Sunday, 1 November 2015

Temporary suspension of posting

Dear reader,

You might already have noticed a lack of content this month, a situation which unfortunately will continue to perpetuate for some time to come. This is because we're currently fully committed to finishing our book on the North Korean military by the title of The Armed Forces of North Korea, on the path of Songun, which deprives us of most of the time normally spent on writing articles for Oryx Blog. Regular posting is expected to resume a few months into 2016, when most work on the book should be finished. We hope you can understand, and look forward to finally completing the culmination of years of extensive study of the DPRK and its armed forces.

Kind regards,

The authors of Oryx Blog

''North Korea’s Armed Forces: On the path of Songun seeks to bring order and coherence to the chaotic state of affairs in the intelligence community of North Korea-watchers, as well as to disprove the much-echoed stance that there is little to fear from the DPRK by providing information on a plethora of never-before described weapons systems and modernisation programmes.

North Korea’s Armed Forces maps the most important events from the inconclusive ceasefire struck at the end of the Korean War, throughout the Cold War until modern day, and an especially heavy emphasis is placed on the current status of the Korean People's Army by examining their wealth of indigenously designed weaponry. In the course of the book not only will many of the Korean People's Army’s most secret projects and tactics be unveiled, but also new light will be shed on the deadly flare-ups between the North and the South, and novel evidence on tragic incidents such as the Cheonan sinking and Yeongpyeong bombing of 2010 is brought forth. Moreover, an up-to-date, comprehensive listing of the equipment holdings of several branches of the Korean People's Army is included, offering a numerical assessment of its naval and aerial capabilities. From the recently introduced stealth missile boats, ballistic missile submarines and main battle tank families to their often-ignored indigenous aircraft industry, virtually all indigenous weapons systems are discussed extensively.

This exclusive content is illustrated by over forty detailed color artworks and various maps put together through exhaustive research and analysis, as well as around 170 unique images, many of which have never before been seen by the general public. Through scrutiny of satellite footage, the observation of North Korean propaganda outlets and by carefully examining information from the United States Department of Defense, the DPRK's advances in each of the Korean People's Army's respective branches are uncovered. Nearly all of the ’hermit kingdom’s’ military exploits are included and an accurate picture of the North's capabilities in both symmetrical and asymmetrical warfare is provided. This book was written specifically for anyone interested in North Korea's military capabilities or looking to find answers to many questions raised by the minefield of contradictory statements and misinformation that make up current intelligence about this reclusive nation.''


  1. Good luck with your book,and we look forward till you continue posting on Oryx Blog.

  2. Interesting,even so the north korean military still pathetic and obsolete and in my opinion in case of war this should probaly be desert storm 2.0 put now in korea,and watching some of their propaganda and the inminent destruction of the evil imperialist each year...well, the army of Saddam is more dangerous.

    And about the press saying is nothing to fear is more like the contrary, everytime when North Korea scream war all the media and the people fear North Korea like some fictional overpowered versión of the country from a videogame o movie like Red Dawn or Homefront the videogame not the series and event repeat their propaganda and phothosop fails like the images of the overcraft of some years ago or the "advance military equipment"in form of t 55 tanks and chinese copies of the mig 19.

    1. There are clues online that they heavily based some details of their stategies on the shortcomings of Iraq in 1989, not to mention however that the similarities are very few considering 1) very different ground (not plain desert, but rugged and mountains), 2) very close distance between dense populated areas in South Korea, 3) specific key differences in weapons and tactics (Saddam's tanks were basically ammassed in open ground, with little to zero cover, while if you check the NK armors, they started a massive addition of Manpads and 14.5mm machine guns, probably exactly to counter the anti-tank raids of A-10 and Apaches).

      As happens often, truth it's in the middle. For exemple the so-called "photoshop fails" of hovercrafts doesnt not deny they HAVE an hundred of Hovercrafts, just for that photo they wanted a nice shot to be posted on the KCNA.
      So 1)Yeah there was photoshop 2) No, it was not relevant to assess the military item in question.

      And your description of "T-55 tanks" and "Mig-19" seems a but lacking. First of all because their most modern tanks are of course not at the level of the T-80/90, but can probably pair with T-72 (and once again, with different tactics and ground they can achieve different results), finally they have more modern aircrafts than the MiG-19 (like the MiG-21,23,29, Su-25). Even if Air Force is clearly their heavy spot, due lack of import, they have recently made gains in the air-defense that is surely less weak than Lybia...

    2. There are some speculation among observers that purported "obsolete" hardware, over the top propaganda that are regularly trotted out in the parades are a carefully orchestrated deception. In other words, North Korea is very happy for the rest of the world to believe that it uses antique equipment from the 60s/70s, while it pursues other modern capabilities.

      The truth is probably somewhere in between. I think it is believable that they have developed capabilities far exceeding what we know, but they remain limited in the ability to roll out these capabilities widely, in a transformational manner. Excited to read the book.

    3. Yes they have some "modern" aircraft and tanks,a bunch of mig 29 and copies of the t 62,still no match for even some third world countries and the hovercraft is not the problemas,the problem is they can mover enougth soldiers and armour to the south and not be destroyed or sunk in the progress and later not be killed in a brutal carnage in the coast,of course this two contries are different put if you know how work a dictatorial is hopeless to believe they hace competent officers in charge and not the most loyals to the regime and lest no talk about a collapse or civil war just like Syria.

    4. I agree with the previous anonymus.
      A key figure more than the tech is also the use of them. Take in note for example that the air war in Kosovo did not affected the Yugo like it did the Iraqui, because they adopted different tactics. Same happened in Libya (more weak than North Korea), that was able to fight of for some time the rebels, and the Gheddafi's downfall was due to some big strategy mistakes and underestimation and covert plots with his own officers.

      A war in DPRK would difficultly see large "tank battles", and most of their tanks would be widespread for multiple purposes to support the infantry (like happened in the older Korean War). A key figure of all this is also the actual capability of SK/ROK forces to destroy all the items and manpower of North Koreans, not so easy especially considering the very close distances of the battlelines and the use of camouflage tactics, tunnel warfare, night warfare and strenghting of air defence (once again, standard A-10/Apache raids like done in Iraq could hardly be done).

      Shortcomings of the ROK forces can actually be seen in the last years engagements: lack to intercept the NK midget submarines, lack to cause real damages to the north with counter-artillery fire (due quickly repositioning of North rocket launchers).

      You are right however in stating that the worse issue for the North Korean is actually lack of good generals, with purges that could possibly eliminate the most effective officers (believed to be "too much" effective) and replacing them with less capable commanders, moreover sensible to switch side and defect like happened in Libya

    5. Just a note the artillery incident was a very easy target for the north koreans,a little place whith no real firepower except a couple of self propeled artillery, a exausted soldiers(the attack afther two hours of real fire exercise of the south korean army)the used a lot of heavy artillery and rockets,as usual the north koreans attacks like cowards and weak enemies;event so they failed to destroy the artillery and damage was minimal in the south korean side and the counter attack event whith a bunch of artillery looks like the south destroy or kill the soldiers of at least one position and about the submarines only god knows the real operative condition of the entire fleet and how many time can be let in the sea before they got destroyed or got out of fuel or sunk because the climate or crash in the coast like one of the failed attacks in the 90s.
      About their generales lets only say that this guys event the younger ones in their photos looks like they fougth every single war and battle in the xx century counting their medals, just the typical banana republic generals,no mention to their bombastic spefches and propaganda videos and calling to the complete destruction of their enemies just like the islamic fundamentalist who dream whith war and easy battles like a videogame, in case of war i just dont have any minimal hope for the north korean army unless a foreigh power like Russia or China retur to save the day for Kim like in the 50s if not,well is just a meatgrinder for the north.
      And the tanks can be detecte and destroyed tanths to the drones and satellite intelligency in fact is irónic the south korean have better weapons and industry put they chose to have a little put powerful and modern army, the north meanwhile they clain they have 6000 tanks only and thousans of others armored vehicles(they even use agricultural tractors to move katyuska rockets)and we know the mountains of the north is no good for biggest tank colums and divisions and lests no talk about the fuel,spare parts and logistic, is just insane and out of proportion for the north,is the typical waste of resources and bad strategy by a dictator who loge great quantities of weapons,event if the mayor part of this weapons are obsolete,out of service,poor training and bad resources and generals;in the end every little "dictatorial paradise" go wrecked thanks to their incompetente.

    6. Your comment it's clearly biased by personal political view, and in every case and matter no military analys should ever be biased by such view: at best are cause of mistakes, at worse whole battles and wars were lost because of this.
      Calling a fighting part "coward" because the choice it's to attack a weak spot of an enemy is simply a childish comment and behavior because EVERY general in EVERY armed force chose to attack the weak side, the unprotected side or the less trained units of the enemy when they aim to score an easier succes..
      Satellite evidence by western analysts (J.Bermudez) confirmed that the South Korean fire failed to score direct hits or cause some kind of relevant damage to any of the batteries: the MLRS were missed and when the SK artillery targeted the islet at best the struck a corner fo a building. The rest is just south korean propaganda.
      The North Koreans instead caused widespread damages to civilian and military buildings, one of the 6 SK guns was out of action due a fragment (while other two by own faults of south korean artillerymen), caused casualties (both military and civilian) and first of all achieved a propaganda effect (the main reason of the attack).
      Especially they proved that despite the SK claims of propaganda, the ROK was not ready neither reacted quickly and with the proper strenght...

      Your evaluation of the submarine force it's at best a random "guessing", you can actually go on Google Earth and check the different harbors of the North Koreans, and see how month by month the submarines often change position: sign they go out in missions and patrols. Such submarines were of course labeled as "toys" by the South Korean (and often western) analysts, obviously just before the sinking of the corvette. And that was ONE single attack (achieved also when the SK Navy was involved in military training, it should neither considered a "full surprise attack").

      You are right considering the probable lack of skill of generals and officers: this is especially true also if one look at the past, during the early stage of the Korean War, there were some good North Korean generals who were veterans of the fight against Japanese, all these men were however purged in the later years after the war.

      Your claim about tanks it's a bit easy and simple to do: yeah... with drones and satellites you can see "what seems a tank", and you can bomb it, hoping meanwhile it was not hidden under a hill or a tunnel, and in this case the airplane should change ammunition and time is lost. And once again (please, I would not REPEAT myself); you simply can't count/hope to make Iraq's style raids of "tanks hunts" with Apache helicopters and A-10 attack planes (or similar): not if every single tank has a Manpad and each is paired with 14.5mm or superior weapons.

      Having so many tanks is not a waste of time if you consider them as supportive weapons for the infantry: especially to open a way among the south korean cities south of DMZ (there are a number before Seul itself). And the best way to counter them would of course not using aviation (in populated areas with fleeing civilians?) nor tanks (you can't simply displace a tank unit in such urban areas), but use INFANTRY with proper weapons (TOWs etc...) the outcome? You can beat them, but you can't expect it to be easy and the toll of deaths will not be light.

      Mentioning the use of tractors showed in the previous parade is useless: it was clearly a show of how they can adapt civilian vehicles for such use, not exposing some "lack" of vehicles to carry their MLRS. But this should have been clear to everyone who watched the videos.

      To be honest, your kind of analysts should be a bit more accurate (and read the book that the Oryx Blog will publish), because this kind of "they're all crap" analysts was paid with the life of a dozens of South Korean servicemen in the last years.

  3. I thought you guys went to Syria to fight Russians!��

  4. I seriously missed seeing posts from you about RuAF operations in Syria, the use of cruise missiles, etc. But I understand that the book comes first. The book looks really interesting and I will put it on my buy list when it comes out. And of course, I look forward to reading your posts when they resume. This is one of my favorite blogs and a hiatus won't change that.

  5. Really enjoy your blog shame we wont be getting anymore posts for a while, good luck with the book!

  6. We respect your effort and really looking forward to read your masterpiece. This is one of the best military sites in the world ! My best wishes !

  7. Looking forward to seeing the book, chaps. Best wishes.

  8. When are you coming back? It feels like you've been MIA forever, now.

    1. Ha, not for a while I'm afraid.

  9. Question about you me book :

    Are you also writting on the North Korea Air Force or just about its land forces? Thank you :)

  10. Hello Oryx, I have really enjoyed your well written and informed blog, especially your analysis of the wars in the Middle East; when do you expect to return, I'm looking forward to your take on the recent advances of the SAA.

    Also I'm looking forward to your book on the “Hermit State".

    Thank you.