North Korea has apparently just finished building a specially-equipped hovercraft base less than 60km from disputed islands in the Yellow Sea. The base could be home to 70 conventional hovercraft, which can travel at more than 50km/h and can carry between 35-55 marines. In theory they could take 30 minutes to get to Baengnyeong island and land 2000 marines. The North Koreans are also reported to have developed high-speed military hovercraft which can travel at speeds up to 90km/h and, according to one source in the south, carry tanks.
The North has a recent history of staging provocations in this area - in 2010 they sank a patrol boat and shelled the island of Yeonpyeong, to the south of Baengnyeong - and they basically got away with it - they could be even bolder next time.
According to a South Korean daily: "North Korea's plan is to shell the islands with coastal artillery on a moonless night, render South Korean soldiers at military bases on the islands helpless, then take over the territory with soldiers landing on hovercraft".
Hum I don't know, after the artillery bombardment has begun then I'd think the element of surprise has gone and the hovercraft should be easy targets for the South Korean defences. Surely the North prefers to save their chips for more one-sided provocations than this one. Whichever way it pans out, we don't want the defenders posted on those islands to get any more jittery - last year marines on Gyodong island fired at a passenger jet carrying 119 passengers and crew approaching Incheon.