F-80 Shooting Star Units of the Korean War

Published: August 7th, 2019     
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Author: Warren Thompson
Reviewed by: 
Hub Plott, IPMS# 31328
Company: Osprey Publishing
ISBN #: 978-1-4728-2905-4
Other Publication Information: Soft cover, 91 pages, 5 B&W and approx. 60 color photos, 20 color profiles
Price: $24.00
Product / Stock #: COM 128

Designed during WWII and built in 180 days the F-80 did see some service in Italy in the final days of WWII. Post war many were stationed both in Europe and in Japan. Those in Japan were the first to answer the call when the North Koreans invaded South Korea.

The F-80 compiled a strong record in the Korean conflict. The aircraft is credited with shooting down 17 enemy aircraft, using in excess of 80,000 air to ground rockets and dropping over 33,000 tons of bombs during almost 90,000 combat sorties. A most admirable record for any aircraft. They served throughout the conflict and were the first US jet to engage in jet to jet combat.

The book is broken down into six chapters covering their use with mostly the 49th and 8th Fighter Bomber Wings. The first of the six chapters is brief and covers development, post WWII fight to keep it in the budget and initial deployment to the Pacific where it was to help contain and monitor Communist China and the USSR.

Chapter two covers operations out of Japan in the early days of the conflict. Often hampered by bad weather and the distance to be flown minimizing time over target the F-80s handled the brunt of combat by aircraft. The firsthand accounts herein are stunning and interesting, especially when covering the first jet kills. The short legs though meant the older F-51 Mustangs were brought in to give more time on target.

Chapter three covers operations flying out of South Korea. The greatly lessened distance now allowed the F-80 to carry bombs and attack targets with a much longer time over target.

Chapter four is called the war of attrition and goes into good detail just how many operations the F-80 carried out and the toll taken on men and aircraft.

Chapter five concerns operations after the horde of Chinese troops had been halted and the situation gained some stability. Day bombing by the F-80s worked off information provided by the night bombing B-26s and marine aircraft as the NK had gone to camouflaging during the day and moving at night. The 8th FBG had all three wings in Korea and continued to pound targets. This chapter also contains the story of Maj. Charles Loring, the only F-80 pilot to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The last chapter covers photo-recon RF-80s. The 25 recon birds were kept very busy in the early months of the war. And even though supplemented by some locally modified RF-86As the more versatile and higher quality pictures from the RF-80s saw them continue to serve until the end of the war in Korea.

The book concludes with individual information on each of the 30 aircraft profiled.

This is a good read. There is a lot of information within the pages. The color photos and drawings are a great enhancement for the book. This book is recommended to the aviation historian, buff and modeler alike. I don't think you will be disappointed.

Our thanks to Osprey Publications for the review copy and my thanks to IPMS/USA for the review opportunity

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