- Date: 12th April 1950
- Location: Pyongyang
- Aircraft: MiG-15
Alexandr Pavlovich Smortzkow, a Russian Ace, is credited with 12 kills during the Korean War.
"One night we intercepted the B-29 Superfortress. I was listening on my radio...Group of B-29s in front of you! I dove my MiG-15 with my heart pounding. Soon I saw the B-29s with many protecting fighters. I attacked and destroyed two B-29's and one of the escorting Sabres. That night our regiment destroyed five B-29s. "
I was chuffed to get a ride in the Chinese MiG... gotta love that camouflage scheme! Takeoff time was 1830 hrs, so everything looked a little darke than usual. I think this was the first night mission I'd flown in Microsoft Combat Flight Sim 2- and the combination of sunset light with the Korean landscape was fabulous to behold.
First waypoint was only 50 miles so I decided to fly there and admire the view. I approached wp 1 at about 8,000 feet having just completed a couple of vertical loops. On turning to waypoint 2 enemy the waypoint indicator disappeared. This usually means there are bogeys in the area. But where were they?
Light was fading fast so I turned on "aircraft labels" and .. aha... there they were - 2 o'clock high.
Easing into a 200 knot climb I slowly, grindingly made my way up to about a dozen B-39 Superfortresses. Naturally I was going in one direction and they in the opposite direction! I reached their altitude - about 20,000 feet - just in time to see them go sailing by and sending a hail of bullets at my tail.
I eased into a slow turn and started chasing. Well they were scooting along I can tell you! I had to repeatedly dive to build up speed, then climb, lob a few futile shots, stall and start the process again. To add insult to injury now and then a B-29 would circle around and scream past me.
OK - this was futile. There was a hint in the briefing - "I dove my MiG..". B-29's generally come in at high altitude so an interceptor will want to be higher again.
On my second attempt at the mission I spent the first 50 miles climbing at 200 knots and eventually reaching 20,000 feet. I was there but the MiG wasn't really happy about. Mmmm... pu to the preferences menu and deselect "unlimited fuel" - now to get rid of those drop tanks.
Mmmm..... I couldn't drop them. I tried Shift-D, Ctr;-D and even assigned my own command "Shift-J" which should have jettisoned all the tanks. No joy. OK - let's just say I had "hung tanks". Switching my attention back to the B-29's I executed a masterful turn onto their six - not pulling too hard as I wanted to keep my speed up - lined up on a B-29 - bored in for the attack and ... WHAMMO!
On my third attempt I got to altitude OK - avoided an early collision - and eventually ran out of steam.
On my fourth attempt I decided to go for the low flying - escorts? - I had glimpsed earlier. That is to say I had glimpsed their labels. SO i bored in to the rendezvous at 5,000 feet - quite content this time to let the B-29's pound my homeland. I just wanted to mix it up and have a dogfight with someone... anyone! Now you have to remember that it was getting dark - twilight with long long shadows. So this time I spotted the labels of the low escorts at about 5,000 feet range and steered towards them.
But where were they? Darned low that's for sure... heck they must be amongst the tree tops!!! Lower ... lower .... at about 1,000 feet range I got a visual... 4 Sabre jets in V-formation.
There's Thunder and Binky.
By this time our closure rate was I guess... 300 plus 300 equals 600 knots. Now at 600 knots you will cover 1,000 feet in... ummm.... not very long!
So, yes, you guessed it... I had a head on collision, or should I say we had a head on collision.
I wasn't too discouraged by though as at least I'd found some action!
Attempt number 5 had me determined to mix it up with those Sabres. No mid-airs this time no sirreee! I had a plan.
I would fly low and they'd be silhouetted against the fading light. So I bored in at about 500 feet. There they were... he he he ... I reefed the MiG into a climbing turn and swung into the nearest Sabre... ... ...
... ... and watched in dismay as they flew, one by one, into the ground... !
Man oh man! So there I was at 2,000 feet with 4 ex-Sabres and a gaggle of B-29's about 4 miles above. Damn the B-29's, I was going home.
I turned North East and after a few minutes picked up another waypoint - pretty close too - about 12 miles. Next thing I picked up two bogeys.. F-51 Mustangs! They didn't seem suicidal - on the contrary they swung into the attack and the fight was on. This was more like it! Turn and burn - yank and bank - I'm lining up for a shot and thud thud thud thud... Mustang no.2 has got me.
The controls went limp and I was so stunned I don't even think to bail out.
Not to worry - I'd be back another day for those Mustangs.