The Country With 200 WWII-Era Tanks

The Country With 200 WWII-Era Tanks | Frontline Videos

A country that owns a lot of WWII-era tanks must really love museums, right? Well, apparently not. North Korea still has plenty of T-34s in active service – meaning all 200 of them are still operational and can be mobilized for combat if needed.

Home-Grown Talent

North Korea uses several home-grown tank designs: the Chonma-ho, the Pokpung-ho, and the Seongun-915 from 2009.

There’s not a lot of information about the Chonma-ho, but the Pokpung-ho appears to incorporate elements of the Soviet T-62 and T-72, Chinese Type 88, and the Choman-ho battle tanks.

For Backup ONLY

Aside from these three, North Korea also has thousands of old T-54s and T-55s, Chinese Type 59s, and the T-62M. To back these fairly old tanks are 200 ancient T-34s, a very outdated and highly obsolete design for 2023.

T-34s first gained their fame on the Eastern Front of WWII, but they also spearheaded the North Korean invasion of the South in 1950. When the North ran out of tanks after the war, the Soviet Union gave them batches of old WWII-era T-34s to re-equip its army. By 1960, North Korea had about a thousand T-34s in active service – and a total of around 1,800 T-34s delivered over a 20-year period.

Through The Years

Regardless, North Korean T-34s have had upgrades over the decades. Now, these thanks have a locally-produced all-steel track with new sprocket wheels, hull, and turret slat armor mounts to increase protection against HEAT rounds, modern radio systems, and a “snorkel system” that enables them to ford rivers. However, its 85mm Soviet main gun remains unchanged. 

Still, why would they want to keep them?

Some serve in training roles as they are simple to operate and maintain, but many are kept in excellent condition – ready for reactivation in case of war. 


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