F-84B/C: Armament consisted of six 0.50-inch M-3 machine guns, four in the fuselage and two in the wing roots, supplemented by retractable launchers for eight 5-inch rockets mounted underneath the wings outboard of the landing gear.
The F-84E was the version that equipped most of the six USAF wings using Thunderjets when the Korean War began. In addition to the 6xM-3s, Offensive load included two 1000-pound bombs, or two 1200-lb 11.75-inch "Tiny Tim" rockets carried on the inboard underwing pylons. For short ranges, an array of 32 five-inch rockets could be carried underneath the wings. Two 230-gallon tanks could be carried at the wingtips, bringing the total fuel capacity to 912 gallons and giving a range of 1485 miles. In addition, the fuel system was modified to allow a 230-US gallon tank to be carried under each inner wing shackle.
Few F-84Gs served in Korea. Bomb load was improved to 4,000 lbs.
F-84F Thunderstreak (swept-wing version with a more powerful engine): Armament consisted of six 0.50-inch M-3 machine guns, four mounted in the nose and two mounted in the wing roots. A radar-ranging A-4 gunsight was provided. A maximum of 6000 pounds of external ordinance could be carried, a typical load being two 2000-lb. bombs and eight 5-inch HVARs or four 1000-pound bombs and 24 3-inch rockets.
The F-84F never served in Korea. Despite being designed for better maneuverability than the earlier F-84s, airframe weakness* limited maneuverability throughout its service life.
* In a high-G stall, pitch-up could cause "structural separation of the main wings".
F-86A/E/F(early): Armament: Six 0.50-in M-3machine guns with 300 rpg. There were two underwing hardpoints for weapons carriage. They could carry either a pair of 206.5 US-gallon drop tanks or a pair of 100 lb, 500 lb, 1000-lb bombs, 50-pound napalm tanks, or 500 pound fragmentation clusters. Four zero-length stub rocket launchers could be installed underneath each wing to fire the 5-inch HVAR rocket, which could be carried in pairs on each launcher.
F-86F(late): Armament: Six 0.50-in M-3 machine guns with 300 rpg.There were four underwing hardpoints. All four hardpoints could handle either 120- or 200-US gallon drop tanks, but only the inner pair could carry ordnance, up to 1000 pounds for each pylon.
As the F-86 was faster and more maneuverable than any version of the F-84, it was used in Korea mainly as a fighter, while the F-84 was used mainly as a fighter-bomber (ground attack first, fighter second).
If we're going to talk about the F-86, somebody should also mention that many of the opposing MiG-15 pilots in the Korean War were Soviets, not North Koreans or Chinese.
Also note that the F-86 was the only American aircraft intentionally used for air-to-air operations after the first few months or maybe weeks of the Korean War:
The F-86, the USAF's first swept-wing jet fighter, made its initial flight on 1st October 1947. German born Edgar Schmued, chief designer at North American Aviation who was instrumental in the design of the famed P-51 Mustang was also instrumental in the design of the F-86 Sabre.The first production model flew on 20th May 1948, and on 15th September 1948, an F-86A set a new world speed record of 670.9 mph (1079.5 km/h). Originally designed as a high-altitude day-fighter, it was subsequently redesigned into an all-weather interceptor (F-86D) and a fighter-bomber (F-86H). The North American F86 Sabre & its main adversary the MiG-15 both benefited from German swept wing technology stolen at the end of the second world war by the Allies resulting in two of the best aircraft of the Korean conflict.
F-86 Sabre Kill Ratio against the MiG-15
As a day fighter, the aeroplane saw service in Korea in three successive series (F-86A, E and F, the first production model of the F-86F flew on 11th Nov 1952) where it engaged the Russia-built MiG-15. By the end of hostilities, it had shot down 792 MiGs at a loss of only 76 Sabres, a victory ratio of 10 to 1. This applied to the MiGs flown by Chinese or North Korean pilots who were poorly trained but Russian pilots who flew the plane claimed a 2:1 kill ratio in favour of the MiG-15.
The American pilots had a significant amount of training, and many had a great deal of WWII combat experience with some of them being prior aces. The same applied to the Soviets who also had good training and most of the Soviets flying also had WWII records with some of them being aces. Most of the regimental and squadron commanders in 1951 were WWII aces, e.g. Georgii Lobov (19 victories), Aleksandr Vasko (15 kills), Aleksandr Kumanichkin (30), Grigorii Ohay (6). So, the Russian pilots were as experienced as the best American WWII Aces of the 4th and 51st Wings, like Francis Gabreski, Glenn Eagleston, Walker Mahurin, Robert Thyng, George Davis and many others.
... By the end of hostilities, F-86 pilots were credited with shooting down 792 MiGs for a loss of only 78 Sabres, a victory ratio of 10:1. More recent research by Dorr, Lake and Thompson has claimed the actual ratio is closer to 2:1. The Soviets claimed to have downed over 600 Sabres,[unreliable source?] together with the Chinese claims. A recent RAND report made reference to "recent scholarship" of F-86 vs. MiG-15 combat over Korea and concluded that the actual kill:loss ratio for the F-86 was 1.8:1 overall, and likely 1.3:1 against MiGs flown by Soviet pilots; however, the report has been under fire for various misrepresentations. Of the 41 American pilots who earned the designation of ace during the Korean war, all but one flew the F-86 Sabre, the exception being a Navy F4U Corsair night fighter pilot. ....
I love thread drift almost as much as I love these American : Russian plane debates :-)
The Mig 15 could be described as a confusing aeroplane to fly, especially near its limits. It doesn't feel like it wants to do what it's doing, nevertheless it usually does it. Conversely, my (very) limited exposure to the Sabre revealed it feels far more at one with its pilot, though it seems to lack a certain ultimate ability in the corners of its flight envelope. The American is certainly easier to fly, but I prefer the lower seat position and smaller, tighter cockpit of the Mig. Of course, variations in model, weights, combat height and speeds, etc., make them bounce off one another in terms of 'which is best'.
If you HAD to choose, it would likely be a personal thing, mostly depending on how you like to feel when you fly your aeroplane. Though if outflown I'd far prefer to take my chances against multiple hits from 0.5" rounds than one from that big old N-37 cannon...
From personal memory, having never flown an F-84, I can tell you a few things about the F-84 from watching them fly when I was kid growing up on US Air Forces Bases.
The F-84 loved runways, in the summer it seemed as if a F-84 would never get off the ground. There was a joke that the 'short field takeoff' kit was a bag full of small rocks with a string running to the cockpit attached to the bag hanging just in front of the nose wheel. When the pilot saw he was just about to run out of runway on takeoff, he'd pull string, the small rocks would fall out, the wheel would run over the rocks, the aircraft would think it had run off the end of the runway and would finally get airborne
As for the weak wings, my father had a good friend that had the wings fail twice on the F-84 and lived both times. The F-84s he was flying was the straight wing model. After he was released from the hospital after the second time, he refused to fly the F-84 again. He said he would resign first. So he was assigned to the then new F-100.
Now I think, could be wrong, that the wing probelm was fixed when the F-84 was redesigned with the swept wings. But as I said, I could be wrong.