Saturday 17 October 2020

Out Now! Our Book: North Korea’s Armed Forces, On The Path Of Songun

By Joost Oliemans and Stijn Mitzer
The DPRK. Shrouded in mysticism and secrecy, the nation represents an absolute unicum for the military analyst. No other country in the world manages to attract so much scrutiny to its controversial antics, yet divulge so little of material importance about its inner workings. This might be at the heart of why this country specifically has gripped our attention for so many years, and drawn us to write this book about its largely mysterious armed forces. The subject is broad and an aversion towards narrowing down the scope of this project means it has run into numerous delays along the way whilst the word count steadily kept rising. Unpleasant as this may have been in the meantime, this has enabled us to write a more complete treatise of both the Korean People Army's history and its current military convolutions than we could once have hoped for. The common thread found within these pages on all matters related to the North Korean military is proudly extolled on the cover: "On the Path of Songun" it is a subtitle fitting to the subject whichever way you regard it. To the North Koreans, "Songun" is the military first doctrine introduced by Kim Jong Un's father, Kim Jong Il; a supposed masterplan aimed at preserving the nation's sovereignty. Incidently, "On the Path of Songun" is also the title of one of the DPRK's many military documentaries – a highly welcome source of information for analysts like us. Viewed from another angle however, the phrase embodies the confrontational direction that has come to characterise North Korean politics in recent decades. Plastered across headlines through ever escalating tensions and an inexhaustable string of missile launches and atomic bomb tests, the question this book aims to answer about North Korea's armed forces is implicit to this subtitle: Where did the path of Songun lead them, and where will it next?
Title: North Korea’s Armed Forces, On the path of Songun
Date of publication: September 2020
Binding: Hardcover
Paper size: A4
Pages: 235
Photos: 425 full-colour photos and 30 black-and-white photos
Artworks: 64
Maps: 5 full-colour maps

North Korea’s Armed Forces: On the path of Songun attempts to bring a measure of clarity to the often unclear and complicated state of affairs in the intelligence community of North Korea-watchers. In the process, it seeks to disprove the much-echoed stance that there is little to fear from the DPRK's conventional military capabilities by providing information on a plethora of never-before described weapons systems and modernisation programs. Nonetheless, a full accounting which includes many new findings related to its infamous strategic arsenal also features prominently, as the Korean People's Army today can no longer be properly assessed seperately from its extensive WMD capabilities.

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. 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 will be covered, and its conflict history with the South and the world at large is put into new context. Moreover, an up-to-date, comprehensive assessment of the equipment holdings of several branches of the Korean People's Army is included, offering a numerical estimate 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 75 detailed color artworks and various maps put together through exhaustive research and analysis, as well as around 450 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 the many questions raised by the minefield of contradictory statements and misinformation that make up current literature about this reclusive nation.

The Armed Forces of North Korea, On The Path Of Songun can be ordered for £45.00 at Helion or at Amazon.

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