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This is a discussion on North Korean Military. within the Geo-strategic Issues forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; I assume that medium to high altitude bombing with PGMs can be performed at will. With all the AAA sitting ...


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Old February 27th, 2013   #76
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I assume that medium to high altitude bombing with PGMs can be performed at will.
With all the AAA sitting around in the north low altitude and rotary air operations will be a pain to do.

And bad weather, artillery and rocket attacks on southern air bases as well as the time required for other US forces in the Pacific area and CONUS to join the fight may all contribute to a bad standing of southern land forces in the first days.

In the long run or when the north cannot take advantage of strategic surprise the NOKs are going the get hammered to smitherens, although with substantial losses to coalition troops.
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Old February 27th, 2013   #77
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Destroying the North Korean air force, wouldn't take long, they would be paralised in hours, destroying the North artillary, is a different proposition, and South Korea Seoul is within range.
"Seoul is within range" doesn't really describe the situation accurately.

Seoul is a very big city. Depending on the gun & where it's placed, not all of Seoul would be within range of an artillery piece in Seoul. The nearest N. Korean artillery is about 20 km from the northern edge of the city, but most N. Korean artillery is short range.

Published analyses reckon that N. Korea has 700 (out of 13500 or so) guns & artillery rocket launchers which could reach the northern half of Seoul from N. Korea. But they aren't all packed into the small sector from which they'd be within range. About 300 are thought to be in that sector, mostly artillery rockets. They're kept in hardened shelters, from which they have to emerge to fire.
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Old February 27th, 2013   #78
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And ai assume the first thing the SK and US forces are going to do is target these tube and rocket arty pieces and their shelters with ground and air launched PGMs. I assume these difficult to hit firing positions are one if the main reasons for SK to aquire GMLRS and NLOS Spike systems.
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Old February 27th, 2013   #79
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The whole idea is to make it too prohibitive fo anyone contemplating regime change in North Korea and that is why they have spent tonnes of cash developing nukes. Despite all their rhetoric and propaganda the North Korean leadership is under no illusions that they can actually fight America and outh Korea, and actually win. The whole idea is to ensure the continued survival of the North Korean regime/government.
Well that is exactly what I said : - )


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On the contrary, I think the rank and file of the North Korean Army remain very highly motivated. To the average North Korean soldier, the Americans and their 'puppets' the South Koreans [along with the Japanese], are hell bent on threatening and eventually destroying peaceful North Korea, and it was the 'evil', warmongering, 'imperialists' and 'decadent' America that started the Korean War.....
I think we would still see a high rate of defecting higher military staff, who have perhaps a better idea of the outside world. It's true still that most of the army is completely brainwashed with no sources for outside information.
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Old February 28th, 2013   #80
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I think they know very well they have no chance in air battle. My opinion is that they would just try to use artillery and scud missiles to create as much damage in the South as they could to make the human cost as big as possible, until inevitably loosing the battle. I do not think the North Korean military has a very high moral to fight. The role of the airforce would be pretty much the same as that of Saddams in the Iraq campaigns.

Feanor: They do have Fulcrum-C as well, as discussed ; - )
So I guess what I need is a 21st C Larry Bond, someone with enough publicly-available insight to knowledgeably state that -- given the available data vis-a-vis balance of forces -- the North Koreans have a reasonable chance of defending themselves without resorting to their nuclear deterrent (and if anyone outside of Korea is assuming that Koreans wouldn't risk vaporizing Seoul in exchange for slaughtering anyone who attacked them, I humbly remind you of post WW2 RoK performance history).

I'm being serious here (as much as an informed layman can be, at any rate). North Korea has a huge (on paper) military force, but it seems to be based on a 50's era mentality that was crushed a couple of years after it was fielded, and not appreciably improved afterwards.

If we proceed from a first-principle of self-preservation, and then work forward to self-aggrandizement, then there seems to be a limit to how much brinksmanship NK leadership can leverage before it becomes (blatantly) self-defeating. Hence my wonderment: WTF are they thinking? How far do they think they can bluff? At what point to they realize that pretending to be in the Major Leagues is NOT the same thing as being in the Major Leagues?
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Old February 28th, 2013   #81
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So I guess what I need is a 21st C Larry Bond, someone with enough publicly-available insight to knowledgeably state that -- given the available data vis-a-vis balance of forces -- the North Koreans have a reasonable chance of defending themselves without resorting to their nuclear deterrent (and if anyone outside of Korea is assuming that Koreans wouldn't risk vaporizing Seoul in exchange for slaughtering anyone who attacked them, I humbly remind you of post WW2 RoK performance history).

I'm being serious here (as much as an informed layman can be, at any rate). North Korea has a huge (on paper) military force, but it seems to be based on a 50's era mentality that was crushed a couple of years after it was fielded, and not appreciably improved afterwards.

If we proceed from a first-principle of self-preservation, and then work forward to self-aggrandizement, then there seems to be a limit to how much brinksmanship NK leadership can leverage before it becomes (blatantly) self-defeating. Hence my wonderment: WTF are they thinking? How far do they think they can bluff? At what point to they realize that pretending to be in the Major Leagues is NOT the same thing as being in the Major Leagues?
My thoughts exactly! but maybe North Korea are like all those horrible singers that go on American or Australian Idol and the like, you see them audition and say how can you honestly think that you can sing!!!!! But i suppose if you have someone in your ear saying your the greatest and best for long enough you will eventually start believing it? Maybe they honestly believe they are a super power (forgetting the ridiculous poverty in the country) it is just the rest of the world has not noticed yet haha
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Old March 1st, 2013   #82
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Hence my wonderment: WTF are they thinking? How far do they think they can bluff? At what point to they realize that pretending to be in the Major Leagues is NOT the same thing as being in the Major Leagues?
They will do what they need to do, for as long as they need to, as long as they achieve their main aim with is regime survival. The North Koreans discovered a long time ago that having nukes or having people suspect you have nukes makes a major difference in how others conduct their dealings with you. After watching what happen to Saddam and Gadaffi, the North Korean leadership is more convinced than ever that having nukes or even a nuke device, will not result in American and South Korean troops entering Pyonyang. And as long as China - which does not want to see a united Korea which is an ally of Uncle Sam on its border - continues to be North Korea's main benefactor or supporter, the North Koreans will get away with what they're are doing. Bear in mind that how the rest of the world views things differs greatly with how the North Koreans view things.

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Maybe they honestly believe they are a super power (forgetting the ridiculous poverty in the country)
Highly doubt it. Despite their extremely bizarre behaviour and all the bombastic state propaganda, IMO the North Korean leadership is not detached from reality and know perfectly well what's going on around them. Bear in mine that they have been successfully playing off China, Uncle Sam, Russia, Japan, etc, for decades. Nobody dares talk about regime change and the need for democracy in North Korea as they do over the Middle East. Logically, the 'free world' should have invaded North Korea rather than Iraq and should be threatening North Korea and not Iran with air strikes, as North Korea offers a more serious threat - the North Koreans have actually detonated a nuclear device......
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Old March 1st, 2013   #83
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I'm being serious here (as much as an informed layman can be, at any rate). North Korea has a huge (on paper) military force.
But so did Iraq. The Iraq military was also more modern than N-Korean.
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Old March 1st, 2013   #84
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The price tag of building a democratic North Korea would be a little bigger then that of a democratic Iraq.
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Old March 1st, 2013   #85
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The price tag of building a democratic North Korea would be a little bigger then that of a democratic Iraq.
Well I would say it's comparable to the unification of Germany. Like West Germany, South Korea is a developed industrial country with high standard of living.

Iraq is alone and does not have resources to rebuild itself and thus relies completely on help by the international community.

Nevertheless, yes the price tag is high of course.
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Old March 1st, 2013   #86
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Not at all comparable. West Germany had almost four times the population of East Germany, & the difference in economic level, education, & exposure to the outside world was much less. North Korea has half the population of the south, & is so much poorer that the difference in living standards is clearly visible in the height difference.

Estimates of East German incomes based on tracking back from post-unification German statistics put them at 47% of the West German level in 1989, but that's probably a slight underestimate, since it didn't take account of the price differences that still existed in the base figures. North Korean income levels are probably somewhere around 10% of South Korean levels, adjusted for price differences.

Most East Germans could & did watch West German television. North Korean TVs are pre-tuned to N. Korea's official channels. East German was easy to visit (I did so, for example) & foreigners could & did wander around freely. W. Germans with relatives in the East could & did visit them freely. E. Germans could visit other E. European countries fairly easily - & millions of them did. N. Koreans can't go anywhere, & the few foreigners who visit are escorted at all times. After retirement, E. Germans could move pretty freely between E & West - the E. German border controls were to stop emigration of workers. Some retired to W. Germany, & went back to visit their children & grandchildren.

E. Germans could buy foreign books & newspapers (though supplies were limited). Never allowed in N. Korea. E. & W. Germany had been separated for 44 years, & travel had been effectively blocked by the Berlin Wall for only 28 years. N. & S. Korea have been thoroughly separated for 68 years.

East Germans had a very good idea of the differences between how they lived & the West German standard of living. They were as well-fed, lived as long, their babies were slightly less likely to die (yes, really), had greater economic security, but had fewer consumer goods & less freedom. And they knew it. Most N. Koreans probably have only a vague idea of what life is really like in the South. I expect that they don't know that they're several cm shorter, on average, die younger, etc.

You see the differences? The integration of Germany was trivially easy compared to the difficulties of integrating Korea. Comparing them only demonstrates what an immense task it would be to unify Korea.
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Old March 1st, 2013   #87
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Iraq is alone and does not have resources to rebuild itself and thus relies completely on help by the international community.
Iraq's state infrastructure, which was badly damaged by the 8 year war with Iran, the UN sanctions and the 2003 invasion, is in a much better state now and the country's oil exports are picking up.
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Old March 1st, 2013   #88
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Well I would say it's comparable to the unification of Germany. Like West Germany, South Korea is a developed industrial country with high standard of living.

Iraq is alone and does not have resources to rebuild itself and thus relies completely on help by the international community.

Nevertheless, yes the price tag is high of course.
Germany was one of the most (if not the most) prosperous state socialist countries. North Korea, as outlined above is the poorest. But I think the biggest issue is the difference in mentality, modes of thought, etc. Even a decade after unification West and East Germans still didn't get along quite as well as one would expect. The psychological difference between North and South is gigantic, and if reunification did occur they couldn't just open the borders overnight. They'd have to do it very gradually, and the result would be that the South would remain more prosperous for a long time, which would contribute to dislike and distrust among ordinary northerners.

You should see the older generation in Russia, the ones who grew up during the Cold War. They still see America and NATO as enemy number one, with a fundamental distrust that's ingrained so deeply that facts and logic pale in comparison. And this is the USSR, a much less totalitarian country then North Korea.
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Old March 2nd, 2013   #89
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Yes, everyone (including former Ossies) agree that although it does not apply to all individuals, there is still a collective difference in attitudes and opinions between East & West Germans - and this persists after over seven years of the unified country being led by an East German.

The difference in mentality between N & S Korea is bound to be vastly greater.

One thing I think I didn't make clear enough was how great the difference in cost would be. West Germany could afford to bring the infrastructure in the east up to more or less the level of the west in about ten years. It soaked up some of the workers laid off by uncompetitive eastern industry, & made the east more attractive to outside investors. A significant proportion of E. German industry turned out to be competitive, once it had shed the workers who were employed for social reasons, & modernised working practices.

The gap between N & S Korea is so vast that I find it hard to imagine much, if any, N Korean manufacturing industry surviving unification. With the millions scraping to stay alive in the countryside, the million plus in the armed forces, & the bloated bureaucracy monitoring hairstyles & the like, I think at least half of N Korean workers would become dependent on handouts if the two states united. As for bringing the northern infrastructure up to southern levels in a decade or so, well, dream on, Netsk. As well as the population share differences previously mention, & the fact that the disparity is far greater than between the Germanies, East Germany was less than half the size of the west, while North Korea is bigger than the south.

Feanor is right. Unification couldn't be complete & immediate. Border controls would have to be kept for years, & the south would have to prop up the existing N. Korean economy (what there is of it) to support the population, while assisting it to get rich enough to make full unification feasible.
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Old March 3rd, 2013   #90
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I stand corrected. Let's just hope then that opening of the North Korean market for foreign investment this year will with time (decades) start a softer transition of things.
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