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Battle of Sunchon (air)
Part of the Korean War
Australian Meteor's during the Korean War
Date 1 December 1951
Location North Korean airspace
Result Chinese aerial victory
Flag of Australia.svg Australia China China
Flag of the Soviet Union (1924–1955).svg Soviet Union
12 Gloster Meteor 40 J-4 (MiG-15)
Casualties and losses
3 aircraft destroyed 2 aircraft destroyed

The Battle of Sunchon was an air battle fought near the city of Sunchon during the Korean War. On 1 December 1951, 12 Gloster Meteor jets of the RAAF's 77 Squadron were on a sweep at 19,000 feet over Sunchon when they were attacked by 40-50 Soviet and Chinese MiG-15s. During the ensuing ten-minute action the battle ranged across North Korean airspace at altitudes between 20,000 to 33,000 feet (6,100 to 10,000 m). The Australian pilots managed to score the first victories—destroying one MiG and probably another—but later lost three Meteors to the far superior MiG aircraft. Two Australian pilots, Sergeant (later Wing Commander) Vance Drummond and Flying Officer Bruce Thompson, managed to eject and landed in North Korea where they became prisoners of war, while the third pilot—Flying Officer Ernest Donald Armit—was reported missing in action, presumed killed.[1] This encounter, along with previous actions between the Meteors and MiGs, highlighted the inferiority of the Meteor in aerial combat against the newer Soviet aircraft and No. 77 Squadron was subsequently re-assigned to ground attack.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Coulthard-Clark 1998, p. 268.


  • Coulthard-Clark, Chris (1998). Where Australians Fought: The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles. St Leonards: Allen and Unwin. ISBN 1-86448-611-2. 

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