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July 8, 2013

North Korean Ground Forces: We Can March Better Than You

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have one of the largest ground forces in the world, and were once referred to as the “Million Man Army.” Although their ground forces are estimated somewhere in the region of 950,000 soldiers, the large majority are under-trained and malnourished.

In standing with other past communist and oppressed countries, North Korea’s main strength lies in their ability to put on one hell of a parade. These show of force maneuvers are thought raise the morale of the people by their high-stepping, in-cadence marching. Unfortunately, I don’t foresee them showcasing their strengths in the Olympics any time in the near future. I’m thinking doubles synchronized marching.

With their self-inflicted closed system and the trade embargos that have been established against the country, the DPRK cannot fiscally support all troops and their training. The majority of their military is likened to a reserve style component that can be called upon as needed.

The troops that are active on a daily basis are concentrated in forward areas and serve within the hundreds of miles of tunnel systems along the southern border. Most of their weapons are based off of 1960-1970’s Soviet era weapons. NK Weapons

The vast majority of tanks are the models T-55 and T-62. Although less in number, the DPRK has also developed the P’okpung-Ho, which according to the DOD contains elements of the T-62, T-72, Type 88, T-80, and T-90 soviet tanks.

Besides the massive number of troops, the DPRK’s main threat to an invading force lie in its stockpile of artillery and MRLs systems. These include the M-1978 170mm howitzer, BM-24 240mm MRLs, and massive varieties of ZPU anti-aircraft guns and over 7,000 mortars.

The standard issue rifle of the DPRK active infantry is the AKM, which is a 1950s variant of the AK-47. The major differences between the AKM and the AK-47 are the AKM is slightly more accurate and has a stamped receiver instead of the milled style associated with the original AK-47 rifle.

The reserve component of the DPRK is issued the standard AK-47, while their special operations troops use the improved AK-74 as their standard issue rifle. Even their sniper rifles are considered a more designated marksman type weapon with the Zastava M76 and Dragunov SVD in service.

Zastava M76

Zastava M76

One of the largest issues with North Korea is not their fighting strength, but their proliferation of internationally illegal arms to other known enemy states of the U.S.

The DPRK has reconfigured many of their largest factories into weapons and ammunition manufacturing plants, which enables them to ship large quantities of weapons to countries such as Iran and Syria. This is despite the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) 1718, 1874, and 2087 which prohibits all weapons sales and certain categories of technical training from North Korea.

Overall, North Korea does not have any secret weapon that would surely spell defeat for the United States if we were to ever enter into battle with the ‘bully’ of East Asia. They may beat us in a head to head match of drill and ceremony, but on the weapons front, we surely would win in a battle of quality over quantity.


About the Author

served in 3rd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment. Almost four years of my time in 3/75 was spent in the sniper section. In all, I spent over 11 years in military service. I am a firefighter/paramedic and hold a Bachelors of Science in Biology from Oregon State University. When not working, I spend most of my time rock climbing, mountaineering, mountain biking, trail running, and occasionally picking up heavy objects.

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  • YankeePapa

    . . -YP-

  • CharlesJohnCovati

    Virginstateofmind  I have known a few.  Always makes my skin crawl.

  • YankeePapa

    CBSenior , ...Back in the later '70s an officer who took over a company might find that the unit massively not fit for deployment... everything from equipment to qualifications to discipline..  Number of officers before him had signed off that unit was combat ready.  Now *this* guy gets to decide if he should submit a *real* report and maybe have the Bn. CO give him a lethal fitness report... or just slap a fresh coat of paint on everything and call it good...   ...A good clue for him would be if the Bn CO known for thorough  inspections... or really didn't want to know. YP

  • CBSenior

    Murphy's Law of Combat: 29. No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection.                                            30. No inspection ready unit has ever passed combat. But never underestimate your enemy.

  • Recon6

    Virginstateofmind    Isn't it time we just let this b.s. go away?  This troll simply received compassion from REP, something we give freely, however, he is certainly receiving a lot of 'face time' which, imo, is exactly what he desires....6