Thursday, August 10, 2017

Eight Myths about War with North Korea

Fears of war with North Korea have been exacerbated recently by the rhetoric coming from North Korea's psychotic leader Kim Jung Un who keeps threatening the United States with destruction as he pursues his quest for nuclear missiles.

Given his homicidal temperament and history and his repeated vows to launch nuclear war against American citizens, the White House can't afford to allow him to obtain the weapons that will give him the means to carry out his threats. Diplomacy has so far failed to deter him, however, and it looks as if war is a real possibility.

The consequences of actual war with North Korea would indeed be grim but, according to an article at RedState, have been largely exaggerated by our media. We've been told that the South Korean capital of Seoul with it's population of 25 million people would be levelled by North Korean artillery and that thousands of American troops based in South Korea would be targeted before they could be safely moved.

Neither of these claims is true, according to the author of the piece, a writer who goes by the name Strieff. His column debunks the claim that North Korea has the ability to inflict the damage and carnage the media tells us will ensue if war breaks out and discusses eight myths that have been circulated about such a conflict. The alleged myths are these:
  1. Seoul is within easy artillery range of North Korea.
  2. All of these long range pieces are within range of Seoul.
  3. North Korea will use all of its artillery to target Seoul.
  4. North Korean artillery will be able to hit Seoul even if it is in range.
  5. North Korean artillery will shoot thousands of rounds at Seoul.
  6. Neither the US nor ROK (South Korea) Air Force or artillery will engage North Korean artillery.
  7. The ROK army won’t cross the border to clear out North Korean artillery.
  8. Seoul will suffer massive civilian casualties.
Streiff refers to the following map which accompanied a piece in yesterday's WaPo (of which he's critical) in his response to the first two "myths":

Of the first myth he says this:
This is simply not true. Thirty miles is extreme range for tube or rocket artillery. The entire North Korean Army has, at a high end estimate, a max of 500 artillery systems and 200 rocket systems that can range Seoul’s northern suburbs and Seoul from what is now North Korea. Only one-third of Seoul can be hit by any type of tube artillery.

The drawing of a 44-mile circle and implying that there are hundreds of artillery pieces which can range as far as the heaviest North Korean rocket systems is just dishonest in the extreme.
Of the second myth he writes:
Dispersion between artillery systems is going to be at least 50 meters. Math alone tells you once you start dispersing that you quickly run out of usable real estate. Why disperse? The blast radius for a 500-lb bomb (the B-2 carries 80 of these) is 50 meters. That means it will kill 50% of everyone within that zone. Even troops in bunkers will be killed or injured by the combination of overpressure and vacuum rupturing hollow organs.

If you drop 1000-lb bombs, increasingly the weapon of choice, the 50% lethality radius exceeds 200 meters. If you want your artillery to survive more than the first air strike you will want them dispersed and in hardened positions. While the 44 mile radius on the map is cute, many of these weapons will be out of range of Seoul because clustering dozens of pieces up on the DMZ within easy range of ROK infantry and armor doesn’t make sense.
You'll have to read the rest at RedState. It's an interesting counterpoint to the catastrophic consequences we've been told would follow an attempt to take out the barbaric regime in Pyongyang.

Streiff closes with this:
...the fact is that the assertion that Seoul is going to be flattened by North Korean artillery is simply false and can easily be proven false.

None of this is to say a war with North Korea would be easy and that it wouldn’t result in widespread destruction in the northern 10% of South Korea, but don’t be fooled. The stories of an Armageddon in South Korea are simply not true. The ROK Air Force and ROK Army are not going to sit on their thumbs and allow Seoul to be pulverized. Neither will American forces.

Just like we spent a lot of effort hunting SCUDs in both Gulf wars, the artillery that can shoot at Seoul will be quickly and ruthlessly hunted down and silenced.
Of one thing there can be no doubt. North Korea simply cannot be permitted to go on building nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. They must be stopped, and if diplomacy continues to be unproductive then, it seems, Streiff's analysis will be put to the test.