A tale of a mission to Berlin in 1943.
What would have happened if the Mosquito got through?
Flight Lieutenant Thompson pulled down his leather flying helmet and cast his eye over the grassy airfield. Flight Sergeant Adams pulled himself through the entry hatch on the De-Havilland Mosquito MK26 fighter bomber. An American Willis jeep raced across the airfield and stopped in front of the menacing Mosquito twin engine fighter. Group Captain Briggs stalled the jeep in gear and strode towards Flt Lt Thompson. He thrust out his hand and said in hushed tones,
“I know you two blokes are volunteers however this is my last chance to tell you that the survivability on this raid is almost zero! You do not have to go, understood?”
Thompson saluted and replied,
“Understood sir. With respect we are wasting time. Hitler and his lap-dogs will take the podium in 3 hours time. I need to be on my way sir. I can speak for Adams too he feels the same. If we get through and bomb the VIP stand the war could be over in weeks”
Briggs saluted the airman and spun on his heels and sped off in his jeep. Thompson pulled himself through the narrow wooden entry door and settled into the pilots seat. Adams said,
“What did the old man want?”
“Oh he was just wishing us good luck. We will need it”
The two experienced airmen ran through the pre-flight checks. It was second nature to them. At exactly 12.00pm Thompson saw the orange warning light go out for low fuel pressure. Immediately he hit the Magneto switches to run and thumbed the starter button for the port Merlin engine. The propeller spun slowly accompanied by black puffs of smoke from the exhaust stubs. Suddenly the engine caught and the propeller disappeared in a whirr of power.
The same procedure was repeated with the starboard Merlin. Adams said,
“Oil temp and cylinder head temps rising nicely sir”
Thompson released the air brakes with an audible hiss. By juggling the RPM’s on the two Merlin engines he guided the sleek Mosquito to the end of the grass runway. Thompson wound up the mechanical clock on the instrument panel and set the time at 12.05 GMT. A green flare shot out of the control tower signalling the all clear for J-Johnnie to take off. Thompson released the anti-grav locks on the two throttle levers and pushed them to maximum for take off.
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