Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Death of a Soviet Flying Ace (Casey Jones of Korean War)

The Korean War air campaign became very hectic in 1951 over a section of air space that was notoriously known as Mig Ally. At first, the American F-86 Sabre jets were achieving good success, but the Soviets sent some of their own aircrew to help the North Korean and the Chinese in their air battles against the Americans and other allies of South Korea.


Mig 15
These new Soviet pilots were more experienced and better trained then their North Korean and Chinese allies. Before their arrival many of the Mig 15 jets were used on an individual basis by communist pilots with no effective strategy. The Soviets were to be more coordinated in attack and a legend of a flying ace called Casey Jones was born in the Summer of 1951.

In truth the myth of Casey Jones was not the nickname of a particular individual, but the name given by American crew to the flight leader and coordinator of the Soviet Mig 15 squadrons. So, whoever commanded the Soviet squadron on a particular day, was called Casey Jones for that individual mission by his respectable enemies.

However in September of 1951 an American F-86 Sabre pilot got into a duel with a Mig - 15 who was Casey Jones during the mission for that day. The American pilot was called Winton 'Bones' Marshall while the Soviet was called German T.Shatalov.


Starshii Leitenant German T. Shatalov was a pilot of some skill and had claimed 5 kills to his record since the month of June. He was the coordinator of the squadron on this day making him the 'Casey Jones' of the day. He fell behind Winton 'Bones' Marshall's F-86 Sabre jet and let off a burst, but the Sabre managed to turn into a dive. The skilled Soviet followed suit and stayed on the Sabre's tail and let off another burst, but again Winton 'Bones' Marshall twisted and dived for the ground. The Soviet had great skill keeping on the tail of the American as they twisted and turned - the American trying to shake the Soviet off of his tail. For a long time Winton 'Bones' Marshall had to keep his calm and endure some nerve raking moments. Then as both jets levelled out at low level a quirk of fate placed the Soviet Mig 15 right ahead of Winton 'Bones' Marshall. He instantly let off a burst of his guns and caught the Soviet Jet. There followed an explosion and the young Soviet Ace was dead.


F-86 Sabre and Mig 15

The death of German T. Shatalov was confirmed by the Soviets afterwards. The American pilot Winton 'Bones' Marshall said that the Soviet jet pilot was a very gifted fighter ace who might have had the better of the duel, but for the quirk of fate as both jets were forced to level out before hitting the ground. The Soviet was unlucky to straighten right in front of the F-86 Sabre's gun sights.



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