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Old 3rd November 2008, 21:45
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Nokose Nokose is offline
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German pilots in Korea War?

I've read accounts and talked with one U.S. veteran about ex-German soldiers fighting in the U.S. armed forces on the ground. Has anyone heard of ex-Luftwaffe pilots having served in the U.S.A.F. during that time?
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Old 3rd November 2008, 23:32
mars mars is offline
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Re: German pilots in Korea War?

There was no such thing
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Old 4th November 2008, 00:14
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Re: German pilots in Korea War?

There was a very strong belief that the Soviets had ex-Luftwaffe pilots amongst it's cadre operating over Korea. Several USAF pilots - Gabreski and Eagleston amongst others- were convinced that they had come up against them. They claimed that the tactics they used were strikingly reminiscent of those they faced over Europe in WWII.
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Old 5th November 2008, 16:40
JoeB JoeB is offline
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Re: German pilots in Korea War?

The Soviets also strongly believed that some of the pilots *they* were facing in Korea were ex-Luftwaffe. One Soviet pilot has told the story of meeting one after that pilot was captured and brought to the Soviets' base...however it's quite clear from other Soviet pilots' accounts from same unit that he was making it up, the kernel of truth was that the ID card of a downed (KIA) US F-86 pilot was shown around their unit; but the guy, whose name we know, was definitely not ex-LW.

As Mars said, ex-LW pilots, either side, didn't happen, by any evidence. The MiG units faced by the USAF from November 1950-September 1951 were almost entirely regular fighter units of the Soviet AF's, no motley collection of 'volunteers', but whole regular units which had been 'volunteered'. Or in a handful of combats in that period, but many thereafter, the MiG's were separate units of the PLAAF (also styled as 'People's Volunteers' but again whole units of the PLAAF that had been 'volunteered'), and North Korean MiG units from November 1951. In general those units fought under unified command but separately at regimental level. Sometimes in the early experimental phase of Chinese involvement (ca. late 50 early 51) it was a Chinese battalion with Soviet battalions. And, Soviet advisors flew in combat with NK units in at least some instances according to both NK and Soviet accounts; but AFAIK there's no Chinese account of Soviet advisors flying in their units in combat, though some Soviet accounts mention it. Anyway the MiG opposition was not typically the multinational mix of pilots in the same small units that the US often assumed prior to 1953.

But in 1953, the NK MiG defector No Gum-Suk explained the actual nature and organization of the MiG opposition to the USAF. He was based at Antung along with the separate Soviet and Chinese units from late '51, alternately ate in their respective messes (he liked the food at the Chinese mess, the liquor ration at the Soviet mess), never ran into any third nationalities. So, this was all basically known a long time ago to the USAF, but later publicized Soviet and Chinese accounts confirm it, confirmed almost everything No said on various subjects, he turned out very reliable.

Joe
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Old 5th November 2008, 17:36
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Re: German pilots in Korea War?

Thanks for the response. I was wondering about any type of aircraft not just fighters. The French lumped pilots, SS and so fore in the Legion for Indo-China but heard of none flying there. As I said the U.S. Army and Marines had ex-German soldiers serving for citizenship.
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Old 5th November 2008, 19:59
Bruce Dennis Bruce Dennis is offline
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Re: German pilots in Korea War?

I am prepared to be shot down in flames for this by those who may know better, but I recall some time ago reading the autobiography of an American pilot, exWWll & Korea, who described Japanese pilots flying for the South Koreans. Is this correct?

Bruce
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Old 5th November 2008, 21:44
JoeB JoeB is offline
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Re: German pilots in Korea War?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Dennis View Post
I am prepared to be shot down in flames for this by those who may know better, but I recall some time ago reading the autobiography of an American pilot, exWWll & Korea, who described Japanese pilots flying for the South Koreans. Is this correct?
There were no ethnic Japanese pilots in either Korea's armed forces but there were Korean pilots who had flown in the Japanese Army in WWII when Korea was ruled by Japan. An early hero of the ROKAF was Col. Rhee Geun-Seok (subject to various latin letter spellings) who had been a combat fighter pilot in the JAAF in WWII. While serving with the 77th Fighter Regiment flying the Type 97 Fighter he was shot down in combat with 67th Sdn RAF and the AVG over Rangoon December 25 1941 and became the first Japanese POW in that theater. Then a Sargent, he was known at the time by either the Japanese name he took, Aoki Akira, or the Japanization of his Korean name, Ri Kontetu. July 3, 1950 he was killed leading the first ROKAF F-51 combat mission, attacking an NK tank column. His plane was either hit by AA or flew accidentally into the ground.

Lee Wahl, deputy chief of the NK air force at the beginning of the war, was another ex-Japanese Army pilot.

Many or most senior ROKA/AF/N officers in 1950 were veterans of the Japanese forces. A few had been Japanese Army officers (like Park Chung-Hee, later long time President/dictator of ROK in 1960's/70's) though most had been enlisted. Some in NK forces too but not nearly as many: the politics were different, and the NK's had a bigger reservoir of men with combat experience in the Soviet Army, ethnic Korean units of the PLA, etc.

Re: Nokose: Almost all US pilots by time of KW were officers, and the general practice of US pilot training (and probably most AF's) was not to take men who had already fully learned to fly elsewhere (civilian or military), because they were viewed as having 'wrong' basic flying habits that would have to be broken. And rightly or wrongly, the US air arms did not view themselves as being in need of learning directly from the combat experience of Axis pilots by making them directly into US pilots; those where the air arms they'd just beaten in part by having generally better trained pilots, in the US view. So I'm sure there were at least a few immigrants who'd served in Axis armed forces in WWII then joined or were drafted (non-citizens lving in the US were subject to the draft) as enlisted men in US forces in Korea, but very unlkely any ended up as US military pilots in any type of a/c.

Joe
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Old 6th November 2008, 00:46
David N David N is offline
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Re: German pilots in Korea War?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nokose View Post
Thanks for the response. I was wondering about any type of aircraft not just fighters. The French lumped pilots, SS and so fore in the Legion for Indo-China but heard of none flying there. As I said the U.S. Army and Marines had ex-German soldiers serving for citizenship.
Do you know of any books, or other sources, that have accounts of ex-German soldiers serving in the U.S. Army and Marines in Korea?
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Old 6th November 2008, 01:31
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: German pilots in Korea War?

I recall reading memoirs of one of Soviet top-leading aces of the conflict (Pepelayev?), and who mentioned that they had lost a bit sense following WWII. He continued to follow his WWII experience, and often disobeyed orders, but some did not, and did fly according to the book. Perhaps this was the reason of belief there were some Germans around. Personally, I doubt there were any foreigners in NK aviation, as it would turn out by now. There were some rumours of Poles being send there (and later to Vietnam), but they were not confirmed in any way, and considering rather alarming level of training and doubtful loyalty it would make no sense anyway. There is a fact, however that soldiers here were worried that they will go to Korea.
There were Poles on the other side though, I have talked to few Polish RAF pilots, who ferried aircraft for UN contingent, and one of them had some problems, because he was still stateless. I also know of a one man, who was underground soldier, and after escape to the west he was drafted to USMC for citizenship and flew combat missions with them. I remember his name, but I was unable neither to track him nor TV programme about him.
In ground forces, there was at least one Pole, who served with Oz, Jerzy Zwolański, a Market-Garden decorated veteran.
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Old 1st January 2009, 19:57
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Csaba B. Stenge Csaba B. Stenge is offline
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Re: German pilots in Korea War?

There are many rumours about Eastern European pilots on the Commuinst side in Korea, but it didn't happen. However, it is not a pure fabrication. I have a very interesting document in which an ex WWII Hungarian pilot volunteered to Korea to fight against the "imperialists". But his offer was turned down. I guess, the Communist side missed an interesting propaganda victory and opportunity to disallow such requests.
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