As in their massive Army.
North Korea’s light infantry and special forces are taking on increasing importance as the country’s aging mechanized units, starved for technology and fuel, are likely becoming less relevant to the country’s war plans.
Infantry weapons have long been a pillar of the North Korean People’s Army, or KPA for short. The KPA that invaded South Korea was largely an infantry army, and despite significant mechanization in the 1970s the foundation of the army has been its infantry forces. Today, the bulk of the KPA’s 1.1 million army is infantry, with approximately 200,000 light infantry and special forces.
(This article first appeared last year.)
After the Korean War, North Korea followed the Soviet Union’s lead in infantry weapons. The oldest gun still in service is the KPA Type 58 assault rifle. A clone of the Soviet AK-47, the Type 58 was produced in two factories, #61 and #65 located near Chongjin, between 1958 and 1968. The Type 58 was a basic AK-pattern rifle with a 30 round magazine and a rate of fire of up to 650 rounds per minute. Approximately 800,000 rifles were produced, and while the 7.62-millimeter assault rifle is no longer in service with frontline units it allegedly still equips reserve units and militia.
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