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The de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito was a British combat aircraft of World War 2. It was known affectionately as the "Mossie" to its crews and was also nicknamed "The Wooden Wonder" or "The Timber Terror" as the bulk of the aircraft was made of laminated plywood. It was the fastest operational aircraft in the world. Entering widespread service in 1942, the Mosquito supported RAF strategic night fighter defence forces in the United Kingdom from Luftwaffe raids, most notably defeating the German aerial offensive Operation Steinbock in 1944.The Mosquito units supported bomber fleets and helped reduce RAF bomber losses in 1944 and 1945. The Mosquito increased German night fighter losses to such an extent the Germans were said to have awarded two victories for shooting one down. Some Mosquitos also saw action in RAF Coastal Command during the Battle of the Atlantic, attacking Kriegsmarine U-Boat and transport ship concentrations, particularly in the Bay of Biscay offensive in 1943 in which significant numbers of U-Boats were sunk or damaged.
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It's a real death-or- glory show, boys' - that was how Group Captain Percy Pickard ended the briefing for one of the RAF's most daring and dangerous raids of WWII codenamed 'Operation Jericho', during February 1944. Requested by the French Resistance to free, or to sacrifice, up to 700 prisoners held by the Gestapo at Amiens, 18 Mosquito FBVIs of 140 Wing were prepared at short notice to attack the prison at low-level and high speed, the objective being to break the walls. Led by Pickard in Mosquito HX922, 140 Wing attacked with complete surprise causing utter chaos inside the prison. 258 prisoners escaped through the breached walls, with 102 killed. Warned of collateral damage, the Resistance said death from RAF bombs was preferable to Gestapo torture and execution. Only two Mosquitoes were lost, one of which was HX922. Pickard and his navigator, 'Bill' Broadley, failed to return and are buried at Amiens.