Book Review

MiG Alley

Sabres vs MiGs Over Korea

By Warren Thompson & David McLaren.
Specialty Press
39966 Grand Ave.
North Branch, MN 55056

With all the excellent books published in recent years about the F-86 and the Korean air war, one might wonder if everything has already been told. Larry Davis (MiG Alley, Walk-Around F-86 Sabre, Fourth Fighter Wing In Korea), and Robert F. Dorr (F-86 Sabre History of the Sabre and FJ Fury), and in collaboration with Warren Thompson - The Korean Air War have done marvelous work documenting the history of the F-86 and the men that flew it. Now Warren Thompson has teamed with David McLaren to add mother superb account of air to air combat in Korea.

The authors have assembled many of the same cast of characters for their account of the air war as did the other authors. After all, there are only so many pilots who were there and are still here to tell about it. But somehow, they've come up with many stories not before told in print, as well as photos not widely seen previously. All in all, the stories flow smoothly and chronologically, following a candid appraisal of both the MiG and F-86 in the Foreword by Major General Frederick C. "Boots" Blesse, a double ace.

Readers will perhaps find special interest in a colorful and detailed account of Project GUNVAL - a Top Secret (at the time) program to put 20mm firepower in the F-86. John Henderson, a retired North American Tech Rep, researched and wrote this chapter, which is extremely well done. Mr. Henderson may be the greatest living technical authority on the F-86, and he was intimately involved in GUNVAL.

Four remarkable appendices list: (1) Every Sabre (by tall number) that Few in Korea and what eventually happened to them; (2) Tail number of every Sabre lost, with the pilot's name and cause; (3) Every 'confirmed' victory by an F-86 in Korea, with date, pilot, and other data; and (4) A list of all F-86 aces, the date they made ace, and their final score.

For those who were there and their progeny, as well as for other students of military history, this book must be a part of your library. Aside from the interesting stories and beautiful collection of photos, the appendices alone make Thompson-McLaren's MiG Alley worth a trip to your favorite bookstore - before they're gone.

Review by Lon Walter


No portion of this article may be used or reprinted without permission from the President of the F-86 Sabre Pilots Association or the editor of Sabre Jet Classics magazine.


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