The Western Pacific D+17 (26 July, 1987)

Western Pacific D+17

0117– The first US attacks against targets in the Pyongyang area are launched. Against a pitch black, star-filled sky two explosions shatter the morning calm. Smoke and fire pour from the twisted wreckage of the Ministry of Defense building and Mansudae Hall, seat of the Supreme People’s Assembly. The two F-117 stealth fighters that dropped the laser-guided ordnance on these targets were outbound and clear before the first anti-aircraft batteries started to fire. Northeast of the capital, another explosion occurred around the same time, adding to the growing chaos and confusion gripping Pyongyang. This target was the location of a suspected leadership bunker that intelligence reports suggested was in use by high-ranking North Korean government officials. A third F-117 was responsible for hitting the bunker.

0500– Radio Pyongyang goes off the air.

0520– Shortly thereafter, communications links between Pyongyang and North Korean commanders in South Korea follow suit.

0735– With no guidance or orders coming from Pyongyang, North Korean corps commanders on the ground in South Korea order their units to adopt a hold-in-place posture for the time being.

1045– Unconfirmed rumors of fighting in the streets of Pyongyang reach the Chinese government in Beijing.

1130– US listening posts in Japan pick up open radio transmissions from a military headquarters outside of Pyongyang ordering North Korean forces to refuse commands that originate from the Ministry of Defense.

1340– The confusion in North Korea encourages Combined Forces Command to take advantage of it. Although the situation is unclear, CFC commander General Lou Menetrey, US Army orders his forward-most divisions to launch aggressive, local counterattacks and gauge the reaction of the enemy.

1528– Pyongyang has become a communications blackhole. Government and military radio networks are silent. State media has not returned to the air. There is no information coming from the North Korean capital.

1755– Clashes break out between troops from sister North Korean regiments south of Tongduchon.

2100– Radio Pyongyang returns to the air with the following announcement: “This is the radio of the Revolutionary People’s Government of North Korea.” Continuous funeral dirges are broadcast next, stretching beyond midnight and into the following day.

13 Replies to “The Western Pacific D+17 (26 July, 1987)”

  1. hmmm Would the North Korean troops be that divided within if Kim disappeared? Or the Generals harboring other ideas? I think more the latter… but cult of personalities are screwy things.

    I remember there being a few purges over the years…. but I forget if there had been one in the mid 80’s. Not that I was paying *that much* attention back then…

    I do know, given the paranoia there… whacking Kim would throw almost everything into question as to who is in charge and what not. IIRC, Jong-il was 46 years old at the time this is set…. Daddy irl died in 1994….

    O Jin-u was the head of the Ministry of Peoples Armed Forces at the time of this tale. Given the limited info I’ve time to dig up and read, he appeared to be pretty loyal to Kim il-Sung- and by reports, also a champion of Jong-il being next in line should Sung pass.

    I mean, he was one of the longest serving members of the Presidium of the WPK (ultimately one of the last surviving members at the death of Sung) and supposedly had a good handle on the DPRK Army loyalty…. at least among the generals.

    He was 75 (if math is right) at the time of this story… and if in any of those command structures, I suspect he’d not have fared well in a heavy damage building. I know a thing or two about bunker busters* and have a fair idea what they can and can’t do, based on construction of the target and such. Might sound dry… but its interesting.

    (*: I thought the story of the Dam Busters of WW2 was damn cool… and always thought deep strike anti-logistics missions (air or ground) were kinda daring- I read alot of the War 2 stories of that stuff. I was a bored kid, what can I say…)

    He’d have been a pretty good bet to keep the General’s in line… if he avoided being incapacitated. If not, then anyone harboring a jump-the-wall/slip-the-leash mentality… would and could move against Dear Leader and his offspring.

    Now I’m goddamn curious as to what comes next… Grrrr…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My guess is that most would remain loyal to the Kim regime. The famine had not happened yet at this point and regime propoganda would still have been very efffective. Most of the soldiers had known nothing but the Kim regime for their entire lives and they would have revered them as gods.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you’re right and the way real world history has played out supports your argument. The famine came and didn’t blow the Kim regime from power. Now they’re in a major crisis again and the regime appears to be as in-control as ever. Really depressing.


    1. That’s the million dollar question, Steve. Even more important is the location and condition of Kim Jong Il


  2. Time for someone to get on the phone with Beijing and tell them there will be a 10 mile border buffer zone with China and that the Kim dynasty dies here and now. Well, one can dream. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Somebody better hope China can jump in and bring some stability if things get worse on the ground in North Korea


  3. Realpolitik: China will move in to “stabilize” North Korea, they’ll wind up as China’s “problem child” for the next n years, but China *will* *not* tolerate a powerful, western-aligned military state right on their border. That’s part of why they got involved in the dust up in the Korean War in the first place. If it hadn’t been for the Chicoms being paranoid about the US/UN creating a wholly free Korean peninsula, they’d have never invaded. So, they’ll keep North Korea as a buffer state. Probably moderately more free, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pretty good guess. China has more to lose if North Korea goes rogue. That’s something to keep in mind at the present time as well. The situation over there looks a little shaky right now.

      Liked by 1 person

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