Saturday, April 6, 2013

What War with North Korea Would Look Like

By Eric Margolis

The intensifying war of words between North Korea on one hand and the United States and ally South Korea on the other risks igniting a major conflict.

North Korea’s young new leader Kim Jong-un appears to be trying to use this crisis to force Washington into recognizing his nation, normalizing relations, and ending 60 years of US-led economic warfare against the North.

But it’s a very dangerous gamble. An accidental clash at sea, in the air, or along the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas could quickly escalate to war.

What would such a war in Korea look like?

First, nuclear conflict is unlikely. North Korea is not believed to have any long-ranged nuclear weapons, certainly none that could hit North America. North Korea might be able to strike South Korea or even Japan with a nuclear device. But then US nuclear weapons would wipe North Korea off the map.

The Pyongyang government of Kim Jong-un is not suicidal.

For a nation of under 25 million, North Korea has a potent sting: its tough army has 1.1 million active troops and 6 million reserves. North Korea’s military strategy would be to launch a surprise attack on the south to occupy Seoul and Inchon.

The vital US Air Force bases at Osan and Kunsan, and eight South Korean air bases, would be primary targets along with the major port installations at Inchon and Busan (formerly Pusan).

North Korea’s elite 88,000 special forces units are tasked to attack and neutralize these air bases and ports as well as headquarters, communication nodes, and munitions depots of the US and Republic of Korea (ROK) forces. What the Pentagon calls "leadership targets" would also be high on Pyongyang’s hit list.

Barrages of North Korean conventional missiles would hit these bases and command hubs, some possibly with chemical warheads.

Special North Korean amphibious units would land and strike these targets from the sea. North Korea has 300 old Soviet-era AN-2 biplanes that carry ten commandos each. Invisible to radar because they are made of fabric and hug the earth, the AN-2’s would air assault suicide squads into US and ROK airbases and command headquarters.

Other North Korean special forces are tasked with attacking US bases in Okinawa, Japan and as far off as Guam, where the US is installing its new THAAD anti-missile system.

Read the rest here.


  1. The air superiority would be a deciding factor, but Eric is right about "a real war".

    The modern U.S. military is now pretty much built to kick the shit out of third-world countries. With any sizable country, they probably already have technology to defeat stealth (just separate the radar broadcasts from the receivers), and the multi-tens-of-million-dollar precise U.S. weapons would quickly bankrupt America should she use them in a real war. The GPS system would be pretty easy to knock out (although I'm not sure North Korea has that capability). In reality, the U.S. would probably be forced to use tactical nukes.

  2. AN-2s invisible to radar? How more ridiculous can it get?

    They do contain quite a chunk of reflective metal - the engine.

  3. Any attempt at invasion would be blunted by US air superiority. We all know this. The article fantasizes about the strength of N Korea's forces without factoring in air power until the end, but airfare is the deciding factor.

  4. North Korea would attack with it's full military strength.

    The U.S. would counter with two row boats, a kayak, four Cessnas, a hang glider, three Navy Seals and their girlfriends. The victory would be one-sided and immediate. The U.S. would be accused of genocide and denounced worldwide for bullying.

    Ignore them they'll self destruct and go away...

    1. One final thought, these people are not two headed monsters who hate us for our freedoms. They are human being just like us who want a better life for themselves and their families. It is their leaders who want war (sound familiar?). All of us - worldwide - need to say in unison: What is there about NO!!! you don't understand?

      Meet the people who supposedly want to destroy us...