The Dear Leader was right. The Dear Leader is always right.
Kim Jong Un predicted that someday the imperialists would strike across the DMZ
like treacherous snakes. And so they did, using the pretext that our peaceful,
defensive nuclear weapons program was so provocative that it justified a ground
invasion to overthrow the benevolent reign of our Glorious Leader.
But they had not reckoned on the foresight of the Ever-Victorious,
Iron-Willed Commander. In his wisdom, the Father of the People had chosen me,
Field Marshal Kim-Il Noob, to lead the defense of the Workers and Peasants
The field of battle was "Drive
on Pyongyang," which belongs to that most fiendish of capitalist
inventions, the tabletop wargame, which seek to divert the masses through the fascination
of historical simulation. The game is published by the aggressor mouthpiece
known as Modern War Magazine, which
every two months publishes a paper wargame on a post-World War II historical or
future conflict. They will regret choosing the Democratic People's Republic of
Korea (DPRK) for their latest topic.
Puppets on a Battlefield
"Drive on Pyongyang" is a paper wargame played on a roughly
two-by-three-foot map overlaid by a hexagonal grid, upon which maneuver some
280 half-inch cardboard pieces depicting the forces of the combatants, mostly
division- and corps-sized formations rated for their attack, defense, and
movement capabilities. The United States and its Republic of Korea puppets make
up the bulk of the Coalition order of battle, plus two British and French
armored divisions and a few special forces detachments. Our heroic North Korean
People's Army has a few strong mechanized corps, but our forces mostly consist
of numerous small infantry divisions that unfortunately lack the firepower of
The game mechanics in "Drive on Pyongyang" would seem to
confirm the imperialists' arrogance. Coalition units are stronger than their North
Korean counterparts. Some Coalition forces (mostly American) are capable of conducting
"Netcentric" warfare, which is more powerful than a regular attack. Their
relentless exploitation of the proletariat has given them attack helicopters,
paratroopers, naval gunfire, air and naval resupply, and a heavy-strike
capability (those sinister B-2 stealth bombers).
Even the game rules state that "there is little doubt
that the North Koreans will suffer defeat in this war in the classic military
sense." Ha! Guided by the Peerless Leader, how can we be defeated?
Besides, while Coalition forces have to trace supply lines back to South Korea,
our glorious troops don't have to worry about supply. (As the rules rather
crassly state, "there are no supply lines for the North Korean units
because, by Coalition standards, they're simply out of supply all the time
owing to aerial interdiction, etc.") Coalition troops in their monstrous
vehicles can zoom over roads and clear terrain, but our tough People's Infantry
moves faster over rough terrain and over rivers. The map is shaded white for
clear terrain and brown for mountains and hills, and unfortunately for the
imperialists, there is much more brown than white.
But most of all, our advantage is iron will. Other nations
like North Vietnam
have triumphed because of superior determination, and we shall do the same.
National morale in "Drive on Pyongyang" is reflected through Media Perception
Points. The Coalition starts with 200 points, and while that number will never
increase, it will inevitably decrease every time their treacherous plans fail. When
the Coalition takes significant casualties, or if an attack on our valiant
warriors fails, they lose Media Perception Points. If our troops counterattack,
the Coalition also loses face. If we fight and fight hard, we can be
Woe to the imperialists, for the Democratic People's
Republic has many means of smiting the snakes. We start the game with three
fixed Scud sites near the border, plus 17 peaceful, defensive WMD sites located
around the country. Every turn that there is at least one surviving Scud site,
the Coalition loses one to three Media Perception Points, and additional points
if there is at least one surviving WMD site.
The Coalition's goal is to capture cities. They roll dice
each turn, and depending on the number of cities taken, there is a chance the communist
regime will collapse. North
Korea wins if Media Perception Points sink
to zero, or if the Coalition hasn't achieved regime collapse after 15 turns
(equivalent to 30 days of real time). Thus the aggressors have only a month to
accomplish their goal of regime change before their toiling masses revolt in
solidarity with peace-loving Korean workers and peasants. We trust that the
impetuosity of the imperialists will lead to rash decisions on the battlefield.
And what about our peaceful, defensive nuclear program, you
ask? As long as we hold Pyongyang, North Korea can choose to use battlefield
nuclear weapons to weaken Coalition combat units, or conduct a
"strategic" strike against a South Korean city (not Hawaii or
California...yet) that reduces Media Perception Points. In either case, the
Coalition may respond with a tit-for-tat battlefield strike against our troops.
Since our People's Army is happy to die for the Father of the People, this
would seem to make nuclear weapons an obvious choice. However, every time North
Korea uses a nuclear bomb, the Coalition player rolls a die, with a one-in-six
chance that the United States responds with a full strategic nuclear strike that
automatically costs North Korea the game.
Preparations to Repel the Unjustified Aggression
In the standard "Drive on Pyongyang" scenario, China remains
neutral, rather than coming to the fraternal assistance of their socialist
brethren. No matter, we are strong, self-reliant, and our haircuts intimidate
the enemy. Not to mention that this is better than the alternate game scenario,
in which Chinese troops intervene against North Korea.
The Coalition deploys its forces first. We are horrified to
discover that the imperialists have committed yet another atrocity, this time
against the innocent fabric of space-time. Their Alternate Reality Device has
created a world where neither the Iraq nor Afghanistan wars -- nor sequestration
-- ever happened. Thus the aggressors field 10 U.S. Army divisions plus a
Marine division, while the British and French each contribute an armored
division. The world has not seen such an armada since Desert Storm, and we are
perplexed that the United States and its lackeys could still muster the money
and political will to accomplish this.
Because most of the U.S. troops are mechanized, the
American running dogs position their forces along the western edge of the DMZ,
presumably aiming for a thrust up through open terrain to Pyongyang. Likewise, the ROK mechanized units
deploy along the narrow strip of open terrain on the eastern coast, where they
can advance on Wonsan, backed by a U.S. Marine division that can land amphibiously
in support. Most of the ROK army consists of infantry (a single U.S. mech
division is rated as stronger than an entire South Korean corps), so the
aggressors station them in the center where they can more easily advance
through the rough terrain, block a potential counterstroke, and be able to turn
east or west to support the offensives along the coasts.
Now it is our turn to deploy. I place our strong armor
formations around Pyongyang,
where they can maneuver more easily in the open terrain. The best infantry
entrenches in the capital itself, while the remainder of our forces deploy in
the hills and mountains in the center and east of the country. I know that the
Yankees will use their Marines to stage amphibious landings behind our lines,
probably along the east coast.
The three fixed Scud sites must be set up near the border, so
I place them in the hills in the center of the DMZ, where they will be harder
to reach. The WMD sites have a predetermined setup, mostly around Pyongyang or along the
Wonsan-Hamhung-Sinpo axis in the east. Fortunately, two sites are located in
the far north, near the Chinese border. To avoid losing Media Perception
Points, the imperialists must destroy all sites, and the far northern ones will
be difficult to reach.
Our basic strategy is to hang on until the imperialists grow
weary of a fruitless war. Through endurance comes victory. The Dear Leader
himself devised that clever phrase.
The Aggression Begins
Before hostilities commence, each player randomly draws
Strategic Events chits from a cup. The Coalition gets "Additional U.S.
Forces," which adds an additional four brigades of capitalist mercenaries.
We get "Rioting in South Korea," which means the ROK puppets cannot cross
the DMZ on the first turn. As I expected, the Coalition cannot afford to wait. American
and NATO troops cross the DMZ, though our border defense inflicts some losses.
Special forces units attempt to raid a WMD site in the far north, but the dice know
their socialist duty, and the raiders are repelled.
I take advantage of the ROK puppet inactivity to shift some
forces to the west to delay the Americans. Between casualties and surviving
Scud/WMD sites, the Coalition loses 10 of its 200 Media Perception Points on
the first turn, as CNN shows footage of burning American vehicles. It is a
promising start for the Democratic People's Republic, but will it be enough? I remind
myself to have faith in our Beloved and Respected Leader.
On Turn 2, the ROK puppets make good progress, capturing two
Scud sites. The U.S. Marine division lands between the DMZ and Wonsan, while the advance on Pyongyang continues. About a fourth of our
People's Infantry has been destroyed, but they are delaying the advance.
By mid-game, the imperialists find themselves in a quandary.
As the Korean Peninsula widens north of the DMZ, the aggressors discover that
they cannot mass forces for offensives at selected points without creating gaps
that our infantry can infiltrate. Just like 1950, they always worry about their
supply lines. As our Dear Leader said, woe to the society that has motor
Patiently, I wait for an opportunity. A lone Yankee
mechanized division spearheads the thrust on the capital. The massed steel fist
of our People's Armor pounces on them. Alas, we do not destroy them, but only
force a retreat. However, this is good enough to cost them more Media Perception
Will the Coalition take Pyongyang? I suspect they would like to
bypass and starve it out, but how can they starve an already half-starved army?
Besides, the clock is ticking. The exploited Western and ROK masses only have
so much patience for an imperialist war. This forces Coalition forces to
assault the city.
Our Invincible and Ever-triumphant General is now faced with
a momentous decision. Once Pyongyang
is captured, we will lose the option to use our People's Nuclear Weapons. But
in his wisdom, and with the Coalition down to 120 Perception Points, the Sun of
the Communist Future believes that it would be folly to risk destroying the
Socialist Paradise when we can defeat our enemy by wearing him down.
The Coalition does assault Pyongyang at fearful cost. The Dear Leader
was right that the imperialists could be worn down. Unfortunately, the masses
were not yet equal to the task set before them. By Turn 13, the superior
firepower of the Coalition enabled them to win. Except for a few scattered
formations in the north, our army is mostly destroyed. I write this from exile
in the remote far west of China,
where my hosts keep me in a compound across from a Kentucky Fried Chicken
Even by the inhuman standards of the imperialists, "Drive on
Pyongyang" has flaws as a simulation. Beyond the inflated Coalition order of
battle, one would have expected their airpower to be the primary instrument
against WMD sites rather than a costly ground advance through unpaved roads
over mountain ranges. And even I must admit that it is generous not to force
the People's Army to maintain supply lines, given that our tanks need gasoline
as much as socialist ardor to operate. It is also gratifying how the game
incorporates the iron determination of our people, for I shamefacedly admit
that there are times when I wondered whether our starving conscripts would
surrender or desert rather than fight to the death.
To be fair, there are assumptions in any hypothetical
conflict, some of which will inevitably prove wrong. The warmongering Pentagon
may have reams of classified intelligence that it can feed into computers, but do
not assume that its predictions will prove any more accurate than a civilian
Regardless, given that there aren't too many games on a
ground war to overthrow the North Korean regime, "Drive on Pyongyang" will illustrate
a few truths for the exploited Western masses. One is that North Korea is
not an ideal battleground for a mechanized Western army. The mountains care not
for your tanks and UAVs.
A ground invasion of North Korea will be a conventional
war of an intensity the West has not experienced since 1950. However, it will
not be a blitzkrieg, or a race toward Baghdad.
The Coalition can take any piece of ground that it wants. The question is how
many casualties it is willing to suffer for it.
Alas, even I now succumb to capitalist temptation. That box
of KFC Extra Crispy smells very good.
Field Marshal Kim-Il Noob (retired)
NORTH KOREAN TV/AFP/Getty Images