North Korean Armed Forces Part 2: The Army
North Korea launched another Rocket east today in it’s latest attempt to piss off the UN Security council. It is rather like a neighbour throwing hand grenades into your garden, how long would you put up with that for?
The North Korean Army is one of the largest in the world, and one of the most lavishly equipped. It consists of twenty Army corps, divided into 175 divisions and brigades. We must remember that North Korea has no Marines, so some of the ground forces are occasionally packed off to sea.
The North Korean army started out as a volunteer force in China in 1939, from where it advanced south after Japan’s defeat.
It’s command and control chain runs on two channels. Firstly the orders come from the National Defence Commission, and from their through the Chiefs of Staff. At the same time Political control is retained by the Peoples Workers Party’s Central Military Commitee. The ultimate commander is Kim Jong Il, who has never fought a battle or commanded even the smallest military formation without some help.
The army has two Armoured Corps (i.e. tanks), most of which are of Soviet or Chinese origin. These are broken down into brigades, as the Supreme Leader is nervous of the Army mounting a coup. The army is largely motorised with enough Armoured Personnel Carriers to deploy large scale Infantry units. Their skills at navigation and deployment are yet to be tested. There is so much we don’t know about North Korea.
North Korea does, however, bristle with Artillery, particularly anti-aircraft guns. Any air strikes over North Korea would be hazardous affairs.
It is hard to know what to make of the North Korean infantryman. We know he will be well versed in communist propaganda and slogans but is he a true believer? Does he want to escape to the west? Does he have much contact with his family and sweetheart? How much is he paid? How much is he taxed? Is he a fanatic or a pragmatist? We know Commissars are attached to every unit, but how much sway do they really have?
What little information I have given here is nearly ten years old, which tells you something of the secretive nature of this communist regime.
Next: The North Korean Air Force