The Korean Conflict

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I think no important bridge between Pyongyang and Kanggye had been missed, and most of the towns were just rubble or snowy open spaces where buildings had been. The little towns, once full of people, were unoccupied shells. The villagers lived in entirely new temporary villages, hidden in canyons or in such positions that only a major bombing effort could reach them.

History Brief: The Korean Conflict

Armistice talks had begun the previous July in the ancient Korean capital of Kaesong, and later moved to the site of Panmunjom. As in the ground war, the talks dragged on without much movement. In the air, however, there was no stalemate.

Korean Conflict

Conventionally armed Bs continued to hammer northern targets. Along the Yalu and around heavily defended targets, batteries of radar-guided searchlights illuminated the bombers at night, exposing them to radar-controlled flak batteries and to MiGs circling invisibly overhead.

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B gunner Dean Allan remembers one of the strategies for surviving missions at this stage of the war. He says the bombers made their runs at staggered altitudes and three to five minutes apart, which forced the anti-aircraft gunners to keep readjusting their settings.

Some of the missions, however, required the participation of all of the Japan-based wings, with up to 80 aircraft on the attack. Each bomber typically carried 39 pound bombs with delayed-action fuses and at least one magnesium flare to illuminate the target area for photography and to light up the target for bombardiers farther back in the stream.

Korean War

After the final bomb run, the bombardier, who had been in control of the aircraft, would hand control back to the pilot. Far below the nocturnal raiders, Douglas B Invaders scoured the countryside for targets of opportunity. The relationship with the Invader was symbiotic. Bs were often tasked with shutting off the searchlights plaguing the Superforts. With an array of forward-firing. But these attacks bathed them in light, and B pilots, according to one of their number, were not keen on searchlight duty.

Kadena was too far away.

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We picked Ashiya air base in Japan, a fighter base with a 5,foot runway built for Zeros. At the end of the runway was an embankment beyond which was a foot drop into the Sea of Japan. We hit the embankment, bounced into it. The airplane broke in half. The only casualty was the bombardier, who broke both ankles. The pilot and flight engineer went on to other things.

Kinnard was one of those generous commanders who share left-seat duties with the copilot. The brief matter-of-fact entry for June 9 describes a p. Twenty-four searchlights locked on them and kept them completely illuminated. Twelve MiG jet fighters attacked them. One B exploded over the target, a second went down somewhere over North Korea, and a third was badly damaged but managed to make an emergency landing at Kimpo. According to Futrell, it was the largest strike against a single target of the Korean War.

The target was deep in MiG territory, but a thin stratus layer protected the bombers from the searchlights. And of course dropping leaflets urging enemy troops to surrender. On October 8 the crew flew Police Action into combat for the last time. It was one of 10 Bs raiding the Kowan Supply Center in a daylight formation attack. After the Police Action crew returned to the States, Sorensen moved on to the new B, whose advent required gunners like Dean Allan to find something else to do he wound up in supply.

Five of the 11 airmen are still alive: Sorensen; Allan; Joe English, the central fire control gunner; Ken Russell, the right gunner; and tail-gunner Jay Lynn. By the time the armistice was signed, on July 27, , Bs had more than paid their way.


The old bombers had flown 21, sorties and dropped , tons of bombs. The bombers also paid a price. On November 19, , about three weeks after Sorensen and the others headed home, the beloved B was shot down by enemy fighters. Continue or Give a Gift. Daily Planet. Flight Today. History of Flight. Virtual Space. Subscribe Current Issue. The 19th Bomb Group, based in Okinawa, relentlessly hit supply and transportation targets scattered across North Korea, flying missions almost nightly. A jacked-up B is ready to be armed with a nuclear bomb.

Before this method, Bs would roll over shallow bomb pits, and a hydraulic lift would push the weapon up into the bomb bay. Library of Congress. Scenes from the Korean War — Marines use a flamethrower in April Marines duck for cover in a bunker as a shell explodes in April The Soviet Union occupied the area north of the 38th parallel and the United States occupied the area south until North Korea wants reunification under communist rule. Other Facts: The first war in which the United Nations played a role.

When asked to send military aid to South Korea,16 countries sent troops and 41 sent equipment or aid.

In 1950, Harry Truman had to decide whether to use B-29s to drop atomic bombs.

China fought on the side of North Korea, and the Soviet Union sent them military equipment. The casualty toll had been reported as 54, until June , when the Pentagon acknowledged that a clerical error had included deaths outside the Korean War theater in the total. There are 7, American soldiers still unaccounted for from the Korean War as of February There has never been a peace treaty, so technically, the Korean War has never ended.

Other Casualties by Country killed and missing : Source: Encyclopedia Britannica South Korea - , military, 1,, civilian North Korea - , military, , civilian China - , military. Timeline: November - The United Nations General Assembly approves elections to be held throughout Korea to choose a provisional government for the entire county.

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  5. The Soviet Union opposes this. May 10, - The people of South Korea elect a national assembly, setting up the government of the Republic of Korea. The north refuses to take part. The Truman administration also faced internal criticism regarding its commitment to anticommunism at home. Although McCarthy was just warming up, the recent trials of Alger Hiss and others for espionage left the Truman administration apprehensive about its anticommunist credentials.

    Truman and his advisors found themselves under increased domestic pressure not to appear "soft" on communism abroad. Thus, when North Korean troops invaded the South, the Truman administration seized upon the opportunity to defend a noncommunist government from invasion by communist troops. Determined not to "lose" another country to communism, and interested in shoring up its anticommunist credentials, the Truman administration found itself defending a nation a world away from U. Yet Truman's response was not merely a response to internal pressure.

    The invasion of South Korea made Truman genuinely fearful that the Soviet Union and China intended to expand the sphere of communism throughout Asia. Truman's statement of June 27 illustrates his concern with communist aggression and expansion. In it, Truman argues that "communism has passed beyond the use of subversion to conquer independent nations and will now use armed invasion and war. The President believed that the Korean situation was similar to that of Greece in He informed his advisors that he believed the invasion was "very obviously inspired by the Soviet Union. Truman pledged to defend Formosa Taiwan from attack and to support French forces in Indochina, a conflict that would eventually escalate into the Vietnam War.