Slaying Sabres

Leonid Krylov and Yuriy Tepsurkaev pro_ le Evgeniy Georgievich Pepelyaev, top- scoring Soviet ace of the Korean War

The war in Korea broke out in the summer of 1950 and, in early November, Soviet fighters were put on an operational footing. On standby for a month, the 324th Fighter Air Division was at readiness and the Air Force Commander-in-Chief appointed the famous pilot Colonel Ivan N Kozhedub, thrice awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union honour, as Division Commander. Lt Col A S Koshel took over command of the 176th Guard Fighter Air Regiment and Lt Col Evgeniy Georgievich Pepelyaev took over the 196th Fighter Air Regiment. They were headed for China.

Flight and technical crews dismantled the MiG-15s, packed them into crates and loaded them on railway flatbed cars. By December, aircraft and personnel had arrived at Dunfung, 124 miles (200km) behind the Korean border. No combat tasks were assigned, the men of the 196th set about testing the MiGs and intensive training.

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