Mark Huxtable's review of 'The Mosquito Manual'
The subtitle for The Mosquito Manual is "The Official Air Publication For the Mosquito F.Mk.II, N.F.Mk.XII and N.F.Mk.XVII, 1941-1945". The reader should take this as a clear indication that this is not a volume filled with taut narrative and thought-provoking introspection.
That said, this is a fun book to own. If you really, really want to feel close to the Mosquito, this is the one for you. There is a separate collection of pilot's notes put out by Crécy Publishing, including a volume for the FB.VI (my personal favourite), however The Mosquito Manual includes both pilot's notes and an extensive array of notes for the various maintenance and other ground crews which worked on the aircraft. In most cases, these notes will apply to the bomber and photo-reconnaissance versions of the Mosquito, however die-hard fans of these marques may be disappointed not to find more information about their favourite Mossie.
Although not engineering drawings, an enormous variety of diagrams and schematics describe all one could ever want to know about the Mosquito, short of actually owning one. Has your Mossie belly-landed? The Mosquito Manual provides a series of drawings illustrating how to recover the aircraft. Has your Mossie blown a fuse? The Mosquito Manual will provide you with a list of fuses used, and a diagram of all electrical power sources and uses, should you wish to re-wire.
Perhaps the most applicable part of the book for the average Mosquito fan is the section on the design and construction of the airframe. Although, like other chapters, this section of the book is somewhat less than easily readable, it provides a great deal of insight into how and why the Mossie became the "Wooden Wonder", loved by its crews and feared by its enemies.
There is a note to the reader overleaf from the cover page, where one normally finds only publisher's information. This note explains that although the quality of some of the drawings fall short of what might be expected of a modern book (The Mosquito Manual was first published in 1973!), however, the rarity of the original source material, and the nature of the manual as an essential part of an evolving aircraft design, demand that compromises be made. Far from being a compromise, The Mosquito Manual is a worthy tribute to the critical role the night-fighter aircraft played.
Mark Huxtable, January 2002
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