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megimoo
12-04-2010, 08:20 PM
Military responds to Tokyo Shimbun’s prediction of strike on Gyeonggi Province

Military officials say they have both the intelligence to predict and forces to repel such an attack .

Since North Korea’s artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island, there has been concern that North Korea could use its long-range guns to fire on the greater Seoul area. Quoting a “source knowledgeable about North Korea,” the Tokyo Shimbun reported Thursday that an official in the North Korean Defense Ministry’s reconnaissance bureau said North Korea could launch new artillery strikes at Gyeonggi Province within the month.
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North Korea reportedly has about 10,000 artillery pieces deployed near the DMZ. Of these, about 200 are 170mm self-propelled artillery and 200 are 240mm multiple rocket launchers deployed in the western sector, with ranges far enough to hit the greater Seoul area. The maximum range of the 240mm multiple rocket launcher is 60km, while the long-range guns can hit northern Gyeonggi Province, all of Seoul, Gwacheon, Anyang and Siheung.

Military officials say North Korea’s long-range guns could launch up to 17,000 shells at the greater Seoul area in an hour. If this were to happen, they say some 3.25 million civilians and soldiers could be killed or wounded.

The military, however, does not believe this many casualties would result. This is because the 3.25 million number is based on two unrealistic premises: that South Korea and the United States could not detect signs of an impending North Korean long-range artillery attack, and that North Korea’s long-range guns would continue to fire for an hour without taking any losses.

A military source said, “Of the 170 rounds fired at Yeonpyeong Island, about 90 landed in the sea, and of the 80 rounds that hit Yeonpyeong Island, 20 were duds, so of the 170 rounds fired, only about 60 were effective.”

Military authorities believe the low accuracy even in a surprise first strike is because North Korea’s ordinance, including its gunpowder and fuses, is old.
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A military official said, “ Unlike an attack on a small island like Yeonpyeong, if North Korea were going to use long-range guns to attack the capital region, with a broad area, all the artillery units along the DMZ would have to start at the same time.” The official continued, “To start such an attack, the number of troops preparing for the strike would increase noticeably at each artillery unit near the DMZ.”

North Korea’s 170mm self-propelled guns need 12 troops and its 240mm multiple rocket launchers need six troops, so to operate the roughly 400 long-range guns in the area, the artillery units alone would need about 3,600 troops. If this number of troops were to show unusual movements or the number of inter-unit communications were to suddenly increase, South Korean and U.S. military satellites or reconnaissance planes would reportedly be able to detect signs of the attack before it happened.

Even if North Korea did not commence an attack, if there is clear evidence that an attack is imminent, “aggressive counterfire” would begin. For example, if the entrances of North Korea’s long-range gun caves were to open and the guns were to emerge, South Korean and U.S. fighter-bombers and artillery like the K-9 and MLRS to collapse the cave positions.

If the surviving guns press with an attack on the Seoul area, South Korean and U.S. counter-battery radar would detect the positions of North Korea’s long-range guns, which would be attacked in responsive counterfire.

South Korea and the United States normally collect information on the position of North Korea’s long-range guns needed for counterfire operations, using Air Force reconnaissance planes to determine the position of additional guns. Based on this information, the South Korean and US militaries compose an “Integrated Tasking Order” in which it is ordered beforehand which long-range guns would be destroyed and by which method.

Military officials explain that unlike the Yeonpyeong Island attack, it is possible to knock-out many of North Korea’s long-range guns threatening the greater Seoul area before an attack. Military officials worry, however, about the public’s shock and fear and the ill effect it would have on the economy if North Korea’s long-range guns that survive an aggressive counterfire fire rounds into downtown Seoul.


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