Artillery: Cheapskate North Korean Shells


November 7, 2006: Chinese artillery officers are puzzling over a recent incident. On October 1st, an artillery shell, fired from North Korea, landed next to a government building in northern China. The shell did not explode, but buried itself about three feet in the earth, and created a crater about six feet wide. Soldiers dug the shell out, and artillery experts disassembled it. The shell did not have a fuze, and instead of explosives, the interior was filled with an inert substance that was part cement. Speculation is that the poverty stricken North Koreans leave explosives out of practice shells, to save money, and enable them to do practice firing close to occupied areas. There are several North Korean army bases, close to the Chinese border, that have artillery units in them. Less charitable speculation was that the shell was a test run for a new smuggling scheme, firing shells filled with heroin (which North Korea has been producing for years, as a way to raise badly needed foreign currency.) The police have been questioning people along the border, to see if there may have been other shells, of this type, that landed. Police have also warned people not to talk about the incident, but that obviously didn't work.

These shells make a loud "thump" when they land, and a noise similar to a train passing overhead, if you are under the flight path. But if the shells are fired into thinly inhabited areas, no one would notice. Unless they knew where to look. An experienced crew can fire 122mm or 152mm shells quite accurately, for long distances (20 kilometers or more.)


Article Archive

Artillery: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close