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Re: Korean War Aerial Losses and Claims - Interim Look
>On the other side of the ledger I note in Joe Baugher's
>database of serial numbers 16 F-86's "lost to enemy action"
>without date and not in Korwald. Some are known cases
>(49-1281 Eagleston's a/c in "Casey Jones" incident,
>49-1334 taken out in Po-2 raid frequently published photo,
>50-0666 is a MiG damage write off pictured in Davis
>"4th Fighter Wing") but mostly mysterious (to me).
Could you share such 16 serial numbers with us? The Russians gave some
serial numbers in many cases that they claim Sabre kills and USAF do not
mention losses. For example: MiG-15 pilot Boris N. Zabelin claimed an F-86
downed on July 20 1952, and in the site of crash reported by Zabelin the
Russians asserted they found a wreckage with the pilot killed in the cockpit
and a serial number: ´15-24001´. The only F-86 reported loss that day was
the 49-2828 whose pilot, John Ellis, became POW; and he seems to had been
shot down by other MiG-15 pilot, V.L.Lepikov. It would be interesting if the
´15-24001´ appears in such list.
>Given the high rate of fire and low per round lethality of F-86
>armament many hundreds more MiG's must have been hit for
>500-600 to have been shot down. If we added all 34 (or 50)
>F-86's wouldn't we have to add a bunch of MiG's?
Your suspicions about a lot of MiGs also written off by battle damage caused
by Sabres have its logic and merits. But the matter is that the Russians
(and comsequently, the Chinese) do not clasify the losses with the same
criteria than USAF, and the figure of 314 MiGs (538 if you consider the
Chinese ones) already includes all the cases (aircraft shot down in air
combat, writtes off due to battle damage, crash or belly landings due to
battle damage, missing probably lost in air combat, etc) so Ithink you can
consider the number of 538 as a definitive one.
>The escalation of F-86 AAA losses toward the end of the war,
>sometimes noted with suspicion in Russian writings, has a
>straightforward explanation. Many from 8th and 18 FBG's. More F-86's
>were lost to AAA once they began to be risked on air-grd, from 4th Ftr's
>strikes at target of opportunity after sweeps starting spring 52, and much
>more when FB units converted to F-86F's by '53.
Certainly those are valid reasons of the increasing F-86 losses by AAA, and
actually I take them into account (and I think Cookie do so). Certainly most
of the 19 Sabres USAF reported as downed by AAA were actually downed by AAA.
But about 5-9 of them which match with Soviet claims deserve a research. For
example, when Walker Mahurin was released in 1953, he asserted his F-86E was
shot down by AAA. There is no doubt that he was hit by AA fire first, but
later, with smoke in the cockpit (Mahurin himself admitted his cockpit
filled of smoke) I guess he could not check whether a MiG was trying to get
him or not. The book ´Red Devils over the 38th Parallel´ mention that day a
MiG-15 pilot of 821 IAP, A.R.Prudnikov, claimed to shot down a Sabre in a
air-ground mission in that same area. It is clear to me that the AAA hit
Mahurin first, but who gave him the ´coup d´grace´ was Prudnikov. Of course
not all the cases are like that, and as I said before, most of the 19 Sabres
USAF reported as downed by AAA were actually downed by AAA.
Certainly there were a huge Soviet over-claiming (50% - 70%), no doubt about
it. To inflate the numbers to keep a dying Stalin happy evidently helped
such over-claiming. But also remember that the secret of the Soviet
envolvement also invalidate the propaganda purposes in Soviet statistics.
And other proofs given by the Russians (serial numbers, tail codes, corpses)
which do not match with US reported losses, make me thing that the final
word about the definitive kill ratio between US-Russian pilots had not be
told yet. Even when I am sure it will keep on being favourable to US pilots,
it will be probably inferior to the one claimed today.
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