The North Korean Military, otherwise known as the Korean Peoples Army (조선인민군) was founded on February 8th, 1948 and is headed by Marshal Kim Jong Un who is the supreme commander of the North Korean Military.
The North Korean Military is generally considered the 4th biggest in the world and is made up of a few different branches.
Branches of the North Korean Military:
The Korean People’s Army Ground Force ( 조선인민군 륙군)
The primary component of the North Korean Military is the Korean People’s Army Ground force. The Korean People’s Army Ground Force is responsible for all land-based combat operations and is made up of approximately 1,000,000 members.
The Korean People’s Army Ground Force used a mix of Soviet / Chinese military equipment, but in the past few years, there has also been a push to used locally produced military hardware.
A large number of the Korean People’s Army Ground Force is situated close to the DMZ, which is visited on most of our North Korea tours. In fact, it is even possible to take a photo with a member of the North Korean Military here!
The Korean People’s Army Air and Anti – Air Force (조선인민군 항공 및 반항공군)
The second-largest branch of the Korean People’s Army is its air force made up of approximately 110,000 Members and an aircraft fleet of nearly 1000.
Most of the planes possessed by the air force are of soviet or Chinese origin. While primarily a defensive air force, they have been deployed abroad on a few occasions, including Vietnam, during the Vietnam war.
Korean Peoples Navy (조선인민군 해군)
The Korean Peoples Navy is made up of approximately 60,000 active service personnel and an active fleet of around 780 Vessels
The Korean Peoples navy is split into a West Sea Fleet and an East Sea Fleet with about 20 bases spread throughout the country, including major ones in Nampo, Wonsan and Haeju.
The Korean Peoples navy was responsible for capturing the American ship USS Pueblo, which still sits docked in Pyongyang today. This remains one of the North Korean Military
Korean Peoples Army Strategic Rocket Force (조선인민군 전략로케트군)
Formed in 1999, the Korean Peoples Army Strategic Rocket Force is responsible for North Korea’s strategic missiles program
This is one of the country’s most secretive branches, and not much is known about its size or warfare capabilities.
Korean Peoples Army Special Operation Force
The Elite of the Elite is the Korean Peoples Army Special Operation Force, which is made up of approximately 200,000 service members.
Much like the Korean People’s Army Strategic Rocket force, not much is known about this unit other than the fact that they are the best of the best in the KPA and possess the most modern military hardware out of the entire armed forces.
Workers Peasant Red Guards (로농적위군)
The Peasant Red Guards is a civilian defense force that was formed by President Kim Il Sung on January 14th, 1959. The force is estimated to be five million members strong and is organized on a provincial/city level or town/village level.
The primary responsibility of the Workers Pesant Red Guards within the North Korea Military is to defend cities in wartime and respond to natural disasters.
Want to see the North Korea Military up close?
2020 will mark both the 75th Anniversary of Liberation Day, which celebrates the end of Japanese occupation in Korea as well as the 75th Anniversary of Party Foundation Day. Both these holidays are expected to include military parades and are not to be missed.
YPT has a number of tours on offer for all budgets to see North Korea’s military up close during the 75th Anniversary Celebrations in 2020!
See the list of tours below:
Contact us today for more information!