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[Op-Ed] Baekryeong Island Marines

Posted January. 29, 2010 06:19,   


The Korean Marine Corps consists of two divisions and one brigade. Except for the first division in the back, the second division and the sixth brigade have nicknames. The second division joined the Vietnam War as the “Blue Dragon,” which is also known as a “ghostbuster.” As the most powerful first division, the only perfectly equipped division in the Marines has no nickname, though it tried to find one. The sixth brigade, which is getting attention for firing guns toward the Northern Limited Line near Baekryeong Island, is called the “Black Dragon”.

The primary role of the first division is landing operations. It landed on sand or wetlands in the Korean War, and can also land on almost all coastal areas including cliffs. The division attacks coasts by using aircraft and missiles over the horizon, where it is invisible to the enemy. Then, marines in helicopters penetrate safe areas over the cliffy coast. They besiege enemies and rush to the continent. This is called “over-the-horizon landing.”

The most interesting part of the firefight is North Korea’s coastal artillery. It refers to artillery off the coast. The North’s cannons, which are often mentioned in coastal artillery, are from disintegrated tanks. Tank guns must shoot ammunition flying straight forward to attack enemy tanks, but they cannot attack the island because it is a short-range target. Other coastal artillery weapons are howitzers, which have a long range but are less accurate. In case of emergency, the Marines can avoid howitzer attacks when their submarines move out of range and Black Dragon members hide in an underground bunker.

Things could get complicated if North Korea attempts a landing on Baekryeong lsland by carrying troops on landing craft. Landing crafts can be destroyed by cannons but Black Dragon cannons are from American tanks used in the Second World War, so they are less accurate. The Black Dragon only has the old model M-48 and lacks the cutting-edge of South Korean tanks. The South Korean Army is responsible for defending the Seoul metropolitan area and has new over-the-air weapons such as Chunma (flying horse), Biho (flying tiger) and Shingung (God’s bow), but the Black Dragon has none of them. Baekryeong has female reserve forces because just a few men are available as Army reserves. Therefore, the Black Dragon must become a ghostbuster by getting weapons South Korea’s standing army has.

Editorial Writer Lee Jeong-hoon (hoon@donga.com)