F-86A Sabre

F-86A Sabre

Korea 1950–51

Dogfight 4
  • Author: Peter E. Davies
  • Illustrator: Gareth Hector, Jim Laurier
  • Short code: DOG 4
  • Publication Date: 18 Aug 2022
  • Number of Pages: 80
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About this Product

Strap in alongside the Sabre pilots as they experienced the world's first large-scale jet-vs-jet combats. Brought to life with innovative tactical artwork and dramatic first-hand accounts from the pilots themselves.

The F-86A Sabre had entered USAF service in 1949, and in December 1950 three squadrons were sent to South Korea. Despite primitive basing conditions and overwhelming Chinese opposition, the Sabre pilots stopped communist air forces from attacking UN ground troops and allowed Allied fighter-bombers to operate without threat of interception. The ensuing air battles between Sabres and MiG-15s were the first since World War II, and the last in recent times to involve large numbers of jet fighters in direct confrontation. In all of them the victorious F-86 pilots demonstrated the superiority of their training and tactics and the outstanding qualities of their Sabres.

Contemporary photographs and specially commissioned artwork, including a dramatic battlescene, armament views, technical diagrams and ribbon diagrams illustrating step-by-step each main dogfight explored in the book, bring the experiences of the Sabre pilots and their battle tactics vividly to life.

Biographical Note

Peter E. Davies has published over 30 books for Osprey. He has specialised in the aircraft of the Vietnam and Cold Wars, analysing tactics, background politics and technologies in combat and relying on first-hand interviews and unpublished material. Peter has also been a contributor to Aeroplane Monthly, Aviation News and Aircraft Illustrated.The illustrators for this volume are Gareth Hector (cover and battlescene), Jim Laurier (armament views) and Tim Brown (ribbon diagrams).


In Battle
This chapter features an account of a Sabre engagement with MiG-15s over ‘MiG Alley' to involve the reader in the atmosphere of battle from the outset.

Setting the Scene
Sabre's first clashes with MiGs.

Path to Combat
Anecdotal experiences of pilots concerning training and tactical instruction.

Weapon of War
Although some early pilots found the F-86A lacked manufacturing consistency (one remarked that ‘pieces kept falling off them'), the first batch of 35 F-86A-1s for the 4th FIW soon evolved into effective F-86A-5 combat machines.

Art of War
USAF, Soviet and Chinese sources are used in studying the combat techniques brought to the battles over ‘MiG Alley' by pilots from both sides.

USAF pilots describe their experiences in the F-86A, explaining how their combat tactics evolved and assessing their engagements. F-86As also flew ground attack missions, although the later Sabre variants were better equipped for this.

F-86A units and bases in Korea 1950-51, notable pilots involved in these early A-model actions and aces of that period.


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