THE AIR WAR: Tallyho!

One sunny afternoon last week, 31 U.S. Sabre jets, commanded by Colonel Benjamin Preston, let down over "MIG Alley" (the northwestern corner of Korea) for a quick look. "Bandits at eleven o'clock," Preston barked over the radio, meaning: enemy planes ahead, a little to the left. The enemy formation was unusual: twelve twin-engined TU2 bombers and 18 propeller-driven LA9 fighters (both Russian World War II types), guarded by 16 MIG-153. "Tallyho!" yipped Preston, and led his fast jets in for the kill.

The enemy formation was believed to have been sent to cover...

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