Korea: April 14, 2004

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Much of the new military equipment and weapons seen in Afghanistan and Iraq have reached South Korea. As a result, South Korean and American commanders are changing their war plans. In the past, the basic idea was to just survive the initial North Korean attack, which was seen as a massive one. This was pretty obvious from the composition and deployment of the North Korean forces. It was also known that North Korean officers were well drilled in Cold War era Soviet tactics, which were built around a mighty initial attack. The South Korean plan was to survive that attack, and then counterattack with the help of American reinforcements.

But now, with smart bombs, improved helicopter gunships, UAVs and better battlefield intelligence, plans are moving towards more aggressively disrupting North Korean operations. For decades, it was thought that the North Koreans would open their assault when South Korean was in the midst of cloudy and foggy weather, a common feature of the Korean climate. This would have crippled the superior South Korean and American air power. But with the GPS guided smart bombs, bad weather is no longer a factor when it comes to getting bombs on target.

The troops best equipped to practice the new tactics, the U.S. 2nd Infantry division, is moving away from the DMZ, and going south to new bases out of North Korean artillery range. South Korean troops are taking their place. South Korean troops are replacing most U.S. soldiers at the Peace Village, where talks are held with the North Koreans. 

But the continued deterioration of the economy and food situation in the north makes an offensive less likely. Even the North Korean army is now being hit with food shortages. The lack of fuel has reduced training even more and discipline is worsening as well. The North Koreans are well aware of what happened in Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003), and realize they have nothing to counteract the new weapons and tactics. But as long as the communist government is running things up north, war is always a possibility, no matter how remote.


 

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