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T1, R1, Prng 16: Japanese Atakabune & O-atakabune vs Korean "Turtle Ship"

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  • T1, R1, Prng 16: Japanese Atakabune & O-atakabune vs Korean "Turtle Ship"

    In your opinion, which of these two warship types was most significant, influential and/or effective?
    Feel free to apply those criteria as you please, along with any others you think appropriate.
    Note: Suggestions for some additional criteria are at the foot of this post.

    According to the criteria as you see and apply them, please vote for your preferred candidate in the attached poll.
    If your chosen criteria are significantly different from those suggested, telling us what they are and why you used them would be helpful.

    30. Japanese Atakabune & O-Atakabune, 16th & 17th Centuries

    In this first illustration, we see an atakabune - the largest vessel in the centre - with a smaller type of Japanese ship on either side.
    (The one in the background is a variant of the kobaya; but without the high wooden side rails. The one in front is a sekibune.)
    For the Japanese during this period, the atakabune was the primary fighting ship.
    It was heavily armed and well protected but at the same time, ungainly and not at all fast. Propulsion was provided both by oars and, with a foldable mast, by sail.
    To quote from the book Fighting Ships of the Far East (2), by Stephen Turnbull:
    "The ataka bune was the battleship of any Sengoku daimyo's navy. It was solidly built but quite sluggish, and looked like a floating wooden box.
    The whole of the side surface was one blank wall of thick wooden planks pierced with small loopholes for guns and bows, protecting the oarsmen along with the samurai."

    This photo shows a large-scale museum model of an O-atakabune.
    Relatively very few (probably half-a-dozen or so) ships of this general type are known to have been built.
    The O-atakabune were enormous; generally around double or more the size of atakabune.
    They were never going to be built in larger numbers, being intended more as "prestige flagships".
    They could be described more as a majestic curiosity than a truly serious attempt to build a viable warship.
    Nevertheless, despite their lumbering ungainliness (much worse even than atakabune) they were exceptionally well protected and heavily armed.

    The example shown below is the Nihon Maru; built for Toyotomi Hideyoshi as the #1 flagship of all Japan in the late 16th century.
    It was the largest, most powerful and most prestigious of the O-atakabune class.
    As befits someone who had become such a senior leader, the Nihon Maru was also luxuriously appointed.
    It is depicted here coming under attack from a Korean turtle ship; based on historical events. The date is 1592, at the battle of Angolpo.
    This battle was part of a series of Japanese campaigns to invade and subjugate Korea.

    32. Korean "Turtle Ship", 16th - 19th Centuries

    The very first "turtle" warships - "kobukson" in Korean - with full-coverage curved overhead protection, were built in the early part of the 15th century.
    However, these early versions were produced in miniscule numbers and saw very limited use.
    The general idea was revived in the 16th century; primarily at the instigation of Admiral Yi Sun-sin; regarded in Korean history as the saviour of that nation.
    Yi Sun-sin was a major driving force behind a full re-design of the resurrected turtle ship concept; the updated version being a considerable overall improvement.
    Aside from being well armed, the new turtle ship was more robust, more practical, more efficient and better protected.
    This heavily revised model was referred to as the "Chwasuyong ship" or "geobukseon".
    In addition to providing outstanding overhead protection, the curved roof was covered in spikes, to deter boarding during close-quarter engagements.
    Speed and general maneuverability were, however, no better than about average compared to most adversaries.

    Below, we see a drawing of a turtle ship with a small cut-away for a glimpse of the interior, showing one of the cannon that made up the main armament.
    We can also see the "driving end" of one of the oars, with four men on it. The inset shows another crewman at one of the secondary weapons.

    The photo below shows a museum reconstruction of a turtle ship.
    The scale is 1:2.5 and it is believed to be the most accurate representation in existence.

    Here is a photo of a life-size working reconstruction that tourists, I think maybe, can go for a ride in?
    I doubt it would be fully authentic inside, though.
    My guess is that the interior could be a floating restaurant or something like that? Windows and all! Anyone been in this thing?

    So, what's your decision this time?
    Which of these two warships will you vote for?

    Suggested additional criteria you might wish to consider, along with any others you deem appropriate.
    (Note: Some of these could be considered already covered by Significant, Influential and Effective)

    Which warship type ...
    • was the best?
    • was the greatest?
    • was the most widely used?
    • had the greatest longevity in service?
    • was the most versatile?
    • represented the best value for the cost/effort invested ("bang for the buck" in today's language)?
    • was the easiest to operate?

    Any other criteria you have applied (please tell us what they were).
    30. Japanese Atakabune & O-atakabune 16th & 17th Centuries
    32. Korean Geobukseon "Turtle Ship" 16th - 19th Centuries

    The poll is expired.

    Last edited by panther3485; 19 Aug 17, 03:45.
    "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
    Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

  • #2
    I went with the Turtle, since it is still recognised. Doesn't mean squat, since my knowledge on ships is severely limited.
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    • #3
      The Turtle Ship lasted a long time. This is the mark of a good design.

      Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

      Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

      by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"


      • #4
        TheTurtle combined armour and cannon - superior technology in its day. But very expensive so very few built and once built kept as long as possible. Hence the longevity.The cannon made it superior to the Japanese ships it faced at first - but by the end it was probably obsolete but too much had been invested in it.
        Last edited by MarkV; 15 Aug 17, 15:37.
        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)


        • #5
          I have heard of the Turtle ships and there have been some discussion about them here.

          Never heard of the other one, easy pick!


          • #6
            I went for the Korean Turtle Ship.
            IMO, it represented a better and more practical balance of fighting attributes and was somewhat more advanced in its overall design concept.
            "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
            Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.


            • #7
              At the annual Yi Sun-Shin Sacred Hero Festival in Asan, Chungcheongnam-do (province), held annually around Apr. 28 (birthday of Admiral Yi), they display a model of a turtle ship.
              "Stand for the flag ~ Kneel for the fallen"

              "A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer." ~ Bruce Lee


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