Admiral Yi Sun-sin

Battle of Salamis-Sept 4. B.C. 480
380 battleships of a united Greece, led by Themistocles of Athens VS lured 750 Persian battleships
Themistocless of Athens Victory

Battle of Gravelines-Aug 8. AD 1588
Admiral Howard, leading 75 British battleships VS Spanish fleet 130 battleships Admiral Howard, leading 75 British battleships Victory

The Battle of Trafalgar-oct 21. AD 1805
Admiral Horatio Nelson and the Victorian VS French fleet + Spanish fleet Admiral Horatio Nelson and the Victorian Victory

These battles will forever live in the Parthenon of great battles. But less we forget, one battle of the orient belongs among them.

Naval Battle ofHansando
On jul. 8, 1592, Hansando, the narrow strait running from Tongyeong. A fleet of 72 led by Admiral Yi Sun-sin facing a japanese combat fleet of 82. Admiral Yi Sun-sin lured the enemy into the narrow Hansando channel using Panokseon battleships. He spread his fleet across both flanks, and reared its head toward the massive Japanese fleet. His HakIkjin5 tactics had the Japanese fleet surrounded. Korean ships behind the island waited in ambush. A Geobukseon ship6 infiltrated the middle of the Japanese ships. The Japanese fleet scattered. The battle was on.

Admiral Yi Sun-Sin, with more than 40 naval battles under his belt, went undefeated in his naval career. At the Battle of Myeongryang, the Admiral Yi’s force, 12 combat ships, completely wiped out a Japanese fleet of 130, with nary a loss. His naval tactics, his thorough knowledge of topography, and his fine personality, made Admiral Yi Sun-Sin respected even among Japanese forces.

Admiral Togo Heihachiro, who defeated the Russian fleet during the Russo-Japanese War in the early 20C, is said to have admired Admiral Yi Sun-Sin and his deeds of arms.

“You may compare me with lord Nelson, but not with Yi Sun-sin.”-Togo heihachiro

“Admiral Yi Sun-Sin remains one of the most revered characters in Korea’s history.”
-G.A.Ballard, The influence of the seaon the political history of Japan(1921)

Up until the 16C, naval battles mainly involved hand-to-hand combat, first colliding with, then boarding the enemy’s ships. But Admiral Yi Sun-sin adopted his revolutionary tactics, crane wing formation, called HakIkjin. With surrounding enemy’s fleet in a semi circle and his fleet bombards their various cannons all at once. Joseon’s fleet could concentrate the attack on enemy’s fleet which was surrounded by joseon battle ships in a crane wing formation. Japanese Admiral Togo Heihachiro revealed the secret of this tactics. The sub duplicate ratio of firepower and could decisively defeated the battle against undefeated Russian fleet. After this battle, the tactics is still adopted today’s navy.

Geobukseon, the Turtle ship
Never discouraged, the Joseon developed a previously unimagined battleship under the leadership of Admiral Yi Sun-Sin, boasting excellent navigation and shipment technology. In the 16C, most combat fleets were large V-shaped ships that were fast but required a large turn radius. The Joseon ships, on the other hand, used the u-shaped ships, panokseon ship. These Panokseon, or “board-roofed superstructured ships”, were the only combat ships of the era with a standing turn radius near zero. Its second floor could carry nearly 20 firearms into battle. The modern understanding of packing different amounts of gunpowder, taking into account distance and driving speed, was first used on these ships. The standing turn, and using all arms onboard. As mentioned, the Geobukseon ships could fire, turn 180┬░, turn, fire, and turn again, making for previously unthinkable volleys against the enemy.

The Geobukseon’s drill is also worth mention. It was installed directly into the ship’s hull, and thus invulnerable to enemy attack. The ship’s sails could be hoisted in all directions, even while covered, making it lighter and faster than all others. Its sniper canons, installed at its dragonstyle head, it could attack deep into enemy lines. Its left and right cannons, the engineering of Admiral Yi Sun-sin, and his utilization of the sub duplicate ratio of firepower, transformed the Geobukseon and hence the joseon into a Naval powerhouse of the 16C.

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