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  • North Korean Artillery and Seoul

    Hello, I was wondering if someone might be able to clear this up. I was looking at the thread concerning what a Korean War today might look like and there seemed to be some confusion about the nature of North Korean artillery and whether or not it can hit Seoul, or if only a small part can hit Seoul. I remember reading not too long ago, in the Economist I believe....that the North had a truly massive number of artillery pieces aimed at Seoul and that the city could sustain massive damage in a few minutes. Is this accurate or not? Or is it just a small amount of long-range and rocket artillery?
    There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full. -Henry Kissinger

  • #2
    Wouldn't the SKs know where these guns are sited, and have a plan in place to zap them in the first few minutes? They are not stupid, they are not going to sit back and take it without retaliation.

    As the wise man once said, "if the enemy is in range, so are you".



    John.
    The PLO claims ALL of Israel!!! There will and can NEVER be a "2 State solution".

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    • #3
      From the closest point on the DMZ to the outskirts of Seoul looks like about 25 km. 40 km should reach downtown. That puts a good bit of the suburbs and the towns to the north in range of conventional tube artillery. Heavy rockets like the Scud nock-offs can range most of the ROK.

      IIRC the DPRK has put a lot of this into tunnels dug into the mountain sides. Before the advent of smart bombs, there was no way to get at them quickly enough to avoid significant civilian casualties. Eliminating them would have required invading the north and clearing the tunnels one-by-one.

      I think we've now solved the targeting problem although organizing and managing such a massive strike would still leave a great deal of room for error. I doubt we could shut down the DPRK's entire capability before hundreds or even thousand of civilians were killed and wounded. Because of this, the ROK is not a nervous about Northern artillery as it once was but are obviously still not eager to start any military action.
      Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

      Questions about our site? See the FAQ.

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      • #4
        GC,


        "I doubt we could shut down the DPRK's entire capability before hundreds or even thousand of civilians were killed and wounded."



        One of the lessons learned by America's 'peace loving' enemies is that they must surround all targets with mothers and babies.

        It has GREAT impact on TV!



        John.
        The PLO claims ALL of Israel!!! There will and can NEVER be a "2 State solution".

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        • #5
          My apologies for not getting into anything specific, but I have not looked at the NK Artillery 'problem' for almost three years. At that time, only some of the very outskirts of Seoul were within gun range, and there was a strong possibility that that information was out of date. But again, the Norks have more than guns, and they were trying to improve their rocket artillery.

          IMHO Ten thousand civilian casualties in Seoul would dramatically change Korean attitudes towards the North. The accomodationist mood that one finds on the moderate left would likely shift into a desire for revenge.
          dit: Lirelou

          Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá ǵ!

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          • #6
            weapons sources

            How much of this technology held by the North is coming from China or other outside sources, or is it all home-grown? If NK is developing this stuff themselves, I would be less likely to put much stock in the threat.

            Of course, I don't fear the guy with 1,000 nuclear missiles. I fear the man with one. And NK is heading in that direction.

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            • #7
              The longest-ranged North Korean gun artillery is the the 170mm M1989 Koksan SPG with a range of about 60km (within range of Seoul) if it uses rocket-assisted shells. This is the only gun artillery that is even capable of reaching downtown Seoul I believe. No idea how many of these the KPA has though.

              Their longest ranged MLRS is the 240mm M-1985 which has a range of about 35km, capable of hitting the suburbs of Seoul.

              The real threat to Seoul does not come from tube or rocket artillery, but rather from the KPA's 1,000+ Scud derivatives. These can hit all of ROK and if focused on Seoul will cause quite a bit of destruction. It all comes down to how many TEL's (which are hidden quite elaborately) the US/ROK Air Forces can take out before this can happen. This is more problematic as unlike the conventional KPA artillery pieces, North Korean ballistic missile TEL's can be situated well north of the DMZ and still be able to hit Seoul, expanding the required search areas for US/ROK forces.
              Last edited by Megaharrison; 03 May 10, 09:19.

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              • #8
                Plus a lot of the longer range missiles will be used to hit US bases around the country and Pusan and other ports needed to bring in supplies and reinforcements. Another question is whether they'd hit US bases in the Pacific, even ones leased from Japan. After all, it isn't as thought the DRPK has any allies to lose.
                Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

                Questions about our site? See the FAQ.

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                • #9
                  Mega: Do the Norks have rocket assisted projectiles for the Koksan gun? They did have some of them in the Arty Brigade at Kaesong, but that may have been moved to accommodate the Kaesong Free Zone. (and even if they were, they may have been moved back.) The Norks were working upon improving their rocket artillery (FROGs, etc). As for the SCUDs, any of them can range Seoul, but that would not be their best use. One model of Scud can range only as far as short of Daegu, and the other can almost range the entire peninsula.

                  As an aside, to date, there is zero evidence that the Norks have developed a vehicle for mounting a nuclear warhead on a Scud. So far, it look like Bongo truck delivery will have to remain their means of delivery.
                  dit: Lirelou

                  Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá ǵ!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lirelou View Post
                    Mega: Do the Norks have rocket assisted projectiles for the Koksan gun? They did have some of them in the Arty Brigade at Kaesong, but that may have been moved to accommodate the Kaesong Free Zone. (and even if they were, they may have been moved back.) The Norks were working upon improving their rocket artillery (FROGs, etc). As for the SCUDs, any of them can range Seoul, but that would not be their best use. One model of Scud can range only as far as short of Daegu, and the other can almost range the entire peninsula.
                    I would say it's pretty certain they have 170mm RAP's. North Korea gave Iran a number of Koksan that were used throughout the Iran-Iraq War, and these fired RAP rounds.

                    Additionally even without RAP's it still has a range of about 50km, capable of hitting downtown Seoul.

                    However I doubt NK has hundreds of these things, which is what would be necessary to reduce Seoul to rubble before US/ROK air power finds these guns. The same applies to their 240mm MLR's.

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                    • #11
                      The North Korean tube artillery is about 3-5 Kms north of the DMZ in hardened positions. Please take that into mind when you are asking about the range of their artillery. The North would rather launch the SCUDs to terrorize the population of the South. But after what happened with the Patrol Boat Choenan, the North is being very quiet in terms of military "tough talk".
                      Kevin Kenneally
                      Masters from a school of "hard knocks"
                      Member of a Ph.D. Society (Post hole. Digger)

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                      • #12
                        Additionally even without RAP's it still has a range of about 50km, capable of hitting downtown Seoul.
                        As I recall, the range was a bit over 50 kilometers (still unsure as to whether that was rocket assisted), and not capable of hitting downtown Seoul from their present positions. Understand that that the Seoul Metropolitan area has spread out, but the downtown area remains the same, though there are many other similarly developed commercial areas.

                        Are you aware of how much ammunition is fired by the Norks in training every year? As of three years ago, the answer was: very damned little, and certainly not enough to maintain a high degree of efficiency. This is not to say that they are a paper tiger, but rather to point out one of their deficiencies. It can reasonably be argued that they don't need that much training as far as the DMZ in concerned, as every square inch of the adjacent territories has been surveyed innumerable times. But to win any campaign, that artillery will have to come out and move.
                        dit: Lirelou

                        Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá ǵ!

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                        • #13
                          Agree with pretty much all I read here. Just a thought or two to fit some of it together.
                          Anyone here in the 80's or prior remembers a distinct break in urban terrain between Seoul proper and Tong Du Chon. That is pretty much gone. The Megalopolis is huge and a lot of the city's growth was north of the Han, filling in that area. Technically, it isn't "Seoul" but the dividing line between "the" city and the suburbs is just a line on the map.
                          It was argued by some (including a former J-2) that the North would deliberately target civilians to cause terror and clog the LOCs. One of my mentors threw that whitepaper in the trash. It is unnecessary to aim at civilians since there are plently of legitimate ROK Army targets adjacent to civilian facilities. The spread of a 240mm MRL is quite large and will kill enough civilians that they will be tempted to flee without being deliberately targetted. The ensuing congestion is no good for the ROK and US. Of course, it is equally detrimental to the North should they try to advance into Seoul. You can only roll over so many traffic jammed cars on the highway before a T-55 slips a track. Anyway, it would all be ugly and certainly not something the ROK government would welcome.
                          I heard somebody in DC yawn and say, "they're in caves. We'll just use precision guided weapons to trap them in their own shelters." Eh...maybe. Precision guided weapons are expensive, 1960s era artillery pieces are not. And there are hundreds of tunnels. Without some terrific intelligence, you are going to be sealing a lot empty tunnels. Expensive and time consuming, while the remaining pieces continue to fire. And what does "seal" mean? Can a platoon of men dig them back out? Did they close all entrances or can the piece be pushed out an alternate exit to continue firing? Personal assessment is the South 'wins' but it is just too expensive to consider engaging in the fight.
                          "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"

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                          • #14
                            Good stuff Corsair. Took me 11 hours once to drive from just below Daejeon back up to Seoul on the Chuseok holiday weekend. And that was on the toll road. The theory is that once the ROKs implement martial law, no one is going anywhere. But you can only take out so many SseongYong SUVs before you run out of ammo. Given the choice between staying in their Gangnam high rises and being knocked by rockets down or slimed by CW warheads. I suspect that the majority of Seoul's citizens will hit the road South. On the other hand, lackadaisical attitudes towards the Norks will be quickly shed, and the resulting hardening of opinion will not be pretty once the ROKs respond.
                            dit: Lirelou

                            Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá ǵ!

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                            • #15
                              here's an article about simulations performed with war on NK. its from 2003 but worth a read.

                              http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=128509&page=1

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