The Curator’s Choice 47

Korean War fighters
McDonnell F2H-2 – MiG-15 – North American F-86F

The Korean War began in June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea. It went through several phases when each side was in the ascendance but eventually the war ground to a stalemate and an armistice was signed in July 1953. North Korea was supported by China and the Soviet Union and South Korea by a coalition of armed forces led by the United States.

The air war was also fought in phased. In the early months allied jet fighters outclassed opposition piston engined fighters but the arrival of MiG-15s in October 1950 gave them air superiority. This was countered by the arrival of the first United States F-86s in December. The MiGs were a little better than the F-86s until the F-86F arrived in Korea in 1953. Overall it is estimated that kill ratio of F-86s versus MiGs was 2:1. However, by engaging the MiGs the F-86s enabled other allied aircraft to attack ground targets much more effectively.

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