How Soviet aces shot down American planes in the Korean War
On April 12, 1951, the Americans called it “Black Thursday”. In an air battle over Korea, Soviet pilots managed to shoot down 12 American B-29 bombers, called “super-strongholds” and previously considered to be almost invulnerable.
In total, during the years of the Korean War (1950-1953), 1097 American aircraft were shot down by Soviet aces. Another 212 destroyed ground-based air defense.
Today, communist North Korea is perceived as a kind of vestige of the Cold War that once divided the world into Soviet and capitalist camps.
However, six decades ago, for this state to remain on the world map, hundreds of Soviet pilots gave their lives.
More specifically, according to the official version, during the Korean War, 361 Soviet soldiers died. A number of experts believe that this is an understated data, since the list of casualties did not include those who died from wounds in the hospitals of the USSR and China.
Data on the ratio of losses of American and Soviet aviation vary greatly. However, even US historians unconditionally recognize that the losses of Americans are much higher.
This is explained, firstly, by the superiority of Soviet military equipment. The US Air Force command, in the end, was forced to admit that the B-29 bombers were very vulnerable to the 23 and 37-mm cannons that were used by the Soviet MiG-15 fighters. Only a few shells hit the bomber could kill him. The guns with which the MiGs (of 37 and 23 mm caliber) were armed had a significantly longer range of effective fire, as well as destructive power compared to the B-29 heavy machine guns.
In addition, machine-gun installations mounted on winged "fortresses" could not provide effective fire and aiming at aircraft that attacked at a speed of approach at a level of 150-160 meters per second.
Well, and, of course, the human factor played a significant role. Most of the Soviet pilots who took part in the air battles, had a great combat experience gained during the Great Patriotic War.
Yes, and in the post-war years, great importance was attached to the training of combat pilots in the USSR. As a result, for example, Major General Nikolai Vasilyevich Sutyagin, during three years of the Korean War, shot down 19 enemy aircraft. Not counting the three, the death of which could not be confirmed. The same number (19 confirmed victories) was shot down by Evgeny Georgievich Pepelyaev.
Soviet aces, who shot down 10 or more American cars, there were 13 people.
The average total number of corps personnel as of 1952 was 26 thousand people. Alternately alternating, 12 Soviet fighter aviation divisions, 4 anti-aircraft artillery divisions, 2 separate (night) fighter aviation regiments, 2 anti-aircraft searchlight regiments, 2 aviation technical divisions and 2 fighter aviation regiments of the Navy's air force took part in the Korean War. In total, about 40 thousand Soviet soldiers took part in the Korean War.
For a long time, the heroism and even the participation of Soviet pilots in fierce air battles in the skies over Korea were carefully hidden.
All of them had Chinese documents without photos, they wore the form of Chinese soldiers.
Air Marshal Ivan Kozhedub, a famous Soviet fighter, admitted in an interview that “all this disguise was sewn with white thread” and, laughing, said that for three years his name had become LI SI CIN. However, during the air battle, the pilots spoke Russian, including with the help of “idiomatic expressions”. Therefore, the Americans did not have any doubts about who fights with them in the skies over Korea.
Interestingly, the official Washington kept silent all three years of the war that the majority of the MiGs, which carried the “flying fortresses” were carried away by the Russians, were at the helm.
Many years after the end of the hot phase of the Korean War (officially peace between North and South Korea has not yet been concluded), Military Adviser to President Truman Paul Nitze admitted that he had prepared a secret document. It analyzed whether to disclose the direct participation of Soviet pilots in air battles. As a result, the US government has concluded that this can not be done. After all, the great losses of the American Air Force were hard for the whole society and the indignation of the fact that “the Russians were to blame for this” could lead to unpredictable consequences. Including, to nuclear war.