Talking Proud Archives --- Military

MiG Alley Korea War, the first jet vs. jet aerial warfare

February 20, 2012

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When I was a young guy, I recall hearing reports on the radio about how many North Korean MiG fighter aircraft our guys shot down every day. Killing MiGs was a big deal in those days. I heard a lot about “MiG Alley.” But as I look back, I did not know where MiG Alley was. I knew it was over the Korean peninsula, I knew it was MiG-15 against F-86 Sabre, but had no idea it was so far to the northwest and that it crossed into China.

I am embarrassed to say that it was not until I started this report that I learned of its location, and why its location was where it was. Indeed I became interested in doing this report because of its location. I asked myself, “Why way up there?” I found out, and learned much more.

Much has been written about MiG Alley. I commend these readings to your attention. Many of the books contain interviews with the pilots and explain flying tactics they employed. I hope this report will add something to those.

I have reported on The North Korean invasion of June 25, 1950 and the initial American response. It is entitled, “
Men of Task Force Smith, I report we completed our assigned task with honor.” I commend it to your attention. It provides a very good idea how this war started and what happened. It was written mostly from a ground force point of view, which is crucial to understanding why MiG Alley was where it was. I will cover some of the war’s beginning but do so more from an air power perspective.

We’ll do this in sections. There is a lot to learn, and the learning is not just confined to the MiG-15 and the F-86. There is much more to the story.

The setting for Mig-Alley’s creation

The push to China, China invades

The MiG-15 and F-86 make their debut

The B-29 Superfortress and MiG Alley

So this is MiG Alley: Pilot Stories