AKs mounted on Chineses artillery barrels

UPDATE: It is Chinese Artillery, not North Korean. Sorry, my mistake. Apparently those are Chinese characters in the background. Thanks Danger Zone for the correction.


A photo in the NK AAA article I recently blogged about show AKs mounted on artillery barrels. The theories on MilitaryPhotos.net are that they could be:

  • Crude Sights
  • Used to fire tracers
  • Used to fire bullets during training instead of artillery rounds to save cost.

The only other explanation I can think of is that they are just stowed away up there. Although I don’t see how the operators could climb up a hot barrel to fetch it during combat.

Anyone know what they are really there for?

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Umm, to draw attention away from those hideous whitewall tires?

  • homebru

    Perhaps trying to keep us from noticing the white sidewall tires.

  • Great minds think alike 😀

  • Kurt

    Boys, those aren’t just any old whitewalls. Those are GANGSTER whitewalls. Come to think of it, that makes sense.

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  • MarkJ

    Maybe the Norks are just showing off the modern equivalent of Civil War “Quaker Guns.” The artillery pieces don’t really work, but, AK’s notwithstanding, they look really, REALLY scary. I suspect technical competence and quality of maintenance in the Nork armed forces is little short of abysmal.

  • Those tires are the output of NKs new state of the art tire factory. It uses technology stolen from the US auto industry during the Korean war!

  • MarkJ, you are right, a lot of their guns are not functional. If you read the article I linked to above your will see the sheer amount of AA emplacements. They have a ridiculous amount of obsolete equipment.

    At least the civil war soldiers tried to fake guns. The Norks have even just painted planes on runways, the faint outlines can still be seen on Google Earth:


  • jim ryder

    Military used to use a similar training device on its tanks in the 1980’s, mounting a M16 on the gun tube of a tank. Expect these are for training as well.

  • A while back I blogged about an RPG ‘rocket’ that was in fact a 7.62x39mm rifle. It could be fitted in a RPG launcher and fired.


    This works fine for close range for learning to aim, as I am sure it worked on tanks. But I don’t see how this would work for conventional artillery.

    For AA Artillery they could fill very big balloons that either have a controlled assent or are attached to the ground with a cable and practice aiming and popping them with tracers.

    Does anyone know if this is done by any other country?

  • spacegoat

    Being cash and resource-strapped the country is, the most logical (though everything coming out of NK seems to be illogical) explanation is to save ammo.

  • Stormin

    Actually, they look more like RPKs to me. Perhaps they are some jury-rigged attempt at a spotting system like the spotting rifle on a recoilless rifle system. Those whitewalls sure are tactical! 🙂

  • John

    I think the A K adds to that NASCAR look their going after with those white walls it also high lights the olive drab

  • Evan

    Maybe it’s a prank they do to the new guys

  • Hoffa509

    The marines use a parallel mounted 9mm rifle to sight in one of their shoulder fired rockets. In the Army, we have an AT-4 simulator that fires a 9mm tracer round that is ballisticly similar to the AT-4. I seriously doubt you can find a 7.62×39 that is balisticly similar to those artillery pieces. Although, firing that AK with a magazine full of tracers might give some training value for tracking a target.
    On another note, our Air Defense Artillery branch got rid of all the artillery pieces a LONG time ago. They even got rid of the Vulcan, which was great in the ground defense role if nothing else. You have to love those tactical white walls though!

  • djroot2

    I assume they lower the barrel on them when they travel. Maybe some poor sod has to sit on it and cover the rear when they re-locate.

  • stencil

    Magic. What you’re seeing here is classic sympathetic magic, something that in a watered-down way leads to having team and unit mascots. The rifles probably came via Afghanistan, and will be certified to have been involved in the shootdown of Russian aircraft, just as saints’ relics carry certification papers. These are Chinese: they learn nothing and they forget nothing.
    Just my guess, but I’ve got *faith* in it.


  • stencil, that is a great theory. They could be AKs from the Korean war. I know that the Chinese Type 56 had not come into service during the war but the Soviets were providing planes and even pilots so I would not be surprised if they gave the Chinese a few of their new AK-47 rifles to try out.

  • Hizzoner

    You laugh now, but when the North Korean army humiliates all western armies, you will quake.

  • Boston

    AK-47 commercial…

    No, I think they can’t be the actual sights since one is aligned differently compared to the other, instead it’s more probable that they’re trying to align their sights with with the actual shots by marking the shots using AKs and then adjusting the sights accordingly… make sense?

  • tient les ak47 aiment maitenant des mortier automatique

  • well i would guess,when they travel a the cannon is lowered and a wire is connected to the ak-47 to fire if
    needed because a bullet is cheaper than a cannon round!
    just my guess
    oh those white walls are xtra thick rubber,well i had a 1932 plymouth and the white walls were really thick and
    very hard to punture from the side….just another guess

  • thomas

    Not tires, targets.

    AK’s mounted there by government regulation.

  • HA

    thomas, you are on a roll today!

  • P

    They are tracer firing AK’s These are probably bare recruits who are learning gun laying in the very first stages. they are probably shooting at model airplanes or high wire strung targets which are drawn across the line of sight and the tracer allows the newb gunner to understand leading the target and provides a rough grading curve of the RO or Instructor.

    My grandfather was trained as a merchant gunner in WW2 and talked about shooting a bofors with a .30 cal mounted on the same trunnion that would be used for initial training. They shot at long segments of fabric towed behind out of date aircraft, and part of the reasoning was a .30 cal would do much less damage to the tow craft than a 40 millimeter when and it was when not if, the novice gun crew would miss. Also it was pennies a shot for .30 cal, verses dollars a shot for the 40 mm. granted the trajectory was not the same, but the concept was.

  • Nick

    Has anyone ever thought that they just felt like it? haha

  • AK™

    NO no no..you guys have it ALL wrong..*rolls eyes*

    Those are RPKs with underslung “n00b” tubes(as they refer to them in MW2)instead of using common 40mm grenades,they use something a mite bigger.

  • 777conservativesquid

    Maybe they are used as rangefinders i remember that back in the 50’s the US had some artillery with stripped bolt-action rifles (just barrels and action) mounted on top used to determine range

  • bbmg

    “The Norks have even just painted planes on runways, the faint outlines can still be seen on Google Earth”

    Are you sure those are NK decoys and not ROK targets? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXWiGgdaYsc#t=1m32s

  • Five Bucks

    The AKs are mounted so the howitzers can fix bayonets.

  • Gary Dorkskinner

    Probably just something to liven up the general discussion forum on the AK Forum.

  • Alpha Roger

    They are just showing off in the propaganda picture. It served no purpose, that how the communist mindsets worked.

  • Nathaniel

    Those are Type 81 LMGs, not AKs.