When we went to the War Museum, we visited the replica of the Turtle Ship. It’s truly amazing in design and beautiful in appearance. As a history lover, I had to learn about this ship. There was a video there which I watched but then I went a step further and did some reading up on it. Here’s what I found:
During the 16th century in Korea, the Japanese attacked the Korean shores. To stop them General Yi Sun-sin was asked to defend his people. But he knew he needed something special, something different to outmaneuver the large Japanese fleet.
So he took an early design of a turtle ship and improved it. This ship had no keel but a flat bottom of ten heavy wooden boards. From those, he built the ship up on the sides and rounded out the top. The ship’s total length amounted to 110 feet long.
The arched and sloping roof was covered with iron plates. These plates held jagged spikes and knives to hurt boarding enemies. General Yi Sun-sin even went so far as to cover these spikes with grass and hay to surprise of the enemy when they boarded the ship. Ouch!
The cool part is at the ship’s bow, a dragon head arched out, its fanged mouth open and wide enough for a cannon to fit inside.
Yi Sun-sin cleverly burned mixed sulfur and saltpeter to create a black smoldering cloud. This cloud hovered over the ship and hid it from invaders.
In Yi Sun-sin’s journals he writes the cloud was, “Like a mist so that the enemy could not see the ship.” Approaching enemies would never know where the Turtle Ship was or the moment of their attack.
Using the forty cannons on board, General Yi Sun-sin wielded a fierce attack on the Japanese. At the battle of Myeonnyang, 133 Japanese ships fought against 13 Korean ships. General Yi Sun-sin came out victorious and was able to protect his beloved Korea.