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The Last War of the Superfortresses

This work is an attempt by the authors to give as full and detailed a history as possible of the confrontation between Soviet fighters and the principal strike force of the United States Far East Air Force - the B-29 'Superfortress' bombers during the course of the Korean War between 1950-1953. Military documents, which the authors have studied over many years of work in the Central Archive of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation in Podolsk - as well as published Western sources - form the basis of this book. The recollections of pilots who served in the 64th Fighter Air Corps, and who participated personally in the events described, are also widely used. Almost all the battles that took place between Soviet fighters and the 'Superfortresses' are analysed in detail; the authors have, on the basis of a comparison of Soviet archive documents and data from published Western sources, attempted to clarify the actual losses on both sides in these battles. Particular attention has been paid to key events in the history of the confrontation between the MiG-15 and B-29 such as the air battles of April and October 1951, which had a significant impact on the course of the Korean War and influenced the development of military aviation in both the USSR and the USA. Following the encounters on the approaches to the bridges at Andung of 12 April 1951 Strategic Air Command decided against using 'Superfortresses' close to the area around the MiG bases. The outcome of a series of air battles from 22 to 27 October 1951 - the most famous of which was the battle between MiGs and B-29s in the area close to the airfield at Namsi on 23 October ('Black Tuesday') was a ban by Strategic Air Command on daylight operations by 'Superfortresses' in the Soviet fighter's zone of operation. These battles also influenced the technical policy of the United States Air Force in relation to strategic bombers. Extensive losses in combat with the MiGs served as one of the most influential arguments for curtailing the piston engine B-36 and B-50 bomber programmes and boosting development of one of the most famous aircraft in the history of global aviation - the B-52 'Stratofortress'. Night operations, to which the B-29s and subsequently Soviet fighters were transferred, are also analysed in detail in this book. These nocturnal operations culminated in the air battles of December 1952 and January 1953. After sustaining losses in these battles that were comparable to those of October 1951 the 'Superfortresses' would subsequently only carry out nocturnal sorties to the MiGs' zone of operation in poor weather conditions. In this work, the authors have analysed the advantages and the disadvantages of the La-11 and the MiG-15bis - the principal fighters of the 64th Fighter Air Corps - from the point of view of their ability to intercept the B-29s. Attention has been paid to the tactics of the opposing sides, and to how these changed over the course of the war. The technical aspects of the confrontation between Soviet fighters and 'Superfortresses' have been examined, and the reasons behind the different periods of success or failure in terms of performance in combat have been identified. A great deal of statistical material has been provided in this book, which characterises combat operations carried out by the B-29s and the fighters of the 64th Fighter Air Corps, both within the text itself and in the form of easy-to-use tables.The book is illustrated with photographs obtained both from the personal archives of veterans of the 64th Fighter Air Corps; from the Central Archive of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation; and US National Archives. Colour profiles showing camouflage & markings are also included.
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About the Author

Leonid Krylov and Yuriy Tepsurkaev are by profession aviation engineers. They began studying the role of Soviet aviation units in the Korean War back in 1989 during their education at the Moscow Aviation Institute. In the course of more than a quarter of a century of research, the authors have corresponded extensively with veterans of the Korean War - meeting with them on their journeys around Soviet cities and capturing the recollections of more than 100 veterans of the 64th Fighter Air Corps. Since 1992 Krylov and Tepsurkaev have worked at the Central Archive of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation in Podolsk, starting with post-flight briefings provided by pilots and ending with the affairs of the Secretariat of the Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet Air Force. On the basis of the materials they had collected, they have since the mid-1990s in the last century published articles on different aspects of the Soviet Air Force's role in the Korean War in both Russian and foreign aviation magazines, such as Mir Aviatsii, Aviatsiya, Aviamaster, Combat Aircraft, Avions , Military Aircraft Monthly International and Model Aircraft. Several books have been published on this topic by the publishing houses Armada, Yauza, and Osprey Publishing. Aside from his research into the Korean topic, Yuriy Tepsurkaev is one of Russia's leading aviation artists. He regularly provides illustrations for Russian and western aviation publications, both those in which the author's work has been published, and those linked to the Korean topic. He specialises in providing side views of Soviet and Russian military aircraft, as well as in designing covers and two-page spreads. Aside from periodicals, Tepsurkaev has illustrated a series of monographs such as 'The Su-25 Ground Attack Aircraft and its Modifications', 'The MiG-29', 'The Su-27 Fighter. Part 1. The Beginning of the Story', 'The Su-27 Fighter. Part 2. The Birth of a Legend' and 'The Su-25 Ground Attack Aircraft. Thirty Years in Service' amongst others.


I found seeing the story from the Russian air crew viewpoint rather than the UN side to be a very interesting read. * Military Model Scene * If you are interested in the conflict in Korea or just fancy something different, this book will not disappoint. It is an education, and it comes with all the style we have come to expect from this publisher. Recommended. * War History Online * The Korean War - for so many people the forgotten war - is brought into stark reality in this fascinating account of the part played by the iconic Superfortress B-29. Not nearly enough is written about this conflict, and Krylov and Tepsurkaev have done a sterling job in bringing it to the fore with such a major body of work... * Books Monthly *

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