From Pickipedia, the future encyclopaedia Co-ordinates: 37°58’N 126°33’E
The Battle of Kaesong was the one full-scale battle fought during the abortive US-led invasion of North Korea that came to be called the Second Korean War, although the term is strictly speaking a misnomer since the Korean War of 1950-53 had never officially ended. It is remarkable for being the first, and to date only, battle in which one side used zombies as weapons, and had effects that extended far beyond the immediate defeat of the US invasion. It is generally counted as the most significant battle in post-Vietnam War history.
By 2012, with the defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan so glaringly obvious that they could no longer be denied, and with the failed invasion-turned-quagmire of Iran, President Barack Obama’s position had deteriorated so much that he was persuaded by his own Democratic Party not to run for a second term. Instead, Vice President Joseph Biden was nominated and won a narrow election victory over Republican candidate Sarah Palin by pledging to fight wars only for “humanistic and democratic principles, not corporate profit” . Soon after taking power, Biden announced fresh no-bid contracts to several major companies and new “surges” in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan in an effort to “stabilise” the situation.
However, the fresh “surges” failed in all three nations, and nowhere more so than in Afghanistan where the Taliban effectively surrounded Kabul and President Wali Karzai declared that unless all foreign troops left the nation immediately, the government of Afghanistan would join forces with the insurgents to declare war on “infidel occupation forces.” With fresh troubles also manifesting themselves in the US economy, an urgent need was felt for a fresh military initiative to take the nation’s mind off its troubles. Therefore, at the suggestion of several advisers, President Biden hired a PR firm with prior experience in manufacturing consent  and tasked it with finding a convenient and popular target for a new war.
The US Decision to Invade
It was soon decided that North Korea fit the bill, and at a meeting on 13 February , attended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Biden, it was decided that groundwork should be immediately laid for an invasion to be launched by the middle of the year. It was also claimed at this meeting that the North Korean government had imprisoned a fairly significant percentage of its country’s population in newly constructed concentration camps and that the position of the new North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, called the Brilliant Leader, was so weak that he would not be able to gather the military behind him in any attempt to defend the regime.
It was felt that North Korea’s only two allies, Russia and China, found it a major embarrassment and liability and that they would not come to its aid, except for formal announcements and statements. Also, the economic opportunities that would open up for the reconstruction of the North Korean infrastructure would, it was declared, provide a terrific stimulus to the US economy.
Warnings at this meeting about the North Korean nuclear deterrent were ignored because the regime had no reliable delivery system and since to use them would guarantee the North’s own destruction.
The prospect of the destruction of large areas of northern South Korea, which lay in range of North Korean artillery, was thought an acceptable price to pay. In Biden’s own words,“You can’t make an omelette without busting a few eggs, can you?”
Concerns that the invasion would be strictly speaking illegal were called legally invalid since the US would not be declaring a new war; the Korean War of 1950-53 never having been formally ended, all the US would be doing, it was argued, would be to abrogate the armistice, and resume that interrupted conflict.
Due to the fact that most of the US’ military forces were on occupation duty in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan or deployed in hundreds of military bases across the planet, a somewhat scratch force was all that could be assembled for the invasion. Although the US had some 29,000 soldiers permanently stationed in South Korea, the 3rd Marine Division from Okinawa, the 1st Cavalry Division, and other formations were brought in to build up to a force capable of taking on the North Korean People’s Army.
It was decided that General David Petraeus should command the forces responsible for the invasion. Petraeus had been hailed as the “victor of Iraq” before the scale of the disaster there had been officially admitted, and had also been the commander in Afghanistan when the Taliban had gone over on their ultimately successful Victory Offensive of 2011. It is thought that Petraeus was allowed a chance to rehabilitate himself because after successive Bush and Obama administrations had backed him to the hilt, he was too politically important to risk being perceived as a failure.
Propaganda operations were launched immediately domestically in the US using such channels as the Washington Post and CNN, where official US government spokesmen claimed that no country could claim to be free while such a tyranny as the North Korean government continued to exist. Defector accounts (many of which were subsequently exposed as fabricated) were relied on to bolster the case for war. One such account claimed that the North Korean government was removing all corpses from their families of the dead, citing them to be “state property”, but this did not attract anyone’s attention except as a propaganda device about religious repression.
Members of NATO, and even Britain, flatly refused to join in the attack on North Korea since by President Biden’s own declaration the war would be a war of choice designed solely to spread “humanitarianism and democratic values”  and enforce regime change. This led to widespread condemnation of NATO among American politicians and large sections of the US public, and was a key factor in the eventual withdrawal of the US from NATO two years later.
The only exception to the international refusal to join in the invasion was the government of India, where the ruling Congress party declared that the wars of the US were India’s wars as well since the two were natural allies, and prepared to send three divisions of troops to participate. The Indian middle class was co-opted by claims that Indian companies would be able to make major profits from shares of the North Korean reconstruction pie.
The three Indian divisions were the 33rd Infantry Division, the 1st Armoured Division, and the 18th Infantry Division. Of these, the 33rd Infantry Division was the only one that had actually reached combat positions in Korea when the war began. The 18th Infantry Division was still gathering its equipment and concentrating at Busan at the southern end of the Korean peninsula, while the 1st Armoured Division was still travelling with its tanks and personnel carriers by troopship to Korea when the war began, and, with the defeat of the invasion, was recalled before reaching its destination.
The Sinking of the Hongnan and the South Korean Response
The government of South Korea, already troubled by financial recession and a series of scandals, had little stomach for the US military adventure and initially refused either to participate in it or even permit any such operation to be launched from its soil. However, on the night of 20 April, the new South Korean destroyer Hongnan was sunk off the port of Inchon after an explosion, leading to the deaths of 115 crewmen. The US immediately declared that there was a “very high probability” that the destroyer had been sunk by a North Korean submarine, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the sinking (by a remarkable coincidence, she was on a visit to Seoul at the time), as an act of “intolerable aggression”.
The North Korean government angrily denied the charge, but the US and the South Korean navy said there was a precedent – the sinking of the corvette Cheonan in 2010, which had also been blamed on North Korea and which the North Korean government had also denied. After this accusation, public passions in South Korea began to clamour for retribution and the South Korean government agreed reluctantly to join the invasion, but only with a relatively token force of six divisions apart from the navy and air force.
There was strong suspicion expressed internationally and also by anti-war groups in the US that the sinking of the ship was an act orchestrated by the US as a cause celebre and had nothing to do with the North Koreans. This was apparently confirmed in 2017 when Chong Song Kwan, a South Korean navy diver and self-confessed CIA agent claimed he had, acting on orders from his handlers, planted a limpet mine on the ship’s hull before it left harbour. The CIA denied ever having heard of Chong or having any hand in the sinking.
The North Korean Position
On 19 December 2013, following the demise of North Korean dictator and “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il, his youngest son and political heir Kim Jong Un was elevated to the leadership and designated the “Brilliant Leader”. Kim, only 29 at the time, was generally regarded in Western capitals to be far too young and inexperienced to be able to gain the confidence of North Korea’s powerful military leadership. Rumours began to circulate of a bitter power tussle among the military between “hardline” generals and more moderate “progressives” who wanted a rapprochement with the West even at the cost of abandoning North Korea’s cherished nuclear and space programmes.
It was generally believed that the “progressives” had much more public support, and even among Kim’s ruling council, and that once the “hardline” faction had suffered a military setback, the North Korean government would quickly collapse and the remnants go over to the “moderates”, who would immediately surrender. This theory became the basis of the entire US battle plan, which posited a swift and relatively (for the US) bloodless victory. Though there were counter-analyses that said Kim was in much greater control than generally thought, and that an invasion would unite all North Korean people, whatever their personal opinions, behind the government, these were ignored in favour of the officially accepted theory. “The Iraqis may not have thrown flowers to welcome Bush as their liberator,” Hillary Clinton was quoted in the antiwar media as saying, “but the North Koreans will cheer for Biden as their saviour!”
In the build-up to the invasion, the US accused North Korea of incarcerating hundreds of thousands of its own citizens in newly-constructed concentration camps, most of which were said to have been situated near major cities, especially those close to the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ). North Korea, saying the people had been evacuated north away from a potential invasion, denied that any such establishment existed and offered to allow foreign investigation teams to visit the “’camp” sites. The US rejected the offer as “too little, too late.”
In a speech on North Korean television on the 18th of June, just over a month before the war, Kim Jong Un said that any invasion of North Korea would be met and defeated by a new super-weapon, and that no North Korean had anything to fear from an attack. This led to speculation that the DPRK would attack invaders with nuclear or chemical weapons, a charge the North promptly denied. Even so, US Defence Secretary and former general Ray Odierno said that if the North did any such thing, they “wouldn’t regret it, because there won’t be anyone left in the North to regret anything again.”
In the days just prior to the attack, the North Korean government appealed to Russia and China to use their influence to try and stop a “useless and destructive war.” Russia and China jointly called for an extraordinary meeting of the UN Security Council on 28 July to discuss the issue. It is believed that the US was privately informed that France and Britain would support the Russo-Chinese line and declare the war illegal and a violation of the UN Charter, and this is why the invasion (initially planned for 30 July) was hurriedly brought forward by a week to present the Security Council with a fait accompli. This bringing forward of the attack meant that not all forces could be concentrated and the assault had to be launched under less than ideal weather conditions.
On the morning of 22 July, as the US moved its forces north from the military bases in Munsan into attack position, the North Koreans at the truce village of Panmunjom were observed to be moving around normally. However, three out of eight unmanned aerial vehicles sent for reconnaissance across the border were shot down by the North Koreans, and at least three more seriously damaged. Meanwhile, spy satellites noted some military traffic on the roads near the border. While the DPRK was obviously aware that war was imminent, it seemed to have taken no special measures to resist, and this further strengthened the official US conviction that when it came to it, the North would not put up a serious fight.
The US preliminary bombardment and advance
At midnight on the 23rd July, the US launched air strikes all along the DMZ and up to a depth of 200 kilometres inside North Korean territory. Most of these strikes were aimed at airports and suspected artillery installations, and at the same time cruise missiles launched from ships in the Sea of Japan hit bridges on the Yalu River at the Sino-Korean border and targets in Pyongyang and the ports of Hungnam and Chongjin. North Korea later claimed that some 1800 people, almost all of them civilians, were killed and 3500 wounded in the bombardment.
The US attack plan was to strike first across the DMZ through Panmunjom and up the road to the industrial city of Kaesong, after which it would take the highway through Sariwon up towards Pyongyang. This was meant as a diversionary venture, intended to punch a hole through North Korean lines and force the enemy to redeploy to face this threat. The main attack was planned for the early hours of 24th July, with the rest of the American forces supported by the South Korean divisions to strike further east at Pyonggang and through Ichon and Yonsan to come up to Pyongyang from the south-east instead of the south. Once Pyongyang had fallen, it was expected that the end of the North Korean regime would swiftly follow and no detailed plans had been made for further attacks into North Korean territory.
The first American strike across the DMZ, through Panmunjom, was led by the 1st Cavalry Division and the 3rd Marine Division. A number of scratch engineer and signals units had been attached to these divisions, along with the only Indian force in a position to join the initial attack, the 33rd Infantry Division which was kept as a reserve just north of Munsan and in the event never actually managed to cross the DMZ at all. After a massive artillery barrage, the advance began at 0300 hours through Panmunjom, with the 1st Cavalry Division in the lead and the 3rd Marines following just behind.
It had been expected that once the North Koreans had recovered from the initial shock of the bombardment, they would fight back against the invading forces, and it was also expected that North Korean artillery batteries would target South Korea as far as Seoul. However, as the US forces crossed the frontier, they were astonished to encounter no resistance at all. The North Korean forces had apparently melted away in the hours before the bombardment began; not even a single corpse was recovered.
Two hours after the start of the advance, units of the 3rd Marines overran the first North Korean artillery positions. However, they found these not only deserted but with their guns removed and replaced by wooden decoys. This fact seems not to have been passed on to Petraeus in Seoul, or if it was, it was ignored.
By mid-morning, the 1st Cavalry and 3rd Marines were advancing along the undamaged road, between low hills, towards Kaesong, expecting to find the nearest of the infamous “concentration camps”.
Meteorological forecasts had predicted 75% cloud cover with no precipitation, but very thick clouds now covered the entire region, and heavy and unexpected rain began to fall. The clouds were so thick and low that most close air support was rendered impossible, and only a few helicopters could navigate below the clouds. It was one of these that radioed that a huge mass of unarmed civilians was walking down the road from Kaesong towards the advancing US forces.
The North Korean Counterattack
Initially, it had been planned by Petraeus that the advance through Kaesong would only be for the purpose of drawing off North Korean troops from the other sectors of the front and facilitate the second attack through the more roundabout route through Pyonggang to Pyongyang. But with the apparent rout of the North Koreans without offering a fight, the US commander changed his mind. The 1st Cavalry and 3rd Marines, backed up by the 33rd Division, were to press on towards Pyongyang by the direct route, Petraeus decided, and and began pulling back units from the Pyonggang sector to reinforce and follow up the Pyongyang route. However, and crucially, this information was never passed on to 1st Cavalry and the 3rd Marines.
Neither of the commanding generals of the two divisions survived the battle, so there is no direct information about what went through their minds when they were told of the incoming civilians blocking the road. However, from the orders they issued, it is clear that they were unsure whether these people were human shields or refugees fleeing the Kim regime. Since they had not been ordered to push on directly for Pyongyang, they must have been still under the impression that their attack was diversionary, and therefore they tried to avert a civilian massacre. Due to extremely heavy rain and low-lying clouds, almost no further aerial reconnaissance was possible, so they halted the tanks and deployed point battalions of the 3rd Marines in front, with the intention of ordering the oncoming crowds to halt and identify themselves.
One of the very few from the lead elements of the American offensive to survive was an officer who six months later secretly contacted a reporter from Rolling Stone magazine and exposed the actual course of the battle and the real reason for the defeat. He described what happened when the crowd finally appeared through the rain:
“I walked out with a sergeant who was a Korean translator and held up a hand, shouting out for the people to stop where they were. They took not the slightest notice and continued walking towards me, in complete silence. They made not a single noise above the hissing rain, not even a murmur or a word. I shouted to them again, telling them to stop or I’d shoot; but by now the nearest of them was close enough for me to see that there was something badly wrong. They looked drugged, or spaced out, or something. They didn’t even seem to notice my presence, just kept walking. If I’d not stepped back, and quickly, I’d have been trampled down.
“My translator wasn’t so lucky, though. He hesitated slightly, trying, it seemed to me, to reason with them, but at the last moment he tried to get back. He was too late. The first of the civilians reached out, grabbed him by the arm, and pulled.
“And then they ate him.
“It happened as though in slow-motion. They simply pulled him to pieces with their hands and nails and teeth. I was still gasping in shock and amazement when I felt a hand grab at my webbing, and if I’d hesitated a moment longer I’d have been gone too. I kicked the thin Korean man who had caught at me and ran back to my men, screaming at them to open fire.
“It did not the slightest good.
“As the bullets ripped into them, the front line of the civilians faltered, and many of them fell down – only to get right back up again and come at us. I could actually see the bullets making small holes in their chests and necks, holes that should have killed them, and yet they came on. One of them I especially remember. Machine gun bullets had ripped open his abdomen so loops of intestine were spilling out of him, and yet he came on, holding something in his hands in front of his face, like a bowl he was eating out of. When he got a little closer I saw what it was – the helmet of my translator, and the disembowelled man was apparently eating his head right out of it.”
These “civilians” were all zombies, and comprised the advance elements of the North Korean First Glorious Death Corps, one of at least five (some accounts claim six or eight) Death Corps of the People’s Victorious Death Army. The First Glorious Death Corps was based south of Kaesong and had been released from their hiding places once the American barrage had ceased and the US had crossed the frontier. They were released in waves, and due to the element of complete surprise and due to the heavy rain they were able to overrun the lead US formations before anyone could realise what was happening.
As the zombies swarmed over the stalled tanks and ate anyone they could catch, the American soldiers discovered that shooting them did no good whatsoever, since they simply got up and back to the attack. Even being shot through the head, the classic way of taking down zombies according to standard zombie fiction, seldom worked, unless a lucky bullet shattered the brain stem. In most cases, the only way of destroying zombies was to blast them with grenades in order to physically disintegrate them, but this was not an option at very close quarters since the explosion could harm one’s own side. Besides, the explosions had an unexpected hazard.
This is what the officer quoted above had to say:
“I saw one of the men of my platoon throw a grenade at a trio of the cannibal civilians coming towards him. It exploded and turned those three into a spray of blood and flesh. The soldier who had thrown the grenade stood up, wiping the blood off his face, and began withdrawing with some other soldiers, shooting at the next line of cannibals with his M16. Suddenly, I saw him stagger, dropping his rifle, and he turned round and launched himself at the other soldiers, biting and scratching. In less than a minute he had bitten at least five others. I have never seen anything like it before.”
Though there is no direct knowledge of just how the North Koreans managed to create these zombies, some scientists have postulated that they were created by injecting nanobots into their nervous systems, which would take over the brains of the hosts and turn them into mindless weapons whose only purpose is to pass on the nanobots into new hosts. However, most researchers suspect that a two-step procedure was adopted . First, stem cells were somehow implanted in the brain stems of recently deceased corpses (whose muscle proteins had not yet degenerated too much for reanimation) to restart enough brain activity to achieve basic bodily control and movement. Some of these corpses were undoubtedly of those who had been, according to a defector account, taken from their families, but it is suspected that the rest were of civilians deliberately killed to make them into zombies (North Korea was later to claim that they were volunteers).
Since the cerebral cortex was not reactivated, these corpses would have little or no ability to think or feel, though they would be motivated by hunger and thirst. Then, they were further infected with a quick-acting neurovirus, possibly bioengineered to be similar to rabies, which would induce massive aggression and be spread by contact with body fluids – including blood spread as an aerosol from an explosion which would contact exposed mucous membranes anywhere in the body. These would explain how the zombies managed to survive head shots and infect soldiers even when disintegrated by explosions. Of course, those soldiers who were infected only by the virus, not being reanimated corpses but merely living carriers, were – even though virtually impervious to pain – more easily destroyed by ordnance, but they were also (since their musculature had not suffered any degeneration whatsoever) far faster and (retaining control of their cerebral cortices) much more intelligent and resourceful in attack. These are the now fairly well known zombie subtypes, called Type A and Type B, respectively. 
As the Marines were overwhelmed and began to retreat, the divisional commander, Major General John Adams, went forward to see what was going on. He was pulled out of his Humvee and devoured alive by several zombies, including both Type A Death Corps members and transformed Type B Marines. This scene was recorded by a 1st Cavalry soldier on a cell phone and this is the video finally released on the internet eight months later, once the story had been broken by Rolling Stone.
Meanwhile, the tanks of the 1st Cavalry were still able to fight, and were firing into the mass of zombies with their tank guns and coaxial machine guns. But their armour-piercing shells and their machine gun bullets had little effect on the incoming zombies, many of whom had by now climbed on the tanks themselves and were beating on the hatches and with their bare hands, damaging periscopes, turret machine guns, and radio antennae. According to the survivor who spoke to Rolling Stone:
“The civilian horde, and there were both sexes and all ages in it, had already reached my line of troops and begun scratching and biting at them, walking right through point-blank barrages of rifle and machine gun fire. My men began going down, one after the other, and I screamed at them to fall back behind the tanks. Meanwhile, some of the enemy civilians had already begun climbing on the tanks and scrabbling at the hatches as the crew frantically buttoned themselves down. I saw one of these incredible unkillable Koreans wrench the M2 machine gun right off its mount at the commander’s hatch of the nearest tank and begin beating the turret with it until the gun was a twisted mass of mangled metal. We were being overrun without even being allowed an opportunity to properly fight back.”
And now the second wave of zombies appeared, with a new weapon.
Once again, the officer who contacted Rolling Stone describes the scene:
“I was lying on the ground under the belly of a tank, watching the feet and legs of the Koreans streaming past me. The tank was trying to retreat, and its hull shuddered as it fired its main gun again and again into the crowd, but there were as many of the people behind it by now as in front and there wasn’t any way to move quickly. At one point, the number of cannibals nearby decreased, and I risked peeking out my head to see if there was a way out. Just to our left, there was a second M1A2, and there were two Koreans walking towards it with a long pole slung over their shoulders and tied to their bodies with ropes. At each end of the pole was a large bundle, so heavy that the pole’s ends were bowed. These two men walked right on towards the tank until the weights they were carrying touched the tracks of the vehicle. This was instantly followed by a tremendous explosion that momentarily stunned me. When I could see and think again I saw that one of the tracks of the tank lay smashed and limp on the ground. Of the two men there were only fragments of flesh and shards of bone.”
Many, though far from all, of the second wave of zombies were carrying pole charges or satchel charges. Just how these charges had been fitted to the zombies is not known, but most likely some kind of tranquiliser or general anaesthetic was used. These zombies seem to have been trained (probably through techniques involving feeding from inside tanks) to head straight for the armour. Once they got close enough, the pole and satchel charges, which were evidently fitted with magnetic or proximity fuses, exploded. Although these explosions were seldom enough to destroy the vehicles outright, once the tracks were broken the vehicles were immobilised and the crew could not emerge to carry our repairs due to the waiting zombies. Soon the road was as blocked with immobilised armour as it was with animated corpses. The crews of these stranded vehicles rarely managed to escape, and among those who are presumed to have died was the divisional commander, Major General Douglas White. The circumstances of his demise are, however, unknown.
By this time the rain clouds had lifted slightly and Apache helicopter gunships and A-10 Thunderbolt ground attack aircraft were dispatched to provide what air support they could, but their effectiveness was very low because the zombies were intermixed thoroughly with US troops. Nevertheless they did carry out several strafing runs and dropped white phosphorous incendiary bombs which are thought to have killed a substantial number of US soldiers in “friendly fire”. It is certain that at least 750 of the 849 known injured American survivors were wounded by these air strikes. The rest were wounded by their compatriots firing at zombies.
Within three hours of the first appearance of the zombies, all cohesion of the US forces had been lost and the remainder were withdrawing, often in chaotic disorder, back across the DMZ. Among them was the officer quoted above, who made his way through the mountains beside the road until he joined up with some other Marines and soldiers. They were evacuated by helicopter during the night and were among the last US troops to leave North Korean territory.
The US Withdrawal
By 1500 hours, the advance had ground to a halt and the first part of the rout had begun. Petraeus, in Seoul, had no clear information about what was going on but did know that things had gone wrong somehow. Repeated attempts to contact the two divisional commanders failed, and all that he could get was radio chatter talking of thousands upon thousands of immortal cannibals who were eating everyone alive.
By the time the first panic-stricken soldiers had retreated far enough to be interrogated to find out what was going on, the rout had proceeded so far that it was no longer realistically possible to halt it short of the DMZ and so Petraeus ordered the rest of the American force to withdraw and regroup south of the border. He also ordered the Indian 33rd Infantry Division to move north across the Imjin River as a screen between the American survivors and North Korea. This procedure took up most of the short summer night, and was covered by US artillery blasting the road to destroy the zombie horde. At the same time, North Korean artillery and multi-barrelled rocket launchers, positioned north of Kaesong, also shelled the zombies, presumably to leave none intact to turn on their controllers. Thus, in a night-long barrage from both sides, which “turned the night to day and made the earth quake” , those units of the First Glorious Death Corps committed to battle were destroyed, except for a few individuals (and a few Type B Marine zombies) who managed to slip through the barrage and the border minefields. These individual zombies would be the cause of extremely significant events soon.
The Battle of Kaesong was over, and the North Korean secret weapon had manifested itself – zombie nails and teeth.
With the withdrawal of the US forces, Petraeus contacted Washington and described the situation, adding – according to Pentagon insiders – that in his opinion a massive and immediate nuclear strike on North Korea was imperative (Petraeus has since denied this). In Washington, an emergency meeting involving Joseph Biden, Hillary Clinton, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff was in progress when further news came in from Korea.
The Indian 33rd Division was in bad trouble.
The destruction of the Indian 33rd Division and consequences
The 33rd Infantry Division had been stationed at Munsan and transferred north of the Imjin River to act as a screen for the American withdrawal. Accordingly, in a fairly complex night operation, the 33rd Division moved north while the 3rd Marine and 1st Cavalry survivors were withdrawn south through them. The 33rd Division then dug into defensive positions with the Imjin River at their backs. There is no evidence, however, that the divisional commander, Major General Ayyappan Guruvayurappan Pillai, was informed of the precise manner of the threat faced by the division. The Indians were, therefore, expecting a conventional North Korean attack and preparing to face one.
During the night, in ones and twos, small numbers of American stragglers filtered through the barrage and the DMZ and moved back through the Indian lines. They were closely followed by a few zombies who had survived the shelling. These included both remnants of the First Glorious Death Corps and transformed US personnel, the latter of whom would of course be taken to be allies by the Indian troops. By midnight, the first 33rd Division soldiers were becoming infected by zombie bites and turning on their comrades.
As the scattered reports of violence inside the division came in, Pillai and his staff took it for incidences of fratricide, known as “fragging” (fairly common in the Indian army) or small-scale mutiny. Some companies of troops were sent to investigate, only to be caught and overcome in their turn. It was several hours before Pillai realised that this was a completely unknown phenomenon and contacted Petraeus, who immediately reported back to Washington. It is not, however, known what instructions or advice, if any, Petraeus gave Pillai.
By dawn on 24 July, the 33rd Division’s lines were fragmented in multiple places by nuclei of zombies (almost all Type B) surrounded by soldiers who had no idea how to deal with them and whose primary orders were still to defend against the threat of a North Korean attack. Many of the Indian casualties had been young officers at the platoon and company levels, and because of the Indian Army tradition of soldiers depending entirely on officers for leadership, no initiative was displayed at any point in the rank and file, who therefore continued digging in against the North Koreans.
Meanwhile, in Washington, the realisation was growing that once the zombie menace had established itself south of the DMZ there could be no question of easily containing it. Someone, whose identity has not been revealed till date, then took the decision that would condemn the 33rd Division to destruction.
Pillai was sent a direct order from Washington – the Indian government and military were not informed – through Petraeus to turn those parts of his division that were known to be completely infestation free on the rest of the division and exterminate it without warning and without mercy. Petraeus, apparently acting on his own initiative, also deployed signal jammers to prevent the 33rd Division commander from communicating directly with his own government or his army chief. Pillai, as was learned later, refused the order outright. He was not to be given another chance.
Meanwhile, the spreading zombie menace in the Indian lines had already consumed between a fifth and a third of the Indian division and it was obviously only a matter of time until stray zombies would spill out beyond the division’s perimeter and pose a serious threat. Therefore, after a brief discussion with the people at the emergency meeting in Washington, Petraeus ordered the rest of his forces, including the South Korean divisions withdrawn from the Pyonggang sector, to destroy the 33rd Division.
Over the entire day of 24 July, the 33rd Division was shelled by heavy artillery and rockets, while B-52 heavy bombers from Guam, armed with incendiary and daisy cutter bombs meant for the second phase of the North Korea invasion, flew overhead and carpet bombed the area north of the Imjin River. Bound by the massive minefields at the border on the north and the Imjin on the south, the 33rd had nowhere to go and no way to retreat. Scattered groups of soldiers who attempted to cross the river were shot down in their hundreds by the South Koreans and Americans on the south bank. After nightfall, tanks equipped with bulldozer blades were sent across the river in massed columns. As they had done in Iraq in 1991, these tanks drove along the Indian trenches, using their bulldozer blades to bury alive everyone inside, while anyone who tried to escape was shot down. Long before dawn on the 25th, the Indian 33rd Infantry Division had ceased to exist. Later on the same day, bulldozers and earth movers were brought in to bury the thousands of dead in mass graves and pack down the earth over them. Snipers were deployed to shoot on sight any Indian survivors they could see.
The official story given out was that the 33rd Division had been destroyed fighting off a North Korean assault, and while the extermination of the division was still in progress, President Biden personally called Indian Prime Minister Rahul Gandhi to offer his condolences and express his appreciation for the “heroic sacrifices” made by the Indians.
When the news of the 33rd Division’s destruction was released by the media, there was a frenzy of rioting in the streets of major Indian cities against “Koreans” – anyone who looked vaguely Mongoloid, whether Chinese (including Indian citizens of Chinese ethnic origin), Japanese, South Korean (there were no North Koreans in India after Delhi had broken off diplomatic relations under US “advice”), Tibetan, Nepalese, Bhutanese, or Indians from the states of the North-east, all of whom were commonly pejoratively called “chinkies”. It was only after angry protests from several foreign governments that the Indian authorities finally took some measures to stamp out the rioting and looting. By official count, some 450 people (including 100 foreign citizens) had been killed.
Meanwhile, it was not known to the Americans that a few of the Indians from the 33rd Division had survived. 56 Indian survivors had made their way north through the DMZ and given themselves up to the North Koreans, who repatriated them through Beijing. About forty others (the exact figure is unclear) had managed to get past the bombardment and found shelter with sympathetic South Koreans, who in the days after the war smuggled them out through Japan or China. On arrival in India, all these soldiers spoke of the destruction of the division at the hands of the Americans, but the news was denied by the Indian government and all the survivors were arrested on charges of spreading enemy propaganda.
However, the commander of the 18th Division, who had just returned from Korea, then revealed (on 8th August) that he had received a radio message from Pillai in which the late commander of the 33rd Division had said that he had been ordered by Petraeus to destroy his own division. This news, coming as it did just after the accounts of the survivors, incensed public opinion against the Indian government, which was accused of lies and betrayal. Non-Congress parties from both ends of the political spectrum launched mass public protests and put together a political coalition meant to topple the Congress government in Parliament. In response, on 15th August, the anniversary of India’s independence as it happened, Rahul Gandhi declared a state of emergency, banned all non-Congress political parties, and called in the Army to maintain order. Large sections of the army and paramilitary forces refused to obey, and openly rebelled against the government.
Thus began the ongoing conflict known as the Indian Civil War, which to date has resulted in the deaths of an estimated three hundred million people.
The End of the War
Once it was realised in Washington just how potent a force the zombies were, there was an immediate division in opinion between the Petraeus school of thought, which wanted a nuclear attack on North Korea, and the rest. The nuclear option was ruled out by Biden on the grounds that it would not be internationally acceptable for those who professed to liberate the North Koreans from their tyrannical regime to nuke them instead. Plans to bomb concentrations of zombies foundered when no such concentrations could be found. It was thought that the North Koreans were probably concealing them inside tunnels in the mountains. “North Koreans are good tunnel diggers,” a US military official said, “and there are a lot of mountains out there.”
The remaining options, therefore, were either to withdraw or to resume the advance when possible. The destruction of the Indian division, however, had not only thrown the timetable seriously off track, but had clearly exposed just how devastating even a few zombies could be. If the North Koreans unleashed more of these mindless cannibals on US “liberators” especially in small numbers inside the close confines of cities, for example, entire attacking divisions might be effectively destroyed, without the North having to lose a single soldier’s life or fire a single bullet.
Also, in Seoul, on the 26th July, hundreds of thousands of people gathered demonstrating against the shedding of Korean blood, whether Northern or Southern didn’t matter, for the US. The South Korean government called an emergency session and was clearly preparing to announce its decision to withdraw from the war, so the option of continuing was no longer on the table. Therefore, the US forces were ordered to defensive positions south of the DMZ, the abrogated 1953 Armistice was just as unilaterally reinstated, and efforts shifted to damage control.
Both in order to avert major panic as well as to conceal the fact of the defeat, official White House spokesman James Goldentongue announced that the US was pulling back across the DMZ in order to spare civilian suffering in the North, since the North Korean government was slaughtering its own civilians rather than allow them to become free. By that time, though, the credibility of the Biden administration had fallen so sharply that few believed the statement. The actual cause of the defeat, though, would remain hidden until the unnamed Marine Corps officer contacted Rolling Stone a few months afterwards.
International Reaction and Political Repercussions
On 28th July, the Security Council met to discuss a Sino-Russian resolution condemning the US attack. The US defended itself with two legalistic arguments; first, that the UN Charter did not apply since North Korea was not a member of the United Nations, and secondly, that since the attack had been halted and the US troops withdrawn, the motion was without any locus standi. The US position did not get the support of any other Security Council member, even Britain and France choosing to support the motion. In the General Assembly, the US attack was overwhelmingly condemned, with only India, Israel and the Philippines voting for the Americans while the puppet regimes of Iraq and Iran abstained.
The events of the war were to have a profound effect on US interventionalism. Bolstered by the high casualties suffered by the US for no discernible material gain, and with further reverses in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, a bipartisan “isolationist” movement rapidly gained ground and led ultimately (in 2016) to US withdrawal from NATO. After that date, the US has not launched a single war, and after announcing massive cuts in military funding, in 2017 had the first surplus budget since the advent of President George W Bush.
The North Koreans made an announcement almost immediately after repelling the US invasion that the “imperialists” had been defeated by their new secret weapon, but held off about announcing their zombie technology until the story had already broken in the West. It was only then that the few details available of their zombie programme were released.
In the aftermath of the war, and with the unspoken threat of the North pushing zombies across the DMZ to create havoc, negotiations with the South reopened and food aid and other essentials are once again being sent to North Korea. There are strong suspicions that the North has already exported its zombie technology to China and possibly Pakistan as well but as of date that remains unconfirmed and neither China nor Pakistan is willing to speak on the matter.
The final word on the subject was spoken by US anti-war activist Justin Raimondo. “If it took the walking dead to save the world from Perpetual War,” he wrote, “that gives a new meaning to the term Dead Man Walking.” 
History of the US Marine Corps
History of the North Korean Army
History of the Indian Army
Zombies in popular fiction
Footnotes and Citations:
Joseph Biden, campaign speech, 18 September 2012
 Duke&Son, Inc, Doonesbury Associates, Washington DC
 Joseph Biden, State of the Union Address, 2014
 Ray Odierno, interviewed on CNN, 13 July 2014
 Official statement, Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, 29 July 2014
 An Analysis of Zombie Types, Behaviour and Creation, thesis article, Harvard University, 2015.
Further Reading: 
· Genesis of the Indian Civil War, Praful Bidwai. Harper Collins, 2018
· How We Lost The Empire, Tom Engelhardt, 2017
· From Korea to Fortress America: Retreat Toward Sanity, Noam Chomsky, 2018.
· Life After Undeath: Challenges of a New World, George Romero, 2015.
Copyright B Purkayastha 2011