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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

You Chose Course of Action One: Fight From Present Position.

Stone decides to keep his tanks in the same position. “The enemy is probably just as tired and confused as we are,” Stone surmises. “We must hold on, and blundering around in the dark is a sure way to lose control. Luck in the long run is given only to those who persist.”

Stone’s tanks defeated the enemy in the first round, and he believes he can win the second and the third rounds from these positions as well. He keys the transmitter and radios the platoon. “We’ll take on the next wave of the North Korean attack from this position. There’s enemy infantry in the valley and they’re probably headed our way. We stopped their armored push, so now they are going to try to swarm us with troops. We have good fields of fire and with our thermal sights we’ll be able to observe the North Koreans as they exit the valley. The platoon will engage by crossfire. Tanks Three and Four, observe and engage anything that moves along the direction of Hill 575. Tank Two and my tank will observe and engage enemy coming from the direction of Hill 555.”


The first M-1A1 tank arrives at the Twin Bridges training area in the Republic of Korea during an exercise. Several such exercises are held throughout the year as U.S. and ROK forces prepare for a possible invasion from the North. Image Credit: DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

“Wilco,” Sergeant Buckner responds. “Second Platoon can stop ‘em.”

Stone takes a deep breath and waits. He grabs the turret override control and scans the western exit of the valley. Except for the smoldering remnants of North Korean tanks and APCs, he sees no movement.

A dozen North Korean artillery shells suddenly explode a hundred meters behind Stone’s tank, causing the ground to shake. Stone stands up in the tank commander’s hatch and closes the hatch cover for protection. The enemy’s artillery seems to be getting closer, and Stone fears it won’t be long before the North Koreans shift their fire onto his platoon.

The time passes as more artillery rounds hit near Stone’s tank. The explosions seem smaller than before, and Stone guesses that these detonations must be from enemy mortars.

“They’re popping flares overhead,” Sergeant Buckner announces over the radio. “They must be coming, but I don’t see anything moving in the valley.”

“Understand,” Stone radios in reply. “Their infantrymen need the flares to fight us in the dark, so you’re right, they’ll be coming soon. Keep searching for targets.”

An enemy tank suddenly charges out of the valley. It is so close that it fills Stone’s thermal sight. The lieutenant doesn’t have time for a fire command. “Tank!” he shouts, firing the gun himself from the tank commander’s override.

Course of Action One Results. By remaining in the same position where they fought off the first North Korean attack, the Americans prove vulnerable to enemy anti-tank guided missiles fired from nearby high ground. The plan was a deadly misjudgment by young Lieutenant Stone. Image Credit: PETHO CARTOGRAPHY

The M-1 rocks backward from the recoil of its 120 mm cannon. Stone’s aim is good, but the lieutenant can hardly miss at this range. The T-62, 200 meters away, crashes to a halt as its turret rips off in a terrific explosion.

“Gunner, fire and adjust,” Stone shouts to Koslowsky over the intercom. Koslowsky then takes control of the gun.

Stone listens to the battle chatter on the platoon radio net. The rest of his tanks fire furiously, as fast as gunners can identify targets and loaders can load. The battlefield is now covered in thick black smoke.

[continued on next page]

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