THE FIRST SABRE VERSUS MiG-15 COMBAT
The following account has been reviewed by Colonel Bruce H Hinton for accuracy.
Poor weather over Korea kept the Sabres on the ground until late morning on December 17,1950. F-86A-5s from the Fourth flew their first combat patrol that day from Kimpo. Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Hinton, the commander of the 336th Fighter Interceptor Squadron and a veteran pilot, led a flight of four F-86s north to patrol MiG Alley near Sinuiju, across the Yalu River from Antung, China. Colonel Hinton used F-80 radio call signs, flying patterns and altitudes to deceive and entice the MiGs into combat. The trick worked. While the Sabres patrolled in a finger four formation at 25,000 feet, four MiGs took off from Antung to attack. The MiGs approached at 18,000 feet climbing in a southeasterly direction near Sinuiju. Colonel Hinton radioed the other Sabres to release their droptanks, but his own radio was not working. They did jettison their droptanks, however, and dove on the MiGs as the MiGs paralleled the Yalu River. As Colonel Hinton banked to close behind the MiGs, he became separated from his flight. The Sabres closed at 410 knots and 20,000 feet while increasing their airspeed at maximum power. The MiGs dove and then began a climbing left turn. Colonel Hinton's airspeed on his early F-86A exceeded the red line on his machmeter at this point. Then the MiGs broke. Colonel Hinton fired a long burst from his six .50 calibre machine guns hitting the second MiG-15 in its right wing and fuselage. Leaks were seen from the MiG which began smoking. Colonel Hinton then fired a long burst and saw fire exit the MiG's tailpipe as smoke was seen coming from the rest of the enemy plane. He fired another long burst, and fire covered the entire rear of the MiG's fuselage. As the MiG slowed, Colonel Hinton opened his dive brakes and throttled the engine back. The MiG was given another long burst. Pieces flew off as the MiG rolled on its back and went down. The stricken MiG-15 crashed ten miles southeast of the Yalu River. Colonel Hinton fired 1,200 rounds on his attack. One other MiG was damaged by Captain Morris Pitts, but all three remaining MiGs outran the Sabres across the Yalu River to Manchuria. Colonel Hinton later flew a victory roll as he returned to Kimpo.