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The first victory of Soviet aviation in Korea
Material posted: Publication date: 08-08-2013

Sixty years ago ended the Korean war. One of the most interesting and at the same time, controversial aspects of this conflict were the air battles. For a number of reasons even it is impossible to accurately set the ratio of losses of the parties and, as a result, correctly assess the tactics of those or other units. In different sources are called different figures, based on the documents of the time and "grew up" on the specific political situation of the first years of the Cold war.

Therefore, even in the Western media, who can hardly be suspected of sympathies for Soviet, Chinese or North Korean pilots, there are different information. Thus, in various books and articles appear evaluation of the balance of losses from 2:1 in favor of the USSR, China and North Korea to the success of the pilots the UN at the level of 20:1.


MiG-15 - the "workhorse" of Soviet pilots in Korea

Amid disputes about the exact numbers of downed and damaged aircraft often remains unsolved other equally important topic. It is easy to guess that the number of total wins and losses was not formed at once. Pilots on both sides of the front had to learn to fight each other and this training took weeks, months, and dozens of sorties. So during the first months of the war every new victory in the air was the result of tactical application of new findings and ideas, which had a particularly interesting character. Remember the first achievements of Soviet pilots, which gave impetus to further successes in the air war over the Korean Peninsula.

To start is to remember who fought on the side of North Korea. In the first weeks of the war, in mid-summer 1950, the air force of the Korean people's army were frankly weak. On the airfields North of the 38th parallel was based only about 150 aircraft of various types. UN troops, in turn, had to order a bigger air fleet. In this regard, in the autumn of the same year, the North Korean command appealed for help to the Soviet Union. In November 1950 was established the 64th fighter aviation corps (IAK), the aim of which was to cover the territory of friendly China from raids from the UN, including American. In less than three years in the composition of the 64th IAK were 12 war fighter avadevine. About a year after the creation of the 64th corps, in December 1951, in Korea, there were two Chinese fighter division. In the spring of next year, and the first North Korean fighter divisions brought in the United air army.

American bomber B-29 over the target cap in a domination match, 1951

After the appearance over Korea Soviet MiG-15 in the air situation has changed dramatically. Just a few weeks the aircraft the United States and the UN almost completely finished with the few North Korean air force and felt only the air hostess. However, in December the Soviet pilots of the 64th IAK in actual practice than can turn into overconfidence and carelessness. Day 1 of November, a few weeks before the official formation of fighter air corps, his first combat mission during the Korean war made pilots of the 72nd guards fighter aviation regiment.

Five pilots on MiG-15s under the command of major Stroykov attacked a group of American piston fighters P-51 Mustang with the expected result – Lieutenant Chizh opened the scoring Soviet victories. There has also downed the same day the F-80 Shooting Star.

In Western literature the fact of destruction 1 November 1950 the F-80 was not recognized. Most often it is claimed that this aircraft was damaged by anti-aircraft fire and fell. Moreover, the first weeks of combat operation of the 64th fighter corps in foreign sources often are described literally in pair lines. Probably the fact that due to the lack of serious opponent of the Soviet pilots were actively shot down the Americans. Of course, such facts, especially during the Cold war, the West were not announced. Because of this, the basic story about the air war in Korea in the foreign literature often begins only with later events. Shortly after the first combat sortie was an account opened with losses. On the 9th of November occurred the air battle, the results of which are not subject to doubt on both sides. In the morning, American planes bombed the bridge across the Yalu river.

A group of storm troopers covered the fighters F9F Panther. To protect the facility in the area took 13 of the MiG-15 included with the 28th and the 151st fighter aviability (IAD). Probably not seeing all the enemy forces, Soviet pilots attacked with gunships dropping bombs on the bridge. Because of this, the American fighters F9F was able suddenly to come closer, to break down the MiG-15 and shoot down the commander of the 1st squadron captain M. Grachev. Lieutenant W. emen, occupying a favorable attack position, fired almost as long, while Grachev has not crashed into the hill.

On the same day, November 9, pilots N. Podgorny from the 67th regiment, and A. Bordun from the 72nd guards fighter aviation regiment (IAP) with a difference of a few hours won a first victory over long-range bombers B-29 cap in a domination match. In the future, the fighters of the USSR, China and North Korea was shot down, according to various estimates, from a half dozen to 70 of these aircraft. Seeing serious losses of old outdated piston and jet aircraft, the U.S. command in December 1950 was sent to Korea the latest F-86 Sabre. This step eventually led to the expected result. The confirmation of correct sending on a war Sabres is the fact that four dozen (all but one) of the American pilots aces, who have won five or more victories, flew on these fighters.


F-86 Sabre - the main enemy of the Soviet MiGs

The first impact is the most advanced fighter of the time – the MiG-15 and F-86 took place on 17 December 1950. Unfortunately, this fight ended in favor of Soviet pilots. Lieutenant United States air force B. Hinton was hit by major J. Eremeenko from the 50th air division. Just a few days, December 21, captain Yurkevich (29th guards fighter aviation regiment) caught up with the Americans for it, shooting down the first F-86. However, according to the American documents, the first Sabre was lost the next day. 22 December took place several large air battles involving F-86 and MiG-15, which received abroad common name "Big day pilots of the UN."

During the day the pilots from both sides met several air battles, which resulted in their personal accounts in total increased by five F-86 and six MiG-15. It should be noted that these figures were incorrect. In fact that day have been lost, only two Soviet and one American fighter. Similar erroneous estimates of the number of downed aircraft is an ongoing issue any air battles. However, the fighting on December 22, distinguished by the fact that were the first major clashes of the newest fighter aircraft of the USSR and the USA. It is the events of that day had a great influence on the subsequent course of the air war in Korea. 24 December, the commander of the 1st squadron of the 29th IAP captain S. I. Naumenko in two combats he shot down one American fighter "sabre". Returning to the airfield after the second fight, Naumenko had to his credit five victories. Thus, captain S. Naumenko became the first Soviet ACE in the Korean war. In may of the following year the pilot was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.


Hero Of The Soviet Union S. I. Naumenko

Further pioneering achievements of Soviet pilots began to appear less and less. For example, the first night victory in the air battle took place only in the late spring of 1952. Heavy bombers of the U.S. by this time flew exclusively at night, making it difficult to intercept. At the end of may 52 major A. Karelin (351 IAP) during night flight has hit the bomber B-29. Enemy aircraft were in the beams of antiaircraft searchlights and didn't notice the Soviet attack fighter. According to some sources, six months later, in November ' 52 and Karelin got a precise alignment on American bomber and has even caught him jumping a few details of the fuselage. After impact the arrows opened fire and revealed themselves. This was the last flight in B-29.

Finally, in February 1953 A. M. Karelin became the first Soviet ACE with five victories exclusively at night. This time the fight was very hard: arrow bomber B-29 severely damaged the MiG-15 Soviet pilots. Karelin, shooting down enemy aircraft returned to their base with a stopped engine. The fighter found almost 120 holes, of which 9 were in the cockpit. The pilot was not injured. After the departure Karelin was forbidden to fly combat missions, and soon the regiment was sent home to the Soviet Union. In July of ' 53 A. Karelin became the Hero of the Soviet Union.


Hero Of The Soviet Union A. M. Karelin

According to the Soviet side during the Korean war, pilots of the 64th fighter aviation corps have fired over 64 thousand sorties and conducted almost 1900 dogfights. In these battles the UN troops lost about 1,100 aircraft, including 651 F-86. Antiaircraft artillery corps destroyed the plane 153 (40 Sabres). For comparison, Korean and Chinese pilots performed 22 thousand sorties and 366 participated in the fighting. The pilots of the United air army destroyed 271 enemy aircraft, including 181 F-86. These colossal figures on the combat work of Soviet pilots of the 64th IAK, did not appear immediately. For several years the pilots flew every day on the job and gradually increased the expense of sorties, battles and victories. Each list of these events began with the battle or the victory, obtained by a very specific pilot. Unfortunately, such aspects of the Korean war are being examined and discussed are not as active as the already rather overexposed the exact number of downed aircraft.

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