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Old 15th April 2011, 05:49
Daniel Nole Daniel Nole is offline
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Korea-MiG-15 and the other side of the history

To the early years 90s was only a version of the Air War over Korea. Mainly the versions USAF, US Navy were the only published and was, near of be the only availables(very few material RAAF or from other UN nations air arms envolved in this war was available). Nothing was ear from the "boys of the other side of the street". Was a history type one way or one side.

Then, the archives were open, pilots, the annonymus of yesterday, the boy of this MiGs, start to talk and in a very few short time, a new version, of the history was born. This one is more complete, now we have two versions and two points of view, two ways, but sometimes is true, can be also confused, if we compared with dates, numbers, details, etc of the "old history". Not a easy work for investigators and historicals.

This is a list o events, to see and compare with the old version at some particular dates at the Korean Air War. Of course, are discutable but that offer another point of view.
Some examples:

1-Nov 8, 1950 The first combat between Jets and the kill of Brown.

Well, that is one of the most symbolic events and is near of be always present in each book or publication about Korean Air War.
Still today, if we can find books with always mentioned this victory of the F-80C of Brown againts the MiG-15 of Kharitonov. V-VS dont admitted this victory, first MiG loss was the Nov 9th and was againts the US Navy Panthers(VF-111, W.T.Amen) of the CV-47 Phippine Sea. This victory is full admitted by both sides.

2-Dec 22, 1950 4th FIW againts 177th IAP and 6 F-86 kills

Another hard myth at the side of the USAF. We are in April 2011 and still today we can read that in recent publications.
Today we know the names of the pilots, the place, the hour,the details, etc, and continued with this grotesc overclaim had not sense. Two MiGs were shot down(Barsegyan KIA, Zub Wounded), and a third damaged(Deinege). End score of the 22th Nov : 2 MiG-15 and one F-86A-5(and not six MiG-15 and one F-86A-5).

3-The MiGs no coming up after Dec 22, 1950

"MiGs stayed on the ground after Dec 22, 1950". We can read this in many books, as a sugestion of cowardy or something like this by the MiG pilots after the "lesson" of the 22th Dec. Nothing of more wrong. 29th GIAP and 177th IAP flew missions the 24, 27, 29 and 30 December and claimed in this periode 11 victories, including 5 F-86s, and two F-80C full admitted(if are overclaims or no, is not the point, but the MiGs were in the air)
Also in the same periode was crowned the first Ace of the V-VS Stepahn Naumenko of the 29th GIAP.

4-March 17, 1951

"An F-80, flown by Lt. Howard J. Landry of the 36th FBS, collided with a MiG-15. Both went down with
their pilots. Fifth Air Force lost no other aircraft in aerial encounters during the month."

After the USAF , the March 1, 1951 with 2 B-29 (44-69667, 44-61830)reduced to scrap by the MiGs and also the 44-69746 heavy damage over Sinuiju the Mar 30, 1951(and maybe also written off after his emergency landing a Itazuke with wounded aboard)cannot be considered as losses. But a photo of a MiG showing some 10 hits of 0.50 by a F-86, yes, that is a MiG kill...

5-April 12, 1951

Well, thats is near of be a scandalous the version as mentioned of this event in the books. This day the MiGs score a big victory(the USAF dont loss nothing in admitted that today). And what we read in the books? "at least 70 MiGs"," "It proved to be a costly experience for the MiGs pilots, however as they lost ten of their within minutes",","and the pay the price, for six of the confirmed MiG kills fell to the B-29s 0.50-cal turrets","Another four jets were gunned down by 4th FIW"," Forty-six B-29s attacking the Yalu River bridge at Sinuiju and 100 escorting fighters encountered between 100 and 125 MiGs, which shot down three bombers and damaged seven others. However, B-29 gunners destroyed seven MiGs, and F-86 pilots downed four more, the highest daily MiG tally thus far",etc,etc.

Please, we are in 2011, no in 1954...

Kozedub's 324th IAD complement about this time was 60 MiGs, still many MiG-15s first version with RD-45F engine(was the only Division fighting in Korea about this time).
44 MiGs were send to intercept the 48 B-29s, 34 F-84 Thunderjets and 18 F-86A-5 and Kozedub rest a Antung with very few reserves.

The score of the day, 4 B-29 destroyed and five damaged(some were also written-off after emergency landings). MiG losses :1 MiG heavy damage, written-off after landing(St Lt Yakolev of the 196th IAP)and another damaged: 823 blue"(CN 108023)of the 176th GIAP. Certainly one MiG written-off and another damaged are quite far of 10 claimed by the USAF.
Yakolev MiG is credited to James Jabara.

Namsi combats later this year and "Black Tuesday" losses are admitted in part by the USAF and for first time this last concede, something like a victory for the MiGs pilots.

6-"By September 1951, with some 525 MiG-15s in the Yalu area"

Overestimations of numbers of MiGs was near a constant in the Korean Air War. The real forces at this month deployed in Manchurie were:

50th IAD(176th GIAP and 196th IAP)

75 MiGs

303th IAD(17th IAP, 18th GIAP and 523th IAP)

125 MiGs


Start his second tour of operations Sep 22, 1951 with 55 MiGs and 56 pilots.

Total of MiGs: 255

A FEAF overestimation of near of 100 % of the MiGs availables by the "reds" .

7-Sept 25, 1951: Five MiGs shot down. "100 MiGs vs 36 F-86s"

We read something like this about this day: "In the largest air battle in recent weeks, an estimated 100 MiG-15s attacked 36 F-86s flying a fighter sweep over the Sinanju area. Sabre pilots destroyed five MiGs in aerial combat, the daily high for the month."

The real history is the following: they so called "100 MiGs" were the 16 MiGs of PLAAF 12th Regiment of 4th FAD led by Li Wenno in his first operative sortie of his second tour. (Some sources speak also of a cover of V-VS MiGs). The combat was near Anju and the 4th FAD, one of the better PLAAF trained division about this time, obtained a average results. His losses were the MiG-15 of Hua, Long-yi shot down by 1th Lt Booth T. Holker and the MiG of Li Wenmo damaged aparently by 1th Lt Charles F. Loyd(334th FIS).When he finally landed at Antung , there were more than thirty bullet holes in his MiG fuselage, wings, landing gear and cockpit canopy.(X.Zhang)
In return Li Yongtai score several good 23mm hits in the left wing root at the F-86A-5 of Loyd.
End score: 1 MiG shot down , one MiG damaged. One F-86A-5 damaged.(and not 5 MiG shot down).Despite the loss of one MiG, the results were not so bad for the PLAAF 4th FAD in this difficult engagement with the high experienced 4th FIW F-86 pilots. But that was no always so; in Oct 16, the 4th FAD engaged again the 4th FIW and the results were disastrous for the PLAAF, lossing this day the 12th Regiment eight MiGs and two pilots(USAF claims this time were near right of the real score with nine MiGs claimed).

8-Oct 27, 1951: "B-29 gunners shot down six MiGs"

"MiGs flew approximately 200 sorties, the high for the month. On a last medium bomber daylight raid, B-29 gunners shot down six MiG-15s, their highest number of enemy aircraft downed on any day of the war."

Really?, they were no 60? No more comments...

9-November 27, 1951 Maj. Richard D. Creighton crowned as ace

Very dubious, two MiGs were loss and full admitted by the V-VS (176th GIAP) this day and boths kills were also the first kills of Maj George Davis(A. Yesipko KIA, A.P.Verdysh KIA). No PLAAF or other MiGs were lost. USAF claimed this day four MiGs with lossing in echange by MiGs one F-84E and one F-80c. As with Jim Jabara the 20th May, after V-VS records and MiG losses, no Ace title was obtained this day.

10-November 30, 1951

The 4th FIW Intercept this day a raid of Tu-2s of the PLAAF 24th regiment of the 8th BAD escorted by La-11 of the 2th FAD and a high cover of MiG-15 of the 3th FAD.

The PLAAF was targeting for second time the island of Taehwa-do and the strike was composed by 9 Tu-2 bombers of the 8th Bomber Aviation Division flying in three bombers in each flight, a escort of 16 La-11 of the 2th FAD and a escort high cover of 24 MiG-15 of the 3th FAD.

Unlucky for the bombers, they were five minutes ahead of schedule and the MiGs were right in schedule and coming five minutes later in combat. Five minutes is a lot of time in air combat. The only escort available when the 31 F-86 of the 4th FIW(Col B.Preston)struck and start his attack were the 16 La-11 of the 2th FAD.

"A bad day for the red commanders " we read in this books or something like this. Yes, can be ,but also that was no so much heroic to attack 9 piston bombers , escorted also by 16 piston fighters with 31 Sabres.(And we dont mention the experience of the USAF flyers compared with the inexperienced PLAAF pilots of this time).

The November 30, 1951 mission was a complete disaster for the PLAAF and the losses were 4 tu-2, 3 La-11 and one of the later incoming MiGs of the 3th FAD. This MiG was credited to George Davis and the PLAAF later acknowledged that the flight leader of the 3th FAD died in action over Taehwa-do while trying to rescued his bomber comrades(X.Zhang)

The claims: USAF claims were for 8 Tu-2(first were six, then two more were added of the reported 12 Tu-2)3 La-11 and the MiG. In few words, claims were made for the double of Tu-2 really shot down. In the other side, one F-86 was damaged by the 23mm of one of the La-11(Wang Tianbao). I have never read in the "old literature pre-1990" from Korean Air War something about this damage F-86E(50-625)this day. A lot of "Bad Day for the reds" but nothing to say about losses or damages in the fields of the "good boys". The PLAAF had also had claimed a second F-86 damaged this day.

11-Dec 13, 1951 "13 MiGs destroyed(other versions say 14)"

The version pre 1990s : "Twenty-nine F-86s encountered 75 MiG-15s over Sinanju, and in a wild melee the F-86 pilots shot down nine MiGs, giving USAF pilots a total of 13 aerial victories for the day".

Actual and real score of the day: Eight MiGs and two F-86A-5 destroyed. The inexperienced PLAAF 14th FAD 40th Regiment was surprised by the attack of the 4th FIW, before coult even drop thei wings tanks and loss 7 MiGs very fast.V-VS loss one MiG of the 18th GIAP(I.A.Gorsky-KIA). In enchange two F-86A-5 of the 4th FIW were shot down(49-1159, 49-1199), the second one by one MiG of the 3th FAD, escorting in this moment the rookies of the 14th FAD in one of his first missions.Certainly is a victory for the 4th FIW, but again, no a hard one to obtain in this conditions, another overclaim this time of five-six MiGs, and not admitted "officialy" his losses of two F-86 this day.

12-Feb 10, 1952 Maj George Davis shot down

No much to say, a well known topic a overclaim of one MiG, with no F-86, or camara, or photos availables to confirmed the victories. But, well, he was in his last mission and he loss his live this day in the process.

13-March 20, 1952

The pre 1990 version say: "Near Sui-ho Reservoir area, MiG-15s attacked a USAF patrol. The F-86 pilots destroyed five MiGs and damaged approximately 13 others".

Well, only one is admitted, Kolesnikov of the 494th IAP shot down by Felix Asla Jr. of the 335th FIS 4th FIW. After the USAF version, the kill claim of Capt Robert Love of the 335th FIW is quite curious. He had expended all his munition in the MiG and this one continued to flight straight and level. His wingman 1th Martin J.Bambrick then ask Love to get into position to finish him off, and and Love replied in the negative and say the pilot was already dead. Both F-86s left the MiG and continued his patrol. Later , it was confirmed to the pilots that the jet had indeed lost altitude in a glide and crashed into the ground some distance off to the west. After the USAF that was enough to confirm the kill of Love.

So vague all this confirmation, no photo, "some distance off to the west" that can mean many things and nothing, no geographic location o near some locality or point specific. And V-VS or PLAAF dont admitted this loss.
Counting this dubious kill we have still 3 overclaims.

MiGs claims for the day were for a SAAF F-51D(45-11704), this one confirmed.

14-April 4, 1952 : "10 MiGs destroyed"

We can read: "Fifth Air Force Sabre pilots destroyed 10 MiGs while losing one F-86. Col. Francis S. Gabreski,
commander, 51st FIW, destroyed a MiG to become the eighth jet ace of the war."

The F-86 destroyed is confirmed and one second damaged was also claimed by the MiGs. MiG losses : 2.
A overclaim of eight MIGs.(kills of Gabreski and one of Wescott admitted)

15-May 3, 1952: "5 MiG destroyed"

Version pre 1990 :"Sabre pilots destroyed five MiG-15s, with Maj. Donald E. Adams, 16th FIS, destroying two and Capt.
Robert T. Latshaw Jr., 335th FIS, downing another to increase the number of aces to 14."

Actual score: 4 shot down(3 from 494 IAP and one from 148 GIAP)

Version pre-1990 forget again to say one F-86E(50-652) was also shot down by the MiGs.

Etc, etc, etc, etc, for many other air combats in the Korean War, version pre-1990.

To continued, some favourites of the "old literature" pre-1990:

16-East German pilots flying MiG-15 in Korea.

Well, the fantasie and the speculations in the cold war had give sometimes unexpected and near incredible conclussions.

17-Ex Luftwaffe veterans pilots flying MiG-15 in Korea.

And that continued. After the USAF is like everybody is capable of flight and fight in a MiG-15 ; exception : a Soviet.

18-Varsovie Pact pilots flying MiG-15 in Korea.

Like number 7. Fantasie land a discretion

19-All weather German(DDR)squadron with very skilled pilots flying MiG-15

Like number 7.

20-A downed "Red "pilot was straffed at sea by other MiGs to avoid capture by the UN forces.

I have never read something like this in the actual literature about the Korean Air War. St Lt Evgeniy Stelmakh of the 18th GIAP was shot down by one F-86 and ejected over Korea. He fight then with some chinese(took them as American saboteurs) and after gunfight he comited suicide with the last bullet of his TT pistol. Larionov, wigman of Pepelyayev was shot down over the Yellow Sea but any mention of this type.

But today we finded other types of mentions or references and there not specially favourable for some pilots of the USAF, straffing ejected MiG pilots in his parachute. Kramarenko was one of these straffed and two at least were killed in his parachutes. Nothing to do with made a photo of the ejected pilot for confirme the victory, there were burst of 0.50 intentional... Some source mentioned William F. Shaeffer as the pilot trying to kill Kramarenko in his parachute. Zabelin also mention criminal events of this type.

21-All skilled MiG-15 combat pilot were instructors.

This is one of the favorites in many USAF oriented publications. When a USAF pilot find a "Honcho", must be a Instructor. In reality , no all instructors were skilled combat pilots and no all skilled combat pilots were instructors. But this one is hard, and as say before is a great favorite in all this books as near of be, always present somewhere.

22-792 MiG kills againts 78 Sabres lost

Well, this one is the Best seller of the Korean Air War.
Other number mentioned 110, 103, etc. But the MiGs are always there in the ratio of 7:1 ; short time after the end of the Korean war the number was 14:1.
Real losses for the MiG, were by the 593 MiGs in combat and some 659 all causes. If you take in all causes the number of F-86 losses you have there some 184 F-86 losses; Stephen Sewell go more far and mentioned 271 F-86 all causes lost. If you take in consideration this all causes for the USAF , you have there 1035 losses(other souces cited :1335 losses and 945 not combat losses), more 814 of the US Navy, more 368 USMC . We speaking now of 2217 aircrafts and to this ammount still must added RAAF, SAAF,ROKAF etc,etc. Certain sources cited the number of 3625 aircrafts and helicopters losses all causes by the UN forces in the Korean war. The AAA Chinese, North Korean or Soviet was the real winner if we like speak of scores in airplanes destroyed(USAF alone admitted officially the loss of 816 by AAA).

23-Debris and engine failure or explosion

In official records in losses causes there are a lot of engines failure on Korea, specially for the F-86s and curiously many times when the MiG were not so far. And also sometimes there were also a lot of debris in flight everywhere.

24-The air superiority

In my modest opinion they were in Korea, two winners, The MiG succeded in forbidden the air space to the B-29s in daylight(for that was designed originally, as a bomber destroyer) and the F-86 forbidden the air space south to the MiGs and avoid the construction of new airfields in North Korea Territory. Real advantages for the UN forces were not so much, Chinese Army operated always without air support at and the end of the war , there were a lot a supplies availables. The war againts the rail, roads and supplies routes , despite the efforts, the millons of bombs, rockets, napalm etc had not annuled the resuply of the Chinese forces and in his last offensive at July 1953, the artillery fire a colossal amount of shells againts the south positions.

Estimated number of MiGs in front line operations at Manchurie at the end of the war: 690 MiGs(3 V-VS divisions, 6 PLAAF Divisions, one KPAFAC Regiment, one V-VS Night Fighter Regiment).

The MiG-15 main function was to intercept and destroy bombers and fighters bombers and no a competence or race of pilots hability in dogfight. Is like the Battle of England , Spitifre and Hurricanes go for the german bombers , no for the Bf 109 or the Bf 110s. Many times Park avoided the combat of his units when he know only Messerschmitts were crossing the channel to challenge the RAF. That was the same for the MiGs. The objetive was the F-84s,F-80s and mainly the B-29s with his heavy load of bombs and destruction.


Last edited by Daniel Nole; 17th April 2011 at 01:58.
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