What is North Korea's Military Strategy?

Discussion in 'East Asia & The Pacific' started by Pathfinder, Mar 27, 2016.

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  1. Pathfinder

    Pathfinder Lieutenant Colonel

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    North Korea has a massive amount of outdated equipment that dates back to the early and mid cold war era. Based on propaganda videos their overall military doctrine seems to be outdated as well. Experts believe that North Koreas primary plan in the event of a war with the South is to overwhelm South Korean Forces with the Norths massive artillery power and man power before the South has enough time to mobilize its forces fully. Thus North Korean success would rely on having the element of surprise and the ability to quickly move its forces deep into South Korea. To achieve this they have trained roughly 200,000 special troops to be used for infiltrating South Korea. It is safe to assume that these troops will be used to spread out South Korean Forces and to cause chaos throughout the South in the event of a conflict. They have also reformed their army to allow for more mechanized units.

    North Korea is known to posses nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. I personally do not know how these would come into play. Perhaps the Nuclear Weapons could be used to keep the US out of the conflict or to keep the US from getting fully involved? I don't think the DPRK would have any problem using chemical weapons and biological weapons against the South. These would strike fear into South Korean civilians and could result in the war ending quicker as pressure from the electorate mounts on the South Korean government to end the conflict.

    What do you all think North Korea's strategy is?



     
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  2. Falcon

    Falcon Major Staff Member Social Media Team

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    South Korea is far more advanced than the North. South Korea would be able to immediately establish air superiority and I think that they wouldn't have much of a problem establishing Naval superiority either even though North Korea has a large number of subs, outdated subs for that matter.

    On the ground North Korea is also at a major disadvantage. South Korea has modern armor, artillery, and C4ISR systems. They could destroy North Korea's conventional forces in a matter of a week. The real issue would emerge after the DPRK's conventional capabilities are destroyed, the war would turn into the nastiest guerrilla conflict the world has ever seen. Hundreds of thousands of North Korean soldiers would be hiding in the mountains of Korea launching raids against South Korean forces.
     
  3. Technofox

    Technofox That Norwegian girl Staff Member Ret. Military Developer

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    Deterrence. They know they can't win a war... or at least the leadership does. The US and South Korea would come out on top, barring an intervention from China, and with it having a vested interest in North Korea, is a real possibility, as is a Russian intervention. The North Korean leadership knows this, they aren't stupid. But that doesn't mean it's going to be an easy victory either

    The North Korean's are known to be fanatical, often resorting to suicide to avoid capture during infiltration missions, though they stick out badly too, as a result of a lack of experience with modern society.

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    They'll make any conflict hurt in a number of ways.

    Their massive artillery arsenal, like these Koksan 170mm guns destroyed in Iraq:

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    Large numbers of ballistic missiles ranging from Scud-types like Hwasong-6:

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    And Rodong-1:

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    Are a deterrent again an attack against them, like Iran's ballistic missile program. Even if the US and South Korea strike first, Seoul is being leveled in response. It's too close and targeted by too many weapons - it has a population of 10 million.

    Same with their Navy. Large numbers of outdated, easily trackable submarines still make for one hell of a problem for the US and South Korea, who must divert expensive assets to deal with them.

    Most are Sang-O class submarines:

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    About 40 total. They also have around 20 Type-033 submarines:

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    And no matter their age or level or servicability - one was reported lost recently - they are a real threat and a real headache.

    Just ask South Korea:

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    And this is to say nothing about their limited, but progressing nuclear program. As I see it, their strategy is survival by deterrence. Every move they make is to let the US and South Korea, and to an extent China, know that they are here to stay and attempting to alter that will be met with dire consequences.

    Old they might be, but they are still one heck of a threat that shouldn't and can't be laughed off.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2016
  4. Pathfinder

    Pathfinder Lieutenant Colonel

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    I agree, they are primarily focusing on deterrence but I think they would throw a large amount of forces at the South before they go into Vietnam war mode. Once a war starts both sides will try to achieve absolute victory because it would be the perfect time to do so, another chance like that may not arise again. There is a possibility that the North could try to limit the scope of the conflict if it thinks that things could get out of control. I am not sure if Kim Jong Un would be comfortable living in a cave trying to escape US and Korean Air Superiority.

    Korea is pretty mountainous so the fight would be tough, in some cases South Korea's technological advantage does not guarantee victory. Thousands of ATGM's would cause havoc for the South. Thousands of MANPADS would also be an issue. It would be an interesting bout.

    BDDG-large-map.jpg
     
  5. Cossack25A1

    Cossack25A1 1st Lieutenant

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    Is the light tank (or similar tracked vehicles) suitable for mountain warfare, or are the attack helicopter and light combat aircraft a more viable option?
     
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  6. Osmanovic

    Osmanovic 1st Lieutenant

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    For mountain warfare I would want mostly light infantry because in mountains its very easy for the enemy to launch ambushes on vehicle columns and to setup mines on narrow roads. If I had to use a tank I would use a light tank because they are smaller and have batter chance of driving past tight corners on curvy mountain roads.

    Atack helicopters are also vulnerable, the enemy can setup anti aircraft guns on the opposite sides of hills and mountains to create good cross fire. I would only use them at night. I think with combat aircraft you are safe. I would mostly rely on artillery support.
     
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  7. Sven

    Sven Teh Viking dood Industry Professional Ret. Military

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    Infantry and artillery support, heavy transport helos to move them both, that's what's needed.

    Much of North Korea is mountainous, and really pretty, but hardly space for tanks, light or otherwise.

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    There isn't much of value hidden in these particular mountains. In the case of the third photo, Heaven's lake, it's in North Korea's extreme North, but if you were to assault an area like this you'd be calling upon artillery, air and infantry support.

    The same lessons the US is learning in Afghan mountain warfare can be translated to North Korea. In Afghanistan only Denmark and Canada have tanks deployed, both with Leopard 2 heavy tanks that were modified to be used on Afghanistan's terrain, and neither being used in mountainous areas. The bulk of combat is being done with rocket and gun artillery and infantry, sometimes with light armored vehicles and occasionally with IFVs like the CV90.

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    Artillery is king of the mountains. Light mortars are a must.

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    As for attack heloes, both the US, Pakistan and India have found that they are essential in high altitudes. Pakistan is using its new Z-10 and legacy AH-1 (and buying new AH-1Z) heloes for COIN operations in its mountainous tribal areas. India is using them to defend high altitude glaciers like Siachen.

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    The US has put Apaches to work in Afghanistan with devastating effect.

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    Light tanks? Probably not of the best use in mountainous terrain, Artillery and air support are better suited.
     
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  8. Atilla

    Atilla Major

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    North Korea can use a nuclear weapon detonated kilometers above the earth to create an electro magnetic pulse to fry South Korean electronics. After this North Korea could easily win. This is North Koreas plan. If they don't do this they will lose in all scenarios.

     
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  9. Technofox

    Technofox That Norwegian girl Staff Member Ret. Military Developer

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    Eek! That's a scary scenario! But aren't there problems with it too? Not just that it requires North Korea to detonate a nuclear bomb - which would invite a response from the US - but the physics of Nuclear EMPs, especially for low-yield nuclear weapons like the failed designs of North Korea. These devices measure less then 10 kilotons.

    Cold War EMP scenarios called for the use of nuclear weapons with a yield of a minimum of 5 megatons:

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    With the blast being an air-burst just meters above the intended target, not kilometers. Looking at WWII, The B-29 aircraft that delivered the nuclear weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not lose power due to electrical damage, because electrons (ejected from the air by gamma rays) were stopped quickly in normal air for bursts below roughly 10 kilometres (6.2 mi). They were simply out of range. Detonate your weapon too high, with a yield too small, and the same will happen.

    For smaller weapons, the electric field may fall at a faster rate as distance increases, so it's imperative the weapon isn't detonated too high.

    So the height of the explosion matters. But so does the nuclear weapons yield, as explained by the US Department of Defense, "The peak electric field (and its amplitude) at the Earth's surface from a high-altitude burst will depend upon the explosion yield, the height of the burst, the location of the observer, and the orientation with respect to the geomagnetic field. As a general rule, however, the field strength may be expected to be tens of kilovolts per meter over most of the area receiving the EMP radiation"

    Of course this would be different for the US and Soviet designs, being larger during the Cold War - and smaller today - but it's relevant for North Korea whose devices are not only smaller but whose launch platforms are unreliable.

    Would a smaller North Korean device distribute a large enough, and powerful enough EMP to black out Seoul? Modern electronic and power grids are more vulnerable to electronic disruption today then they were 50 years ago, so it's possible.

    A girl who tells you size doesn't matter is lying to you; I'd be lying if I said nuclear weapon size doesn't either. So too does detonation altitude and the orientation and strength of Earth's magnetic field. Even a localized or minimal EMP burst can cause disruption, like if it hits power generators or civilian infrastructure like a hospital. So no matter the potency, it's a scary scenario.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
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  10. Pathfinder

    Pathfinder Lieutenant Colonel

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    A North Korean nuclear EMP attack is still on the table despite some of the problems associated with it. I don't think it would be difficult for them to at least takeout Seoul with an EMP. Once the forces around Seoul are disabled South Korea is largely doomed. They rely on network centric warfare where as the North fights with the will of the people under the guidance of the great leader while trying to free the South from the Yankee imperialist grip. Comrades the red flag will fly across the cities of Korea. Capitalism will be crushed and the democratic people's republic will be victorious. :D
     
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