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Last month, the South Korean warship Cheonan was ripped in half by an explosion, not far from the disputed maritime boundary with North Korea. The incident claimed the lives of at least 40 crew members, and speculation continues about what, exactly, brought down the ship.
The latest theory: An elite squad of North Korean naval kamikazes, working on direct orders of Dear Leader Kim Jong-il. “‘Human Torpedoes’ are the North’s secret naval weapon,” claims South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo. “A unit of 13 specially trained commandos and modified midget submarines” brought down the ship, writes the U.K. Telegraph.
So what, exactly, is a “human torpedo?” According to a rather breathless account in the Chosun Ilbo, these elite combat swimmers are from North Korea’s 17th Sniper Corps. Quoting the blog (!) of a North Korean poet who defected to South Korea, the paper said Kim’s torpedo units “are treated better than submarine crew and their training centers around suicide bombing attacks.” The paper even doctored up a priceless image — shown here — of a suicide-bomber riding a torpedo to its target.