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Posted on Sep 10, 2007 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features

Interactive Combat Story: Korea: The Next War, Part II

By John Antal

In the face of a renewed North Korean attack, can you keep Stone’s men alive and lead them to victory in this exciting story of what might happen during the next war in Korea?

Tomorrow evening, near Korea’s Demilitarized Zone

Second Lieutenant Robert Stone stands in the turret of an M-1A1 Abrams tank and wipes the sweat and grime from his face with his Nomex-gloved hand. Fifteen minutes ago, he was engaged in intense combat. During the battle, the roar of cannon and machine-gun fire was deafening and he didn’t have time to think about how afraid he was. Now that there is a lull in the battle, the only thing he hears is the sound of his heart pounding and the muffled explosions of small-arms ammunition igniting inside burning North Korean vehicles.


“We made it,” Stone’s gunner, Sergeant Joe Koslowsky, announces over the radio. “Thank God we made it.”

Stone doesn’t answer. He knows this pause in the battle is temporary. The enemy will come again – and soon.

An M-1A1 tank enters the Twin Bridges training area in the Republic of Korea. The vehicle is readying for a mock battle against two infantry companies during an exercise aimed at preparing Combined Forces Command to handle threats from North Korea. Image Credit: DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

The previous battle was intense, short, and close-ranged. At least 20 burning North Korean armored vehicles litter the open ground. The fires reflect against the low-hanging clouds, painting a scene that is dark and red. Suddenly, the cannon ammunition inside one of the wrecked hulks detonates. The broken turret of a T-62 tank flies into the air as a huge fireball reaches up to heaven. Thick black smoke rises from the explosion and mixes with the dark storm clouds overhead.

“At least we held the pass,” Stone muses as he surveys the destruction that his platoon has wrought. He realizes that he made the right decision by defending the valley’s exit rather than its entrance. When the North Koreans found the valley unguarded, they raced to the exit, hoping that their speed and numbers would overcome any defenders. They hadn’t counted on Stone’s four M-1A1 Abrams tanks, which surprised and then smashed the lead enemy battalion as it exited the valley.

The battle was not a fair one, and the North Koreans didn’t stand a chance once they entered the engagement area. The obsolete North Korean T-62s, like much of the North Korean arsenal, are no match for modern American tanks. The depleted uranium sabot rounds fired from the M-1 cut through the armor of the T-62s like an ice pick through a ripe watermelon. On the other hand, the 115 mm tank rounds fired from the T-62s’ cannon glanced off the M-1A1s’ steel-encased depleted uranium armor without leaving more than scratches.

The enemy’s armored personnel carriers (APCs) were also outclassed. The thinly armored North Korean VTT-323 APCs “brewed up” nicely when struck by 120 mm high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds.

Stone had learned a valuable combat lesson: Never fight a fair fight. Winning is about overwhelming, surprising, and trapping the enemy, not giving him a chance.

[continued on next page]

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