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I'm just now catching up on this thread, so I'll confine comment to the "massive participation of the Soviet air force" referred to in Dr. Moise's post and apologize if I'm repeating something. The Soviet Air Defense Forces (PVO as opposed to VVS) that were involved in the Korean War primarily defended Chinese air space (logistics routes over the Yalu between Andong and Sinuiju particularly), although some anti-aircraft artillery did apparently operate just across the river. While Soviet pilots operated anywhere from 62 to 122 MiG-15s from Manchurian bases during the war, they also trained a growing number of Chinese pilots who eventually became the majority of air combatants (along with a much smaller number of North Korean pilots) in "MiG Alley." They were also the only MiG pilots operating in 1950 (albeit starting only in November). The Soviets also staged Tu-4s (copies of US B-29s) in China indicating some possibility of large-scale interdiction and supplied tactical bombers to Chinese & North Korean units (see Futrell regarding how US F-86s treated them). I would thus suggest that "significant" or even "critical" would be more appropriate than "massive." IMHO, Soviet participation in the Korean War certainly did not lessen the possibility of World War III in 1950, but Stalin's successful attempt to get Mao to shoulder most of the burden in that conflict is more significant potentially starting WW III than Soviet support for Kim Il Sung's regime. Cheers, Mark O'Neill, Ph.D. Tallahassee, FL ---------------------------------------------------------------- From: "Eduard Mark" <email@example.com> I should like to make a few observations about Professor Moise’s interesting post. Anent the Iranian Crisis of 1946, Professor Moise dissents from the oft expressed view that “Stalin's not having pulled them out of Iran faster than he did was an example of his aggressiveness. I see it as the opposite. I think a rather low level of aggressiveness would have been sufficient to keep Soviet troops where they were in Iran, until they were forced out by military action or an imminent threat of military action.” The manifest object of the Soviet decision to retain troops in Iran after the deadline for their departure established by a treaty of 1942 was to pressure the Iranian Government into granting the USSR an oil concession. The pressure extended to the movement of Soviet armored columns on Teheran in March 1946, which had the desired effect: Prime Minister Qavam agreed to the concession the Soviets demanded. The combined effect of the retention of Soviet forces and their demonstration in the direction of Iranian capital was thus a diplomatic success, although Iran went back on the deal after the denouement of the Near Eastern Crisis later in the year. It should also be recalled that the Soviets were backing both Kurdish and Azerbaijani separatists in the northern part of Iran. Whether these measures amounted in their sum to “aggressiveness” is perhaps a semantic question. But it is clear beyond cavil that they represented the calibrated use of military power to achieve strategic ends, which was, as I have observed, a consistent feature of Soviet policy in the postwar period. As for the Soviet participation in the Korean War, my distinguished colleague writes that he was “startled” by my reference to “massive” Soviet participation in the Korea air war. He writes that the Soviets pursued “limited aims” with “limited numbers of aircraft.” In this connection he correctly observes that Frank Futrell wrote that “‘as many as 90 MIG's now entered North Korea at one time.’ If that number 90 had been 500 or 1,000, the word ‘massive’ would look more reasonable to me.” What he has perhaps missed is that these fighters were not the sum total of what the Soviets committed to the war. They represent individual sweeps into North Korean airspace by aircraft from the Soviet air regiments based in Manchuria. (Sweeps of this size, by the way, tended to be more common later in the war after the Chinese had largely taken over the burden of combat from the Soviets and compensated for their lack of experience with the use of large formations) Even early in the war when American fighters had only the Soviets to fight, they were outnumbered by their adversaries. The Soviet of Soviet fighers based in Manchuria at one time is uncertain, but is likely to have approached 300. It is also correct, as Professor Moise writes, that “the Soviets never put enough aircraft even into the northernmost parts of North Korea to attempt seriously to establish control of the sky. What they were doing was establishing a contested environment--one in which neither side had clear control of the sky--over some parts of North Korea.” But the context is critical. The Soviet fought with at least two serious limitations: The Chinese opposed attacks on American bases in South Korea for fear that such attacks would lead the Americans to attack Chinese targets. The MiG’s, moreover, did not have the range to cover all of North Korea, even when fitted with drop tanks. Air superiority over North Korea was therefore not an option. But what the Soviets could and did do, however, was to limit the effectiveness of American attempts to interdict Chinese supply lines. That is what the air war in Korea was really about. As I explain in the Korean chapters of my _Aerial Interdiction” Air Power and the Land Battle in Three Wars_ the MiGs forced the American medium and light bombers (B-29s and B-26s) to operate at night, halving their striking power and making attacks on bridges problematic. While some of the MiGs kept the Sabers busy, the remainder harried the fighter-bombers that were the best aircraft for destroying supply trucks, limiting them to the southern part of North Korea where the Chinese had concentrated their anti-aircraft weapons to protect their supply lines. The MiGs and the flak together make the losses of the fighter-bombers unsustainable. These can perhaps be described as “limited” objectives, but their accomplishment helped to assure the failure of the American efforts to cut the supply lines of the Chinese Army. Had those efforts succeeded, the Chinese might have been forced to retire from the 38th Parallel or Washington might have been emboldened to move the final line of demarcation between the Koreas farther north. Eduard Mark Department of the Air Force