Wargaming visited the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul, South Korea.
The War Memorial of Korea opened in 1994 and is the only military-related comprehensive museum in Korea. It is also the largest such museum in Asia. A wide variety of rare military artefacts, including tanks, battleships and real B-52 bombers that have been used in operation can be seen on display.
Admission is free for residents and tourists alike, so if you are a fan of war history like we are, do add it to your itinerary when visiting Seoul!
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Various sculptures displayed outside of War Memorial of Korea welcomed us.
In particular, the statues of the Korean War soldiers and the Brothers were impressive. The Statue of Brothers reminded us of the famous Korean film 'Taegukgi'.
The Statue of Brothers signifies a desire for unity and unification of the nation. It is inspired by a true story of brothers, the elder from the South Korean army and the younger from the North Korean army, they fought against each other during the Korean War.
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There are real tanks!
The museum's outdoor and indoor areas showcase large-scale equipment such as the B-52 and T-34 that were used during the Korean War, a total of 160 aircraft and armoured vehicles from around the world.
It was great to see the various tanks such as the T34-85, M4A3E8 Sherman, M47 Patton, M46 Patton, M36, Type 59, Type 63, SU-100, and more.
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Hallway to the exhibition
As we entered the memorial hall, there was an event going on for the missing soldiers and their families. We took a moment of silence with deep gratitude to those who left their homeland and sacrificed their lives.
A hallway to the exhibition hall displays the book with the list of those killed in action (K.I.A) in the Korean War.
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Inside the Korean War exhibition
Upon entering the war exhibition room, there is a screen showing the names of K.I.A whose bodies have yet to be excavated.
The Korean War exhibition hall starts with a description of the situation at the time when Kim Il-sung, Mao Zedong, and Stalin discussed the beginning of the Korean War, and the reports exchanged between the Soviet Union, China, and North Korea.
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Calm before the storm
On 22 June, three days before the outbreak of the war, the North Korean troops were well-prepared and on standby along the front lines. South Korean forces continued to be put on a prolonged emergency alert due to some politically sensitive occasions such as Labor Day (1st May), the Assembly Election(30th May), and in preparation against the disguised peace proposal from North Korea(10th June).
With troops suffering from severe fatigue, the South Korean Army Headquarters finally lifted the emergency alert on 24 June. Many soldiers left their barracks for leave or a weekend outing right before the war began, and only about a half of the troops remained in their units. Some officers went to bed very late after attending the opening of the Officer's Club in the evening before the war broke out.
In the exhibition room, a screen shows the statistics of the difference of military capacities between North Korea and South Korea in 1950.
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The 82mm mortar, M-72 military motorcycles, various guns used by North Korea army and US Army during the Korean War were exhibited with a brief description.
An M101 105mm howitzer was displayed and it had an impressive story - it was used to defeat a Soviet T-34 tank. At that point in history, the South Korean army had no weapons to counter the North Korean army's T-34 tanks. A 105mm cannon was barely enough.
Major Kim Pung-Ik used the M101 105mm howitzer and took the risk of a direct hit. The enemy's lead T-34 tanks were destroyed as a result.
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Bombs were thrown from planes with bare hands. At the beginning of the war, there were only 57 pilots in ROKAF, 12 liaison aircrafts, and 10 aircrafts for the exercise. Since they were not armed, an observer at the back had to drop a bomb directly through the window while the pilot was flying at low altitude.
When the US Army sent their F-51 fighter-bomber, more than 10 pilots crossed into Japan and trained in a short time frame before returning to the front.
In the exhibition room, you can see the battle log of a veteran pilot, the pilot list of the T-6 trainer, the bomb of B-29, and the model which illustrates the moment when the bomb was dropped with bare hands.
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The M16A1 half-track armoured vehicle and the 30-caliber water-cooled machine gun M1917A1 operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers during the Korean War are on display. The battle for defending the Nakdong River Defense Line, one of the most fierce battles of the Korean War, was replicated with a screen and models.
About 300,000 young Korean students stopped studying and participated in the battle. You can see the items such as the flag of South Korea which they drew by themselves, Training Certificates and videos.
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The war without guns
Psychological warfare between the two Koreas using propaganda activities was also fierce. North Korea made all efforts to promote the superiority of the system, and the South Korean military also promoted action guidelines and their victories in the battlefield through street broadcasting. Immediately after the victory of Battle of Inchon, the UN forces deployed more than 5 million pieces of flyers at the time the North Koreans retreated.
In the exhibition hall, there are exhibited leaflets that were sprayed by the South Korean army, typewriters, and cameras used in propaganda production.
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The soldiers who had to fight for their lives, the refugees who had to leave their homeland, and the leaders of various countries were exhibited in various statues.
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From June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953, the Korean War spanned over three years, resulting in numerous refugees. After various events such as joining the United Nations troops, withdrawing from Seoul, Second Battle of Seoul, Third Battle of Seoul, Hungnam evacuation and Battle of Inchon, the war ended with Korean Armistice Agreement. However, there are about 124,000 remains of those killed in the line of duty that were not unearthed yet throughout the Korean Peninsula.
In the exhibition hall, photos and videos of the time are displayed along with detailed information.
<War Memorial of Korea>
Address: War Memorial of Korea, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea Opening hours :09:30 - 18:00 (Closed on Mondays) Admission fee: free [Go to website] (English available)
※ All contents of this page are written with the cooperation of War Memorial of Korea.