The Korean War, 25 June 1950–27 July 1953, was the first major jet age conflict. The Korean People’s Air Force (KPAF) comprised about 150 aircraft of Soviet Russian design, propeller-driven and dating from the end of World War II. The UN were able to deploy a modern force of around 1,800 aircraft mostly from the United States Air Force and from aircraft carriers of the US 7th fleet. US aircraft stationed in Japan, including hundreds of modern jets, F-80 Shooting Star and F-84F Thunderstreaks, reacted to the invasion almost immediately. Strategic bombing of industrial and lines of supply targets also began within four days of the invasion. The challenge to UN airpower came in late October 1950 with the deployment of the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15, Soviet designed and flown by the Chinese and North Korean air forces and also flown in secret by Russian pilots. The area just south of the Yalu River in the northeast of Korea became known as MiG Alley. Yet, despite the intervention of MiGs and the Soviet Union’s supply of modern radar directed anti-aircraft guns, UN air forces managed to retain air superiority. Initially UN bombing of North Korea was aimed at military and transport targets, extending to include targets affording shelter to the enemy as the war progressed. Facing intense air attack, most northern factories, workshops and hospitals were forced to move underground. The US deployed nuclear weapons the region but, despite lively debate between some field commanders and political leaders, they were not used. General Ridgway, the UN Commander, stated that, without support from the predominantly American UN air forces, Communist forces would have overrun South Korea within 60 days. Over 1,040,708 combat missions were flown in support of UN ground forces.
— OR —