From acclaimed aviation historian Michael Napier, this is a highly illustrated survey of the air war over Korea.
The aerial aspect of the Korean War was the first large-scale combat between high-performance jet aircraft. It marked the transition between the piston-engined aircraft of WWII and the jet aircraft of modern times, and established tactics and doctrine that are still valid today.
There have been no major accounts written about the air war over Korea for about 20 years, and those that were written in earlier decades have tended to describe only one side or aspect of the conflict. Sabres, MiGs and Meteors draws all the threads together to provide a comprehensive account of the air war over Korea, including the parts played by the North Korean, Chinese and Soviet air forces as well as the US Air Force, US Navy, US Marine Corps and the air forces of the UK (including the Fleet Air Arm), Australia, Canada and South Africa.
The book examines the Korean War chronologically, following the course of the major campaigns of the land war. It begins with the initial operations by the North Korean People's Army Air Force (KPAF) and continues with details of the campaigns and sorties by the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) and the USAF fighter, ground attack and interdiction units, as well as the USN, RN and USMC (and later RAN) units of the naval Task Force 77. It also looks at flying boat operations by the RAF and USN. As the war developed, reinforcements came from the USA, Australia and South Africa on one side and China and the USSR on the other, and US forces were also augmented by aircrew from both the UK and Canada. The introduction of the MiG-15 in late 1950 was countered by that of the F-86 and the story of jet versus jet combat became a central theme of the conflict over Korea. The air war was also notable for the introduction of the Forward Air Controller (known in Korea as 'Mosquito') who directed air attacks close to the front line, and for the widespread use of napalm. The parts played by each participating unit are described in detail both in the context of the war in general and of the air campaign in particular.