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CCF MiGs ... Chinese Pilots, Russian Fighters

The MiG's two 23mm and one 37mm cannons were more effective than the Sabre's six Caliber .50 machine guns, and the MiG could outclimb the Sabre, had tighter turning characteristics, and greater dive accelertion, but the Chinese pilots were not nearly at the skill of their Russian predecessors, or our own Top Guns.



Pilot and crew chief talking over aircraft performance

When MiGs first attacked our forces in Korea they were largely, and secretly, flown by experienced Russian pilots, and inflicted severe casualties on our unsuspecting aircraft, particularly our B29s. Gradually China built up their own pilot capabilities, but American success in air-to-air combat was much higher against them than the Russians, who fought us about equally.

Although China had only 500 fighters of all kinds in July, 1951, within a year they had built up to 1500 MiG fighters, based in sanctuaries in Manchuria, which UN pilots were forbidden to attack.


Enemy Air Strength at war's end

By Soviet estimates, the Chinese and North Korean "Unified Air Forces" (OVA) had 892 aircraft actually available for air combat: the PRC had 480, and the KPA 412, of which total 635 were MiG-15 fighters. These were divided up into seven aviation divisions.

Soviet View of North Korea's Air forces and North Korea's capabilities generally to now.

Causes of the Korean Tragedy ... Failure of Leadership, Intelligence and Preparation

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