SkyMax Models SM6001 USAF Republic F-84E Thunderjet Fighter-Bomber - Lt. Jacob Kratt, 27th Fighter Escort Wing, Taegu AB, South Korea, 1951 (1:72 Scale)
"I rolled over and came down fast, and got in a good long burst on the No. 2 MIG. Smoke poured out of his tail, and he turned to the Manchurian side, and that apparently disorganized their attack, as two more of our flights made passes at the field, and nobody got bounced on his run. My wingman said that when he passed my MIG it was flaming."
- Lieut. Jacob Kratt, flying top cover while transiting "MiG Alley", North Korea, February 1951
The Republic F-84 Thunderjet was an American-built turbojet fighter-bomber aircraft. Originating as a 1944 United States Air Force proposal for a "day fighter," the F-84 flew in 1946. Although it entered service in 1947, the Thunderjet was plagued by so many structural and engine problems that a 1948 Air Force review declared it unable to execute any aspect of its intended mission and considered cancelling the program. The aircraft was not considered fully operational until the 1949 F-84D model and the design matured only with the definitive F-84G introduced in 1951. In 1954, the straight-wing Thunderjet was joined by the swept-wing F-84F Thunderstreak fighter and RF-84F Thunderflash photo reconnaissance aircraft.
The Thunderjet became the Air Force's primary strike aircraft during the Korean War, flying 86,408 missions and destroying 60% of all ground targets in the war as well as eight Soviet-built MiG fighters. Over half of the 7,524 F-84s produced served with NATO nations, and it was the first aircraft to fly with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team. The USAF Strategic Air Command had F-84 Thunderjets in service from 1948 through 1957.
The F-84 was the first production fighter aircraft to utilize in-flight refueling and the first fighter capable of carrying a nuclear bomb. Modified F-84s were used in several unusual projects, including the FICON and Tom-Tom dockings to the B-29 and B-36 bomber motherships, and the experimental XF-84H Thunderscreech supersonic turboprop.
The F-84 nomenclature can be somewhat confusing. The straight-wing F-84A to F84-E and F84-G models are called the Thunderjet. The F-84F Thunderstreak and RF-84F Thunderflash are a different airplane with swept wings. The XF-84H Thunderscreech was an experimental turboprop version of the F-84F. The F-84F swept wing version was intended to be a small variation on the normal Thunderjet with only a few different parts, so it kept the basic F-84 number. Production delays on the F-84F resulted in another order of the straight-wing version; this was the F-84G.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a USAF Republic F-84E Thunderjet fighter-bomber that was piloted by Lt. Jacob Kratt, who was assigned to the 27th Fighter Escort Wing, then deployed to Taegu AB, South Korea, during 1951.
Wingspan: 5.75 inches
Length: 7.25 inches
Release Date: December 2009
Historical Account: "Thunder Above" - Lieut. Colonel William E. Bertram of Chicago was heating water on a gasoline burner - for a bath in the half-shell of a discarded belly tank. Bertram gave his story of last week's first big battle between the enemy's Russian-made MIG-15s and U.S. F-84 Thunderjets: "We were hitting a bridge halfway between Sinuiju and Sinanju. I saw a MIG on the tail of one of our guys and went to help and then four more MIGs went through me. I went up into the sun and skidded around and caught some more tracers going by.
"Then I saw another 84, called for him to team up and we slid over behind two MIGs and went in wide open. I felt better chasing my MIG with some protection behind me. About 2,500 feet out I gave him a burst and it seemed to hit him all over. I got in a close burst and he poured big white smoke and fire. He rolled over at 8,000, hit the deck and blew up."
"MIG Alley." U.S. jet pilots have their own name for the northwestern corner of Korea, where the MIGs have been darting back & forth from their sanctuaries beyond the Yalu. The name: "MIG Alley." Two days after Bertram's victory, speeding up the alley to hit the Red airfield at Sinuiju, 33 U.S. F-84 Thunderjets fought a screaming series of dogfights with MIGs.
Said Lieut. Jacob Kratt, flying top cover: "I rolled over and came down fast, and got in a good long burst on the No. 2 MIG. Smoke poured out of his tail, and he turned to the Manchurian side, and that apparently disorganized their attack, as two more of our flights made passes at the field, and nobody got bounced on his run. My wingman said that when he passed my MIG it was flaming."
Like a Mixmaster. Said Captain Allen McGuire: "We flew east to get out of flak from across the Yalu. Then we turned south and west, and when I looked at the air over the Sinuiju field, it looked like a Mixmaster. We turned north, and I saw a MIG turning in front of us. I don't think he saw us. I gave the MIG a burst from 2,500 feet. My wingman said that he saw MIGs coming in from 6 o'clock and would have to leave me in a minute. Three seconds later he said, 'I am gone.' I followed my MIG from 12,000 down to 4,000, and gave him a burst that knocked pieces off him. Then I turned right. I guess they call it a 'probable.' "
After this battle, the total MIG score for the U.S. was 20 destroyed, ten probably destroyed, 32 damaged. The Air Forces announced that five U.S. jets had been lost since Nov. 1st. Said Captain William Slaughter: "Let's admit it -- the MIG is all right. It's a damned fine airplane. The F-84 is all right, too. But if we were flying the MIG and they were flying the 84, I think we would be murdering them." (excerpted from "THE AIR WAR: Brawl in the Alley", Time Magazine, February 5th, 1951)