Well, you already know this forum jumps centuries faster than a grasshopper covers an inch.
At the end of WWII the US had only 1 operationable Jet Fighter, the ugly, slow and overrated Bell 'Airacomet'.
The performance of this Aircraft was so dissapointing that Bell was accused of falsifying test data to make the aircraft appear better than it was.
I am shootiong from the Hip here, but i will post data on this disaster of a fighter when I find my data on it.
Basically, the US was so hungry for an operational jet fighter that the Airacomet was built, just not in great numbers as its true performance (or lack thereof) became glaringly apparent.
The Next Us Jet fighter, which first saw service in the Korea War, was the handsome Lockeed F80 "Shooting Star". It proved No match for the Mig 15s which began appearining over and south of the Yalu in 1950. This area of combat over the Yalu was soon dubbed "Mig Alley".
The US, at the time, was actually engaged in 'strategic bombing' of Pyonyang by B-29s and B-50s (an upgraded B-29) at this time.
Despite the fact that the Superfortresses were the best Bomber of WWII and featured such addvances as remote controlled guns, pressurized cabins, good hi and low altitude performance, the B-29s proved easy picking for the Migs, and the Superfortresses were effectively barred from daylight raids for the remaider of the war..
The best aspects of the Mig 15, in terms of capability, were its heavy gun armament of 1 37mm cannon and 2 23mm cannon, high rate of climb, excellent pilot visibility and good maneurverability.
German pilots possessing similar armaments in the FW 190 and Me 109 reckoned that it took 10-15 hits from a 20mm cannon to down a B-17, the B-29's Boeing predeccessor. The FW's amd Mes also carried 7.92 mm weapons, but the B-17s could absorb what must have seemedan endless (to the German pilots) number of hits from these smaller waepons.
With the introduction of this 37mm to a modular 'gun pack' of the Mig 15, it made a suberb interceptor as only 1 or 2 hits from the 37mm would probably down any UN aircraft.
What didn't help the B-29 pilots, however, was the fact that the Soviets had been presented with several B-29's interned in the Soviet Union. There were B-29 bases in China as early as 1944.
Tthe Soviets interned several that had to land in Soviet territory after being crippled over Japan.
Not only was the B-29 the World's only nuclear delivery system iin 1945, but it was possibly the best piston engined bomber ever built. Late in the war B-32 Convair Bombers came into brief service as this companies competition to the B-29 and the successor, in itself, to the famous B-24 Liberator. (Convair=CONsolidated Vultee AIRcraft). This saw very limited service.
The Soviets were thus able to produce a B-29 clone in the Tu-4, and they were made very familiar with the B-29s strength and weaknesses.
This may have led to the incorporation of cannon in the Migs weapons package.
The same gun package that made the Mig 15 a formidable interceptor, ( ie: the mixed 37 and 23mm guns) made it a less effective Air Superiority fighter as the different guns had quite different trajectories, lessening the efectiveness of the Mig as an air superiority gun platform.
I Believe the Mig Pilots had the option of firing the different calibers together or separately.
The North American F-86 Sabres armed with 6 nose mounted .50 Cal Machine Guns proved a more stable gun platform with a higher rate of fire with 6 weapons having the same ballistic path actually proved a more effective gun platform.
The points of impact of the Sabres guns could be adjusted to fit a particular pilots idea of the Ideal "pattern of shot" as one might say in shotgunners terminology, and fighting style.
If one wanted a tight pattern, it could be done. If one preferred, as a matter of preferernce, a wider pattern, it could be arranged.
Many if not most of the US pilots making the trek to "Mig Alley" were veterans Of WWII.
Most WWII US fighters were armed with the same weapons (Browning .50cal BMG) and thus US pilots were familiar with the weapons. This gave US pilot two advantages over the average Mig Pilot.
One hit from a .50 cal might not bring down a Mig, but, on the other hand, rarely was one single hit a common phenomenon and a hit from a 750 grain slug travelling at of 2700 feet per second was sure to get a Mig pilot's attention .
In a phenomena to be mirrored in the performance of untried and poorly trained Iraqi Fighters, new Chinese pilots of the Mig appear to have little idea of how to manuever properly in a dogfight, and often these pilots flew straight and level even when under fire.
The F-86s racked up the highest kill ratio in history, of between 8-1 and 12 to 1 Mig versus Sabre.
The Russian instructors, who were often obliged by Stalin to fly combat missions into Mig Alley, were much better.
However the knowledge that they would be killed by their wingmen if they bailed out could hardly have encouraged the Russian pilots to press matters to their max.
No Russian Pilot was ever actually captured, but eyewitness testimony does tell of Pilots bailing out being shot in the air or on the ground and in the sea speaks volumes.
Also constant Russian language radio traffic was heard and intercepted.
Of course, those that made it back to Chinese airspace may not have been killed, I just don't know.
More on this same subject later.
"All Enlightenment Gratefully Accepted"