Friday, October 16, 2015

Book Review: Israeli Air Force de Havilland Mosquito

Shlomo Aloni
Israeli Air Force de Havilland Mosquito
Erlangen, Germany: AirDOC, 2006
Category: Israel Air Force - History

Rating: 3-Stars

The story of the de Havilland Mosquito in Israeli service has been largely forgotten by most.  Twin-engined, the Mosquito lacked the elegance of the Spitfires and Mustangs that made up the majority of the Israeli fighter fleet during the early 1950s.  Within a few years the piston-powered aircraft of Israel's early air force would be superseded by jet-powered fighters, and for many, largely forgotten.

What made the Mosquito's role during this transitional period unique, however, was its extraordinary range.  The Mosquito was the only Israeli fighter-type aircraft with the range to reach the air bases of Israel's neighbors during the early 1950s.  It consequently became Israel's first long-range reconnaissance aircraft, establishing a precedent, and an expectation among Israel's leadership for the kind of photographic intelligence that they should expect and demand.

This particular slim volume includes a side-by-side English and German text, together with a wide assortment of historical photos and illustrations.  Although only 64 pages in length, author Shlomo Aloni nonetheless delivers the kind of first-hand interviews and perspectives that he is known for, helping to preserve this unique episode of aviation history.  Despite how short the Mosquito's career in the Middle East happened to be, it nonetheless was part of the transitional saga between an Israeli air force formed largely by foreign volunteers at the time of the 1948 war, to become the independent, jet-powered fighting force that would dominate the skies over the Middle East during the 1960s and beyond.

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