North Korean uses defense to gain time, to prevent troop losses, or to cover a unit short of personnel. Defensive operations are also used to impede the enemyís attack and to secure important terrain.

The infantryís role in the defense is to secure territory by repelling the enemyís attack and to inflict heavy losses on the enemy with intense and continuous fire support and counter-assault. Infantry forces will secure the defile in preparation for the forward passage of lines of exploitation forces (armor and mechanized brigades). They will also screen froward of armored and mechanized forces when they are in a defensive posture. North Korean defenses are characterized by extensive use of obstacles.

The first obstacle belt we will encounter is formed with a combination of anti-armor and anti-personnel mines and obstacles. The second belt is primarily anti-tank obstacles, while the third is also a combination of anti-personnel and anti-armor mines. The distance between belts is 50 - 100 meters. Obstacle belts are covered by direct fire weapon systems


There are three types of defensive zones: security, main, and rear area. Division level units and smaller form security and main zones only. The rear area zone is established by corps level units and above. Figure 11 shows a typical nKPA defense, the text below will help explain the graphic to you.

Reconnaissance Assets

Corps and division level long range reconnaissance units, organic light infantry battalion, and Special Operation Forces (SOF) will establish observation posts 20 to 100 kilometers in front of their parent unit. These units are capable of calling artillery fires and providing intelligence information to north Korean leaders. The observation posts are established along all major routes and around major cities. Section three provides a more in-depth look at north Korean SOF units.


Security Zone

The security zone is divided into a general outpost zone and a combat outpost zone.

General Outpost

This is established by divisions only, it extends 10-15 km forward of the main defensive zone. The purpose of the general outpost is to cause early deployment of our forces as well as deceiving our reconnaissance elements.

Combat Outpost

This is established 1-3 km forward of the main defensive zone. Forces are normally platoon to company size from the forward battalion and company strongpoints. They are responsible for preventing enemy surprise attacks and deceiving our reconnaissance assets.

Main Defense Zone

The main defensive zone is established along one or more key avenues of approach and contains the majority of the defending unitís firepower. Defensive strongpoints are established by using high ground overlooking key intersections and obstacle belts. These locations are called "Critical Observation Sites (COS)" within the DRAGON FORCE.

Company defensive positions are the key to a divisionís defense. Battalions establish their defense with two companies forward and one back (as seen in figure 11 along the defensive baseline). The area between the two forward platoons and the rear platoon is called a fire sac. A battalion defense consists of three company defensive positions. Battalions are arrayed with two battalions forward in the first echelon and one back in the second echelon. The anti-armor reserve supports the first echelon and overwatches established obstacles and minefields.

Reserve/Counterattack Force

Typically, a north Korean defense will maintain an armored reserve. The size of the reserve is two echelons below that of the unit forming the defense (i.e. a brigade will hold a company in defense). Infantry regiments will form their reserve using T-55 tanks, while the reserve of a mechanized or armor unit is T-62 tanks. The reserve force establishes positions along a route which gives them easy access to the attacking unitís flank or rear. The counterattack will incorporate obstacles in order to block our advance and trap us, allowing the counterattack force to hit us when our attention is focused on another problem.



North Korean forces do not possess the technology to conduct extensive operations at night. Though their armored forces are equipped with night vision capability, they are rudimentary and are not very effective.