The de Havilland Mosquito was originally intended for use as an unarmed bomber or reconnaissance aircraft, one that would fly so fast and high that defensive armament would be superfluous. It was not until World War II had started, however, that the Air Ministry gave serious thought to the possibility that light alloys might become in short supply. In such circumstances an all-wood aircraft might be a useful ace up the sleeve. On November 25, 1940, the prototype was flown for the first time.
The new bomber had the maneuverability of a fighter, a dashing high speed that was not far short of 400 mph, and could make smooth climbing rolls on the power of one engine. Deliveries to the RAF began in November, 1941. At that time there must have been some doubt among the crews who were to fly these aircraft of just how this "plywood" bomber would withstand the enemy's defenses. They soon discovered that the Mosquito had an enormous capacity to absorb punishment. When production was finally terminated, a total of 7,731 Mosquitos had been built.