Military Review

Ingenious Admiral Lee Sun Xing

Historical the canon says: in 1592, the bad Japanese admiral Hideyoshi attacked the good Korea. But here a problem arose: at the head of the Korean fleet turned out to be a brilliant military leader, Admiral Lee Song Sin. This genius by 263 years ahead of his time, creating sheathed with iron, that is, armored ships invulnerable to the enemy, with iron spikes for a ram, and defeated all the Japanese with such a fleet. And that’s all, and swam on the paper waves of the “tortoise” - the Kobuksons, exactly like the Greek “triremes”. And wise is there, in the east, the people!

Iron spikes alone are already enough to send “Admiral Lee Sun-xin” along with his “turtles” to where they are and the only place: in the waste basket. But now it's not about spikes. Speech - on the iron armor, "ahead of time."

The ends meet here do not converge for two reasons.

The first is of an economic nature. Authors of popular (and not only popular) historical literature simply cannot imagine what it means to sheathe with steel, or at worst with iron, a whole ship. Both from production and financial points of view. These people believe that if they can afford to galvanize the roof of a garden house without much stress, then the state is quite able to sheathe its fleet with iron. At the same time, they overlook the fact that, firstly, armor and tin are, after all, a little bit different things, secondly, for booking a fleet of metal it will take a little more than a country house roof, and most importantly - in the yard it's not the XVI, but the XXI century.

I could not find any digital data on the characteristics of the turtles, but it is possible to make a simple calculation. What is characteristic: every time when specifics are required, historians are cute, purely female, moving on to the next topic, walking mainly in the garden of emotions. However, based on the “reconstruction” pictures and general considerations of the then level of world shipbuilding, I received an approximate tonnage of “turtle” in 400 tons, with a length of 40, a width of 10 and a height of an armored freeboard 1 meter. The total area of ​​the reservation, given that the “monster” deck is also armored, is emphasized by all sources! - will be about 400 m ?.

Ingenious Admiral Lee Sun Xing

In various battles took part from 10 to 30 "armored" Korean ships. Suppose they were completely invulnerable, no replacement due to combat losses was required, and only 30 units were built at all. Total we have 12 000 m ?. armor cover! Is it too much for feudal Korea, and even under conditions when half the country is already occupied by bloodthirsty Japanese ?! How is all this iron made? Blacksmiths, handbrake and sledgehammer, in a blind-eyed smoky fanze? This is how much those blacksmiths need!

Another question. All booking elements must strictly comply with certain standards; if, say, there is a little “walk” thickness, an imbalance in the load of the ship and the power loads of the hull parts is inevitable. If there are inaccuracies in the observance of the width, height and geometric shape, the armor details simply will not dock with each other. Customize the place file and zubilets? Not funny.

One more question. And what, in fact, should they be - length, height and geometric shape? Armor bars, how on "Tonnan"? Or thick steel strips, in principle - the same, in general, the bars, as in the "Virginia"? Or armor plates, like on all other armored ships from 1862 to today? So you do not otkuesh them manually; the horn will not fit. Forge small armored? Quite doable, but completely pointless, for the idea of ​​armor plating is that the huge impact pressure is distributed over a large area of ​​solid, monolithic brondetetal. The impact of the nucleus, which came in a small iron plaque, will press it into a tree, and that there is armor, that there is no it, everything is the same.

In short, even burst, and without rolling mill can not do. And without the forging press shop, too, because the armor should be bent beforehand. And without a machining shop - not enough!

Comrades archaeologists, be so kind as to present the ruins of a medieval Korean metallurgical plant to a curious public! And at the same time, too, open-hearth furnaces, because of the amount of products made of cheese-making iron would have to be forged indefinitely ... Although, perhaps, the wise Koreans had an effective medieval converter in store? ..

But as far as I know, no such one was found.

And here's another question. What was the thickness of that armor? 100 mm, how about the Tonnan? 114 mm, how on "Virginia"? Please take into account that it is meaningless to sheathe a ship, say, with millimeter tin; even for a musket bullet, this is not an obstacle, especially for a cannonball.

I give historical fiction colossal odds. Accept the thickness of the "tortoise" armor already ... in 10 mm. Not a hundred, not two hundred. And I get ... 40 m ?, which will give a ton of 32 ship's armor tonnes!

Here it is. People do not understand the meaning of numbers. They are not aware of their specific content. A ship with a tonnage of 400 tons cannot afford to carry 280 tons of armor. And 180 tons can not. Moreover, a wooden ship.

There is a concept in the technique: weight returns. In short, 100 tons of iron can be used to build a larger ship than 100 tons of wood. And from 100 tons of steel - larger than iron. Accordingly, he can carry more payloads, for example, the same armor. Or like this: an iron ship with tonnage in 100 tons can afford thicker armor (or a larger booking area) than wood. The essence is in the strength characteristics of the structural material.

So, in the XX (!) Century, a rare steel warship could afford to have a reservation in 40% of displacement. This is a small category of battleships and some river monitors, whose extremely low board did not allow them to go to the open sea.

And knowing this, someone will argue that four hundred years ago, some Koreans sought more weight from the tree than the shipbuilding design bureaus of high-grade steel in our time? Although, I'm sorry, I forgot: after all, this is an incomprehensible and mysterious East! Three hairs will be pulled out of a thin beard, some “fuck-tibidoch” will be said, and it’s done - all the laws of physics have obligingly bent in the right direction. This European needs a slide rule, and the Korean or Chinese need only a beard. Apparently, from that time they were all barefoot and walking, all beards spent on changing the laws of nature.

But on this list of puzzled questions does not end.

Here's a friend borrowed a book for me. Good book, thorough. Franco Cardini, "The Origins of Medieval Chivalry". In it, among other things, interesting tables. We are talking about the cost of knightly weapons in the Middle Ages. Without going into details, a sword and a helmet of average quality cost as much as 100 sheep. The total weight of both is from the strength of 10 kg. It turns out that the Korean emperor had to give as many 840 000 sheep for their own “turtles” for one reservation only ?! This is not counting the cost of the "turtles" themselves, not counting other "unarmored" ships, not counting the expenses for the land army, for cannons, for espionage, for rice and for the warriors ?! Moreover, half of the country had already taken away from him!

Was the Korean emperor too rich? !!

The second reason is, I would say, of a military-technical nature.

And why, in fact, in Europe, only in the middle of the nineteenth century did they think about the need for booking? For five hundred years, guns have been rattling the sea, and only now stupid Europeans have thought of such an obvious thought ?!

The answer is very simple, although at first glance it looks paradoxical. All this time the power of artillery was insufficient to destroy ship hulls with high efficiency. No attached armor ships simply did not need, their thick wooden sides themselves were an excellent defense against enemy nuclei.

The facts are as follows. Up to the middle of the 19th century, cases of, so to speak, pure sinking of ships with gunfire were very rare, and this happened only by virtue of some extremely unfavorable circumstances for the late ship. For example, if a relatively small and weak ship was substituted by a very powerful enemy, say, under cross fire of two or three heavily armed battleships or a large-caliber coastal battery. By pure sinking, one should understand the death of a ship, the hull of which was so destroyed by the shells that it lost buoyancy. In short, too much seawater flowed into the holes.

But the main item of casualties in all fleets was the capture of the ship by the enemy, when in the course of the classic artillery duel one of the opponents suffered more than the other. There comes a time when the commander of the wrecked ship, sadly surveyed the deck littered with fragments of a downed mast, spoiled cannons and seamen’s corpses, comes to the conclusion that all the possibilities for resistance are exhausted and lowers the flag. Or a more aggressive opponent, having tentatively treated the victim with a grape-shot, rushes to the boarding and completes the matter in hand-to-hand combat.

The second article - fires, sometimes ending with a cruet-chamber explosion. No wonder: wood, resin, many layers of oil paint. And only then the statistics show the direct sinking of ships by artillery fire.

The reason for this situation lies in the fact that the board of a slightly large and seaworthy vessel made of wood is simply unwittingly thick. The ships of that time were built according to the so-called "transverse" scheme. This means that the main load in the power set of the ship is carried by frames, which have to be made very thick and put them very often. In practice, it looks like this: the intervals between the frames are smaller than their width, they are almost a continuous fence. Then the sheathing is mounted over the frames, both from the inside and from the outside, which is also very thick, since it will have to perceive longitudinal-bending loads, linking the frames into one whole. As a result, even in merchant ships, the thickness of the board reached half a meter. For warships, the situation was aggravated by the fact that the nature of the loads they had was different; The “merchant” is simply a cargo box, not every one of them had at least one deck below the main one, the upper one — the so-called twin deck. A solid warship had two or even three battery decks that were supposed to withstand a multi-ton mass of guns, and, moreover, perceive serious dynamic loads when firing. In turn, the decks passed it to the frames, forcing them to make them even thicker.

In general, the thickness of the side of the famous "Manila galleons", for example, could reach 1,5 m. And Nelson's battleships too. And so it was until the transition to the iron shipbuilding. Thus, the high projectile resistance of military sailing ships is not the result of the purposeful work of shipbuilders, but is obtained, as it were, “in addition”, in addition to the overall structural strength. The designer could not do otherwise, if he did not want his child to crumble right away when launched.

So, the then core simply did not break through such boards. The nuclei and the canister flew into the gun ports, crashed guns, crippled sailors, shred the spars, marines from mars (mast) platforms showered the enemy deck with bullets, incendiary projectiles (branskugeli) set fire to everything that was dry but broken, and broken. , like a sieve, could not.

In this place, the Attentive Reader is simply obliged to grab me by the tail: wait, wait! This is how you want to understand? That is, they coped with the walls of the fortress walls, but not very well with the wooden shipboard?

Exactly. The reason is the specifics of the sea battle. On land, the commander of the siege corps had the opportunity to calmly, without haste, repudiate the enemy fortifications, determine the best direction of the main attack, pull back the main mass of the siege artillery and then methodically, day and night, sometimes for weeks, sometimes months! - To conduct continuous fire on a small section of the wall, loosening and breaking it. And the ultimate success was not guaranteed here either: the siege of Sevastopol is a clear confirmation of this. And not only Sevastopol.

And at sea such an option is unthinkable. Firstly, the sea battle is by nature short-lived, secondly, the bomb cellars of ships have a very specific limited capacity, and their replenishment - at least in that era - is impossible without entering the sheltered harbor and setting anchor, which automatically means cessation of battle. So there is no contradiction here.

The picture changed dramatically in the 40 of the nineteenth century, when a bomb (high-explosive projectile) of percussion was created. Actually, the bomb existed for a long time, but its fuse was a remote tube - a piece of igniter (fuck) cord inserted into the hole of the hollow body of the bomb. It was used exclusively in mortar-howitzer artillery, only for mounted shooting at fixed targets: enemy fortifications and manpower in the areas of its concentration. And this is understandable: the target is motionless, our firing position is also, you can safely shoot, pick up a more or less suitable length of cord so that the bomb does not explode when approaching the target, and not after a minute after the fall, because you just have time to put it out. In Sevastopol, dashing Black Sea sailors performed such tricks on "yat"!

At sea, such ammunition is ineffective. Shooting is done from the cannons purely flat. Such a bomb has no chance of breaking through the side of an enemy ship, or at least getting stuck on the board and waiting for the tube to burn out. With a caliber equal to the core, the bomb is much lighter (because it is hollow and filled with light powder), which means that its kinetic energy is less than that of a solid core, which itself is not ideal in terms of penetrating power. It is also unrealistic to choose the optimal installation of the distance tube for short and constantly changing distances. Now, if to achieve an automatic detonation of a bomb when meeting with an obstacle!

And it was done. The development of chemistry and pyrotechnics led to the fact that at the end of the nineteenth century of the nineteenth century, the leading combat fleets of the world acquired so-called “bombing tools”, firing explosive - high-explosive shells of instantaneous action. And simultaneously with the impact fuse, explosives of increased high-explosive (high-explosive) action appeared. In 40, with such shells, the Russian Black Sea Fleet, under the command of Nakhimov, crushed the Turkish squadron in the Bay of Sinop, smashed it into pieces in the most literal sense.

Countermeasures shipbuilders followed immediately: after only two years, the first battleships entered into battle - the French floating batteries of the Tonnan type, which fought with the Russian sea fortress of Kinburn. Result: the fortress was severely damaged, but the French, by and large, did not suffer losses.

The tree, due to the nature of its structure, is unable to withstand the effects of a blast wave: it flies as a splinter. Therefore, the dugout, field shelter with a log reeling, must necessarily have a minimum meter filling. And three meters is better, like a barrow, to cause a premature explosion of a high-explosive shell. Then he does not care; the logs will sprout and cover the fighters who have taken refuge in the dugout. And without the land - I'm sorry: everyone will fall down under a hail of not so much fragments, as chips from shattered logs. By the way, chips are worse than splinters.

Another thing, steel (iron) sheet: it is very difficult to pierce it with an overhead charge. In the sapper business, the charge charge is a charge that is fixed in one way or another on the surface of the barrier being punched, not embedded in it. In artillery, the action of a high-explosive projectile with a shock fuse on the barrier is a classic example of the action of an overhead charge. Of course, for a steel sheet of any thickness there is an overhead charge of a critical mass (in equivalent) that will break it. But in practice, it is impossible to create an instrument that will be able to draw a sufficiently powerful charge to the board of a solidly armored ship. Marine armor-piercing shells of all countries from 1855, pierce the enemy's armor solely due to the kinetic energy and special strength of the hull, and only then they are torn inside, crippling everything around.

If we recognize the reality of equipping the 16th century Korean ships with side and deck iron armor, we will have to admit that medieval Japanese had high-explosive percussion shells. What about remote-controlled torpedoes? Did the Koreans have them too?

Sorry, I do not read Korean. I don’t trust “translators” instinctively. And where to find that source? But the pictures of the “tortoiseship ships” suggest: a covered gable deck, with oars protruding from under it ... Bah! What a meeting! Yes, this is the old, good Spanish galleas!

And again, everything immediately falls into place. A small number of “Kobukson” - according to different sources, the 10, the 30 - clearly fits with the European data on the number of galeasov in the ranks of the Christian fleets. These were the "dreadnoughts" of the rowing fleet, many of them could not be. Both of them had a pronounced characteristic feature - a deck, a cover over the rowers. So, this is the armor, which the great admiral "Lee Sun Xing" defended his "battleships". To cover the rowers from the shelling from above, a relatively thin barrier is enough: a wooden “roof” is two inches thick, given the high tendency of spherical shells and bullets to ricochet.
G. Kostylev
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  1. washi
    washi 30 July 2013 09: 11 New
    Historians-"science fiction" are still those. As soon as economists and engineers begin to deal with history, i.e. representatives of the exact sciences, almost all historical research turns out to be fiction
    1. Gladiatir-zlo
      Gladiatir-zlo 30 July 2013 20: 38 New
      Well, the Koreans were taken away such a fairy tale, and historians have bread, so how do they now tell their tales? As I read for a long time, that in the Russian Empire, the reproduction of horses was a state affair; in general, the entire territory of the empire was divided into stud farms, which, depending on the area and conditions of fodder production, raised scientifically-based livestock numbers of horses. and this number of all possible horses was about 300 thousand. This largely explains the fact that the cavalry was cherished, precisely because of the value of the horses themselves.
    2. Kir
      Kir 31 July 2013 01: 47 New
      Vasily, economists just don’t need it — science is so exact that there is nowhere more to do with the political system, with regards to historical research, but you’ve forgiven never thought that history generally serves politics and no more, at least that part of it that is publicly available .
  2. avt
    avt 30 July 2013 09: 13 New
    good Simple and affordable, and in general there’s nothing to add, everything is said. Perhaps, if only to note that the iron of this turtle had only spikes on the roof.
  3. The comment was deleted.
  4. tlauicol
    tlauicol 30 July 2013 09: 39 New
    why all this debate, if Li Songxing himself doesn’t talk about booking ships anywhere! - a maximum covered with sheets of spikes and no 200 tons of armor (again, 25-meter oars seem?). During Hideyoshi's invasion, the Korean fleet comprised only three to six turtle ships, and the main striking force was panoxons. about the armor belt, too, do not need to compose, and then shake the calculator
    I repeat: even Lee Songxing himself did not claim that you are trying to challenge
    1. ziqzaq
      ziqzaq 31 July 2013 05: 09 New
      In practice, it looks like this: the gaps between the frames are less than their width, they are almost a solid picket fence
      The author, you got too excited ... Before you write, you need to at least search the Internet for information, so as not to look ridiculous ..... The width of the frame is comparable to the spacing? Delirium of the amateur .....
      It is clear that the ancient writers were not historical writers, but court chroniclers, so there can be no dry and accurate statement of facts in principle .....
      In vain killed time ....
  5. Djozz
    Djozz 30 July 2013 09: 46 New
    All these tales are a continuation of the big "politician", the lengthening of its history in the past by both China and Korea may in the future become a claim to the lands of Russia, they say you were not here! For booking ships; in the 20th century, even battleships had incomplete armor, the deck, gun turrets, the so-called "citadel" and the side were not fully armored, the entire armored ship would lose stability.
    1. Genry
      Genry 30 July 2013 11: 54 New
      Quote: Djozz
      an armored whole ship would lose stability.

      And every child knows that ships cannot be made of iron, because iron is sinking (irony).
      1. Djozz
        Djozz 30 July 2013 13: 45 New
        In fact, the armor is hung on the iron case with plates.
  6. a900958
    a900958 30 July 2013 12: 06 New
    The author of the article does not know elementary arithmetic, if he accepts a reservation area of ​​400 square meters and an armor thickness of 10 mm, then the volume of the metal will be 400 m2 x 0,01 m = 4 m3. If we take the bulk weight of iron 7800 kg / m3, then the total weight of the armor will be 4 m3 x 7800 kg / m3 = 31200 kg or 31,2 tons, but not as 280 tons. So, dear author, learn arithmetic first, and then write smart articles.
  7. Tourist Breakfast
    Tourist Breakfast 30 July 2013 12: 15 New
    The author himself invents myths and exposes them himself. Nobody claimed that the Kobuksons were analogues of armadillos.

    It is believed that the armor of kobukson could consist of hexagonal iron plates, each of which was equipped with a sharp spike to protect against boarding - a favorite method of sea battle of the time. In addition to the function of protecting against boarding hooks, they performed one more thing: they protected the ship from arrows and bullets. However, even if such plates were available, it is hardly possible to consider kobuksons the first armadillos in the world. The fact is that the thickness of the armor, taking into account the level of development of the metallurgy of medieval Korea and other considerations, could not be significant; most likely, these were thin, from a few to a dozen millimeters, sheets of iron that protected the ships from incendiary weapons. Rowing and sailing warships sheathed with metal for protection against fire were known even in the Roman era and in medieval Europe. In addition, most researchers doubt the availability of armor on kobuksons, as there is no clear evidence that they really were covered with iron plates.

    In the XX century, several kobuksons were built for research and commercial purposes. A private organization called the Kobukson Research Center studied the original design of the turtle ship and built several samples that seemed to be as close as possible to the original. They were used for filming the South Korean television series Immortal Lee Songsing.
    1. Djozz
      Djozz 30 July 2013 14: 12 New
      The world's first battleship "Gloire" (Glory) was laid by the French in 1858. in Toulon water change. 5675t. and is covered with armor of 840t. Armament. 38 guns, course 13,5 knots.
  8. Djozz
    Djozz 30 July 2013 12: 57 New
    Ships of the "Monitor" type were sheathed with hexagonal armor plates during the American Civil War. A comic case happened in the battle of the battleships of the Southerners with the Northern States, having saved on armor plates on the ship of one of the sides instead of armor (not everywhere), they put pieces of wood painted to match the color of the armor, and what a mean thing, in battle the bomb hit this very piece of wood and that's it, kirdyk ...
  9. revnagan
    revnagan 30 July 2013 15: 44 New
    Kobukson was not an armadillo. Yes, and he did not have armor as such. The fact is that the samurai used boarding tactics in naval battles with the Koreans. No wonder, let's recall Ancient Rome and its "raven" invented for such tactics. So , the samurai also moved to the Korean ship and in hand-to-hand combat destroyed the crew. The Koreans responded by corny protecting all the free space with smooth shields, between which sharp long spears protruded. All. The Samurai lost the opportunity to approach and cut out the crew of the Korean ship, and the Koreans from- for cover they were able to destroy the enemy, and armor is not needed for this.
  10. 400
    400 30 July 2013 17: 46 New
    I don’t understand why the author of the article misleads the readers and exposes Lee Songsin to everyone’s ridicule, nor did anyone say that the ship is completely covered with metal armor. Here is the link in Wikipedia: http: //
    F5% E0
    Why make your conclusions for the truth and still convince people of this?
  11. kotvov
    kotvov 30 July 2013 22: 22 New
    The whistle-blower of you is awful. The Japanese didn’t have cannons firing nuclei. The Koreans had bronze armor designed to protect them from fire. Yes, and your arithmetic is lame. Your exposure has not turned out.
  12. Kir
    Kir 31 July 2013 02: 14 New
    Before you write, you still need to go a little deeper into the topic! Well, as soon as the lining gives those properties resistance to longitudinal, etc. or are there other structural elements that serve this purpose? I took a drawing revered, and so it was possible to rummage around and find one to one.
    About the specifics of naval artillery, you also need to know it and not so superficially, about weapons plus the helmet itself — about 10 kg well, yes, well, excuse me, what kind of helmet you have, which in total with the sword gives out this.
  13. shurup
    shurup 31 July 2013 17: 16 New
    A plywood tank, impregnated with a non-combustible compound and painted like metal, which is surreptitiously pulled by a string, is capable of making the crew of this gun flee or surrender to the shells of an anti-tank gun, and the entire connection it supports. At the same time, the "tank landing" performs its usual tasks, while the pyrotechnics release exhaust gases and cannon fire.
  14. Klibanophoros
    Klibanophoros 31 July 2013 17: 42 New
    I believe that "iron-studded ships", in practice, were floating wagons, with zero maneuverability, lined with thin plates, protecting them from burning arrows rather than from cannonballs, because artillery at that time was not common on the ships of the East, most solid-cast guns were bought among the "southern barbarians" (Europeans). And so their tools were mainly wooden trunks, tied with iron rings, but they were few.
  15. Murzyak
    Murzyak 1 August 2013 16: 05 New
    I give historical science fiction a tremendous head start. I accept the thickness of the "tortoise" armor already ... in 10 mm. Not a hundred, not two hundred. And I get ... 40 m ?, which will give a mass of armor of one ship of 280 tons!

    We calculate 400 square meters x 0,01 m = 4 cubic meters x 7,8 tons / cubic meter. m = 31,2 t
  16. Mika712
    Mika712 1 August 2013 18: 59 New
    If comrade G. Kostylev himself sends out articles on sites - he is a very stubborn and purposeful person. Just imagine: a man laid out an article, explained to him in detail and explained where he screwed up, that he did not understand why it was not so. Another person would modify the article, bring new arguments. G. Kostylev wipes up a stingy male tear, takes his shabby manuscript and goes to hang himself on other sites. People tiredly repeating, and sometimes just copy-paste, comments from the previous site. G. Kostylev wipes a stingy male tear, ...
    Option number two. Perhaps the respected author does not even realize that his ancient high ... uh ... papers found an independent life and is copied without his knowledge. Then a request to the distinguished editors: insert the article immediately along with comments on it, so as not to be repeated.