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Air War in Korea
The attack by the PLAAF cited used Tu-2 bombers escorted by La-9 and 11
fighters, and for once I think the USAF had this one right -- a slaughter.
The Chinese claim to this day that gunners with 7.62mm machine guns in the
rear of the bombers were able to claim F-86s as well as the piston-engined
escorts, but from the commentary by the pilots think that just didn't happen.
Most of the MiG accounts from the Russians make the same claims that they
were outnumbered by the Sabres. I get the feeling that in a "furball" most of
the objective views of strength just kind of go away.
Regimental strength in Korea was only about 24 to 36 aircraft each, much less
than the normal strength of 43 authorized and 45-48 nominally on hand in
full-strength units. Most of the reports don't indicate that the regiments
sent up more than one squadron (8 aircraft) at a time, and usually no more
than a division's worth (three regiments with one squadron each or 18-24
MiGs) in a major battle.
A good objective look at the air war would sure cut down on some of the
mythic values which are still thumped today when trying to get budget
increases before Congress.