[Reminiscences]Chapter 24. Nationwide Resistance against The Japanese 1. In Anticipation of the Day of Liberation > 회고록 《세기와 더불어》

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회고록 《세기와 더불어》

[Reminiscences]Chapter 24. Nationwide Resistance against The Japanese …

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작성자 편집국 작성일20-10-04 21:59 댓글0건




[Reminiscences]Chapter 24. Nationwide Resistance against The Japanese 1. In Anticipation of the Day of Liberation




Chapter 24. Nationwide Resistance against The Japanese

1. In Anticipation of the Day of Liberation 


 When writing their curricula vitae after the liberation of the country, quite a few anti-Japanese revolutionary veterans put down “Military Academy 88”\or “Training School, Camp 88” in the column of academic attainments.

The then personnel management officials were amazed at the fact that the anti-Japanese revolutionary fighters who had gone through arduous guerrilla warfare were all graduates of a military academy. But what was really meant by “Military Academy 88”?

Later, the officials found out the answer to this question while listening to the great leader’s account of military\and political training during the years of the IAF.

After the formation of the IAF, we underwent intensive military\and political training while carrying out brisk small-unit actions\and reconnaissance activities.

Our educational programme covered a wider range of subjects\and a greater depth of content than those used in regular military educational institutions. Training was several times as intensive as that in regular military academies.

Since the training programme was aimed at producing officers, it would be no exaggeration for the trainees to say that they graduated rom a military academy. I think, therefore, that the anti-Japanese revolutionary veterans had the years of the IAF in mind when they wrote that they had finished “Military Academy 88”\or “Training School, Camp 88”, on their curricula vitae.

Needless to say, we neither put up such a sign nor issued such a diploma. After a few years of training, however, they thought that they had completed the course of a modern military\and political university.

Our comrades learned much in those days–military theory,\and the strategy\and tactics of modern regular warfare.

The education in the period of the IAF was not confined to military affairs. It was comprehensive education\and training in political\and military subjects, as well as in the preparations for the operations to liberate the country\and for the building of the Party, state,\and army in the liberated homeland.

So we attached equal importance to political\and military education. We studied political economy, philosophy, the theory of party-building,\and economic management.

These educational activities, however, did not go smoothly at the outset. Towards the end of 1942\and in early 1943, the tide of the Second World

War began to turn in favour of the anti-fascist forces. The sweeping victory of the Soviet army at Stalingrad broke the back of fascist Germany\and marked the turning-point not only in the Soviet-German War but also in the whole of the Second World War.

With the long-awaited day of national liberation drawing on, mountains of work piled up, calling for my attention. The matter of the greatest concern for me then was how to build a new country in the liberated homeland.

We would have to build the Party, the state\and the army\and develop the economy\and cultural undertakings. But we were short of cadres, the leading\and hard-core elements of the revolution. That was the most difficult problem.

At that time I thought of training the anti-Japanese fighters, who had been tempered\and tested in the arduous armed struggle, into competent cadres with versatile capabilities, equal to any challenges not only in the military field but also in the fields of Party work, state administration, economic management, education\and culture. I decided to resolve all these problems through military\and political training within the framework of the IAF. The initial training programme, however, had allotted a smaller proportion to political education than to military training.

I believed that politico-theoretical education should not make up a smaller proportion than military training. I brought this question up with General Apanasenko. He said that the first\and foremost task of the IAF was to train the military cadres for national revolution in Korea\and Northeast China,\and that we should speed up training to ensure that everyone mastered the strategy\and tactics of modern warfare,\and acquired skills in the use of weapons\and equipment so that they could fight in cooperation with the Red Army when a new situation was created in Korea\and Manchuria.

I insisted, “We must not be biased towards the training of military cadres. In\order to build a new country after the liberation of Korea, we must train all the cadres needed in various fields as pillars for the building of an independent\and sovereign state. To this end, we must increase the proportion of political education in the training programme. But I do not mean that we should take time off military training for political education. I mean to carry out the training as planned, while conducting just as much political education.”

Apanasenko was convinced.

As a result, the proportion of political education considerably increased in the military\and political training programme of the IAF.

Setting about the military\and political training, we took active measures to awaken the men to the need for this training. The Party members’ groups\and YCL\organizations held meetings\and made public their resolutions by means of newspapers\and billboards, as well as over the radio in the camp.

Each contingent\selected able cadres as political teachers.

After the formation of the IAF, the Headquarters of the Soviet Far East Forces\organized a short course for political trainers.

But reaction to the lectures was not encouraging at first. The Russian lecturers spoke poor Chinese\and could hardly make themselves understood. Therefore, a Chinese interpreter was appointed for each Russian lecturer. Even that method was not very helpful to our comrades, as translation took up half the time of the lectures, so they were not effective.

Given this situation, we got the Russian textbooks translated into Korean\and then compiled lesson plans to suit our specific conditions,\and distributed them to our political teachers.

The  materials  for  political  lectures  in  the  initial  period  comprised philosophy, political economy\and the history of the Communist Party of the Soviet\union, as well as the history\and geography of both the Soviet\union\and China. There were also lectures on The Communist Manifesto\and Problems of Leninism. Needless to say, these were helpful to our men in widening their political horizons.

It was unreasonable, however, not to teach the men of the KPRA Korean history\and the Ten-Point Programme of the ARF, while giving them lessons about the history of the Soviet\union\and China.

So, I saw to it that the Ten-Point Programme\and the Inaugural Declaration of the ARF, The Tasks of the Korean Communists,\and some other books we had previously regarded as essential reading were included in the teaching materials,\and that Korean history\and geography were taught.

The political teachers took much trouble to prepare their lectures. As they had to prepare\and give lectures while participating in training, they were always under heavier pressure of work than the\ordinary soldiers.

The lectures were fairly good. They were convincing because they were supported by the teachers’ rich fighting experience.

More than once I listened to An Kil’s lectures,\and I found them very interesting. An Kil, a veteran political worker, had an\original way of giving political lectures. As they were spiced with humour\and lively figures of speech, the students learned about revolution in a light-hearted atmosphere.

During lectures, he would recite a poem\or sing a song, when necessary.

During one lecture he quoted a full page rom Lenin by rote.

When his men on the march were too exhausted to walk properly, he used to\order a break,\and play the harmonica\and beat the drum, getting the men to dance\and sing. That was his way of doing things. He did the same with his lectures.

Rim Chun Chu was good at giving lectures,\and even better at tutoring. He would\organize discussions\or arguments among the trainees to get to know how well each of them was prepared\and how well he understood the lectures. On this basis, he would give individual guidance after school. If any of them still did not understand the lecture, he would teach him by his bedside.

Kim Kyong Sok was also a good teacher. Not being an eloquent speaker, he always used to make careful preparations for his lectures, often sitting up late. He was very popular among his pupils. After completing his preparations, he always asked my opinion about them. He was a very serious\and hard-working man. He would write down all that he was to say during his lecture.

Getting into this habit in those days, even after liberation, he used to write down for himself whatever speech he had to make, before speaking to his audience. He did the same with his reports to meetings.

The teachers’ enthusiasm resulted in the improvement of the trainees’ qualifications.

The lectures given by An Yong, Jon Chang Chol\and Ri Pong Su were also popular among the trainees.

Liu Ya-lou, a graduate of the Frunze Military Academy, also gave good lectures. I can still remember him giving a lecture on the new type of rocket the Soviet\union had developed, Katyusha.

I myself also often gave political lectures.

At the reviews of military\and political training, the soldiers of the Korean Contingent always won the highest marks.

Even Feng Zhong-yun, who was working in the political department of the unit, admired the results of the training of the soldiers of the Korean Contingent. He even asked me what the secret of their good results was. I said, “No secret at all. They have just worked hard, with towels tied round their heads,\and cooling their faces with cold water.” Then he commented, waving his hands: “Well, no one can match the Koreans in diligence.”

Indeed, our comrades were very diligent in those days. It was exactly their sense of responsibility for the revolution that stimulated the soldiers of the Korean Contingent to be exemplary in military\and political training.

However, there were some comrades like Pak Chang Sun who considered studying a headache at Matanggou years before. Typical of them was Pak Rak Kwon.

Pak Rak Kwon had been a member of the Young Volunteers’ Corps in eastern Manchuria. Later, he had been picked, along with other exemplary men\and officers, to be transferred to the 5th Corps at the request of the comrades in northern Manchuria. He had served as leader of the guard unit of the 5th Corps under the command of Zhou Bao-zhong.

He was a brave fighter who was ready to go through fire\and water. He was full of wit\and swift in action as befitted a commanding officer.

In his days in the Wangqing guerrilla unit he once received a serious wound in the abdomen during an encounter with a Japanese “punitive” force. Holding back his entrails with his hand, he crawled back to the guerrilla zone.

He acquitted himself well as the commander of the guards of the unit in northern Manchuria\and became a favourite of Zhou Bao-zhong. Zhou himself said that he had escaped death on several occasions thanks to Pak.

Pak Rak Kwon had a special skill in handling weapons. Trying any weapon once\or twice was enough for him to be able to dismantle\and reassemble it easily\and swiftly, even with his eyes shut.

However, he loathed studying military theory. Whenever he was asked to study theoretical problems he would pull a long face immediately as if he had swallowed some bitter pill,\and during theoretical study lessons he would sit in the farthest corner, trying to avoid eye contact with the lecturer.

I told him: “You are a platoon leader now. But in the future, when we fight large-scale modern warfare, you may have to command a regiment\or a division. If you hate learning the knowledge of modern warfare as you do now, how can you command a regiment\or a division? If you only rely on your own experience in commanding your unit, you may cause the deaths of many of your men. Do you want that to happen?”

After that, he applied himself to theoretical study with a firm determination. I once saw him out on the Amur all day long, engrossed in the study of the theory of infantry tactics, his whole body drenched with sweat as if he had a fever.

After liberation, he was dispatched to Northeast China.

He participated in the battle to liberate Changchun in command of a regiment. He contributed to the victory in the battle to liberate the large city by his efficient command of his regiment because he had applied himself to the study of tactics while at the base in the Far East region, I think. He took the lead in the regimental charge at an enemy’s position. He is said to have been wounded in several places by splinters rom a mortar shell\and died a heroic death worthy of his name. He is remembered as a hero by both the Koreans\and the Chinese in their history.

“Study is also battle.”–this is a truth we learned in actual life. A revolutionary must study to the last moment of his life, without a moment’s interruption. Unless he studies, his mind will get rusty. Then, he will be devoid of foresight.

It is precisely for this reason that Comrade Kim Jong Il always emphasizes the need to study hard, regarding it as the first part of the process of training people to be revolutionaries.

We also educated the men\and helped them widen their political horizons through the facilities for extracurricular activities\and the means of information\and agitation available at the base.

At the training base was a club equipped with a projection room, a library\and a radio room,\where the officers\and men used to have meetings\and film shows.

During the broadcasting hour, the base radio gave wide publicity to the soldiers, platoons, companies\and battalions worthy of being held up as models in their study, military\and political training,\and daily life. It also broadcast news about the international situation, especially the news of the war against Germany, every day.

The IAF also published a newspaper. Each contingent\and company had its wall newspaper,\and platoons had their field bulletins. These forms of media carried news items about the ideological\and moral education of the soldiers,\and about the preparations for\and reviews of military\and political training.

We also gave the soldiers revolutionary\and class education through the anniversary activities for the Red Army\and the October Revolution, May Day\and other holidays. In those days the unit gave wide publicity to the Soviet heroes\and heroines who had fought courageously in the Soviet-German War, which had a good influence upon the soldiers. Memorial services for the fallen revolutionary comrades-in-arms were\organized in a significant way so that they served as occasions for giving revolutionary education to the soldiers.

When Ryu Yong Chan died, we also held a memorial service for him at the training base. He had been enlisted with the help of Kim Jong Suk, who, during her underground work in Taoquanli, had won him over to the revolutionary\organization\and trained him. He was a good fighter. He was drowned in the Amur when a ship carrying sand for the construction of a barracks capsized.

We also held memorial services at that time for Front Commanders Apanasenko, Vatutin,\and Chernyakhovski.

During the memorial services our own band played dirges.

The allied forces occasionally\organized lectures\and meetings with the participants in the Soviet-German War.

We carried out both the study of military theory\and military exercises in real earnest at the Far East base. We did tactical training,\and all kinds of drills such as shooting, swimming, skiing, parachuting,\and radio communication, to get ourselves ready for modern warfare.

We spent much time on offensive\and defensive training, with emphasis on tactical problems. We also studied artillery, topography, sanitation, engineering,\and anti-chemical warfare.

The training for guerrilla warfare was concentrated upon raids\and ambushes. Because of their rich experience in actual warfare of this kind, all the soldiers plunged into this training in real earnest.

During military training, we would pitch our tents over a vast plain, the scene of which is still fresh in my memory.

When I directed the training, the company commanders\and platoon leaders prepared their plans\and carried them out. We made it a principle to undertake our style of training suited to the terrain of our country\and the physical constitution of the Korean people, drawing on experiences in the anti-Japanese war\and the Soviet-German War.

We carried out tactical training in such a way as to follow up one subject of the curriculum with field exercises about it, through which we would judge the degree of the soldiers’ understanding of the subject.

I myself conducted tactical training for the commanding officers. The objective of tactical training was to make each soldier equal to the job of a man a few ranks higher, that is, to make a company commander capable of commanding a battalion\or a regiment, a platoon leader a company\or a battalion, a soldier a platoon\or a company, etc.

Tactical training was conducted with a platoon\or a company as a unit. When briefed about the situation\and given the mission, the man appointed as the commander would estimate the situation, make his decision,\organize the operation\and then give\orders.

Let me tell you what happened at the beginning of tactical training.

One day I went down to a company to inspect its tactical training. Son Jong Jun was acting as a platoon leader that day.

He was commanding his platoon with an air of confidence. I gave him a new situation in which various obstacles were laid in its way\and a reinforced enemy company was on a height. He attempted a frontal attack, but I prompted him to employ the tactics of roundabout breakthrough,\and made him restart the attack.

It was not accidental that he attempted to employ a battle\order that was not suited to the situation. It was an outcome of the training given by rote according to the then battle regulations\whereby the troops were to attack in extended\order behind a mechanized unit. Such an attack was unsuited to the specific conditions of our country, which has many mountains\and valleys.

I made sure that all the lesson plans for tactical training were re-examined, revised\and applied to meet the specific conditions of our country on the principle of developing them by drawing on our experience of guerrilla warfare. I told O Jin U to draw up a model tactical training plan for an attacking platoon. A noncommissioned officer as he was then, he drew up a perfect model training plan with my assistance. In accordance with this plan, we\organized a demonstration for the whole contingent. The reaction was very good. O Jin U also drew up a plan for manoeuvres involving the whole contingent.

Shooting drill consisted mainly of firing at fixed targets at different distances, moving targets,\and suddenly appearing targets. The firing range was located eight to twelve kilometres away rom our camp.

The Korean Contingent was also the best of all the allied forces in marksmanship. Ri Tu Ik in particular was a crack shot.

We\selected the best shots for drills in sharp-shooting plus map-reading. They first drilled in firing straight shots at fixed targets. They shot so much that they said they could still feel their ears ringing even after their return to their quarters. After the drill we handed out to each of them a compass\and a map marked with the route of a march, giving them the mission of catching a certain number of birds at such\and such places,\and returning by such\and such an exact time. It was not an easy task, for they would have to spend almost a whole day to move as dictated by the marks that required them to change their course at a certain point by what angle\and return by going round a certain place,\and moreover, they had to shoot birds. This was mainly aimed at helping them to master marksmanship\and map-reading.

In our days at the training base in the Soviet region of the Far East, we also had a lot of skiing\and swimming drills. Anticipating the great event of the country’s liberation, we needed to learn such skills for the guerrilla actions we were to carry out by basing ourselves in the Rangnim\or Hamgyong Mountains,\and for our operations to liberate the homeland by crossing the Amnok\or Tuman Rivers.

Swimming drills took place in the Amur during summer. Considering the fact that ours is a maritime country, we attached special importance to swimming. Most of the soldiers of our contingent had grown up without seeing the sea,\and those who could swim were few in number. So most of them were afraid of rivers.


In those days swimming was regarded as almost as difficult a drill as parachuting.

We first made the trainees drill by moving their limbs while lying on the ground before taking them to the river\and teaching them through demonstration by the few who knew how to swim.

After their first experience in the water, we stretched a rope across the river\and let them swim across with the help of the rope.

Feng Zhong-yun\and a few others never learned how to swim; once in the water, they would sink like stones. Feng once lost his glasses in the water.

Kim Kyong Sok was nearly drowned while practising swimming alone.

Jon Sun Hui was the best swimmer because she had lived by a river. When she was young she used to cling to the back of the grown-ups when crossing the river; ashamed of it as she reached the age of discretion, she had learned swimming. Having experience as a nurse with the 7th Corps, she served at the training base as a nurse in the dispensary. Many of her comrades learned swimming rom her.

The swimming drill was followed by a river-crossing drill, making them an all-round drill, so to speak. After a forced march of about 25 kilometres in full kit, the soldiers made a raft for each platoon to cross the river.

In this drill a straggler meant the loss of a mark. Choe Kwang’s platoon was well-known for its proficiency in river-crossing, though it always had to surrender the first place to the others because of Kong Jong Su.

Kong Jong Su had worked as a farm hand before enlisting in the guerrilla army. Impeccable as his character was, he was born sluggish, most unlike a soldier. He burnt several caps one winter. He was slow to move, even when his trousers caught alight rom a campfire.

During his service in the 5th Corps he was in Choe Kwang’s platoon. Once, exasperated by this man, Choe Kwang had tried to drive him out of his platoon, but Kong hobbled along in its wake, nevertheless.

Choe Kwang was moved by his doggedness. That man will never change, Choe Kwang thought to himself.

I said to Choe Kwang: “Though told to go away, he still followed us to make revolution. That shows what a good person he is. Let’s do our best to help him, though it costs us a great deal of effort to do so.” Bearing my advice in mind, Choe Kwang gave him individual training, including diving into the water rom a springboard seven metres high.

I watched them rom a distance. Kong was nervous that he might do belly-flops in the water. Anyhow, he was a man of special character. After the liberation of the country he served as my aide-de-camp\and as a bodyguard to Choe Yong Gon,\and commanded a battalion.

We also had canoeing on the Amur, using a one-man canoe, called an amurochika in Russian, with one paddle. The local Nanayian people were good at paddling this canoe. My men would compete in paddling to\and rom Khabarovsk.

We also had landing exercises. Since our country is sea-bound on three sides\and has many rivers, river-crossing\and landing operations were essential for future campaigns against Japan.

We once had a landing exercise aimed at Rajin Port.

Parachuting was more difficult than swimming. In this training course the women soldiers were more courageous than the men. There were some cowards among the men, but none among the women.

The first stage was a mock drill, in which the trainees would jump rom a springboard into a pile of sawdust. The next stage was getting used to turning round on a revolving wheel. Women soldiers felt sick during this drill, but they never gave up.

Parachute practice took place on the vast plain around Voroshilov,\where there was a landing-strip.

The trainees first had to learn how to fold their parachutes. Then they would ascend a tower about 50 metres high\and descend by parachute. This trained them to turn their bodies once against the wind. Only then were they allowed to parachute rom an aircraft. Ten to twenty soldiers would parachute first rom an altitude of 1,000 metres,\and later rom 600 metres. The\order to\drop used to be given at the height of 800 metres.

The landing-strip was surrounded by wide sugar-beet fields. When we landed, women working in the fields would run towards us, helping us draw up the chutes\and peeling sugar beets for us.

They gave souvenir badges to those who recorded high scores in these drills. Choe Yong Jin rom our contingent took the badge for the highest score.