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

Transcript of interview

We often flew as many as four missions in a day. We would launch out of our bases with a mix of weapons - that is, six half-inch machine-guns and full ammunition bins, and six rockets, and either drop tanks with napalm or fuel for extended range or bombs on the same single carrier on each wing. Rockets were pretty effective in hitting point targets such as gun emplacements and concentrations of enemy supplies and that sort of thing. Guns were good for anti-personnel and setting things on fire and that sort of thing. Napalm, we tried to reserve that for 'high value' targets such as tanks. One could very readily destroy a tank with a drop of napalm. The technique, of course, was to get into a position where you could judge a 60-degree dive onto the target, and that feels very steep. It feels as though you are going straight down rather than 60 degrees because the aircraft is very nose-down and the speed of the aircraft builds up very rapidly, and then you wheel over, you know, do a 'wing-over' as we called it, a rolling pullover, putting our gun-sight on the target so that we're then descending towards the target in a direct line. Then you became conscious of any wind, so you had to roll off a bit to allow for wind and take the aiming point off the target a little bit to allow for the wind effect. Then just before releasing a bomb you would have to allow for the gravity drop, which was a fair bit. You pulled the aim point through the target a certain angle and pickled it off with the press of a little button on the top of the control stick. And then you'd be intent on pulling out of the dive and trying, of course, not to run into a mountain on the way out, and being conscious of any ground fire that might be in the area that's trying to take you out. We would often come back with holes in the aircraft and occasionally with bits of our own too, if we dropped something too low, like a bomb too low, we ran the risk of getting some of our own back, and I had a big hole punched through my left wing on one occasion. Fortunately it didn't hit anything critical and I was able to patch it up and carry on with further missions that day.