Flyin’ Low! CAS in the Korean War.

Posted by on October 18, 2008

(1)

“…During the fighting the adrenalin really flowed, and we did what we had to do.  We’d hit them hard during the daylight hours, then dig in when the sun set and hope that during the night the enemy would not be strong enough to dislodge us during his counterattack…”

I was on the Google Book Search the other day and ran across a resource that used the quote above.  The Korean war, I guess as many have noted before me, isn’t as popular or as well known as the other Cold War conflicts America has been involved in.  I don’t know why, because, at least to me, this conflict was a pivotal point, a break point if you will, between the older wars and the new conflicts of today.  Nowhere can this be seen better than in the CAS or close air support enjoyed by the infantry during conflicts with the enemy.

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In the early part of the Fifties (and the late Forties for that matter) the glamorous jets had captured America’s heart, flying into newsreels and movies and other forms of media.  The fact remained however, that on the ground, jets could not help in close quarters combat.  In fact it was the planes from the last war, World War II, which enjoyed a resurgence in popularity.

(3)

One of the planes used in the conflict was the B-26, known in World War II as the A-26 Invader.  It had served in that war both in the European and Pacific areas of operation and had a good record.  The Korean war version saw the aircraft used in many roles, from ground attack to recon missions.

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One of the neatest things I learned was how the P-51 or F-51 as it was called, was pressed back into service.  Says Down in the Weeds,

“…The Mustangs were better able to utilize what Korean airfields were available and, perhaps more importantly, could remain over target longer than a jet could….”

(source: Down In The Weeds)

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I also have yet to mention the F-82, a strange conglomeration of two World War II era P-51 Mustangs sandwiched together.  Says GlobalSecurity.Org:

“…the F-82s managed to leave a solid war record. They destroyed 20 enemy planes (4 in air fights, 16 on the ground). They scored the first aerial victory in Korea on 27 June 1950, downing a Soviet built Yakovlev-11….” (6)

A proving ground in many ways for postwar conflict, the Korean conflict also showed the changing nature of combat, and how going forward, weapon systems (and delivery of such) would prove a constant struggle.  Maybe the helicopter helped to change this as well?

Try the links below for more details on these airframes and new approaches to combat in the Korean war.

Have a great day!

Links:

Down In The Weeds (Google Books)

B-26 Invader

F-82 Twin Mustang

A-26 (Wikipedia)

U.S. Air Force Korean War (Background information)

Sources:

(1-5) Nara

(6) Global Security Website

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