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Posted on Jul 17, 2007 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features

Interactive Combat Story: Korea: The Next War

By John Antal

A few minutes later the first enemy tanks surge into range, traveling through the mist at 12 kilometers per hour with their hatches closed. A column of APCs follows closely behind.

The targets register as black “hot spots” moving across a white background in Stone’s thermal sight. He knows the drivers of the enemy tanks can’t see his M-1A1s in the remaining fog – with their hatches locked down tight, they can barely see the road. He watches them move past the flaming hulks of the three destroyed APCs.

“Blue Four, this is Blue One,” Stone calls over the radio. “Blue Two and I will get the tanks, you take the APCs. Over.”

"Roger, Blue One,” Buckner answers coolly.

“Identified! PC!” Koslowsky shouts.

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The enemy vehicles move forward with the T-62s and VTT-323s about 25 meters apart, maintaining their formation as if they were on parade in Pyongyang.

“Fire!” Stone radios.

The well-trained M-1A1 tank crews fire almost simultaneously. Koslowsky’s cannon strikes the lead T-62 tank and devastates it. A second enemy tank and two APCs also go up in flames. Despite these losses, the North Koreans keep coming. They simply bypass or push through the burning wrecks of their comrades.

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GREGORY PROCH
A view through the main gun sight shows a destroyed and smoking enemy T-62 tank as Stone and his platoon repel the assault of the lead North Korean company.

The American M-1A1 Abrams tanks continue to blast away, hidden by the trees, fog and smoke. Stone grins – the opponents are being destroyed by a force they cannot even see. The lead enemy company melts in front of the guns of Stone’s tank platoon.

Two T-62 tanks push through debris clogging the road and halt to return fire at the Americans. Unsure of which direction to turn, the enemy tanks form a firing line facing Sergeant Buckner’s section.

“Gunner, two tanks,” Stone alerts Koslowsky. “Left tank.”

“Identified!” Koslowsky swings the gun in the direction of the T-62s.

“Fire!”

The first shot hits the left tank squarely in the turret. Through his thermal sight, Stone can see a black plume of smoke belching from the turret of the dead North Korean tank.

“Right tank. Fire sabot,” Stone commands.

Park loads a depleted uranium sabot round and shouts, “Up!”

“On the way!” Koslowsky responds.

The round knocks the second North Korean tank on its side. The T-62 smolders for a brief second then explodes in a shower of sparks and orange flame.

Still, the enemy keeps coming. Two more T-62s soon appear.

“Identified two tanks,” Koslowsky shouts as he moves the crosshairs onto the lead vehicle.

“Fire and adjust,” Stone orders.

Koslowsky’s round hits the T-62 on the front slope, just below the turret.

In quick succession, more North Korean tanks and APCs become tombs for their unsuspecting tank crews as they come into range of the Americans’ guns. Before long, the valley is littered with 30 or more burning enemy vehicles.

Stone watches as the confused North Korean attack withers. Koslowsky soon runs out of moving targets. The valley – once intended to link the invading columns – is now a mass grave of enemy tanks and APCs. Scanning the battlefield with his thermal sight, Stone sees dozens of fires but no vehicles still stirring. His platoon has blocked the path of the NKPA.

Stone has accomplished his mission. His success lay in the proper positioning of his tanks at the exit of the valley. By relying on the restricted terrain to canalize the enemy vehicles and by dealing with the force piecemeal, the Americans were able to outgun the North Koreans as they attempted to exit the narrow defile.

To catch the next episode of “Korea: The Next War,” visit armchairgeneral.com in mid-September 2007.

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