- Not as a sub-tree, but as a full tree (e.g. United Korea tree)
Today I want to suggest a sub-tree for China, in the form of North Korea! I want to preface this by saying that NK doesn’t have to go to China, but I believe it makes the most sense. There are 4 possibilities I can see for NK being added to the game. Number 1, and what I am suggesting, is a sub-tree for China. Not only is their a precedent in the game already (what with NK planes [Shenyang F-5] in the Chinese tree), but North Korean vehicles have a pretty decent overlap with Chinese technology.
Number 2 would be adding it to the USSR – again, due to close relations and technology sharing – but they already have 5 lines (seemingly the maximum for the game at the moment) and do not need the extra vehicles.
Number 3 would be adding it to a future Middle Eastern/Arab League tree (due to NK exporting vehicles to them, as well as rumoured technology sharing between states like Syria and Iran with NK), but that’s little more than an educated guess.
Number 4 would be a full tree, air and ground, with South Korea as a United Korea tree. This is imo the 2nd best option but I still do not believe it would be the best.They would lack proper indigenous air vehicles and would only have 3 lines, maybe 4 at best
But let’s get on into the suggestion.
As you can see, there are quite a few vehicles, all the way from Rank II to Rank VII, with vehicles of every category other than heavy tank (of which there are literally no options).
Another preface: Yes, we know very little about North Korean tanks. They are very secretive and what we do know sometimes amounts to little more than guesswork. However, I do think I’ve managed to create a well-rounded tree with as many vehicles as possible that can be modelled fairly accurately in game.
But overall, they are very interesting tanks that I believe absolutely should be seen in game.
While there are no vehicles in my tree for Rank I, there is technically one option. The only problem is that this one option is already in the Chinese tree – the SU-76M.
Either the sub-tree starts at Rank II, as the South African sub-tree did until just recently, or they move the SU-76M over. Either way, it’s very empty around here anyway, owing to the fact North Korea wasn’t even a country until after WW2.
Tank destroyer based on the 323 APC chassis, armed with a Soviet 76mm M1936 F-22. Has similar ballistic performance to the 76mm F-34 present in game on the later T-34-76 variants.
Very thin armour, likely only around 10-20mm maximum. Top speed of this variant unknown, but APC variant said to be around 60km/h, so expect something in the 50s-60s for this one.
SPG based on the chassis of the M1973 APC, itself derived from the Chinese Type 63 APC. Houses a Soviet 122mm D-30 howitzer. For balance purposes, this first variant should only fire HE rounds. Top speed around 60km/h. Amphibious.
Tank destroyer based on the 323 APC chassis, armed with a Soviet 100mm BS-3. Similar performance to the D-10, mounted on the SU-100 (among others). Top speed around 50-60km/h, likely lower than both the 323 APC and 323 (F-22) owing to the larger gun. Once again, thinly armoured.
SPAA based on the ‘Tŏkch’ŏn’ series of hulls, themselves based on the Soviet ATS-59 artillery tractor. Mounted 2x 37mm Chinese Type 65 cannons, themselves copies of the Soviet 37mm 61-K. This is already in game on the ZSU-37 and Phòng không T-34. It would play very similarly to the Phòng không T-34, with the same ammunition, so I suggest the same BR of 5.0.
SPG based on the Chuche Po chassis. Fully enclosed turret housing a 122mm D74. Has both APHE and HE rounds available to it. Maximum speed of around 45km/h. Similar-ish to 2S3M in the Soviet tree.
Amphibious light tank, also known as the PT-85 in some Western sources. Has some similar aesthetics to the PT-76, but is based on the Chinese VTT-323 APC. 85mm gun, similar to that of the Chinese Type 62/63. 60km/h. This is the more modern version of the vehicle; one of the earlier ones seen will be a premium.
Also known as the Type 85/Susong Po. ATGM carrier based on the 323 APC, housing multiple Malyutka ATGM launchers.
Identical to the tech-tree M1981, but with 9M14 Malyutka ATGMs present on the turret. Up-BR’ed to 7.0, but with the ATGM, and potentially the DJW85 APFSDS already in game on the ZTS63, this would be very fun to play.
SPAA based on the ZSU-57-2. Has a new hull (based on the ZSU-23-4) and a new turret design, but still retains the same weaponry (and ammunition). Would be at 6.7, not 7.0, due to the severe lack of gun depression (around 0-1 degrees, max.), and thus limited anti-tank capabilities.
APC based on the BRDM-2. This version carries 1x Bulsae-2 launcher (copy of the 9K111 Fagot – 400mm penetration), as well as a 30mm AGS-17 grenade launcher.
SPG based on the Chuche Po chassis. Fully enclosed turret housing a 122mm D30. Much more modern variant than the D74. Likely a modified D30 owing to the much increased length (and subsequently, performance). Maximum speed of around 45km/h. Also armed with Soviet 9K38 Igla SAM, an oddity among modern vehicles that NK appears to love.
First North Korean MBT. Also erroneously referred to as the Ch’ŏnma-Ho, although this is not the official North Korean name. Essentially a license-produced T-62. Some sources claim weaker armour, but this is both uncertain, and NK produced both their own and imported some directly, thus it could/should be added as a standard T-62, at 8.7
The second minor upgrade of the Ch’ŏnma. Simply adds an external laser rangefinder on top of the barrel. Should be added at 8.7 and foldered with the Ch’ŏnma. If the LRF proves too powerful and just simply better than the standard T-62/Ch’ŏnma, then the armour could be slightly lowered to match the claims that the ones produced by NK have weaker armour.
First major Ch’ŏnma upgrade. Also erroneously referred to as the ‘Ch’ŏnma-Ho III’. Adds a new welded turret with side ERA, a thermal sleeve, smoke grenades, an upgraded engine and a LRF, as well as possible NVDs.
At 9.0, it would effectively be a worse-protected, but better mobility (and firepower, at least for the T-55) T-55AM-1, or T-62M-1.
Upgrade of the Ch’ŏnma-92 that keeps the new welded turret, smoke, LRF (as well as new sideskirts), but adds (possibly, but also likely) an autoloader, a new FCS and thermals (the latter 2 imported from Iran). This therefore is a step up, and should be at 9.3, foldered with the Ch’ŏnma-92. Also erroneously referred to as the ‘Ch’ŏnma-Ho IV’.
Serial-production version of the Ch’ŏnma-98. Should be added foldered at 9.3 with the Ch’ŏnma-98 and Ch’ŏnma-92. Adds add-on appliqué armour on the turret front and rubber flaps on the bottom and side hull. If Ch’ŏnma-98 has thermals, this does too.
Also erroneously referred to as the ‘Ch’ŏnma-Ho V.’
New MBT design, but still an upgrade of the Ch’ŏnma-214. Adds more (and different shaped) add-on armour, a new LRF, an extra road wheel (making the wheels more like the T-72 than the T-55/T-62) and increasing the turret size.
Images from ATGM tests show that the turret armour (of both this and the next vehicle) is very thick, apparently more similar to the T-72M1 than anything else [~600mm] (which makes sense, as NK obtained a T-72 Ural around this time).
Also erroneously referred to as the ‘P’okp’ung-Ho I.’
Upgrade of the Ch’ŏnma-215. Multiple sub-variants, but this one from around 2014-15, with 2x ATGMs and MANPADS should be added (to justify a higher BR). ATGMs are likely Bulsae-3, which are essentially reverse-engineered Kornet-EMs, so roughly 1300mm penetration, with a tandem HEAT warhead. Some sources claim the 216 is the first NK tank to mount the 2A46 125mm, but images do not confirm this, so as far as we know, it still mounts the 115mm U-5TS.
Add foldered with the Ch’ŏnma-215.
Also erroneously referred to as the ‘P’okp’ung-Ho II.’
Obscure, new ATGM carrier spotted only in 2018 (and not since, as far as I can tell.) Carries 5x launchers for Bulsae-5 ATGMs. Roughly 1000-1200mm penetration, with a tandem HEAT warhead. Similar to the Stryker AFV.
Obscure ATGM carrier on the chassis of a 6x6 APC developed by North Korea in 2010/12 (hence named M2010/M2012), which in turn is based on the BTR-80.
Carries 8x launchers for the Bulsae-4 NLOS ATGM (and likely more in the hull, possibly another 8). This would be a first in game, but I suggest it is added as a regular SACLOS ATGM, without NLOS capabilities (like the bugged UDES 33 a while back). 800mm penetration (more information in the upcoming ATGM section).
Could have thermal sights, in which case I propose a BR of 10.0, but lower would work if it lacked them.
SPAA on the basis of the ZSU-23-4 – slightly modified hull with an almost identical turret, but instead of the quad 23mm, it instead mounts dual 30mm AK-230s. These would provide less RPM (2k instead of 3.4-4k) but higher firepower due to larger shells. This gun is already in game on the Soviet PR. 206 boat – 68mm penetration compared to 51mm of the ZSU-23-4.
The SPAA also has a new radar, which looks similar to that of the ZSU, but is likely more similar in characteristics to the MR-104 “Drum Tilt” radar for the naval AK-230.
Name unknown. (Possibly called the Pon’gae-3)
Little known modification of the Strela-10, of which NK has a few unmodified. Mounts 8x HT-16PGJ instead of 4x Strela-10 missiles. The HT-16PGJ is a copy of the Soviet Igla-1 and Chinese QW-2 (Diameter of 72mm, launch tube 500mm, launch weight 520kg, 18kg warhead, 11.5g explosive). I propose it goes at 9.3, as sort of a similar vehicle with similar missile dynamics to the Ozelot, Machbet, etc.
The first minor upgrade of the Ch’ŏnma first seen in 1986 that only changes the turret, adding a rear turret bustle. Some of these lack a searchlight on the commander’s cupola, but add new NVDs. The addition of the turret bustle likely allows the tank to have a ready-rack in the turret, providing a quicker reload and a larger ammunition capacity.
However, the upgrade is minor and that’s why I suggest it as a unique premium/event tank at the same BR as the standard T-62/Ch’ŏnma.
The latest production NK MBT of which we know a somewhat decent amount about. The first new design since the Ch’ŏnma variants, all of which are basically either a T-62, a T-62 base, or a lengthened T-62. The Seon’gun strangely goes back to a cast turret – indicating weaker armour than the Ch’ŏnma-215/6. However, the Seon’gun is the first North Korean tank to definitively mount the 2A46 125mm (albeit not a direct copy.). Known to fire Soviet, Chinese and domestically produced 125mm APFSDS (although the penetration capabilities are doubted). Therefore I propose it only has 3BM22/3BM42, much like the first T-72 variants in game. The 125mm by North Korea also cannot fire ATGMs. Has NO autoloader, so reload is probably more like 10-12s, rather than the T-72s 7.1s.
Once again, multiple sub-variants shown at different times. The version I propose is the one first seen in 2018, mounting double-stacked ERA on the turret, 2x Igla SAMs, a 30mm grenade launcher, and 1 launcher for 2x Bulsae-3 (also seen on the Ch’ŏnma-216).
Also erroneously referred to as the ‘Seon’gun-915’ or ‘Songun-Ho.’
The most recent and by far most advanced (supposedly) North Korean tank, ever. Visually very similar to the M1 Abrams, and is a stark design switch from previous North Korean vehicles.
NOTE: I am well aware there is very little about this vehicle, and most of what we know is likely propaganda. This vehicle does NOT have to be added. I am adding it here mostly just so discussion about it can occur. This vehicle is even more secretive and unknown than latest generation MBTs already in game, so it would be likely the most inaccurate tank in game if added.
Mounts a 125mm, 30mm grenade launcher, 2x Bulsae-3 ATGMs, a 1200hp engine, composite armour, and a hard-kill active protection system, likely inspired by the Russian Afghanit (seen on the T-14 Armata). Also possibly has an autoloader (judging by crew positions).
It is possible that the technology is very much real, and was either obtained directly or through collaboration with Iran (Zulfiqar 3, Karrar, etc.), Russia (T-14) or China (ZTZ-99A, VT-4(A1), etc.). As such, the technology such as thermals is likely the same as some of these vehicles.
Upgrade of the M2020 spotted at the latest (27th July, 2023) military parade. Seems to have turret ERA, similar to some variants of the Seon’gun, as well as hull side ERA/composites, as well as some other small changes. Should be foldered with the M2020, and placed at a slightly higher BR (if the ERA/composite is actually effective). Potential for better ammunition as well.
I hope you like this suggestion! To summarise, North Korea has a surprisingly large range of unique modifications and indigenous vehicles that would be perfect for a sub-tree. I have included what I believe to be the best options for WT, considering progression (and features such as folders).
If you have any questions (or corrections!), please do let me know! :)
– Copy of the Soviet 9M14 Malyutka. Definitely called Susong Po, unsure if Bulsae-1 designation also applies.
– Reverse engineered 9M111-2 Fagot, export attempt as “AT4-MLB”
– Possibly different sights
– Range of 2.5k, 460mm pen
– Upgraded Bulsae-2 with new guidance system
– Seems to be the beam riding SACLOS system of the 9M133 Kornet, put onto a 9M111 (hence sources claiming it is a 9M133 clone)
– Likely similar to 9M113 Konkurs in penetration (500mm in WT)
– Up to 5.5k range
– NLOS ATGM, inspired heavily by Israeli Spike-NLOS and Chinese AFT-10/HJ-10
– 600-800mm penetration (thus more similar to Spike than AFT-10 (1400mm pen)
– 3k range
– Reverse engineered 9M133 Kornet
– According to South Korea, 1000-1200mm penetration, same as standard 9M133, and tandem warhead
– 4km range
- Coming Soon
‘M1978’ SPAAG (MANPADS)
T-34-85 (Slat Armour)
No image, very similar to below.
T-55 (Slat Armour)
Note: Not technically North Korean operated, as far as I can tell. It was a Chinese regiment stationed in North Korea. Least likely addition on this list, but I thought I might mention it.
No image, but almost positive I have seen some. NK operated both.
Collection of SPGs mounting 152mm cannons.
– Full specifications (and individual suggestion pages) for every vehicle
– Ammunition list for 115mm U-5TS and 125mm 2A46
– ATGM list and details
– (Hopefully) Analysis of what sort of technology NK could field, given what similar vehicles by North Korean allies use.
(not an exhaustive list)