Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Sunchon, an air battle fought in 1951 near the city of Sunchon, North Korea. The Royal Australian Air Force's 77 Squadron (recently converted from P-51 Mustangs) was conducting a bomber escort mission with 12 Gloster Meteors when they were attacked by an estimated 40–50 Chinese MiG-15 jet fighters.
This was to be the RAAF's largest aerial engagement
during the Korean War and Australian pilots performed admirably, despite
their Meteors having inferior manoeuvrability to the Soviet-built MiGs. They managed to score the RAAF's
first victories of the Korean War, losing
three Meteors in the action with two
pilots captured and one missing presumed killed. Accounts naturally vary, with the Australians claiming at
least 10 MiGs splashed, but Chinese
and North Korean sources stated it was only one. Two MiG kills were later confirmed. As a
result of this action, 77 Squadron's Meteors were considered
inadequate for aerial defence and re-roled to a ground attack role for the
remainder of the war.