The Oslo Mosquito raid (25 September 1942) was a British air raid on Oslo, Norway, during the Second World War. The target of the raid was the Victoria Terrasse building, the headquarters of the Gestapo. It was intended to be a "morale booster" for the Norwegian people and was scheduled to coincide with a rally of Norwegian collaborators, led by Vidkun Quisling. The raid is also known for it being the moment when the Royal Air Force revealed the existence of the Mosquito aircraft to the British public, when the BBC Home Service reported on the raid the following day.

Oslo Mosquito raid
Part of Second World War
A No. 105 Squadron Mosquito B Mark IV in 1942
A No. 105 Squadron Mosquito B Mark IV in 1942
Date25 September 1942
Result Operational failure
United Kingdom Royal Air Force Gestapo
4 bombers Various anti-aircraft defences, 2 x Fw 190
Casualties and losses
1 aircraft destroyed
80 Norwegian civilians killed or wounded

Preparation Edit

The operation was carried out by four de Havilland Mosquito aircraft of No. 105 Squadron RAF, led by Squadron Leader George Parry, flying with navigator Flying Officer "Robbie" Robson. The other three crews consisted of:

  • Flight Lieutenant Pete Rowland and Flying Officer Richard Reilly
  • Flying Officer Alec Bristow and Pilot Officer Bernard Marshall
  • Flight Sergeant Gordon Carter and Sergeant William Young.[1]

In order to shorten the mission distance, the four aircraft were flown to RAF Leuchars in Fife, Scotland, where they were refuelled and loaded with four delayed action 500-pound (230 kg) bombs each.

The operation Edit

The operation involved a round trip distance of 1,100 miles (1,800 km), with a flying time of 4.75 hours, making it the longest mission flown with Mosquitos to date. The bombers crossed the North Sea at heights of less than 100 ft (30 m) to avoid interception by enemy aircraft and navigated by dead reckoning.[1] Each aircraft was armed with four 500 lb bombs with 11 second delayed action fuses since in such a low level attack the bombs had the potential to damage the aircraft that dropped them.

Despite their low altitude, the Mosquitos were intercepted by two Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighters of 3/JG 5 flying from Stavanger, causing Gordon Carter's Mosquito to make a forced landing in Oslofjord. Rowland and Reilly were pursued by the other Fw 190 until it clipped a tree and was forced to break off the attack.

At least four bombs penetrated the Gestapo HQ; one failed to detonate, while the other three crashed out through the opposite wall before exploding. The building was not destroyed, but several civilian residences were, and 80 civilians were killed or injured. The Norwegian government in exile, which had not known about the raid, later expressed serious concern to the British government. Official announcements by the German occupation forces claimed that several British aircraft had been shot down, when in reality a single Mosquito had been lost.[2]

Impact Edit

Although the raid had failed to achieve its objective, it was considered dramatic enough to be used to reveal the existence of the Mosquito to the British public, and the following day (26 September) listeners to the BBC Home Service learned that a new aircraft – the Mosquito – had been revealed for the first time by the RAF, and that four had made a low level attack on Oslo. The Mosquito bomber was featured in The Times on 28 September, and the next day the newspaper published two captioned photographs illustrating the Oslo bomb strikes and damage.[3][4]

See also Edit

  • Aarhus Air Raid, a similar attack on Gestapo headquarters in Aarhus, Denmark
  • Operation Carthage, a similar attack on Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark, with 125 off-target civilian casualties
  • Operation Jericho, a similar attack on Amiens Prison in France

References Edit

  1. ^ a b Bowman 1998, p. 13.
  2. ^ Dahl 1999, p. 277.
  3. ^ Our Aeronautical Correspondent. (28 September 1942). "Nazis Stung By 'Mosquitoes'". The Times. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  4. ^ Our Aeronautical Correspondent. (29 September 1942). "The R.A.F. Raid On Oslo". The Times. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  • Bowman, Martin. Mosquito Fighter/Fighter-bomber Units of World War 2. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 1998. ISBN 1-85532-731-7.
  • Dahl, Hans Fredrik and Anne-Marie Stanton-Ife (translator). Quisling: A Study in Treachery. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-521-49697-7.

External links Edit

59°54′51″N 10°43′42″E / 59.9141°N 10.7283°E / 59.9141; 10.7283