The TA 154 "Moskito"
everything you wanted to know about the Ta 154 but didn't dare ask
by Lorenz Bärmann

The first prototype flew on July 1st, 1943, merely a year after Milch's personal instructions for the development of a German counterpart for the successful British "Mosquito". This record time was achieved not by "super" industrial powers but by the adaptation of an already mature project: that of the fast attack bomber TA 211, so code-named because of the engines it was designed to use, the Junkers Jumo 211-R. The name of the entire new project was changed to the RLM assignment number 154 (hence TA 154) as soon as it became clear that the engine suitable for the "Moskito" should be the more powerful Jumo 213 and that Junkers could not deliver the Jumo 211-R in schedule time due to technical and production problems. The Jumo 213 wasn't available until summer '44 anyhow.

The adaptation of the as A4 sub-type night fighter, using the available Junkers Jumo 211-F engines, produced prototype aircraft V1 to V4. The 154 was also allocated the name Moskito as a form of recognition of the RAF's De Haviland Mosquito.

A number of further aircraft was used for evaluations, whilst disputes as to the role of the aircraft when in service dragged on. The Moskito suffered several accidents during testing and modifications were made to overcome such failures. All the while, the HE 219 was the preferred aircraft to go into full production and a fly-off was arranged between both aircraft. Since the aeroplanes were so different in most of their flying attitudes, the only conclusion was that the TA 154 was better suited for localised (low range) rather than extended range sorties. Only one series of a total of eight aircraft were produced and officially delivered to Luftwaffe.

Six days after the first flight at Hannover-Langenhagen on 1 July 1943, Tank himself piloted the V1 (TE+FE) aircraft. The performance of this first flight seemed encouraging. However, the original powerplant the aeroplane was intended to use, the Jumo 213, was not ready. In its place, the Jumo 211 F or N had to be used, and one aeroplane had even the Jumo 211 R. The V2 prototype was fitted with FuG 212 Licthenstein C-1.

Some known codes of prototypes.

TE+FE V1 no A.I. device, powered by Jumo 211 R. First flight 1/7/43. Tested in Rechling in March of the same year. Crashes 31/7/43 in landing accident.
TE+FF V2 also powered by Jumo 211 R.
TE+FG V3 first armed prototype, fitted with FuG 212 C-1, destroyed in air raid of 5 August 1944. Powered by Jumo 213, first flight 25/11/43.
TQ+XE V15 TA 154 A0 (later converted to A4 standards), W.Nr. 120005.
KU+SU TA 154 A4, W.Nr. 320008, later D5+HD of Stab. III./NJG 3, its wing tips were experimentally slanted upwards to increase its stability.

In December of the same year it was established the Truppen Erprobungskommando 154. The first production aeroplane A1 was first flown on 13 June 1944. The only Moskito that was powered by Jumo 213-A was the first pre-production TA 154 V3 (A-03/U1). It was so heavy with its four 20 mm MG 151, 30 mm MG 108 high-speed cannons and FuG 212 Lichtenstein FuG 212 Lichtenstein C-1 Matratzen antenna array, that its top speed was dropped by 75 Kph despite expectations. Between January and March 1944 four additional aeroplanes were produced, some featuring Hirschgeweih antennas for FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN-2 radar.

Eight aircraft were assembled at Erfurt and designated TA 154 A-0. The Moskito airframe was intended to be assembled in production at the Salzbergwek Wremen by Gothaer Waggonfabrik while the undercarriage and wings at the Posen factory in Poland and the pressurised cabin as well as the fuselage were to be built at Cottbus.

Some units using the TA 154 1944-45

Number Of aircraft, Unit, Base
1 I./NJG 3 Grove
3 III./NJG 3 Stade
? III./JG 2 Lechfeld

Tank simplified production and reduced costs by building the aircraft entirely in non-strategic materials such as pressed and glued veneer sheets. This solution was adopted since the design of the aircraft also due to shortage of Aluminium and other light metals for airframe construction. The example perhaps came from the British Mosquito, but necessity forced design more than any tendency to imitate the English design.

Chronology of the TA 154 "Moskito"

August 1942 RLM establishes the requirement under Milch's instructions.
March 1943 The TA 154 is compared at Rechling with the Ju 388 and the He 219 for Luftwaffe evaluation purposes.
1 July 1943 First flight of TA 154 V1 with Flugkapitän Sander in the controls, at Hannover Langenhagen airfield.
31 July 1943 V1 crashes due to undercarriage failure.
September 1943 in Erfurt begins the A0 series production.
25 November 1943 Speed test with A0/U1 aeroplane; it reaches 620 kph fully armed.
25 November 1943 First flight of the first fully armed TA 154, the V3.
22 December 1943 EKD 154 is established as troop testing unit of the "Moskito".
18 February 1944 V4 crashes due to undercarriage failure.
28 February 1944 V8 crashes due to undercarriage failure.
7 April 1944 V5 crashes due to undercarriage failure.
18 April 1944 V9 and V12 crashes due to undercarriage failure.
28 June 1944 Cancellation of the entire production.
Autumn 1944 Some "Mistel" combinations with Fw 190 over a TA 154's are built in central Germany. They are intended to be used against American B-17 formations. None of them goes to action.
30 April 1945 An experimental re-adapted TA 154 with mid-wing antennae and angled wing tips crashes at Stade. Last crashing of TA 154.

The ending chapter of this aeroplane's history was written with bombs after the bombing raids of early summer 1944 that destroyed the Goldmand factory in Wuppertal. Goldmand produced the Tego-Film, a special adhesive used for the TA 154's wooden components; eventually it was substituted with another adhesive produced by Dynamit AG from Leverkusen, but the new adhesive was only half as powerful as the Tego-Film.

On July 1944 two Ta 154 A-1's completed using the Dynamit glue took off for testing. The second aeroplane crashed when its wings desintegrated: the glue ate into the wooden structure! Due to these problems with the wooden parts, and following further crashes of two other aeroplanes, Tank halted series production on 14 August 1944. RLM halted the entire project in September 1944, a little more than six months after its air worthiness certificate. In Posen, eight Ta 154 A-1s were built before the end of the program.

Transformations took place among serviceable aeroplanes so factory numbers 320008 to 320010 were rebuilt into bad-weather fighters denominated Ta 154 A-2/U4, and four others into Ta 154 A4 night-fighters. These former aeroplanes were used by the III./NJG 3 in Stade as well as a fourth aeroplane with the staff of the I./NJG 3 established in Grove. Pre-series' aeroplane Ta 154 A0 (factory number 120005) TQ+XE was later transformed into A4 type. The third Ta 154 TE+FG was fitted with FuG 212 C-1 sub-type aerials while others -specially A4 variations- were fitted with FuG 202 aerials; the TE+FG was destroyed in an air raid on 5 August 1944. Moskitos served in Lechfeld only with the III. Completion/JG2. The first months of 1945 at Lechfeld some Ta 154 were used to train jet pilots.

A glamorous failure among the prototypes signed the test of angled wing tips and middle-wing aerials in a night fighter: the aeroplane crashed in a service flight at Stade in the very last weeks of the War, on 30 April 1945. Fortunately some experimental manned explosive carriers named Pulk-Zerstörer as well as six Mistel combinations built on late 1944 from available parts never saw active service. They were intended to be blown up with heavy explosives in the middle of American bombing formations!

Production was envisaged at 250 airframes per month but only a limited number were built which did not amount to much over 50 aircraft. This figures include twelve test aeroplanes, five incomplete fuselages and several other prototypes under construction.

The Moskito did see limited service but doubtless the dual effects of poor decisions and enemy action curtailed the career of that could have been a worthy contestant for the R.A.F.'s night fighters and bombers such as the more famous DH Mosquito.