The Republic of South Africa's Key Actions During the Entry Into the Korean War

English 2013.07.01 10:51

On 5th of November, they have arrived in Yokohama, Japan and took over F-51's (Mustang) from the U.S. Air Force, then deployed at Sooyeong Airfield in Busan on 16th November.


On the morning of November 19th, they organized a flight formation with 4 Mustangs to make a sortie towards the north of Cheongcheon river where they have attacked North Korean Army's rendezvous area and field supply point, then have moved to Pyeongyang Airfield in order to effectively support UN Forces' final offensive on 22nd of November.


Due to the partial damage done to Pyeongyang Airfield, it was dangerous for an aeroplane to take off and land at the time. With his visions compromised with a thick dust formed during the landing, one of the Mustang's pilot had crashed into a prime mover, costing two fighter planes in the course on 26th of November. Nevertheless, they have made a sortie to support UN Forces' final offensive with close-range air-support and bombed the enemy's supply vehicles and formations moving towards the south along the road from Shin-euiju to Shin-anju.


When UN Forces withdrew on December 5th, they took off towards Anju, in order to drop bombs on a number of covered vehicles with explosives that should have been evacuated and during this bombing process one of the Mustangs had crahsed due to the fragment from the explosive. However, the pilot had rescued by the U.S. Airforce's helicopter patrolling above the nearby skies. Furthermore, they made a huge military record of making 20 sorties to demolish 57 buildings, 15 trucks, 1 railroad facility in Sooan and Sariwon area.


Towards the end of January in 1951, the demand for close air-support from the ground troops have been increased as the re-counter offensive operation was being initiated, hence the squadron's number of sorties have suddenly increased as well, counting to almost 1,000 times within the period of just 2 months from February 12th. Especially, on March 1st, 36 sorties have been made in a day, to set a record for the most number of sorties made within the subordinate units of the 18th Flight Bomber Wing.


However, at 15:30 on 23rd of July, there also had been a sorrow of losing a one whole formation of fighters which have gone missing because of a sudden change in an atmospheric condition near the skies of Sibyeon-ri. The formation was returning from its weather reconnaissance mission above the Yellow Sea of Korea, back to Yeoeui-do Airbase. On September 22nd, they had moved from Jinhae Base to Hoengseong Base of the central line to support the ground troops stationed at the frontline.


When UN Air Force had planned the Operation Saturate on February 25th in 1951, the battalion made a sortie to the north of Cheongcheon and bombed railroads and bridges. Above all, since their entry into the war on March 20th, they have battled in the North Korean sky for the second time with a MIG jet fighter, shooting down one of them with the cost of one Mustang.


Towards the end of December, the spare parts of Mustang were running short. To change the aeroplane types to the jet-powered fighters, they assembled all of the Mustangs and handed them back at the Jinhae Airbase with December 27th being their last sortie. On January 2nd in 1953, they have moved from Hoengseong Airfield to Osan Base for pilot training regarding F-86. By mid-March, the battalion was able to execute campaigns using F-86's. Armed with F-86's, on March 11th, they advanced towards the south of Aprok river and initiated combat air patrol and participated in the Pyeongyang Heavy Bombing Operation on May 1st. Also, they demolished 6 old-fashioned fighters at Shin-euiju Airfield as they had participated in operations to annihilate airfields in North Korea. Despite the imminent cease-fire, they have made a outstanding record of 41 sorties in a day to surveil enemy's air force activity.


The Republic of South Africa participated in the Korean War with 826 men leaving 34 personnel loss. After the cease-fire, on September 7th in 1953, they returned the fighters back to U.S. Air Force and withdrew on October 29th.


Posted by LG Innotek

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