The MiG-15  entered service early in 1949. Later in the year, the improved MiG-15bis version appeared, and a two-seat trainer version, the MiG-15UTI, was also introduced. In 1950, Western air forces were surprised at the combat capability of the new design in the skies over Korea. The MiG-15 could out-climb, out-turn, and fly higher than the US-built F-86 Sabre. Fortunately, Allied pilots were better-trained and had better equipment installed in their aircraft, and they prevailed against the MiG.

Nice example of a La-7, Kramrenko scored a FW-190 flying a La-7.

Although not an Ace from World War II. Sergei Kramarenko was born on the 10th of April 1923 in the Ukraine, and like many other future aces, he felt attracted by aviation since his very early years of childhood. Separated of his father when he and his two brothers were kids, his mother (Nadyezhda Grigorievna Galkovskaya) encouraged him to learn to fly. Sergei was only 18 years old and barely entered in the Borisoglebsk flight school when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union on the 22 of June 1941. The Belikaya Otchyestva Boyna (Great Patriotic War) had began. Recruited into the VVS,  and after a long period of learning, Starshii Leitenant Sergei Kramarenko finally saw action on the 23rd of February 1943 while flying a La-5FN of the 523rd IAP (later renamed 176th GIAP) when he shot down the FW-190A of Feldwebel Kurt Heise (5./JG 51, KIA). More than 2 years later he scored his 2nd victory during WWII: another FW-190A over Kustryn on the 16th of  April 1945, this time flying a La-7. Few days later, Germany unconditionally surrendered to the Allies. The fourth high scoring MiG-15 ace, Kapetan Sergei Kramarenko, began his Korean War career participating in the huge aerial battle over the bridges across the Yalu River on the 12th of April 1951, between the 44 MiG-15s of the 324th IAD and almost 150 US combat aircraft (B-29s, F-86s, F-84s and F-80s), when he shot down the F-80C. On the 2nd of June 1951 Sergei bagged one F-86A -probably 2nd Lt. Thomas C. Hanson's- officially reported as "accidentally" lost by the USAF. But his most interesting victory against the Sabres happened on the 17th of  1951: during an engagement over "MiG Alley," Kramarenko accidentally separated from the rest of his unit and was jumped by three Sabres. Kramarenko had no way to know it then, but he had shot-up the F-86A flown by the WW2 ace Glenn T. Eagleston.







 On the 11th of July he blasted another F-86 out of the sky, observing (together with  his three buddies and dozens of Chinese troops) how it plunged earthwards in flames and crashed in the Yellow Sea, not far of the Simni-do island [USAF admitted that loss, the F-86A flown by Conrad Allard, but credited it to "disorientation" and asserts that it happened during a ferry flight between Japan and South Korea]. Two weeks later, on the 29th of July 1951, Kramarenko led an attack against a flight of Sabres from the high perch, and shot off the rudders of the elevators F-86A with 37 and 23 mm fire. The unknown US flier managed to bring his aircraft near his home base in South Korea, but then was forced to bail out. Without knowing it, Kramarenko became both THE FIRST ACE OF THE KOREAN WAR and THE FIRST JET-VS-JET ACE IN HISTORY (No other American or Russian pilot scored five confirmed victories before him, and due to all his victories were F-86s and F-80s, indeed he was the first jet-vs-jet ace).  On the 23rd of September he claimed one more Sabre kill, actually he severely damaged the F-86A , but this aircraft could return to South Korea and was repaired. On th 30th of October  he blasted an F-84E, out of the sky, and was also involved in the major ambush that the 176th GIAP prepared against the Australian Meteors of No.77 Sqdn on December  1951. During the ensuing battle the Russian MiG-15 Fagots slaughtered the RAAF formation claiming 10 Meteors (two of them were credited to Kramarenko). Actually only three Meteors were shot down and three more were damaged; Kramarenko most likely shot down the Meteor of F/Sgt Vance Drummond (POW) and damaged the aircraft of F/Sgt Middlemiss. On the 12th of January  1952 Kramarenko claimed two Sabres, and one of them is confirmed (although the cause of loss was officially an "engine explosion"). A few days later, he shot down his 13th and last victim, the F-86E of Daniel Peterson who was taken prisoner. But immediately after that, Sergei paid the price, because he was downed by another F-86E Sabre pilot, probably Lt.Col. James B. Raebel (334th FIS/4th FIW, who would score three MiG kills in Korea). Kramarenko bailed out safe and sound, and was kindly looked after by North Korean farmers until the rescue parties arrived.



A example of a F-86A, all designed to destroy hostile aircraft in flight or on the ground -- were equipped with more powerful engines and armament systems that ranged from bombs and rockets to machine guns and cannon. All are rated in the 650-mph class with a 600-mile combat radius and a service ceiling of over 45,000 feet.







Among the outstanding pilots of the 354th were Glenn Eagleston who scored 18 victories during World War II.



After such a brilliant performance (104 combat sorties, he engaged the enemy in 42 of them and downed 13 UN planes), it was not a surprise when on April 22 1952 Sergei Kramarenko was awarded with the Golden Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union, together with Yevgeni Pepelyayev, Nikolai Dokashenko y Grigorii Pulov. Now Majora Kramarenko was assigned to several staff and training duties. In 1970 he served as an aviation advisor in Iraq, and later was sent to Algeria. He retired of active duty with the rank of General Majora Aviatsiy (Major-General of the Air Force).