A collection of special tactics
Darius I (550 to 486 B.C.) was the monarch of the Persian Achaemenid Empire at its height and later emerged as a historical incarnation of revenge. After the invasion of Greece in 490 B.C. ended in a crushing defeat at the Battle of Marathon, he sought vengeance for the rest of his lifetime.
But when he died, the task was left to his son Xerxes (519 to 465 B.C.) who continued on with his father’s mission and used all available resources and manpower on another invasion of Greece.
However, the Persian forces were defeated at the Battle of Thermopylae and the Battle of Salamis, and the campaign failed. Later, Xerxes I was murdered by his son and commander.
The Greco-Persian Wars spanned 52 years from 500 B.C. to 448 B.C, marked by persistent aggression from the Achaemenid Empire.
But the Kim Jong-un dynasty of North Korea is even more tenacious. Its ambition to conquer South Korea has continued for more than half a century, with this year marking the 65th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1950-53 Korean War.
In fact, North Korea has never given up on its ambition to invade South Korea in the 62 years since the Korean Armistice Agreement, signed in 1953.
Pyongyang constantly develops new southward invasion tactics, ranging from its nuclear and missile programs to various conventional war strategies.
Even during the Arduous March of the mid-1990s, when the worst famine in history resulted in countless lives lost, North Korea did not let up and started a new project burying communication lines in the frontline underground.
“The money that could have been used to buy corn to feed the people was invested in delaying the possible discovery of the signs of a southward invasion,” a military intelligence source here said.
Moreover, multiple accounts, including from North Korean defectors, suggest that North Korea has been developing various invasion strategies and continues actual exercises and training.
“Testimonies and intelligence tips claim that North Korea’s concept of war expands from land, sea, air and underground,” an intelligence source said.
Most notably, testimony has come to light that when Kim Jong-il was still alive, he ordered five military units to build 50 underground tunnels from the vicinity of Pyongyang to the South.
Generally, to start a war, troops must be deployed to the front lines. But when underground tunnels are in place, troops can be moved to the rear - where the entrances of tunnels are located.
As we observe the movements of our enemies, troops appear to be moving back, and we detect no sign of attack and feel assured. A sudden attack would result in massive damage.
Last year, an infiltration plan by the Communist state - written as the 2015 Unification Grand Scheme - that uses Korea’s highway networks, was discovered. The plan includes strange ideas like using gas stations along the highways for fuel and obtaining food from restaurants and rest areas. Its main idea is to take advantage of highly developed highway and service networks in the South to secure routes and war supplies.
A more absurd one is what’s known as the “Flying Squirrels” tactic, in which North Korean forces penetrate the South using paragliders or motor-powered paragliders, which can’t be detected by radar. According to Korean and American intelligence sources, some North Korean units were already found to be training for this strategy.
Military specialists say that if used in real combat, an attack wouldn’t be easy to fend off. First of all, conventional radars cannot detect paragliders. Secondly, it would be difficult to distinguish North Korean forces from South Korean civilians enjoying the day outdoors. If North Korean soldiers left their bases in the early morning, they could technically get to the capital region in three to three and a half hours. They could penetrate Seoul without being detected before sunrise. It’s a plausible tactic, and it actually suits the style of North Korean forces, which traditionally prefer guerilla warfare.
The best response is to ceaselessly strengthen our determination for the best security and defense. South Koreans are confident that the nation can fend off any attack if the government, military and civilians work together.
JoongAng Ilbo, June 25, Page 28
*The author is an editorial writer for the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Chae In-taek