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Audio Milt Cottee describes RAAF air attacks in the Korean War, 2007

TLF ID R8914

This is an edited sound recording of former Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Group Captain Milt Cottee describing attack missions in single-seater Mustang planes such as those he piloted in the Korean War (1950-53). Cottee outlines the range of weapons carried and the types of targets they were used against. He also gives details of how Mustang pilots dived towards targets at sharp angles before releasing bombs at low altitudes. The recording was made in March 2007 and lasts for 2 minutes 34 seconds.



Educational details

Educational value
  • This recording provides a graphic first-hand account of being a pilot on attack missions in the Korean War. Milton Cottee (1926-) tells how, on up to four missions a day, he and other RAAF Mustang pilots would carry machine-guns, rockets, napalm and bombs. He explains how the guns were 'good for anti-personnel and setting things on fire', while the other weapons could be used against targets such as gun emplacements, concentrations of enemy supplies and tanks.
  • The RAAF began its involvement in the Korean War just one week after North Korea's invasion of South Korea on 25 June 1950. No 77 (Fighter) Squadron of the RAAF, previously part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force based at Iwakuni in Japan, began using P-51 Mustang planes as part of the UN force in South Korea on 2 July. The Squadron flew from Iwakuni, refuelling and re-arming in Taegu, South Korea.
  • In this recording Cottee paints a dramatic picture of how Mustang pilots dropped bombs on targets while flying at a sharp angle towards them. He tells of the dangers of coming out of a dive in mountainous terrain and of having to avoid anti-aircraft fire, as well as fragments of the dropped bomb. He mentions one occasion where he had 'a big hole' punched through one wing by an exploding bomb, but how it was patched up and he made further missions the same day.
  • Cottee was in the initial group of No 77 Squadron pilots sent to the Korean War. He ended up receiving the military honour of being Mentioned in Despatches, and was awarded a US Air Medal. RAAF pilots worked closely with the US Air Force during the War. US reconnaissance planes identified potential targets for the RAAF attack missions and it was the US Air Force that refuelled RAAF Mustangs in Taegu.
  • The targets mentioned by Cottee in this recording were all North Korean positions in South Korea. Australia was involved in the War because it had joined a 21-member United Nations force formed to help the nominally democratic Republic of Korea (South Korea) resist an invasion by communist North Korea.
  • Propeller-driven P-51 Mustangs, such as those flown by Cottee, were originally designed for air-to-air combat as fighter planes during the Second World War (1939-45). However, by the time of the Korean War they were outdated, especially after China entered the War on North Korea's side in November 1950, bringing with it Soviet-built MiG-15 jet fighters. The RAAF's Mustangs had to be restricted to making attacks on targets on the ground.

Other details

Contributors
  • Publisher
  • Date of contribution: 20 Sep 2013
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Copyright holder
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Remarks: Copyright Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Content provider
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Author
  • Date of contribution: 2007
  • Name: Milton Cottee
  • Remarks: speaker
Access profile
  • Colour independence
  • Device independence
Learning resource type
  • Sound
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Rights
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.