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A study on Actual power of the Air Force of North Korea before the Korean War -Focused on the force and weapon status of the Flight Division-

Kim, Seon-ho 1

1한국학중앙연구원

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The Air Force of North Korea was established in December, 1949. There had been 4,135 soldiers in the flight division right before the Korean War. Among all troops in the flight division, the technical battalion had the greatest number of soldiers and the training regiment was the next. Then the fighter-bombers and the fighter Regiment were in sequence. Under the direct command of the Flight Division, the repair section had the most. 60% of officers in the flight division were intensively deployed in the combat unit and the training unit. 91.8% of sergeants were deployed in the combat unit, the training unit, and the technical unit. 75.7% of soldiers were heavily deployed in the technical unit and the training unit. In 1950 at the beginning of the Korean War the number of airplanes in the Flight Division was 226. The flight division produced 180 pilots by February 22, 1950. However 83% of the pilots only had 6 or 7 months of flight training. Therefore, the level of skill of the pilots was low and they had no alternative pilots. Moreover, 21 of 113 fighter-bombers and 33 of 84 fighter-planes of the Flight Division were second hand planes. Until the time of the Korean War the flight division didn't solve problems such as the malfunction of the decrepit planes and lack of spare parts. Fighting power of the flight division had been builded up through weapons from the Soviet Union since 1950. Nevertheless, the flight division still had a lot of problems in terms of actual power. The flight division couldn't prepare supporting elements of force integration such as planes, pilots and spare parts. And only 63% of a full strength were recruited to the flight division by January 28, 1950. Especially, the fact that only 28.3% of staff officers were recruited to the flight division was a serious problem. And at the time of the outbreak of the Korean War, 29% of soldiers in the flight division were new recruits who had been deployed 4 months before. The flight division had 9.7 times more planes than the Air Force of South Korea at the beginning of the war, but much less than the Air Force of U.S.A. Finally the Flight Division was engaged in warfare with no prepared regular power. And it was an internal cause of the Air Force of North Korea's failure in the earlier part of the Korean War.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.