The U.S. Army is teaching soldiers to fight in the enclosed space of tunnels, a strategy that demands significantly different tactics than above-ground warfare. Nearly all of the soldiers involved are a part of a “North Korea readiness” campaign that aims to prepare the American military for the prospective eventuality of war with Kim Jong-un’s very large 1.3 million member army.
• The focus on tunnel warfare stems from the fact that North Korea is home to approximately 5,000 underground tunnels, each originally created to empower their military to attack South Korea on the sly.
• Theoretically, North Korea could travel underground into South Korea, launching a surprise attack. This is especially risky given that North Korean leaders claim to have access to biological weapons like anthrax.
• Tunnel warfare is especially unique because soldiers must work in low-oxygen, tightly constricted spaces – one wrong move and an entire group of soldiers could lose their lives. Picture a group of 20 soldiers advancing forward, only to be met with automatic gunfire; it would take very little to achieve high casualty numbers.
• Underground warfare also carries a heightened risk for tunnel collapse. A single well-placed land mine could effectively trap soldiers underground or result in deaths via suffocation.
• At least a portion of the 5,000 tunnels South Korea is already aware of verge into the demilitarized zone or even into South Korea altogether. While many of these tunnels are already monitored for activity, it is ultimately possible that some lie undiscovered.
• In other wars, the U.S. Military has used aerial attacks to decimate underground tunnels. Unfortunately, attacks from the air are virtually useless against North Korea’s tunnels because the country built them so far underground.
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What are your biggest concerns when it comes to North Korea’s tunnels?