De Havilland Cobra FB Mk. 5


In 1942 the De Havilland company began with  a private venture development of a dedicated ground attack aircraft. The basis of this aircraft was the DH-98 Mosquito but the cockpit area and armament was significantly altered. A very radical approach was used for the cockpit in order to provide an excellent all-round vision for the pilot and weapons operator/navigator. With this approach proved De Havilland proved to be far ahead of its time.

The aircraft flew for the first time on March 7th 1943 and was immediately quite successful. It still had the same high speed and excellent handling capabilities of the Mosquito but the armament of two remotely controlled turrets each with two 30mm canon gave it a heavy punch. In addition to these the aircraft could carry underwing rockets and bombs. The crew had an excellent view and this proved to be an immense advantage in targeting.

De Havilland named the aircraft Cobra and it got the type number DH-107.

When they approached the RAF with the new aircraft they had to overcome quite heavy opposition to the novel cockpit lay-out but a number of trails soon made clear that this was an winner. In October 1943 the RAF issued the first order for 400 Cobra FB Mk-Is.

Soon after other versions were developed with more powerful engines and better guns. During the D-Day invasion over 1200 Cobra FB Mk-5s were active over and behind the beaches. The type was developed further with the FB Mk-12 which had Rolls Royce Griffin engines which became operational in April 1945. The type remained in RAF service until 1959.


Last updated: 28/06/2019