Thursday, March 25, 2010

A current exhibit at the UNM Maxwell Museum of Anthropology takes note of the fact that a lot of shells and bombs used on both sides during the Korean war were filled not with explosives but with propaganda leaflets aimed at encouraging defection. A special target of that effort by the U.S. side was the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 fighter.

Pima Air and Space Museum, Tucson AZ, March 2007

The Soviet-designed fighter was a formidable foe that was fast, maneuverable and armed with 23mm and 37mm cannon. The heavy armament and 51,000 foot ceiling of the MIG made it a particularly serious threat to U.S. heavy bombers like the B-29.

According to the exhibit, about 1.5 million leaflets written in Korean, Chinese and Russian, and specifically encouraging defection by a MIG-15 pilot, were dropped on North Korea.

A Korean pilot, No Kum-Sok, did deliver a MIG-15 to Kimpo Air Base in South Korea, but it was nearly two months after the peace accord was signed, and he said the leaflet campaign played no role in his decision to defect. Though he was a bit late for the party, No Kum-Sok was still found eligible for the $100,000 reward offered in the leaflets. And,U.S. military leaders knew that the cessation of hostilities in Korea did not mean they had seen the last of the MiG-15.

No comments: