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The decision to divide Korea had an unforeseen, and ultimately disastrous, consequence. Relations between the two Korean governments were tense until finally, at hours on 25 June , North Korean forces crossed the 38th Parallel and invaded the South. This does not mean that a maritime campaign is easy. The west coast, however, is characterised by shallow waters, extensive mud flats and islands, and large tidal movements that not only made navigation difficult, but also made it highly suitable for mine use by the North, a tactic that was employed with a measure of success.

Most RAN operations were conducted along the difficult west coast. This contingent operated primarily on the west coast though a number of frigates, including Shoalhaven , also performed escort duties in the east. Bataan had been taken by surprise by the gun battery while attempting to intercept some junks that were making for the coast at around 6.

Bataan returned fire and after a brief, but fierce, gun battle, made good her escape. All RAN ships undertook extensive shore bombardments throughout the course of the war. Shoalhaven had been attached to the BCOF for five months prior to being deployed to Korea and was badly in need of a refit. No sooner had Warramunga arrived in the war zone than the Naval Board began considering further rotations.

The initial intention was for the ships to serve six months in Korean waters, however, just five years after the end of World War II, it became evident that maintaining two destroyers on station for six-month deployments was going to be extremely difficult. On 11 September, the decision was made to extend deployments to a full year. On 15 September, Bataan and Warramunga formed part of the covering force supporting amphibious landings at Inchon, engaging enemy coastal installations and gun batteries. The landings turned out to be a resounding, if fortunate, success and thereafter resulted in significant Communist forces being tied down in coastal defence rather than reinforcing the main battleline.

Mine warfare was employed extensively by North Korean forces in the early months of the war. In addition to combat operations, RAN ships were also involved in humanitarian operations providing food and other supplies to islanders on the west coast who were stuggling to survive in the midst of a war zone. In early November with UN forces sweeping northwards, a swift end to the conflict appeared likely.

Warramunga and Bataan were involved in the evacuations of Chinnampo and Inchon, which included a large number of civilian refugees. The difficulties of navigating the west coast were illustrated when Warramunga temporarily ran aground during the evacuation of Chinnampo where charts indicated that the ship should have had three metres of water beneath her.

As UN forces launched a counter-offensive early in and Communist forces were slowly pushed back over the 38th Parallel, a stalemate ensued.

Naval Aviation in the Korean War: Aircraft, Ships, and Men

Peace talks began on 10 July but would drag on for two years. A show of naval strength in the Han River estuary was ordered to pressure the North Korean delegation into a cease-fire. Although President Truman wasn't willing to risk extensive use of the U. Many of these Bs were war-weary and brought out of five years of storage.


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These bombers wreaked havoc on North Korean military installations, government centers and transportation networks. Like the rest of the American military establishment, the Air Force was in no way prepared for battle at the western rim of the Pacific. Yet despite these limitations, the Air Force responded quickly and effectively, proving in many ways the utility of airpower in modern war.

With virtually no warning, the Air Force injected itself into the war in the first critical week. It transported troops and equipment from Japan to Korea , evacuated American nationals, provided significant intelligence through aerial reconnaissance, and most importantly helped to slow the North Korean advance so that the United Nations forces could construct a defensive position on the peninsula. Korea marked the end of the line for major use of prop-driven combat aircraft of the active-duty USAF and brought in the jet age in real terms.

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However, the swept-wing F Sabre took control of the skies, bringing an entire new generation of swept-wing aircraft into the USAF arsenal in the s. The exception to the jet revolution was the specialized use of various counterinsurgency aircraft A-1 Skyraider , AA Invader by the 56th Special Operations Wing which were flown over Laos during the Vietnam War. With the end of fighting in Korea, President Eisenhower , who had taken office in January , called for a "new look" at national defense. The result: a greater reliance on nuclear weapons and air power to deter war.

The nuclear arms race shifted into high gear. By the Boeing B Stratofortress would be entering the inventory in substantial numbers, as the prop-driven Bs were phased out of heavy bombardment units rapidly.

The Korean War

This organization changed in when the new United States Air Forces adopted the wing-base plan. Each combat group then active received a controlling parent wing of the same number and nomenclature. The new wing also controlled three additional groups with the same number to operate the airbase, maintain the aircraft and provide medical care at the base.

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When combat forces began to fight the war in Korea, the USAF units did so in various organizational forms. In some cases, the combat arm of the wing plus a portion of the wing's supporting personnel deployed to the Korean theater, leaving the rest of the wing to operate the home base, to which the group returned after its tour of combat ended. Early in the war, some combat group deployed and operated under other wings, including temporary four-digit wings.

In December , those groups' aligned same number parent wing moved on paper from their previous bases and replaced the temporary wing in combat. The personnel of the temporary wing's headquarters were reassigned to the headquarters of its replacement. In , the Strategic Air Command began to eliminate its combat group by reducing the group headquarters token strength and attaching the flying squadrons directly to the wing; therefore, wings replaced the medium bombardment groups attached to Far East Air Forces FEAF Bomber Command for combat.

The groups were either inactivated or reduced in strength to one officer and one enlisted.

Aviation History Book Review: Naval Aviation in the Korean War

In most case, the personnel assigned to the group headquarters were simply reassigned to the wing headquarters which had moved on paper to the location of the headquarters. Most other combat organization in-theater continued to operate with both wing and group headquarters or with group headquarters only. In a few cases, individual squadron, such as the th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, were directly controlled by an organization higher than either wing or group level.

Serial in front in Wing Commander's colors, alongside. Serials and identifiable. Source for unit history: [17] [18] [19]. Source for unit history: [19] [30]. In July United States Department of Defense planners did not foresee that the Korean campaign would be of long duration. Consequently, the Fifth Air Force modified its command structure only to meet immediate needs.

When the time came to move tactical air units to Korean airfields, Fifth Air Force did not deploy its permanent wings because they were heavily committed to the air defense of Japan.

Panthers over Korea

Instead, it utilized temporary air base squadrons and air base units to support tactical units in Korea. By August, the situation called for larger organizations with greater allotments of personnel and equipment, and Fifth Air Force set up five temporary tactical support wings to support the combat groups. Formed to assist in the projection of force to Korea, these temporary wings provided facilities, administration, services, and operational control for assigned and attached combat units. The task was formidable, for the installations the wings controlled were usually "bare base" operations with no amenities and only marginally serviceable airfields.

Logistically, poor roads and rail lines, limited port facilities, and overextended airlift hampered the wings. Organizationally, they were without regular status, such as authorization for personnel and equipment or for promotions. Even with these handicaps and hardships, the tactical support wings performed valiantly. They worked hard to make combat airfields operable and to provide the support and control combat units needed.


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They struggled to keep pace with the dynamically changing battle lines, opening new bases and forward operating locations as needed. Their success bought time for the Fifth Air Force to reorganize, and on 1 December , regular wings replaced them. During the Korean War, the large number of locations used for bases and the similarity of some geographical names prompted the Air Force to use alphanumeric identifiers for bases in addition to their proper designations.

Under this system, each base in Korea received a "K number," simplifying positive identification when referring to the various bases. These are the known bases that the U. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Japan-based FDs were immediately transferred to Korea and pressed into service in an attempt to halt the rapid North Korean advance.

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They were called on to carry the brunt of air support missions during these difficult early days of the war, since the jet aircraft of the day did not have enough endurance to permit sufficient loiter time over the target. Although their primary mission was close support, USAF Mustangs did manage to shoot down a few North Korean Yaks when these aircraft made their infrequent appearances. When Mustangs were jumped by Chinese-piloted MiG jet fighters, however, they were faced with an opponent with a far superior performance.

When this happened, there was little the Mustangs could do save to try to turn inside the MiGs, hit the deck, and run for home. When the Mustangs were used for ground attack, their performance was less of a concern than their ability to carry a load. A substantial number were fitted with rockets and bombs. The Mustangs were instrumental in halting the North Korean advance, giving United Nations forces enough time to build up sufficient strength to be able to go over onto the offensive.

RFs were used for reconnaissance. The first jet versus jet aircraft battle took place on 8 November in which an F shot down a MiG However, the straight-wing Fs were inferior in performance to the MiGs and were soon replaced in the air superiority role by the swept-wing F Sabre. When sufficient Sabres were in operation, the Shooting Star was assigned to ground attack missions, primarily for low-level rocket, bomb, and napalm attacks on fixed targets.

The Shooting Stars were superseded by later types as the Korean War proceeded. By the time of the armistice agreement of 27 July , the only Shooting Stars still flying combat missions in Korea were RFAs being used for reconnaissance. Ironically, the F radar was not very effective on night missions against MiGs. However, mounting losses of B bombers following the Chinese and North Korean development of night interception tactics finally led to the lifting of this restriction in January They were the only fighter aircraft available with the range to cover the entire Korean peninsula from bases in Japan.

However, the F played a secondary role in Korea as compared with its distinguished predecessor, the single-engined F The Twin Mustang saw extensive service in Korea initially for counterair and ground attack work, but their importance as night fighters caused them to be used mostly for defense purposes. Twin Mustangs destroyed 20 enemy aircraft, four in the air and 16 on the ground during the conflict. By summer , the last surviving Korean War veteran Fs were withdrawn from combat.

Initially assigned to B escort duties, however, the straight-winged FE was much too slow to match the swept-wing MiG , and MiGs were often able to slip through the escort screen and make successful attacks on Bs. The Fs soon gained fame in ground attack operations. Fs were used to attack enemy airfields and even large targets like irrigation dams.


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  8. The F gained renown for daily attacks with bombs, rockets, and napalm on enemy railroads, bridges, supply depots, and troop concentrations. The resulting floods extensively damaged rice fields, buildings, bridges, and roads. Most importantly, 2 main rail lines were disabled for several days. While unable to cope with the MiG at high altitude, they were more effective at medium or low altitudes and scored several kills.

    By the end of hostilities, Saber pilots claimed MiGs shot down, with a loss of only 78 Sabres-a victory ratio of to Later models of the F were more powerful and used both for air-to-air and ground support. The RF was used for reconnaissance. Serial 51— in foreground.

    Serial identifiable. Boeing B Superfortress By , the Bs had been reclassified as "medium" bombers, their long-range strategic mission having been taken over by the B and B Many aircraft were retrieved from postwar storage and refurbished.