The color profiles are of 5 XVIII’s in British markings, a two-view showing the top and bottom of one in invasion stripes, a Ju-88, a Z23 escort ship for the Japanese I-29 submarine, a German “Sperrbrecher” convoy escort vessel, a Fw-190A-3, a VIIc and VIIc-44 U-boat, a Norwegian convoy escort German vessel, a type XXIII U-boat and a post-war Mk XVIII in the “Silver Streak” markings of the Mosquito that went for the around the world speed record. There are 3 information charts and 5 color photos (including the cover art).
Chapters in the book are:
Molins 6 pdr gun
Area of operations
Success against the U-boats
A new lease on life
An American Tsetse
Colours and markings
The back cover of the book announces a forthcoming book “Boeing B-17 in RAF Coastal Command Service”
This book will be an invaluable reference source for aircraft historians and enthusiasts, and scale modelers. Available at most good book stores.
A Scale Canadian 2013-05-13
Much like the A-10, the Mosquito Mk.XVIII (aka Tse-tse) was an attempt to put a very large gun in a not much larger airframe. The Molins gun was a tank weapon which was fitted into the Mosquito as a potential replacement for the Hurricane IID. I've always been fascinated by the Mosquito Mk. XVIII ever since building an Airfix Mosquito as a young lad. Of course I built it with the large gun nose, but I really didn't know much about this version of the Mosquito. Well other then it was cool!
Alex Crawford's new book published by Mushroom Model Publications fills in the missing history on the Molins gun, its adaptation to the Mosquito, and its operational use as an anti-shipping weapon with Coastal Command. Quite an interesting tail, and quite well detailed in the book. Turns out it really wasn't that successful, and the RAF preferred rockets for anti-shipping operations. There are many pictures and profiles included, including profiles of some of the baddies (even some subs and boats.) I just wish they had included more photos of the Molins Mosquito. I understand that the photos included could possibly be the only photos of the Mosquito Mk. XVIII extant, but I'm a modeler and I always want more. I was also surprised to learn one of the Tse-tse Mosquitos was sent to the U.S. for tests at Pax River, and ended up being sold to the civilian market for use as a racer.
I had put off purchasing this book because of the apparent high price. The first surprise upon receipt was that it wasn't one of the little booklets that MMP usually publish, but rather a normal sized large paperback. While it appears a little short at 72 pages, it is quite engrossing, covers the topic well, and in my opinion was well worth the money.
Amazon.co.uk customer review (2nd) 2013-05-13
5.0 out of 5 stars. Boom Boom
28 April 2013 By M. Steedman
Amazon Verified Purchase
Fitting a 6pdr gun into a Mosquito was a great engineering feat, and it clearly was an effective modification. However only twelve were actually built as at the same time as this modification was proving itself, the very simple modification of adding rockets to any mosquito was proving itself to be even more effective.
The short book covers the deployment of these aircraft and includes interviews of those involved in its deployment.
This though is not a modellers guide though.
Andy Dawson’s review of ‘Shipbuster: Mosquito Mk XVIII “Tse-tse” an operational history’ by Alex Crawford
This is a book that I (and I suspect a lot of others) had been looking forward to for some time since reading about the book project on Alex Crawford’s Geocities site (hopefully Alex will find another home for his web pages following the announcement that Geocities is due to close its doors in October).
Following a brief introduction, the book is split into chapters which cover the Molins 6 pdr gun with which the Mosquito Mk XVIII was armed, replacing the 20mm cannon normally housed in the lower fuselage, trials with the weapon and the operational history of the mosquitoes concerned.
The chapter dealing with the Molins 6 pdr gun itself contains plenty of detail of the weapon, including a large number of photographs of the example at the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre and a number of accompanying drawings, along with a brief history of the gun’s development and some details of the installation into the Mosquito and additional changes made to the airframe. In addition, a 3-view (side view, scrap side view of the fuselage showing further details and plan view from the underside) drawing is provided which is likely to prove very useful to the modeller. Note that a general arrangement drawing of the installation of the Molins 6 pdr into the Mosquito is shown on page 59 of the book.
The chapter dealing with the gun trials details both the ground and air tests, including the results, conclusions and modifications required following the trials, along with a brief discussion of the reasons 618 Squadron was selected to use the Mosquito Mk XVIII.
Almost all of the remainder of the book deals with the operational history of the Mk XVIII Mosquito and its successes against U-Boats and ships. Included also are a number of very interesting photos, along with some side view drawings of a number of aircraft, U-Boats and ships. In addition, details of the armour fitted to the nose section of the Tse-tse Mosquitoes is provided.
Details are also provided of PZ467, ‘The American Tse-tse’, which was shipped to the USA for testing by the US Navy and which subsequently ended its days in civilian hands as ‘The Silver Streak’. Again artwork depicting PZ467 in US markings, as ‘The Silver Streak’ and a small number of photographs are provided.
Appendix 1 covers some Tse-tse memories provided by a small number of those involved with the Mosquito Mk XVIII. Appendix 2 covers the history of each of the 17 Tse-tse Mosquitoes, whilst appendix 3 provides details of the ammunition expenditure of the Molins 6 pdr in use in the Tse-tse for the first 7 months of 1944.
For those interested in the Tse-tse, I cannot recommend this book highly enough!
Andy Dawson, August 2009
Amazon.co.uk customer review 2013-05-13This is a excellent book. It covers thie entire history type or mosquito. It also inludes pictures of ships and submariners that were attacked by this kind of aircraft. It also includes the history of how british and USA service.
IPMS UK Magazine 2013-05-13
The Catalina News January 2009 2013-05-13
Scale Aircraft Modeller Vol. 20 No 12 2013-05-13
JP4 Italian Aviation Magazine 2013-05-13
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