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Sea Fury WE790 supposedly from HMAS Sydney serviced by USMC mechanics.

i The Sea Fury F10 entered service in August 1947 with 807 Squadron, and the F11 with 802 Squadron in May 1948.ii The Sea Fury was operated by Fleet Air Arm (and RAN) squadrons 801, 802, 803, 804, 805, 806, 807, 808, 811, 871 and 898.iii During the Korean War, Sea Furies operated with squadron nos 802 (Ocean), 807 (Theseus), 801, 804 (Glory), 805 and 808 (Sydney).iv

Sea Fury FB 11, VX642 with ordinance display. Note the two 45 gallon drop tanks which increased the aircraft's range from 700 to 1040 miles.v The aircraft was armed with 4 20mm Hispano Mk V cannons and could carry up to 2,000 lbs of

ordinance (1,000 or 500 lb bombs) or 12 76mm (60 lb) rockets.vi Empty, the aircraft weighed 9,240 lbs and fully loaded 12,500 lbs. Powered by a Bristol Centaurus XVIIC 18 cylinder twin-row radial engine developing 2,480 horsepower, the aircraft could make 460 mph (400 knots) and ascend to 10,900 meters.vii

Source.viii The Sea Fury was first used to in combat to support Fairey Firelies on ASW patrols. HMS Theseus arrived in the Yellow Sea carrying 23 Furies and 12 Fireflies from 807 and 813 Squadrons and conducted its first patrols and strikes on 9 October 1950.ix The first Sea Fury strike involved six aircraft (and four Fireflies) carrying mixed ordinance of 500 lb bombs and rockets, led by Lt Cdr StovinBradford against targets at Paengyong-do.x That afternoon five Sea Furies and four Fireflies attacked the harbour at Chinnampo.xi Loadouts favoured rockets as the weight of bombs necessitated higher steaming speeds than the Theseus was capable of attaining (21 knots with rockets, 28 with bombs).xii

A raid in progress on warehouses on the waterfront at Chinnampo in North Korea by Fairey Firefly aircraft from HMS THESEUS.xiii Day two on station, Theseus launched a strike against the Chang-you railway bridge, the flight consisting of Fireflies escorted by a pair of Furies and resulting in significant damage to the bridge.xiv A simultaneous flight targeting the surrounding area resulted in the destruction of Sea Fury VW628, although the pilot, who ditched the aircraft successfully, was rescued by helicopter.xv Deteriorating weather on the afternoon of 11 October forced Theseus to leave the area and refuel. Strikes were launched against the Chang-yong area later the following day.xvi For the next several days attacks were made against targets in the Cinnampo area, including the harbour where the Sea Furies attacked Korean junks believed to be mine layers.xvii After refuelling at Inchon, Theseus moved to the Sinanju-ChonjuSonchon area of operations and sortied aircraft on 20 October to attack Chongju.xviii By mid-December Theseus's Sea Furies were attacking Pyongyang. Weather conditions worsened and snow was regularly cleared from the flight deck.xix Despite the poor conditions, Sea Fury raids against communications (enemy trucks) were carried out near Chongchon river and the Hangju-Sariwon area.xx

Sea Fury VW546 aboard HMS Glory.xxi Theseus was relieved by Glory 23 April 1951, then Sydney in September. After four months and 2366 sorties, Glory returned in January 1952, and was relieved by Ocean in the summer.xxii During these two tours, Glory's air group conducted 5000 sorties.xxiii Between 1950 and 1953 the four Sea Fury equipped carriers were supported by HMS Unicorn which ferried fresh equipment from the fleet base at Singapore the 2,500 miles to the theatre of operations.xxiv All told the FAA flew 23,000 sorties between 1950-3.xxv

HMS Theseus leaving Malta after the war in July 1953.xxvi

Some measure of the intensity of operations can be made by examining the sortie record of HMS Theseus from the beginning of hostilities to the end of March 1951.xxvii Between 9 October and 5 November 1950, Theseus's Furies (avg 19.3) made 492 sorties. From 5 December to 26 December, 423 Fury sorties were flown by an average of 19.6 aircraft. From 7 January 1951 to 23 March, 20.8 Furies flew 718 sorties, for a total of 1634 sorties over 98 days of operation (of which 65 were suitable for flying). During the first six months, Theseus's air wing dropped 829,000 lbs of explosives and fired 7,317 rockets and half a million rounds of 20mm ammunition.xxviii In recognition of these efforts, Theseus and the 17th Carrier Air Group was awarded the Rear-Admiral Sir Denis Boyd trophy for 1950 for outstanding feat of naval aviation.xxix

VR943 of 804 Squadron launches from HMS Glory, June 1951.xxx

Operations in Korea were strenuous. Briefed the night before, a typical day involved waking at 0400 for flights launching at 0500. An average of 50 sorties were flown each day, though 66 or 68 was not unheard of, each sortie lasting two to two and a half hours.xxxi Flights were over mountainous, difficult terrain against targets often heavily defended and camouflaged.xxxii The Fury pilots adapted to these missions: for example, pilots of 804 (Glory) and 802 (Ocean) Squadrons developed 45 dive bombing tactics for bridge strikes.xxxiii Weather conditions ranged from extreme heat to intense cold. Snow storms grounded operations, while flying in summer heat resulted in cockpit temperatures of 140.xxxiv During the snowy conditions prevailing in December 1950, Theseus, as part of the Sasebo rescue effort, launched sorties against Chinnampo despite the weather.xxxv

Combat operations rarely stopped for... minor inconveniences such as snow.xxxvi In combat, the Sea Fury was a match for the 200 mph faster jet powered MiG-15 as demonstrated by an engagement at 0600 9 August 1952: four Sea Furies [commanded by Lt Peter Carmichael] were flying north of Chinimpo, returning from a raid on railway lines and trains. They were attacked by eight MiG15s at 3,500 feet... one MiG-15 was shot down and another two damaged.xxxvii

Sea Fury WJ288 at 2009 Oshkosh Air Show.xxxviii

The Korean experience demonstrated the flexibility and capability of naval aviation in the era of limited war.xxxix The skilled pilots of the FAA rose to the challenge and their combat record attests to their esprit de corps as much as the technical qualities of the Sea Fury and Firefly aircraft they flew. It should also be kept in mind that this impressive war-time record was amassed by aircraft believed to be obsolete (the Sea Fury was replaced by the Attacker and then Sea Hawk jet fighters after the Korean War), and during a period of significant cost-cutting at the Admiralty.xl After the Second World War it was expected that only 10% of the FAA would be dedicated to strike aircraft.xli

i <http://www.flickr.com/photos/41311545@N05/3946532231/> ii Reginald Longstaff, The Fleet Air Arm: A Pictorial History, London: Robert Hale Ltd., 1981, p 124 iii Kev Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Books Ltd., 2009, Appendix 2, p 330-1 iv Longstaff, The Fleet Air Arm: A Pictorial History, p 124 v Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 161-2, 331 vi Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 331; Longstaff, The Fleet Air Arm: A Pictorial History, p 125 vii Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 331 viii<http://www.dva.gov.au/aboutDVA/publications/health_research/korean_war/Documents/hawker.jpg> ix Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 159, 161 x Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 162 xi Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 162 xii Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 162 xiii<http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205020623> xiv Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 162 xv Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 163 xvi Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 164 xviiDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 165-7 xviiiDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 167 xix Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 171 xx Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 171 xxi Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 168 xxiiHugh Popham, Into Wind: a History of British Naval Flying, London: Hamilton, 1969, p 227 xxiiiPopham, Into Wind, p 226-7 xxiv Ian Speller, Limited War and Crisis Management: Naval Aviation in Action from the Korean War to the Falklands Conflict in British Naval Aviation: The First 100 Years, 15176, Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies Series. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2011, p 155 xxv Popham, Into Wind, p 228 xxvi<http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205016307> xxviiData compiled from ADM 1/2236/4, National Archives xxviii Speller, Limited War and Crisis Management p 155 xxix Popham, Into Wind, p 225 xxx<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SeaFury_launch.jpg> xxxiDavid Wragg, A Century of British Naval Aviation, 1909-2009, Pen and Sword, 2009, p 156; Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 162, Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 162 xxxiiDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 161 xxxiiiPopham, Into Wind, p 227 xxxivWragg, A Century of British Naval Aviation, p 155 xxxvDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 170 xxxviDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 196 xxxviiWragg, A Century of British Naval Aviation, p 156 xxxviii<http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hawker_Sea_Fury_WJ288_at_2009_Oshkosh_Air_Show_Flickr_382183 2918.jpg> xxxix Tim Benbow, The Post-1945 Struggle for Naval Aviation, in Dreadnought to Daring, edited by Peter Hore, 128 142, Barnsley: Seaforth Publishing, 2012, p 134 xl Tim Benbow, British Naval Aviation and the Radical Review, 1953-55 in British Naval Aviation: The First 100 Years, edited by Tim Benbow, 125150, Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies Series. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2011, p 127 fn xli Benbow, British Naval Aviation and the Radical Review, 1953-55 p 127