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

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