Sabres Over MIG Alley

[Epub] ↠ Sabres Over MIG Alley  Author Kenneth P. Werrell –
  • Hardcover
  • 304 pages
  • Sabres Over MIG Alley
  • Kenneth P. Werrell
  • English
  • 15 December 2017
  • 1591149339

About the Author: Kenneth P. Werrell

Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Sabres Over MIG Alley book, this is one of the most wanted Kenneth P. Werrell author readers around the world.

Sabres Over MIG Alley This Is The Story Of The First Jet Versus Jet War, The Largest In Number Of Victories And Losses, And One Of The Few Military Bright Spots In The Korean War It Tells How An Outnumbered Force Of F Sabres Limited By Range And Restricted By The Rules Of Engagement, Decisively Defeated Its Foe Based On The Latest Scholarship, Author Kenneth Werrell Uses Previously Untapped Sources And Interviews With Sixty Former F Pilots To Explore New Aspects Of The Subject And Shed Light On Controversies Previously Neglected For Example, He Found Much Greater Violation Of The Yalu River Than Thus Far Has Appeared In The Published Materials The F Became A Legend In The Forgotten War Because Of Its Performance And Beauty, But Most Of All, Because Of Its Record In Combat

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10 thoughts on “Sabres Over MIG Alley

  1. Mike Hankins says:

    The Korean conflict can hardly be considered a forgotten war any longer, with the rash of material devoted to it continuing to expand It is, however, often regarded with a high degree of ambivalence While considered a success, it is also regarded by many as a large misstep for the American Army In some ways, the ground fighting can be seen to be a step backwards from the successes of World War Two However, in the skies, the advent of the jet age marks the Korean conflict as a leap forward The Korean conflict can hardly be considered a forgotten war any longer, with the rash of material devoted to it continuing to expand It is, however, often regarded with a high degree of ambivalence While considered a success, it is also regarded by many as a large misstep for the American Army In some ways, the ground fighting can be seen to be a step backwards from the successes of World War Two However, in the skies, the advent of the jet age marks the Korean conflict as a leap forward for military aviation The war for air supremacy is often defined by romanticized tales of exciting dogfights reaching speeds barely shy of the sound barrier Former USAF pilot Kenneth Werrell s Sabres Over MiG Alley seeks to apply a much needed scholarly treatment to this aspect of the conflict, arguing mainly that the efforts of the fighter pilots made the ground victories possible Werrell s exuberance for his subject notwithstanding, he is only partially convincing While the book is well documented and highly entertaining, its problems limit its usefulness.Immediately noticeable from the start of the work is Werrell s excitement for his subject While any author is likely enad with their area of study, Werrell s diction often betrays a biased tone is his praise for the F 86 He consistently refers to the aircraft s physical beauty, noting that it is good looking and beautiful, and even concludes his study with the revealing passage, The F 86 was truly a great aircraft and a classic fighter Hail to the Sabre These are hardly the words of a detached, impartial scholar The enthusiastic tone of the work does not necessarily work against him, in fact it does provide for an entertaining read However, it betrays a potential bias in his arguments.The second glaring element that jumps out to the reader is Werrell s penchant for detail and statistics He opens the work with an in depth look at the development of both the F 86 Sabre and its variants, as well as the development of its rival, the MiG 15 Werrell details engineering tests, maintenance procedures, design specifications, safety records and other engineering minutia In all these sections, Werrell relies on swaths of statistics, comparing percentages and ratios in a detailed analysis While much of this information is valuable, the reader is left with two impressions One, that a few tables could have replaced dozens of pages of choppy prose, and two, that statistics are notoriously easy to manipulate Often, by changing the limiting factors or conditions of sets of data, statistics can be made to show contradictory or misleading results, and while some of Werrell s data appears conclusive, at times it appears heavily manipulated For example referring to the important issue of pilot training crucial in the transition from propellor based craft to jets Werrell states During the period July 1949 until June 1950, the 290 pilots who earned their wings in 1949 comprised 25 percent of the fighter pilots, flew 27 percent of the jet time, and yet accounted for 37 percent of the jet accidents Between 1 December 1949 and the end of April 1950, six of sixteen fatal F 80 accidents and three of eight fatal F 84 accidents, although neither of two F 86 fatal accidents involved graduates of 49C Likely part of his limitations result from his sources, but the narrow focus of many statistical studies raises the question of whether the forest is being lost through the trees The first half of the book is replete with similar passages, and while they are incredibly interesting to readers with engineering or statistical proclivities, others may find them difficult or tedious.Luckily for these readers, the second half of the book isaccessible, consisting primarily of biographical sketches of individual pilots, mostly the top scoring aces Werrell s accounts of the high speed dogfights which earned these pilots their status is often exciting and engaging, yet again he betrays perhaps too much enthusiasm and love for his subject In recounting one of top ace Joe McConnell s battles, he describes, The ace broke hard into one flight quickly rolled in behind the Red fighter to protect his wingman, fired, and really clobbered him The MiG pilot ejected McConnell half rolled, got into position behind another MiG, and shot him off his wingman s tail Werrell sums up McConnells distinguished career, noting McConnell finished his combat career in a blaze of glory, for his last day was his best day in combat Such sentiments make for an engaging and at times refreshing read, although Werrell s objectivity seems to dissolve.However, Werrell does not hesitate to bring to light many controversial aspects of the fighter conflict He clearly demonstrates how UN pilots often succumbed to MiG Fever, or MiG Madness Some American pilots thirsted for a MiG kill, and in the heat of the moment, saw what they wanted to see an enemy aircraft ripe for the picking, which in some cases led to incidents of friendly fire He is also quick to point out that the profiles of the F 86 and MiG 15 are incredibly similar, and often indistinguishable when each is flying headlong at speeds approaching 700 miles per hour Werrell also dispels myths of Communist numerical superiority, considered by some sources to outnumber UN aircraft eight to one However, by looking at the number of sorties flown, Werrell demonstrates that the numbers actually engaged was about 4 MiGs to 3 Sabres Like many other sources, he notes that the MiG 15 was in some ways superior to the Sabre, and in other ways inferior, yet his extended discussions on the issue reveal that the two nearly physically identical fighters were incredibly well matched The key difference, then, was the individual in the cockpit Werrell agrees with many others that the USAF fought the battle in Korea with inferior numbers of an at best equivalent aircraft The key to winning air superiority was a better trained pilot Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book is the revelation that UN pilots routinely crossed the Yalu river to engage MiGs over Chinese airspace This violation was technically a violation of direct orders, but Werrell demonstrates that there was tacit approval by some individuals in leadership for this action, which was an incredible risk to the international political situation In fact, Werrell argues that many top scoring aces took this risk specifically for the opportunity to harass MiG bases and run up their scores Werrell strongly confronts a previously common view that only a few accidental flights crossed the Yalu Wrong Apparently, many would be aaccurate estimate A majority of the aces crossed the Yalu Violation of the official orders to remain south of the Yalu played a role in the American success in the battle for air superiority Werrell raises the important questions of whether or not these excursions were worth the risk Some viewed such brash disobedience as a result of glory seeking pilots caught up in MiG Fever, other viewed it as necessary to create and maintain air superiority Noting the risks, Werrell states that these actions could have resulted in an international incident or pushed the Communists to widen the war The fact that the Communists also restrained their actions is mostly overlooked by westerners Ultimately, Werrell leaves the judgement of these violations up to the reader.The largest problem with Werrell s work is one that the author freely admits, and is not at all his fault There is simply no way for historians to accurately report statistics or official records from the Communist states involved in the Korean conflict Werrell attempts to discuss the development of the MiG 15, the individual pilots, and note the number of active craft and their successes or losses But he is forced to rely on only a small handful of English language secondary sources, which he notes are problematic at best Werrell bemoans the fact that The implosion of the Soviet Union did not bring forth the hoped for access to Communist documents thus far, much of the material that has emerged from the Communist side obscures rather than answers questions He also notes that what information we do have is muchfrustrating than illuminating Information does not match up well with American sources, and on a number of important points is in terrible disagreement The lack of comparative data regarding Communist air operations is a glaring hole in the book, but cannot be held against Werrell In every other area, Werrell s research and use of archival primary sources is commendable His incredibly detailed notes and concluding bibliographic essay are valuable for anyone interested in further research into air power, fighter combat, and the Korean conflict.The book s largest problem is simply it s organization Eschewing a traditional chronological treatment of the conflict, Werrell instead organizes the book topically, first dealing with issues of engineering and training, then providing a brief synopsis of the conflict in the ground and the air each treated separately, not integrated chronologically , then treats several individual issues separately before concluding with biographies of notable pilots and a look at the use of the Sabre after the Korean War This organization forces him to constantly jump around in time, leaving the reader with an incredibly muddy picture of the situation It forces the reader to often flip back through various pages and continually recontextualize the various subjects Werrell discusses at any given point While the information and his level of research is of high quality, reordering the book to follow a chronological narrative would increase its value dramatically.Despite Werrell s detailed discussion of the Sabre s conflicts in the skies of Korea, he ultimately fails to directly link the fighter s role with the ground war, leaving his main thesis somewhat undefended He does show that the F 86 pilots won an important victory Red aircraft did not venture far south of the Yalu River. the clear fact is that UN forces essentially had air superiority over all of Korea He also argues that air power provided what may very well have been the decisive edge to UN forces, and that Victory in the battle for air superiority was important to the overall action and helps explain the war s outcome Air superiority was one of the few advantages the UN had in the war, and it allowed the UN to apply air power to make the war muchcostly for the enemy While Werrell is convincing in his assertion that the F 86 deserves credit for maintaining air superiority by keeping the MiGs at bay, he does nothing to demonstrate the effects this had on the ground war One can infer that the Sabre s role allowed additional air support to take place, but Werrell does not demonstrate how this was possible, and doing so would be beyond the scope of this work Therefore, his claim that the F 86 was decisive in determining the war s outcome appears as a justification for a narrow study of the Sabre, which is clearly a labor of love for Werrell Nonetheless, it is an engaging and entertaining one

  2. Matt says:

    Sabres Over MiG Alley is a comprehensive and excellent study of the use of F 86 s in the Korean War Werrell mixes technical facts in with human interest stories The first part of the book is technical and the second part is stories about the pilots who flew the aircraft Well worth the read.