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Jim Oxley 20th February 2008 12:26

Fascinating Korean Air War Site
Found this fabulous site that deals with just about every post-WWII aerial conflict, quite fascinating articals. I especially liked the section dealing with the Korean Air War:

The Honchos section is particulary worth the read. It deals quite fairly with both sides involvement, and in quite some detail. For example it mentions the first Soviet claim of the War, and the US's counter claim.

"On the 1st November 1950 five MiG-15s of the 72nd GvIAP, 151st IAD found a formation of ten F-80s above them at 4.500m Starshij Lejtenant Khominich performed a left climbing turn and fired against one of the F-80Cs shooting it down with that claiming the first jet-versus-jet air victory in history. The remaining F-80 formation was scattered by similar attacks by the Soviet flight leader Major Bordun and his wingman Starshij Lejtenant Sukhov. As far as the confirmation of the first jet-versus-jet kill goes the USAF admits the loss of one F-80C of 16th FIS with the pilot F. Van Sickle missing in action on that day but credits this loss to the North Korean flak, which according to the American version shot down the jet during a raid against Sinuiju airfield. The Sinuiju airfield raid was planned after a reconnaissance mission by an RF-80 revealled NKAP Yaks present at this location. The resulting strike mission with F-80Cs took off around noon (eleven o’clock Soviet time). The first of the Soviet claims is marked with the kill time of 14.20 (13.20 Soviet time) and in that light the F-80C mission against the Sinuiju is very unlikely to had come in contact with the Soviet MiGs.

The following days saw inconclusive encounters between US fighters and Soviet MiGs; on November 7 two F-51 pilots claimed to have shot down a MiG each and so did the F-80C pilot 1st Lt. Russell Brown of the 16th FIS on 8th November. This claim had been considered the first jet-versus-jet kill for more than forty years. But none of those shot downs really happened as no Soviet MiGs were lost during those days. On that day 1st Lt. Brown bounced a MiG-15 of the 72nd GvIAP piloted by Starshij Lejtenant Kharitonov who still had the external fuel tanks on. Kharitonov entered a steep dive and punched off the fuel tanks trying to avoid Russell’s bullets, who interpreted the dive as an uncontrolled fall and the explosion of the fuel tanks on the ground was misidentified as a MiG crashing. The first MiG kill only happened the next day when several F9F Panthers of VF-111 were escorting AD-4s and F4U Corsairs, which were attacking the Yalu bridges. Lt. Cdr. William T. Amen surprised a MiG when those were trying to get the Skyraiders and Corsairs shooting it down with 20 mm fire."

JoeB 20th February 2008 18:44

Re: Fascinating Korean Air War Site

Originally Posted by Jim Oxley (Post 60215)
The Honchos section is particulary worth the read. It deals quite fairly with both sides involvement, and in quite some detail. For example it mentions the first Soviet claim of the War, and the US's counter claim.

It is interesting but must be taken with a grain of salt (note my name is appended as co-author, albeit mis-spelled, but nonetheless).

There was another F-80 mission against Sinuiju Nov 1 which does correspond to the time of the Soviet claim, though the F-80's involved didn't see any MiG's, perhaps because they were also under AA fire, and/or the Soviets were firing at them from out of range. In any case none were lost. It was apparently however the first attack by jet fighters on other jet fighters. In fairness I found that information after the two actual authors asked my input on some of those incidents.

I agree with the loss accounting of the next few days but the paper doesn't mention other Soviet claims in the intervening time, and that's a pattern throughout.

AFAICT the main methology of the paper was using limited info about Soviet claims and comparing to this US loss database
however ignoring the loss cause given in the database if there was a MiG claim of similar type the same day, plus assuming all damaged a/c were written off. Then it doesn't generally mention Soviet claims on days where there is no conceivably matching loss in the database, which happened frequently.

But looking in the actual records from which that database is derived, and more details available about the Soviet claims, losses not attributed to MiG's hardly ever were to MiG's: they usually occurred at different times, places and circumstances; and other unit's records almost always show combats corresponding closely in time and place to each Soviet claim, the losses were just less (hardly a new finding in the history of two sided air combat accounting, but it's more so in this case than most).

I counted 36 UN a/c attributed to MiG's in the paper Nov 1 1950-May 20 1951. I found 19 comparing detailed claims to unit (and individual a/c) records. It's hard to say what the 'US official' loss number is since there are slightly conflicting totals and errors between them and more detailed underlying records, but it's similar to the lower number; which is reasonably debatable by a few planes, but no way close to 36. There were 152 official Soviet victories in the period most of which are not mentioned in the paper (plus a small handful of Chinese victories, no NK MiG's in the period). The paper also omits a few Soviet air combat losses, but in that case it seems unintentional, from use of the less detailed of two Russian published sources covering the period.

So yes it's worth a read, but with caution in drawing any quantitative conclusions from it.


Nostalgair 1st March 2008 21:44

Re: Fascinating Korean Air War Site
Thanks to both of you for the 'heads up' relating to this website.

I am an avid reader of texts relating to the air war over Korea. From an Australian perspective, the role of 77 Squadron RAAF is particularly of interest to me.



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