MiG Alley

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"MIG Alley" is the name given by U.S. Air Force pilots to the northwestern portion of North Korea, where the Yalu River empties into the Yellow Sea. During the Korean War, it was the site of numerous dogfights between U.S. fighter jets and those of the Communist forces, particularly the Soviet Union. The North American F-86 Sabre and the Soviet-built Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 were the aircraft used throughout most of the conflict, with the area's nickname derived from the latter. Because it was the site of the first large-scale jet-vs-jet air battles, MIG Alley is considered the birthplace of jet fighter combat.

MIGs enter the scene

The North Koreans began their war against South Korea on June 25, 1950 with a small, obsolescent air force of propeller-driven Soviet aircraft of World War II vintage flown by under-trained and inexperienced pilots. Once the United States committed its air power to the war, this force was rapidly depleted.

For several months, U.S. F-80 Shooting Star and F-84 Thunderjet fighters, along with B-29 Superfortress bombers and Navy and Marine aircraft, roamed the skies over North Korea virtually at will while the North Koreans and their Soviet and Communist Chinese backers argued behind the scenes over the best course of counter-action. By October, the Soviet Union had agreed to provide air regiments equipped with high performance MiG-15 fighters, along with the trained crews to fly them. Simultaneously, the Kremlin agreed to supply the...
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