Here’s why North Korea’s attack plan on U.S. is a joke

Mar 30 2013 - 16 Comments

As already explained, Kim Jong Un has approved an attack plan on targets located in the Pacific and mainland U.S. following the yesterday long range round robin mission over South Korea.

Photos published in KCNA state agency allegedly show the places threatened by the “U.S. Mainland Strike Plan”: San Diego, Washington DC, Austin and Honolulu.

Among the various reasons to doubt about North Korea’s capability to hit Continental U.S. with ballistic missiles, there is also the map deliberately exposed by the images of Kim Jon Un meeting with his military aides on Mar. 29.

Indeed, Pyongyang’s missiles would find it extremely difficult to reach their intended targets following the path drawn on that map, instead of a great circle route.

A great circle is the shortest path interconnecting two points on a sphere.

Since Earth is almost spherical, routes followed by aircraft (or ballistic missiles…) follow great circles between departure and destination (in case of commercial planes route depends also on ATC restrictions, diplomatic clearances required to overfly particular countries, the strong effect of the wind etc).

The following maps would have been a bit more credible.

NK attack plan

NK attack plan 2

Images generated with Great Circle Mapper. Top image credit: KCNA via Business Insider


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  • Mor

    simplest explanation

    not necessarily Club missile, but any ballistic or cruise missiles

    • TheRedLeaf

      Thanks for posting, this reminds me of the Q-ship concept, back then the British had top mounted cannons in answers to the submarine, maybe depth charges too. With something of this size, it wouldn’t be hard to add a radar platform, assuming the civilian(hapless juicy looking tug) “target” has a good enough set? Its advanced… but this might just turn the “invaders” to then start shooting anything under the flag, makes sense but then there will be the question of tracking.

  • IAD? DCA (Arlington, VA) would be a better target. Dulles is way out in Ashburn. And DCA would have the added benefit of destroying that awful Reagan statue.

  • FoilHatWearer

    North Korea is such a great country that they haven’t yet realized that the earth is round.

  • jm

    Does it really matter? The map could be showing that ‘this missile
    battery will hit this target, this one will hit that target’ etc. The
    lack of correct trajectory doesn’t really matter, the missiles aren’t
    going to follow a paper map.

    That said, of course it’s a joke. The North Koreans aren’t going to, and can’t, nuke us. They’re just, you know, nuts.

  • Gridlock

    Or, they used a different projection. Like Mercator, I think, where GCRs appear straight?

  • OG_Locc

    Great point about the flight path. The story would be equally good if it was simply referring to the guy’s hat.

    I love that the size of officers’ hats is directly linked to the impotence of their military. (Think Iranian’s giant duckbill caps)

    • Widg3ts

      This is a holdover from the Soviet days. To this day, the Russian yearning for silly hats is strong.

  • jason

    There are map projections that do not require great circles, try

  • the truth!


  • BadgerMk1

    Just remember that every one of these pictures are intended for their own people. Your average DPRK peon wouldn’t know a proper trajectory from their daily half-empty bowl of–if they’re lucky–rice.

  • kim jong un

    i shall draw lines at your country and you shall die- kim jong un

  • AmirKashani

    I wonder if this general/kernel intentionally left this map like this to signal that this is not serious. he looks so ashamed in this picture.

  • Butler

    I agree with this article, but I certainly wouldn’t rely solely on this ridiculous map to rule out the possibility they have ICBM capabilities. What ever happened to the good ole days of Espionage? Where’s Julian Assange, when we actually could use his leaks to feel more reassured about this batshit crazy regime.

  • Their rockets are very hit & miss anyway, mostly miss, or rather fail miserably. None of the known missiles have enough range to hit even Hawaii.

    It’ll be interesting to see how China treats them, they used to be their unflinching ally, now North Korea are an annoyance that can ruin the Chinese economy.

  • MeatCtrl 고기컨트롤

    That map says “North America Attack plan”. Well… They are gonna attack South america!