Red Devils Over the Yalu.

Author:Dildy, Douglas C.
Position:Book review

Red Devils Over the Yalu. By Igor Seidov. Stuart Britton ed. and trans. Solihull, UK: Helion & Company Ltd, 2014. Tables. Photographs. Notes. Appendices. Glossary. Index. Pp. xx, 598. $49.95 ISBN: 978-1-9093842-41-5

"An excuse is the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie" (Billy Sunday, 1914). Seidov's Red Devils Over the Yalu is an excuse for a military aviation history book--and a poor one at that. Seidov is an ardent Soviet aviation enthusiast but an undisciplined amateur historian, unhelpfully assisted by "Argentine historian" Diego Zampini. This English-language version is the third iteration of Seidov's story of how the Soviet MiG--15 pilots won the air war over North Korea by amassing more "victories claimed than the U.S. will admit aircraft lost."

The foundation of his assertion is his unbridled acceptance of North Korean, Chinese, and Russian victory claims as fact while vilifying and denouncing all American and British documentation of aircraft and aircrew lost as fallacious propaganda (i.e., "lies"). By doing so he concludes that the Soviet pilots--who claimed 650 Sabres shot down in two-and-a-half years of combat--won the battle for air superiority against the USAF; a thorough, independent analysis of USAF Korean War records shows 224 F-86s were lost in Korea to all causes. The book lacks totally any source references for Seidov's misinformation, relying instead on Zampini's selective internet research.

Seidov and Zampini's search for substantiated American losses to fulfil the Soviet claims reaches far and wide, occasionally including Japan-based aircraft (other than F-86s) that had accidents on training or functional test flights. Such is their quest to verify every kill claim made by Soviet aviators, that Seidov asserts that Captain Vorobev's February 3, 1951 victory credit--claimed as an "F-94 Starfighter [sic]," a type not deployed to Korea until the next month and not allowed to fly north of the front fines until January 1953--was actually "a twin-engine combat training aircraft, the T-33A" that (he alleges) was shot down on a visual reconnaissance mission over Singisiu (his name for Sinuiju) two days later!

As can be imagined from...

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