Thread: F-84s vs MiGs
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Old 24th September 2010, 00:29
JoeB JoeB is offline
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Re: F-84s vs MiGs

Originally Posted by Daniel Nole View Post
Clashes between F-84s and MiGs
I will comment mainly on F-84 losses. One theme in almost all cases is that sources which state which particular Soviet pilot shot down which American one are guessing; in almost all cases there are more victory credits than losses, and the credits are all at around the same time. Secondly some of the sources you quoted are not correct on various specifics.

-Dec 24, 1950 The official Soviet claims this day were all against F-86’s, one by 29 GIAP at 0950 (corrected to US time, ie Time Item), near ‘Sensen’ (ie Suncheon in northern NK) ‘pilots crashed with their a/c’, second by 29 GIAP at 1136I near ‘Tsio-To’ (ie Chodo, also pretty far north), ‘pilots crashed with their a/c’, and two credits to 177 IAP at 1125, ‘Sensen’, ‘fate of the pilot unknown’. Narrative accounts give no combats with F-84’s.

US recorded two combats that day between F-86’s and MiG’s, one at 0940I, the other at 1125I, no losses in either, no combats between F-84’s and MiG’s. So *both* sides agree there was no combat between F-84’s and MiG’s that day, and agree pretty well which combats did occur (they almost always do) though not the results (they usually don’t).

The loss of Bascom’s F-84 was near Kimpo, nowhere near the locations of the reported F-86 ‘crash w/ pilots’, and his body was recovered by UN forces, per USAF records. Also, when US and Russian governments exchanged information about POW/MIA fates in the 1990’s, no cases emerged where the Soviets had identified dead US pilots in their planes, but the US hadn’t recorded the loss of the pilot. So, when it comes to accounting for *F-86* losses, ‘pilots crashed with their planes’, with no US pilot listed by USAF, and no US pilot named by the Russian govt in the 1990’s info, turns out to be much weaker evidence than it appears at first.

This is now a problem researching this topic on the internet. I’m not a cynical person, but it’s hard to believe the author of the source you quoted is making those key mistakes entirely by accident (both sides agree F-86; no Soviet document says Bascom’s body was recovered by the Chinese, etc). It’s unfortunate, for serious students of air war history.

-21 Jan, 1951 A PLAAF 4th Fighter Division a/c was lost in this action, piloted by Zhao Zhichai. This is according to a quoted excerpt of a declassified but still ‘internal use only’ PLAAF history of the air war on a Chinese language forum.

-Apr 16, 1951: the time of the Soviet claim matches a combat of the 16th FIS, F-80's, early afternoon, no losses; and the Soviet claim was for an F-80. There was no action between F-84's and MiG's that day. Again the source you quote fudges Soviet accounts to make a match; the F-84 AAA loss was at Kaesong in southern NK; the Soviets claimed the F-80 crashed near Sinbi-do in northern NK, where the 16th FIS had their combat.

-Sep 3, 1951: This incident occurred Sept 12. Kramarenko claimed an F-84, but 3 other F-84's and 9 F-80's were credited to other Soviet pilots, v. just the single F-84 loss, all at around the same time (roughly 1720-40 time Item). So the crediting of this victory to Kramarenko is much less certain than the source makes it seem.

-Sep 19 1951: 51-528 of 49th FBG (sdn unk) was the F-84 lost, to engine failure over South Korea according to the Lost Damaged and Aborted a/c File of 5th AF for that day; more research is needed to find out if it was even on the same mission where 22 49th FBG F-84's encountered MiG's, at around 1700 (according to both sides), and one MiG was claimed and lost.

-Oct 1, 1951: yes, one F-84 lost to MiG per US records at 1020, only one claimed by a MiG between 1010 and 1026 per Soviet records, a rare clearcut confirmation of a victory for a particular pilot. However, the victor was Maj MS Ponomarev of the 17th IAP.

-Oct 2, 1951: The Crash and Preliminary Accident Report for 50-1166, gives details: mission abort because of vibration, a/c returned to K-13 and attempted to land, explosion, ejection, pilot picked up by ground ambulance 12 miles from K-13 (ie in SK), at 1545, preliminary conclusion engine bearing failure. The Soviet claim was in northern NK in window 1615-45 (corrected to 'Item'). It therefor corresponds to the loss of RF-80 45-8472 recorded at 1635, while being escorted by F-84's. The Soviet F-80 claim that day occurred at 1010 and is an over claim. F-84's evaded MiG attacks without damage at around that time (per Daily Intel Situation Report of 5th AF).

Oct 23, 1951: 3 F84 claims all in the same time window, one F-84 loss to MiG, so again no single pilot's claim is certainly confirmed.

-Oct 30, 1951: 1 F-84 suffered MiG damage and crashlanded, 2 claims by MiG’s are in the same time window, but both official credits, AFAIK, are to 18th IAP pilots, Lev Shchukin and NL Kornienko. Kramarenko’s biography claims a victory this day, but I have never found any reference to it in any other Soviet/Russian source as an official credit; in any case a victory by Kramarenko on this date is uncertain.

-Nov 3, 1951 One F-84 air combat loss, 5 official credits to the 523 IAP for F-84’s.

-Nov 10, 1951: F-84 downed by MiG’s at 1208 per US records, three credits to 176 GIAP pilots all at 1205 per Soviet records.

-Nov 18, 1951: The US recorded two combats between F-84’s and MiG’s this day, one starting at 0750 (51-660 suffered major damage from a hit in the tailpipe), other at 1555 (51-542 was lost). 3 claims of the 18 GIAP are listed as 0735-0815, one claim of 176 GIAP at 1620. The PLAAF 9th Fighter Regiment was credited w/ 5 or 6 (sources differ) additional F-84’s including Wang Hai’s claim, 1530, so presumably the second combat give or take possible time error in a published account.

-Dec 5, 1951: F-84’s encountered MiG’s at 0750 with no F-84’s lost and again at 1600 with 1 F-84 lost. The 176 GIAP claim was at 0810, 2 claims of 18 GIAP in time window 1542-1629.

-17 May ,1952 3 F-84 downed outright and 4th (49th FBG’s 50-1230) crashlanded, v. 6 claims by 821 IAP and one by 494th IAP, all about same time. It seems more likely the 494th’s claim referred to 49th FBG formation and the other 6 claims to the 3 losses in 136th FBG formation, but it can’t be determined with certainty.

-20 May, 1952: The credit to Maj VP Zakelin 256 IAP, only Soviet claim of the day, was against an F-86 at 1320, said to have been scored directly over Antung airfield inside China; the US recorded an F-86 air combat loss in a combat starting 1315, though location given inside NK. Many sources list F-84 51-618 as lost to MiG this day, but no engagement is mentioned in the Periodic Intelligence Summary for May 21 (usually reviewing the engagements of previous day) and the ‘Lost’ file says this a/c was one of the F-84’s lost on May 17, rather than 51-518. I hadn’t noticed this before. I didn’t look for an F-84 loss May 20 because there’s no Soviet claim (nor PLAAF AFAIK); needs more research.

-Aug 6, 1952: an F-84 went missing after an engagement with MiG’s at 1815. The pilot 1Lt William L Fornes said (after the war) he had become separated and was hit in the wing by unknown fire he thought was from a MiG. No Soviet claims were made and AFAIK no specific PLAAF claim against F-84’s on this date is known either. The PLAAF 17th Div/49th Regt claimed one F-86 destroyed and one damaged (no F-86 losses), as mentioned in many sources.

-Sep 9, 1952: 3 F-84 losses, 13 officially recognized claims, all at almost the same time.

-Sep 28, 1952 F-84E air combat loss, but no known claim.

-Jan 15, 1953: the 726th IAP claimed 7 F-84’s, but only 2 seem to have been officially credited. After his release the F-84 pilot, Warren, said he was downed by flak, which was extremely heavy at the time his plane was hit, but OTOH the time matches the MiG claims, MiG’s were sighted in the area by other F-84’s, and the USAF assumed at the time MiG loss. This is one of a handful of US a/c losses in Korea where it’s genuinely in doubt whether the cause AA or MiG (as opposed to somebody just taking an AA loss from Korwald and arbitrarily matching it to a MiG claim the same day without checking anything else).

-Apr 12, 1953: neither F-84 loss this day matches the time of the Soviet claim by Maj BF Semenov 913 IAP, which was 1704 Item, said to be an attack on a group of F-84’s in a Lufbery Circle defensive maneuver. De Luna lost contact on a single a/c night intruder mission at 2042; 1Lt James W. Wills Jr was lost in 51-485 failing to pull out of a bomb run at 0630.

-May 17, 1953: There is no known MiG claim to explain this loss, no encounter between F-84’s and MiG’s listed for this date, and the Korwald is simply ‘enemy action’ (the Daily Korean Resume doesn’t list any F-84 loss this day, nor does the Loss File for May 1953 include this a/c, so more research is needed to see whether the Korwald entry is an error, but anyway) I see no reason to believe this was a MiG loss.

As mentioned in previous post, the USAF 1953 Statistical Digest table for air combat loss by type is not necessarily a reliable reflection of the data in detailed records, though the totals are not actually ‘highly optimistic’; they do tend to come out moderately lower than a ‘bottom up’ count which includes crash landings, etc. Here’s a comparison by month for F-84's; first number is Stats Digest ‘air combat’ table, second is your list, third is what I believe is correct

Dec 1950: 0, 1, 0 (the info in your source about Dec 24 is clearly incorrect)
Jan 1951: 1, 1, 1
April 1951: 0, 1, 0 (your source is fudging facts to make this a MiG loss)
Sep 1951: 1, 2, 1 or 2 (51-528 probably a non-combat loss IMO)
Oct 1951: 2, 4, 3 (50-1166 not MiG loss, 3 counting crashlandings)
Nov 1951: 3, 3, 3
Dec 1951: 1, 1, 1
Feb 1952: 1, 0, 0 (no incident in the detailed US records, no Soviet or known PLAAF claim)
Mar 1952: 2, 0, 0 (no incident in the detailed US records, no Soviet or known PLAAF claim)
May 1952: 3, 5, 4 or 5 (counting crashlanding, May 20 incident needs more research)
Aug 1952: 0, 1, 0 or 1 (possible MiG loss but no known claim)
Sep 1952: 3, 4, 3 or 4 (possible MiG loss but no known claim)
Oct 1952: 1, 0, 0 (no incident in detailed US records, no known claim)
Jan 1953: 0, 1, 0 or 1 (possible MiG loss)
April 1953: 0, 1, 0 (only known MiG claim doesn’t match time or circumstances of either F-84 loss)
May 1953: 0, 1, 0 (no engagements, claims or other evidence this was a MiG loss)
Total: 18, 26, 16-19 counting crashlandings. This is daylight combat only, a couple of disappearances of F-84’s on night intruder missions in 1953 (unlike the April 1953 case) may match 298 IAP(N) claims, needs more research.

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