The air war over Korea

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18 January 2021
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MiG Alley - the US Air Force in Korea MiG Alley - the US Air Force in Korea
New book from Osprey Publishing reveals the true extent of the battle for the skies.

Long believed in the West to have been a one-sided affair, the battle for the skies over Korea was in actuality one of the fiercest aerial conflicts of the 20th century. Of the many myths that emerged following the end of the Korean War, the prevailing one in the West was that of the absolute supremacy of US Air Force pilots and aircraft over their Soviet-supplied opponents. The claims of the 10:1 victory-loss ratio achieved by the US Air Force fighter pilots flying the F-86 Sabre against their Communist adversaries in the MiG-15, amongst other such fabrications, went unchallenged until the end of the Cold War, when Soviet records of the conflict were finally opened.

From that point onwards, a very different story began to emerge. Far from decisive American victories over an unsophisticated opponent, the aerial battles of the Korean War were, at least in the early years, evenly matched affairs, fought to an approximate 1:1 victory-loss ratio. Though the Soviet victories declined over the following years, this had more to do with home politics than American tactics.

Drawing on hundreds of Russian and US records, including compelling first-hand accounts of the conflict, MiG Alley sets the record straight on US Air Force activities over Korea, including the aerial battles with Soviet fighters, the failed strategic bombing campaign and the escalating nuclear threat. From renowned aviation historian Thomas McKelvey Cleaver, this new history of the US Air Force in Korea reveals the full story of the Cold War struggle for the Eastern skies.

  • Osprey Publishing
  • ISBN 978-1-4728-3609-0
  • £14.99. Paperback.
  • Published 4 February 2021

 

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