When June 25, 1950 rolled around our Air Force and that of the enemy was pretty antiquated. Yes, we had the P-51, a few B-26s, and our basic jet was the F-80. The enemy relied mostly on Yak-9s and a few TU-2s. The war required conventional equipment, but little did we know of the rapid escalation which was about to happen. Most of the action was on the ground, with ROK troops not equal to the task of repelling the invaders. Our B-29s, from the 19th, 22nd, 92nd, 98th, and 307th had almost free reign over the skies as they bombed Wonson, chemical factories, Pyongyang, and most any target without concern of loss. The first missions flown by the 91st SRS to obtain the all important photo coverage of prospective targets which included airfields and Yalu bridges were mostly unopposed.They accomplished their mission and all usually returned safely.The Yak-9 certainly posed no threat, and anti-aircraft fire was not yet radar controlled. This condition was not to last very long.
Soon there were rumors of a new aircraft about to enter the battle. The 91st flew

This Mig was stolen by North Korean pilot NO KUM-SOK and flown to South Korea for a $100,000 reward.
Click here for a larger view of image.
across the Yalu and photographed the airfield at Antung, which revealed several hundred swept wing Mig-15s.So the rumors were correct. Russia had supplied hundreds of the Migs to North Korea. Besides the sightings at Antung, there were hundreds more sitting on airfields in Manchuria.

The Mig-15 was developed by the Soviet Union and appeared in service in 1949.It had a wingspan of 33ft. 1in. Maximum weight was a little over 11,000 pounds. Armament was by far the most impressive thing about this jet.It carried three cannons, two 23 millimeter and one 37millimeter, plus rockets or 2,000 pounds
of bombs. The engine was highly reliable and was the aircrafts most essential component. The British government authorized the Rolls Royce company to export their Nene Turbojet engine to Russia.The Russian Klimov design bureau immediately built a copy of the Nene, called the Klimov RD-45. This engine utilized a centrifugal compressor which worked quite well with the design of the Mig.
  MIG-15   Click here for a larger view of image.
Maximum speed of this small but formidable jet was 670 MPH at sea level. Over 8000 were built in Russia, with thousands more built in Poland and Czechoslovakia. Later in the year an improved Mig-15bis version made it’s appearance. Performance and maneuverability were impressive. It could outclimb our F-86 due to the higher angle of attack capability. The main advantage it had over the F-86 was the ability to climb to 51,000 ft. The F-86 had a reduced

Click here for a larger view of image.
capability above 30,000 ft.
The F-86 had all the
comforts of home that the Mig did not have. It had air conditioning and heat, and the pilot wore a G-suit which helped control blood flow at high maneuvering rates. Many argued that our planes were out gunned by the Russians. Our aircraft used machine guns while the Russians were equipped with cannons.
Toward the end of the war our F-86F was equipped with 20 Millimeter cannons and packed 600 pounds more thrust from their modified engine. The F-86 also had a Sperry A-1C gunsight which utilized a range limiter, not available on earlier models, resulting in more accurate fire. I visited the Air Force Museum in Dayton on numerous occasions. The F-86 was placed very close to the Mig-15. It is my opinion that the overall workmanship of the F-86 was far superior to the Mig. I have always been impressed with the quality of our warplanes. Take a look at the P-51, P-38, B-29, etc.

MIG-15 Performance Story Part 1 | Part2 | Part 3 |

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