Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Gundan Hyusik: Hartmann Twins and two respective Generals in Korean History

Ryu Shi-won's Choice: DDG-993 ROKS Seo-ae Ryu Seong-ryong

Seo-ae Ryu Seong-ryong (Hangul/Hanja: 서애 류성룡/西厓 柳成龍; Born: November 7th 1542 – Died: May 31st 1607) was a scholar-official of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. He held many responsibilities including the Chief State Councillor position in 1592. He was a member of the "Eastern faction", and a follower of Yi Hwang. Ryu was born in Uiseong, in Northern Gyeongsang province, to a yangban family of the Pungsan Ryu Clan (풍산 류씨 /豊山柳氏). Ryu Shi-won, a Korean actor and singer is the 13th generation descendant of Sir Seo-ae.

Ryu is said to have been so precocious that he absorbed the teachings of Confucius and Mencius at the age of 8. In 1564 the 19th year of Myeongjong, he passed the Samasi examination, and in 1566 he passed the Mun-gwa at a special examination, and then took the post of Gwonji bujeongja (권지부정사/權知副正字). He held various other positions and in 1569 he joined the imperial birthday mission to Ming as a Seojanggwan (서장관/書狀官), returning to Korea the following year.

Thereafter he held posts including Inspector of Classics (경연검토관/經筵檢討官) and devoted himself to editing, being granted a royal sabbatical (사가독서/賜暇讀書). Subsequently he held posts including Gyori (교리, fifth jeong rank) and Eunggyo (응교/應敎, fourth jeong rank). He was appointed Jikjehak (직제학/直提學) in 1575 and Bujehak (부제학/副提學) in 1576. Continually he held posts including Doseongji (都承旨), Daesaheon (대사헌/大司憲) and Daejehak (대제학/大提學).

In 1590, he was appointed Uuijeong (Third State Councillor) and Pungwon Buwongun (풍원부원군/豊原府院君, Internal Prince Pungwon). In 1591, he was promoted to Jwauijeong (Second State Councillor) and Ijo Panseo (이조판서, Minister of Personnel, the first ranked of the six Ministries). However, the Easterners faction split into the Southerners and the Northerners. Ryu Seong-ryong was a Southerner (claiming exile, instead of death, for Jeong Cheol, the leader of the Westerners rival faction).

He was in the rank of provincial Dochechalsa (도체찰사/都體察使) when the Japanese Imjin Invasion broke out in 1592 also he was appointed Yeonguijeong, the Chief State Councillor. Ryu Seong-ryong accompanied the royal family at Hanseong to Uiju. In this capacity, he oversaw all military units and called leaders like Yi Sunshin and Kwon Yul to battle. He also fought on the Korean-Chinese allied forces side in the Siege of Pyongyang. He suggested of establishment the Hunnyeon Dogam (훈련도감/訓鍊都監, Training capital garrison).

In 1598, he was ousted by the Northerners faction. King Seonjo rehabilitated him. However, he refused to take office as a minister in 1600. In 1602, Joseon government bestowed honors upon him, as the second rank of Hoseong Gongsin (호성공신/扈聖功臣), and appointed Pungwon Buwongun again. After which he spent his time on political writing before died in 1607.

Ryu's major writings are preserved in the Seoaejip (The anthology of Seoae, 서애집/西厓集), Jingborok (The book of Correction, 징비록/懲毖錄), and minor writings as Hwanghwajip (황화집/皇華集), Jeongchungrok (정충록/精忠錄). Ryu Seong-ryong was enshrined in the Byeongsan Seowon and Hogye Seowon in Andong, Northern Gyeongsang. Third flagship of Sejong the Great-class AEGIS Destroyers, DDG-993 Seo-ae Ryu Seong-ryong was bestowed from the Chief State Councillor of Joseon Dynasty.

Ryu Shi-won, 13th Generation Descendant of Sir Seo-ae Ryu Seong-ryong 

Sunday, 24 August 2014

A Scholar on the bad-ass AEGIS Destroyer: DDG-992 ROKS Yulgok Yi I

Yi I (Hangul/Hanja: 이이/李珥; Born: December 26th, 1536 – Died: February 27th, 1584) was one of the two most prominent Korean Confucian scholars of the Joseon Dynasty, the other being his older contemporary, Yi Hwang (Toegye). Yi I is often referred to by his pen name Yulgok ("Chestnut valley"). He is not only known as a scholar but also as a revered politician and reformer. He was academical successor of Jo Gwang-jo. He was originated from Deoksu Yi Clan (덕수 이씨/德水李氏), where the Joseonese Admiral during Japanese Imjin Invasion - Chungmugong Yi Sunshin also originated from the same clan.

Yi I was born in Gangneung, Gangwon Province in 1536. His father, Yi Won-su was a Fourth State Councillor (jwachanseong/좌찬성) and his mother, Shin Saimdang, the accomplished artist and calligraphist. He was the grand nephew of Yi Gi, prime minister 1549 to 1551.He was a protege of Baik In-geol, successor of Jo Gwang-jo. It is said that by the age of seven he had finished his lessons in the Confucian classics, and passed the Civil Service literary examination at the age of 13. Yi I secluded himself in Kumgang-san following his mother's death when he was 16 and stayed for 3 years, studying Buddhism. He left the mountains at 20 and devoted himself to the study of Confucianism.

He married at 22 and a half, went to visit Yi Hwang at Dosan the following year. He passed special exams with top honors with a winning thesis titled Cheondochaek (천도책/天道策, "Book on the Way of Heaven"), which was widely regarded as a literary masterpiece, displaying his knowledge of history and the Confucian philosophy of politics, and also reflecting his profound knowledge of Taoism. He continuously received top honors on civil exams for a consecutive 9 times. His father died when he was 26. He served in various positions in government from the age of 29, and visited the Ming Dynasty as seojanggwan (서장관/書狀官, document officer) in 1568. He also participated in the writing of the Myeongjong Annals and at 34, authored Dongho Mundap, an eleven-article political memorial devoted to clarifying his conviction that a righteous government could be achieved.

Due to his vast experience in different offices over the years, Yi I was able to garner a wide vision of politics and with the deep trust of the king, became one of the central figures of politics by the time he was 40. His many documents and theses were presented to the royal court but when political conflicts escalated in 1576, his efforts proved fruitless and he returned home. Following his return, he devoted his time to studies and education of his disciples and authored several books.

He returned to office at 45 and while holding various minister positions, produced many writings which recorded crucial political events and showed his efforts to ease the political conflicts that were rampant at that time. However, King Seonjo was noncommittal in his attitude and it became difficult for Yi I to remain in a neutral position in the conflicts. He left office in 1583 and died the following year.

According to legend, he had a pavilion built near the ford of the Imjin River in his lifetime and instructed his heirs to set it ablaze when the king had to flee northward from Seoul, to provide a guiding beacon. This took place during Hideyoshi's invasions of Korea at the Imjin War.

Yi I was not only known as a philosopher but also as a social reformer. He did not completely agree with the dualistic Neo-Confucianism teachings followed by Yi Hwang. His school of Neo-Confucianism placed emphasis on the more concrete, material elements; rather than inner spiritual perception, this practical and pragmatic approach valued external experience and learning. Unlike Yi Hwang, who suffered through tumultuous times and did not enjoy being in politics, Yi I was an active official who thought it important to implement Confucian values and principles to government administration. He emphasized sage learning and self-cultivation as the base of proper administration.

Yi I is also well known for his foresight about national security. He proposed to draft and reinforce the army against a possible Japanese attack. His proposal was rejected by the central government, his worry was found to be well-founded soon after his death, during the Imjin war.

Yulgok-ro (율곡로), a street in central Seoul, is named after him and the Embassy of Japan in Seoul is located at the street (Yulgok-ro 2-gil). He is depicted on the South Korean 5,000 won note with his mansion, Ojukheon on its background. The Taekwondo pattern Yul-Gok was also named in his honor. This is the pattern required to advance from 5th Geup Green Belt with Blue Tag to 4th Geup Blue Belt. The 38 movements of this pattern refer to his birthplace on the 38th degree Northern latitude. The "Yulgok Project", a modernization project for the South Korean military, is named after him as well. 

The second flagship of Sejong the Great-class AEGIS Destroyers, DDG-992 ROKS Yulgok Yi I is bestowed from the scholar. The ship is built by Daewoo Ship and Marine Engineering (DSME) in Geoje, Southern Gyeongsang Province and commissioned in August 31st 2010.

Yi I's published writings encompass 193 works in 276 publications in 6 languages and 2,236 library holdings:

  • Questions and Answers at East Lake (동호문답/東湖問答/Dongho Mundap) - Eleven articles about political reform.
  • Memorial in Ten Thousand Words (만언봉사/萬言封事/Man-eon Bongsa) - Suggestions about Confucian learning, self-cultivation, and application to government administration.
  • The Essentials of the Studies of the Sages (성학집요/聖學輯要/Seonghak Jib-yo) - Fundamentals of Confucian ethics, self-cultivation and statecraft.
  • The Secret of Expelling Ignorance (격몽요결/擊蒙要訣/Gyeongmong Yogyeol) - Systematic guide of learning.
  • Daily Records of Lectures before the Throne (경연일기/經筵日記/Gyeong-yeon Ilgi) - Record of political events and happenings.
  • The Complete Works of Yulgok (율곡전서/栗谷全書/Yulgok Jeonseo) was compiled after his death on the basis of the writings he bequeathed.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Doosan DST K30 Biho: Versatile AA Weapon, Made in Korea

The South Korean K30 Biho twin 30mm self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon was developed to meet the operational requirements of the Republic of Korea Armed Forces for a highly mobile Short Range Air Defense system suited to the operational and terrain conditions of the Korean peninsula. It combines an electro-optically guided 30mm gun system with a surveillance radar system on a K200 chassis. It supplements the K263A1 Cheon-gung, a self-propelled 20mm Vulcan system. K30 is primarily built by Doosan DST.

A K30 Biho system consists of twin 30mm guns, a TPS-830K surveillance and fire-control radar, an electro-optical targeting system (EOTS), panoramic periscope, forward looking infrared system (FLIR), laser rangefinder (LRF), thermal sight, a TV camera, and a digital fire-control system. The combined targeting system of EOTS, FLIR, and LRF has a targeting range of 7 km. The TPS-830K radar can detect and track a 2 m2-RCS target from a range of 17 km. The cannons have a cyclic rate of fire of 600 rpm and an effective anti-aircraft range of 3,000 m. On 27 December 2013, DAPA announced that the Biho had been integrated with the Shingung surface-to-air missile to increase its coverage to 7 km (4.3 mi). Two missile pods each containing two missiles are mounted, one of each side of the turret. The missile addition to the system will be ready for service in 2015.

The TPS-830K radar of K30 is an X-band (8 to 12.5 GHz) surveillance and fire-control pulse-Doppler radar, specialized for use against low-flying aircraft. Its features include real-time early warning, multiple target detection, an integral L-band (1 to 2 GHz) Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) subsystem, pulse compression, frequency agility, and adaptive moving target indication as an anti-chaff measure. It supplies ballistic computation data to the digital fire-control system to direct the aim of the electro-optical targeting system, which then aligns the 30 mm guns with the target for accurate fire. The radar can be installed on a separate vehicle (usually a 5-ton six-wheeled truck with a self-towed generator unit) to serve as an independent surveillance platform for other short range air defense systems. The secondary FLIR system and laser rangefinder supplements the TPS-830K radar to provide additional targeting means in case the radar is rendered inoperative, or is turned off to retain the element of surprise against aircraft that are equipped with radar warning receivers.

The K30 adapts the chassis of the K200 infantry fighting vehicle, but it has some differences. The K30 has an extra roadwheel in its suspension. The K30 uses a D2840L engine instead of a D2848T engine of the K200, with an increase in engine power from 350 horsepower to 520 horsepower. This increase in engine power is necessary as K30 weighs almost twice as much as the K200. Allison Transmission's X200-5K transmission is likewise replaced by S&T Dynamics' HMPT500-3EK/4EK to accommodate the more powerful engine. The modified chassis largely retains the protection and amphibious capability of the original chassis.

Doosan DST K200 Series IFV: Main IFV for the Korean Republic and Malaysian Army

K263A1 Cheon-gung: Upgraded variant of the base K200 with more powerful engines and transmission, equipped with KM167A1 20 mm self-propelled anti-aircraft gun variant of K200A1
The K200 KIFV (Korea Infantry Fighting Vehicle) is a South Korean infantry fighting vehicle, originally produced by Daewoo Heavy Industries (now part of Doosan Group under the brand Doosan DST), intended as a domestic replacement to older armored personnel carriers such as M113 that were in main line of service with the Republic of Korea Armed Forces at the time of K200's development. The K200 was supplemented by the K21 since 2009 in South Korea. a total of 2,383 K200 vehicles of all configurations were produced between 1985 and 2006, among which 111 K200A1 vehicles had been exported to Malaysia as MIFV (Malaysia Infantry Fighting Vehicle).

The K200 project began in 1981 when the Republic of Korea Army issued a request for a new Korean Infantry Fighting Vehicle (KIFV) to meet future combat requirements. The Agency for Defense Development was in charge of its development, and Daewoo Heavy Industries (now part of Doosan Group) was the prime contractor for the production of this vehicle. The K200 was designed to be an amphibious personnel carrier that could cross shallow rivers, based on the chassis of the American Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The AIFV itself was based on the M113 armored personnel carrier. The vehicle was developed to be more affordable than the AIFV, but not necessarily sacrificing capability, to gain an edge in cost-effectiveness. The eventual domestic development and production of the K200 achieved a price range of $1.32 million to $1.41 million as opposed to the $1.52 million to $2.83 million price range that a license-production or direct importation of the AIFV would have entailed.

Doosan incorporated the MAN D2848T engine into the K200 under a license-production deal and assimilated its technology using domestic components, a reverse-engineering experience that would prove instrumental in the development of its next IFV, the K21. S&T Dynamics was the licensee subcontractor for the Allison Transmission X200-5K gearbox. The vehicle entered production in 1985. Serial production was completed in 2006.

The K200 series of vehicles transport mechanized infantry platoon safe from the enemy’s light weapons. The hull of the KIFV is of all-welded aluminium armour with an additional layer of spaced laminate steel armour bolted to it. This composite armour provides a higher level of protection for less weight. It can protect against 12.7mm on the side and 7.62mm on the rear, and against anti-personnel mines. The engine compartment is located at the front right of the vehicle and is separated from the remainder of the vehicle by a bulkhead. The engine compartment is fitted with a fire extinguishing system that can be operated by the driver or from outside the vehicle. The air inlet, air outlet louvres and the exhaust pipe are located on the roof of the vehicle to allow amphibious operations.

The K200 has six electrically operated smoke grenade launchers mounted across the front of the hull as countermeasures against electro-optical and infrared targeting. If the KIFV variant features a turret, the smoke grenade launchers mount on the turret (three on each side).

K200 can provide infantry firepower support with 12.7mm and 7.62mm machine guns. Stronger anti-infantry and anti-material firepower can be brought to bear by equipping a 20mm Vulcan gun, or 82mm and 107mm mortars. Anti-tank capability can be added by equipping the Metis-M anti-tank missile system. The K200 is highly modular, and its variants provide additional combat supports such as air defense and vehicle recovery by outfitting many different equipments. The vehicles accommodate 12 people including one infantry squad, the driver, and gunners.

Doosan DST K-SAM Pegasus + Samsung-Thales Crotale EDIR: Kimchi mixed with Baguette anti-air missile system on modified K200-series IFV

The Crotale EDIR (Ecartométrie Différentielle InfraRouge, "InfraRed Differential Ecartometry") is an all-weather short-range anti-air missile, which can be used to intercept low-flight anti-ship missiles and aircraft. It has been developed by Thomson CSF Matra and exists in two versions, a mobile land-based version and a ship-launched one.

Originally the Crotale R440 system was developed by Rockwell International and Thomson-Houston (and Mistral) in France for South Africa, where it got the name Cactus. However, the achievements of the system impressed the French Armed Forces, who purchased the system both for the air force and for the navy. The firing system includes the main sensors of the ship, the firing system of the turret, and a central coordination system. The turret holds eight missiles ready for launch in watertight containers. The magazine behind the turret holds 18 missiles.

The French army first utilised a 4x4 wheeled vehicle, armed with four launchers. In order to ensure higher mobility, it was decided to mount the system on the chassis of the French AMX-30 main battle tank. At the same time, the number of launchers were increased to six. In Finnish Army service, the Crotale NG system has been mounted on Sisu Pasi vehicles. Here the number of launchers is eight. The Crotale system has also been installed on various military ships. For instance the French Navy La Fayette class frigates have a Crotale 8-tubed launcher near the helicopter flight deck.

A modernized version, the Crotale NG (New Generation), entered production in 1990. This version used the new VT-1 missile with Mach 3.5 speed, load factor to 35G, 11 km range, 13 kg warhead (8m kill-zone) and 6,000 m ceiling. The system includes a S-band Pulse Doppler radar (20 km), Ku-band TWT tracking radar (30 km), Thermal camera (19 km), Daylight CCD camera (15 km), and an IR localiser.

In 1999, the Republic of Korea Armed Forces awarded a contract to Samsung Thales to jointly develop a South Korean-augmented Crotale NG system for the K-SAM Pegasus short range air defense system. A new sensor system was jointly developed by Samsung and Thales to meet the required operational capability of the upcoming K-SAM Pegasus (Cheonma), as well as a new indigenous missile by LIG Nex1. The electronics and radars were developed by Samsung Electronics. Doosan DST integrated this modified Crotale NG system with a K200 vehicle. 48 units were initially produced for a price-tag of 330 million Euros. A second batch of 66 units was ordered in 2003, valued at 470 million Euros.

Thales revealed an updated Crotale NG system with Shikra radar at the Paris Air Show in 2007. The system combines Crotale Mk3 VT-1 missile and Shikra multi-beam search radar, with 150 km (detection range). Thales has demonstrated that the system's VT-1 missile has extended range to 15 km.

The Crotale missile system consists of two components; a vehicle for transport, equipped with 2-8 launchers, a tracking radar is located between the launchers. A second vehicle carries the surveillance radar. The radar surveillance vehicle can be connected to several launcher vehicles, in order to achieve an effective air-defence system. The Crotale NG has incorporated both the launcher and the surveillance radar in one vehicle. The missile is driven by solid-propellant fuel. It can reach its maximum speed of Mach 2.3 within only two seconds and then follows the radar beam, until its infrared fuze senses that it is near its target and explodes.

The surveillance radar and fire direction radar has a range of 20 km and the TV-link works up to 15 km. The TV-guidance system uses both regular and infrared cameras. The system can follow 8 targets simultaneously, and the guidance radar can follow both hovering helicopters as well as fighters exceeding speeds over Mach 2. The weapon system can also use surveillance data from other systems, data from optical surveillance and from the general aerial picture from the national air defence communications system.

Tribute to the Founder of Balhae Kingdom: DDH-977 ROKS Dae Jo-yeong

Dae Jo-yeong (Hangul/Hanja: 대조영/大祚榮; died 719), also known in Korea as King Go (Hangul: 고왕, Hanja: 高王), established the state of Balhae, reigning from 699 to 719. His origin is heavily claimed by Chinese historians as of Mohe tribe decent. However it was proven that he was of Goguryeo royal decent. Since royal families in both China and Korea at the time had many members, different last names were distributed so that hundreds of people were not directly recognized as heirs to the throne or a part of the "Go" royal family name. Go and Dae, both meaning high and great in definition signifies Dae Jo-yeong's last name to be one of the branches of the "Go" family line.

Dae Jo-yeong was the first son of general Dae Jung-sang (Hangul: 대중상, Hanja: 大仲象) or Qiqi Zhongxiang (Chinese: 乞乞仲象 pinyin: Qǐqǐ Zhòngxiàng) of Goguryeo, and was born in Goguryeo. He had at least two wives. His only known sons through his first wife were Dae Muye, and Dae Munye. The sons through his other wife or wives were Dae Chwi-jin, Dae Ho-bang, and Dae Nang-a. The only concrete fact regarding Dae Jo-yeong's sons was that Dae Muye was the firstborn and oldest among them.And he had younger brother, Dae Ya-Bal.

After the fall of Goguryeo to the Silla-Tang armies, Dae Jung-sang remained in a part of Goguryeo which had not been attacked during the 3rd Goguryeo-Tang war. Afterward, Dae Jung-sang was against the Tang. In the confusion of the Khitan uprising led by Li Jinzhong against the Tang (Zhou) in May 696, Dae Jung-sang led at least 8,000 Goguryeo remnant peoples, the Sumo Mohe people, to Dongmo mountain, and the Baishan Mohe leader Geolsa Biu (Hangul: 걸사비우, Hanja: 乞四比羽 pinyin: Qǐsì bǐyǔ), made an alliance and sought independence.

The Tang killed Geolsa Biu, and Dae Jung-sang also died. Dae Jo-yeong integrated the armies of Goguryeo people and some Malgal tribes and resisted Tang's attack. His overwhelming victory over the Tang at the Battle of Cheonmun-ryeong (Hangul: 천문령, Hanja: 天門嶺) enabled him to continue on his father's empire. He claimed himself the King of Jin in 698, and established "Jin state" (Hangul: 진국, Hanja: 辰國). He put his capital at Dongmo Mountain in the south of today's Jilin province, and built Dongmo mountain fortress, which was to become Jin's capital.

He attempted to expand his influence in international politics involving the Tang, the Göktürks, the Khitan, Silla and some independent Mohe tribes. At first he dispatched an envoy to the Göktürks. Then he reconciled himself with the Tang when Emperor Zhongzong was restored to the throne.

In 712, he renamed his empire, Balhae. In 713 he was given the titular title of "Prefecture King of Balhae" by Emperor Xuanzong. Upon reaching a period of rest within the empire, King Go made it clear that Silla was not to be dealt with in a peaceful stance because they were the ones who received the help of the Tang to conquer Goguryeo, which was the predecessor state to Balhae. This aggressive stance towards Silla was continued on by his son and successor King Mu of Balhae. Dae Jo-yeong died in 719, and his son Dae Muye assumed the throne. Dae Jo-yeong was given the posthumous name "King Go."

After the fall of Balhae, the last prince led all of the Balhae aristocracy into the fellow successor state of Goguryeo, Goryeo. Dae Jo-yeong's descendants include modern-day Koreans who bear the surname "Tae" (태). There are three clans which correspond to Dae Jo-yeong which are Miryang Dae, Hyeopgye Tae and Yeongsun Tae. In South Korea, a television drama on KBS1 was launched since September 2006 in his honor. Roughly 30% (based on 2007 survey) of the Korean viewers enjoyed this programme.

Dae Jo-yeong built a vast army and a powerful navy just as the Kings of Goguryeo had done. The third Chungmugong Yi Sunshin-class destroyer commissioned by the Republic of Korea Navy is named DDH-977 ROKS Dae Jo-yeong. KDX-II class destroyers are named after significant figures in Korean history such as admiral Chungmugong Yi Sunshin.

Tribute to the Founder of Goryeo Dynasty: DDH-978 ROKS Wang Geon

King Taejo of Goryeo (Born: January 31st 877 – Died: July 4th 943), also known as Wang Geon (왕건/王建), was the founder of the Goryeo Dynasty and the Royal House of Kaesong Wang, which ruled Korea from the 10th to the 14th century (918-1392). Taejo ruled from 918 to 943.

Taejo was born in 877 and was a descendant of a merchant family at Songdo (modern Kaesong), who controlled trade on the Yeseong River. His father, Wang Yung (왕륭, 王隆), gained much wealth from trade with China. His ancestors were known to have lived within the boundaries of ancient Goguryeo, thus making Wang Geon a man of Goguryeo by descent.

Taejo began his career in the turbulent Later Three Kingdoms period (후삼국 시대/後三國時代). In the later years of Silla, many local leaders and bandits rebelled against the rule of Queen Jinsung, who did not have strong enough leadership or policies to improve the condition of the people. Among those rebels, Gung Ye (궁예/弓裔) of the northwestern region and Gyeon Hwon (견훤/甄萱) of the southwest gained more power. They defeated and absorbed many of the other rebel groups as their troops marched against local Silla officials and bandits. In 895, Gung Ye led his forces into the far northwestern part of Silla, where Songdo was located. Taejo's father, Wang Ryung, along with many local clans, quickly surrendered to Gung Ye. Wang Geon followed his father into service under Gung Ye, the future leader of Taebong, and he began his service under Gungye's command.

Wang Geon's ability as a military commander was soon recognized by Gung Ye, who promoted him to general and even regarded him as his brother. In 900, he led a successful campaign against local clans and the army of Later Baekje in the Chungju area, gaining more fame and recognition from the king. In 903, he led a famous naval campaign against the southwestern coastline of Hubaekje (Geumseong, later Naju), while Gyeon Hwon was at war against Silla. He led several more military campaigns, and also helped conquered people who lived in poverty under Silla rule. The public favored him due to his leadership and generosity.

In 913, he was appointed as prime minister of the newly renamed Taebong. Its king, Gung Ye, whose leadership helped found the kingdom but who began to refer to himself as the Buddha, began to persecute people who expressed their opposition against his religious arguments. He executed many monks, then later even his own wife and two sons, and the public began to turn away from him. His costly rituals and harsh rule caused even more opposition.

In 918, four top-ranked generals of Taebong — Hong Yu (홍유/洪儒), Bae Hyeon-gyeong (배현경/裵玄慶), Shin Sung-gyeom (신숭겸/申崇謙) and Bok Jigyeom (복지겸/卜智謙)—met secretly and agreed to overthrow Gung Ye's rule and crown Wang Geon as their new king. Wang Geon first opposed the idea but later agreed to their plan. The same year Gung Ye was overthrown and killed near the capital, Cheorwon. The generals installed Wang Geon as the new king of this short-lived state. He renamed the kingdom Goryeo, thus beginning the Goryeo Dynasty. The next year he moved the capital back to his hometown, Gaegyeong.

He promoted Buddhism as Goryeo's national religion, and called for the reconquest of the northern parts of Korea and Manchuria, which were controlled by Balhae. Balhae's rule over vast regions of Manchuria and parts of Siberia were overthrown by the Khitan invasion in 926, and the majority of its people came to Goryeo as refugees led by Balhae's last Crown Prince Dae Gwang-hyeon. Taejo accepted them as his citizens, since Balhae and Goryeo came from common ancestry (Goguryeo), and captured the old, then abandoned capital city of Goguryeo, P'yŏngyang. He also sought alliances and cooperation with local clans rather than trying to conquer and bring them under his direct control.

In 927, Gyeon Hwon of Hubaekje led forces into Silla's capital, Gyeongju, capturing and executing its king, King Gyeongae. Then he established King Gyeongsun as his puppet monarch before he turned his army toward Goryeo. Hearing of the news, Taejo planned a strike with 5000 cavalrymen to attack Gyeon's troops on the way back home at Gongsan near Daegu. He met Hubaekje forces and suffered disastrous defeat, losing most of his army including his generals Kim Nak and Shin Sunggyeom, the very same man who crowned Wang as a king. However, Goryeo quickly recovered from defeat and successfully defended Hubaekje's attack on its front.

In 935, the last king of Silla, King Gyeongsun, felt there was no way to revive his kingdom and surrendered his entire land to Taejo. Taejo gladly accepted his surrender and gave him the title of prince, and accepted his daughter as one of his wives (Wang had six queens, and many more wives as he married daughters of every single local leader). It caused much disgust to Gyeon Hwon. Gyeon's father, who held his own claim of Sangju region, also defected and surrendered to Goryeo and was received as the father of an king.

In the same year, Gyeon Hwon's oldest son, Singeom (신검/神劍), led a coup with brothers Yanggeom and Yonggeom, against their father, who favored their half-brother, Geumgang, as his successor to the throne. Gyeon Hwon was sent into exile and imprisoned in a Buddhist temple (Geumsan Temple), but escaped to Goryeo and was treated like Taejo's father, who died just before his surrender.

In 936, Wang led his final campaign against Singeom of Later Baekje. Singeom fought against Taejo, but facing much disadvantage and inner conflict, he surrendered to Taejo. Wang finally occupied Hubaekje formally, and unified the nation for the first time since Gojoseon; he ruled until 943, and died from disease.

Taejo sought to bring even his enemies into his ruling coalition. He gave titles and land to rulers and nobles from the various countries he had defeated: Later Baekje, Silla, and also Balhae, which disintegrated around the same time. Thus he sought to secure stability and unity for his kingdom which had been lacking in the later years of Silla.

The unification of the Later Three Kingdoms in 936 CE was very important in Korean history; the unification of 668 CE by Silla was only a unification of approximately half of the peoples of the Korean Peninsula and its vicinity (who at the time largely considered themselves one people divided among many states), since the northern part was ruled by Balhae, which asserted itself as a reincarnation of Goguryeo. However, Wang Geon's unification in 936 was a more complete unification (in which only a single state emerged among the people, as opposed to the 7th century CE, when two, Unified Silla and Balhae, emerged); the people of the Korean Peninsula thereafter remained under a single, unified state (even changing dynasties, to the Joseon Dynasty, in 1392 CE) until 1948, when Korea was divided into north and south by Russian and U.S occupation forces.

As noted elsewhere in this article, the modern name of "Korea" is derived from the name "Goryeo," which itself is derived from "Goguryeo," to whose heritage (and by extension, territory) Wang Geon and his new kingdom laid claim. As the first ruler to more fully unite the people of the Korean Peninsula under a single state, many modern-day Koreans look to his example for applicability to the current state of division on the Korean Peninsula.

In the year 2000, there was a new 200 episode drama, Taejo Wang Geon based on Taejo (Wang Gun)'s life. It starred Choi Soo-jong in the leading role. Wang Kon - King Taejo of Goryeo is a playable leader of the Korean Empire in Civilization III: Play the World and Civilization IV: Warlords. On the 4th unit of Chungmugong Yi Sunshin-class destroyers - DDH-978 ROKS Wang Geon, the 32-cell Mk 41 VLS is moved to the left and an indigenous VLS named K-VLS is installed on the right. The ship's forward part is spacious enough to take a 56-cell Mk 41 VLS.

War Devil and Goryeo Savior from Chungmugong Yi Sunshin-class Destroyer: DDH-979 ROKS Kang Gamchan

Field Marshal Inheon Kang Gam-chan (Hangul/Hanja: 인헌 강감찬/仁憲 姜邯贊; Born: 22 December 948 – Died: 9 September 1031) was a medieval Korean government official and military commander during the early days of Goryeo Dynasty (918–1392). Even though he was a career scholar and government official, he is best known for his military victories during the Third Goryeo-Khitan War.

Kang was born on 22 December 948 into a prominent yangban family of Geumcheon Kang or Jinju Kang Lineage in the Prefecture of Geumju (present-day Seoul Gwanak-gu). His father was also worked for the King Taejo Wanggeon of Goryeo, and had been awarded for helping establish a new dynasty and unifying the Korean Peninsula. A legend tells that on the day he was born a meteor fell toward his house, and an advisor to the king visited to find that a baby had just been born there, whom he predicted would become great and be long remembered. Gang Gam-chan's birth site is called Nakseongdae (site of the falling star, 낙성대/落星垈) in the administrative precinct of Nakseongdae-dong, near Seoul's Nakseongdae Station on Seoul Metro Line 2 (Station 227) and main campus of Seoul National University.

As a child, Kang was small for his age, but he showed signs of leadership and loyalty at an early age. At seven he began to learn Confucian philosophy, military tactics and martial arts from his father. After his father's death in 964, he left his household and traveled around the country. In 983 he received the top score in the civil service examination, and qualified as a government official at age thirty-six. In 992 he joined the royal court as a deputy under the Minister of Education.

In 993, the Liao Dynasty ordered General Xiao Sunning to invade Goryeo. The opinions among the court officials were divided, either to fight against the Khitans or to negotiate with them. Kang supported the use of negotiations, which was also supported by the king as the official decision. Seo Hui was sent to General Xiao as Korean representative, and the successful truce negotiation led to the withdrawal of Khitan forces and establishment of friendly relationship between Liao and Goryeo.

In 1004, the Khitans defeated the Chinese Song Dynasty and forced its emperor to pay tribute to the Khitan. With Song defeated, the only threat remaining against the Khitans was Goryeo. Also in 1009, General Kang Jo of Goryeo led a coup against the government; he deposed and murdered King Mokjong and began a military rule, and broke the peaceful relationship with the Khitans. The Khitans saw this as their reason to attack Goryeo, and in 1010, Emperor Shengzong of Liao led a massive invasion with a contingent of 400,000 soldiers, commanding the troops himself. Suffering heavy casualties in five major engagements, the Khitans finally defeated the Goryeo army and executed their commander General Kang Jo.

However, Kang urged King Hyeonjong to escape from the palace, not to surrender to the invading Liao troops. The King followed Kang's advice, and managed to escape from the burning capital. A Korean insurgency began to harass Khitan forces, which finally compelled Shengzong to withdraw his army. The Khitans won the war, but gained no benefit from it; rather spending precious resources in vain and reducing the national treasury. Thus another bloody war between the two nations was foreshadowed, and tensions would further lead to the Third Goryeo-Khitan War. Kang was later promoted to Prime Minister.

In 1018, General Xiao Baiya, under orders of the Liao administration, led an expedition to Goryeo with a 208,000 man contingent. This time, many officials urged the king to commence peace negotiations, since the damage from the Second Goryeo-Khitan War had been so great, leaving Goryeo difficult to recover. However, Kang advised the king to declare war against the Liao, since the enemy contingent was much smaller than in previous invasions. He volunteered to be the acting deputy War minister for the duration of the war, at the age of seventy-one. He led about 100,000 men toward the Goryeo-Liao border.

The first battle of the war was the Battle of Heunghwajin, which was a significant victory of Goryeo by blocking the stream and destroying the dam when Khitans were crossing the water. However, General Xiao did not give up the hope of capturing the capital Kaesong, and continued to march south. Later, Xiao realized that the mission was impossible to accomplish, and decided to retreat. General Kang knew that the Khitan army would withdraw from the war, and awaited them at the fortress of Gwiju, where he encountered the retreating Khitans in 1019.

Discouraged and starving, the Khitans were defeated by the Goryeo army. Only General Xiao and few remaining survivors managed to escape from the devastating defeat. This battle is known as the Battle of Gwiju. General Kang returned to the capital and was welcomed as the military hero who saved the kingdom. After the war, Kang retired from both the military and the government to rest, since he was too old, already having become a national hero. He was appointed as Prime Minister in 1030, one year before his death. He died in 1031 on the 20th day of the 8th lunar month (9 September 1031).

General Kang's overwhelming victories in the battles of Kwiju and Heunghwajin are often compared with the victories of General Eulji Mundeok at the Battle of Salsu or Admiral Chungmugong Yi Sunshin at the battles of Hansan and Myeongnyang, which, like Kang's battles, overcame disadvantages and successfully defended the country. Of course, Kang is regarded as one of the greatest military commanders in Korean history, along with General Eulji and Admiral Yi, even though Kang was never trained as a soldier like Eulji or Yi.

Following his victories in the Third Goryeo-Khitan War, the peace among the three powerful East-Asian empires settled; Goryeo established a peaceful but tense relationship with Liao Dynasty, which gave up the hope of taking over either Song or Goryeo. As a result, Goryeo broke off relationships with Song Dynasty, but continued commercial trading with the Chinese; Song continued to pay tribute to Liao, and Song would also pay tribute to Western Xia, which would pay tribute to the Khitans. The peace lasted for about a century. The Jurchens took advantage of this time to expand their power without any interruption until their establishment of Jin Dynasty. Song Dynasty got the least benefit from the peace, and secretly encouraged the Jurchens to attack Liao, but after the fall of the Khitans, the Jurchens turned on Song and took over its capital, forcing the Chinese to flee southward. The victories of General Gang thus marked the ending point of the chain of wars between countries and was the beginning of a triangle diplomacy (Goryeo, Liao, Song), setting the scene for the ascendance of the Jurchens.

Gang's shrine, called Anguksa, stands today in Sadang-dong, Seoul Gwanak-gu. Further to this, the famous Kang Ji-seok is a descendant of the Field Marshal Gang Gam Chan. The lowest Military Decoration of South Korea, Field Marshal Lord Inheon's Order of Military Merit (sky blue background with a narrow stripe on both sides), is also named in his honour. The second last flagship of Chungmugong Yi Sunshin-class destroyer, DDH-979 ROKS Kang Gamchan was bestowed from the War Devil and Savior of Goryeo Dynasty.

Second Flagship of Gwanggaeto the Great-Class Destroyer: DDH-972 ROKS Eulji Mundeok

Field Marshal Eulji Mundeok or Ulchi Mundok in McCune Script (Hangul/Hanja: 을지문덕/乙支文德; Died: 629 CE) was a military leader of early 7th century Goguryeo, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, who successfully defended Goguryeo against the Sui Chinese. He is often numbered among the greatest heroes in Korean military history. He was legendary for his battlefield brilliance, along with his poetry.

Haedong Myeongjangjeon (해동명장전/海東名將傳; Biographies of famed Korean Generals), written in 18th century Joseon, states that he was from the Mount Seokda (石多山) in Pyongyang. At the time of his birth, the kingdom of Goguryeo had grown to be a powerful and belligerent state, constantly warring with its neighbours, Chinese states to its north and west, and its fellow Korean kingdoms Silla and Baekje to its southeast and southwest respectively.

A balance of power was maintained between these Three Kingdoms of Korea, until outside influence, namely the much larger Tang Dynasty of China, finally tipped the advantage to Silla. In 589, the Sui Dynasty had reunified China for the first time since the fall of the Han Dynasty over three centuries before. The Sui early on launched several large military campaigns against Goguryeo which was unwilling to submit to Sui dominance.

Eulji Mundeok (Some Korean scholars posit that the Eulji 乙支 in his name is some form of Goguryeo rank or title) was an educated man, skilled in both "mun" (문, 文) political and the "mu" (무, 武) military sciences. He eventually rose to become Prime Minister of Goguryeo.

After the founding of the Sui dynasty in 589, a precarious peace obtained for several years between the new Chinese dynasty and Goguryeo. In 597, however, the Goguryeo King Yeongyang launched raids across the Liao River, which is the traditional border with China. In response, the Sui invaded Goguryeo, but the invasion failed as the invasion force was scattered by a typhoon.

In the early 7th century, however, the new Sui emperor Yangdi learned of secret Goguryeo correspondence with the Eastern Turkish khanate. Yangdi took a hard stand and demanded the King Yeongyang come and submit personally to Sui or face an "imperial tour of his territories". When the King Yeongyang failed to submit in this fashion, Yangdi prepared for war. He mustered an army of over 1,133,800 troops and more than 2 million auxiliaries and personally led them against Goguryeo in 612. They quickly overran Goguryeo's border defenses, camped on the banks of the Liao River and prepared to bridge it. Eulji Mundeok, commissioned as a Field Marshal, was called upon to assist in the defence of the nation, and prepared his troops to meet the superior Sui forces with a strategy of false retreat, deception and attack.

After the Sui forces crossed the Liao River, a small contingent was sent to attack the Goguryeo city of Yodong, but Field Marshal Eulji sent Admiral Kang Yi-sik and his forces to meet them there and drove them out. As the rainy season progressed, the Sui forces launched other small probing attacks, but held off from making any large moves before the end of the rainy season.

When the rains stopped, Yangdi moved his forces to the banks of the Yalu River in northwestern Korea and prepared for a major battle. Fighting only small engagements at times and places of his choosing, Eulji drew the Sui forces further and further from their supply centers. A Sui advance force of over 305,000 men was sent to take the city of Pyongyang. After allowing the force to approach the city, Field Marshal Eulji ambushed it. His forces attacked from all sides, driving the Sui troops back in utter confusion. His troops pursued the retreating army, slaughtering them at will; records claim that only 2,700 men of the massive force returned alive to the main Chinese army. This battle, the Battle of Salsu, came to be known as one of the most glorious military triumphs in Korea's national history. (It was said that Eulji had built a large dam upon the Salsu river which made the waterbed shallow, and as the Sui troops crossed the dam was broken down, releasing a huge current of water upon the unsuspecting troops, thus wiping out nearly the entire fleet with one blow). After the battle, winter began to set in and the Sui forces, short on provisions, were forced to return home.

Eulji Mundeok managed to protect Sin Fortress from a Sui invasion force, but he died not long after. The Sui Dynasty was beginning to disintegrate and Yangdi decided that he urgently needed to expand his empire in order to regain power, but two more attacks on Goguryeo by Yangdi the following spring met with similar disaster, and eventually internal rebellion in China forced the Sui to abandon their desire for Goguryeo. By 618, the relatively short-lived Sui Dynasty was replaced by the Tang Dynasty. Field Marshal Eulji Mundeok's strategy and leadership had protected Goguryeo from the Chinese expansion to the Korean peninsula.

One of the most distinguished military leaders of the Goguryeo period, Eulji's leadership and tactical acumen was the decisive factor in defeating the Sui invasion. Facing vastly numerically superior forces, he developed a strategy that allowed him to secure a decisive victory. Such spectacular tactical success was sufficient to earn him a permanent place among Korea's most famous leaders. Kim Bu-sik, the author of the Samguk Sagi, also attributed the outstanding victory over Sui to the Eulji's great deed.

In Korea, Eulji Mundeok has been recognized as one of the greatest figures in its national history. During the reign of Hyeonjong in the Goryeo period, a shrine of Eulji Mundeok was built near Pyongyang. In the succeeding Joseon period, he remained just as revered a figure. Yang Seong-ji, a scholar and high-ranking bureaucrat of the Early Joseon, and An Jeong-bok, a Silhak historian of Late Joseon, both thought highly of him. Furthermore, King Sukjong of Joseon ordered the construction of another shrine in honour of Eulji Mundeok in 1680.

At a time when Korea was suffering under the yoke of Japanese Imperialism, a fuller assessment of Eulji commenced with the Korean historian Shin Chaeho (신채호, 申采浩, 1880–1936), who published a biography of Eulji in 1908 and held him out as an example of Korea's traditional nationalist spirit. Eulji Mundeok is still celebrated as a great Korean hero. One of the most preeminent Korean scholars of the 20th century, Lee Ki-baik, noted that Eulji's efforts in halting the Sui attempt at conquest stand as one of the earliest examples of Korean attempts to fend off foreign domination.

Today a main thoroughfare in Seoul Jung-gu, Euljiro 1~7-ga, is named after Eulji Mundeok. The second highest Military Decoration of South Korea after the Order of Taegeuk, Field Marshal Lord Eulji's Order of Military Merit (reddish-orange background with four white stripes on both sides), is also named in his honour. The second flagship of Gwanggaeto the Great-Class Destroyer, DDH-972 ROKS Eulji Mundeok was bestowed from the Goguryeo Kingdom Savior.

Eulji Mundeok's literary work, the Eulji Mundeok Hansi, is one of the oldest surviving poems in Korean literature. One of the Eulji Mundeok's poem taunted Chinese-Sui General Yu Zhongwen during the Battle of Salsu.
신책구천문 (神策究天文)
묘산궁지리 (妙算窮地理)
전승공기고 (戰勝功旣高)
지족원운지 (知足願云止)
Heaven knows how marvelous you are in your strategy,
Earth knows how shrewd you are in your calculation,
Your name already knows no bounds in this war,
Time to know satisfaction in your toil. 
One of the biannual Combined Forces Command exercises between South Korea and the United States was called Ulchi-Focus Lens (UFL) in honor of Eulji Mundeok. It has now been renamed Ulchi-Freedom Guardian (UFG). UFG is the world's largest computerized command and control exercises, focusing on how U.S. and South Korean forces would defend against a North Korean attack.

Brilliant Submarine from Chang Bogo U209-Class: SS-063 ROKS Choi Museon

Choi Mu-seon (Hangul/Hanja: 최무선/崔茂宣; Born: 1325 in Yeongcheon, Northern Gyeongsang, ROK – Died: 1395 in Kaesong, DPRK) was a medieval Korean scientist, inventor, and military commander during the late Goryeo Dynasty and early Joseon Dynasty. He is best known for enabling Korea to domestically produce gunpowder by obtaining a recipe for the Chinese commodity from a Chinese merchant, as well as inventing various gunpowder-based weapons in an attempt to repel the wokou pirates that plundered coastal regions of the Korean Peninsula.

Choe was born into a yangban family of Yeongcheon Choi Lineage in Yeongcheon, Northern Gyeongsang province; his father was an official in the administration. He qualified to be a military officer through civil service examination. The government's control of Goryeo was crumbling, and at the same time the pirates crossing the Korean Strait plundered much of the coastal regions. In the southern part of the nation, pirates even marched deep inland, causing havoc. The Goryeo government was not able to ensure security, despite the efforts of generals Yi Seong-gye and Choi Young.

In his childhood, while he was at the royal palace with his father, who was working for the king, Choi saw fireworks made by Mongols and Chinese, who at the time had indirect control of Goryeo (their influence was repealed by King Gongmin). Later in life, Choi embarked on a quest to bring the recipe of gunpowder to Korea. He visited China, which was then ruled by the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty. In general, technology of that region, such as cotton growing and gunpowder manufacture, was kept secret. Choi sought to smuggle some examples of secret items, and eventually was able to obtain knowledge of the three key ingredients of gunpowder: sulfur, slack or fine coal, and potassium nitrate. However, the process to obtain niter, the mineral form of potassium nitrate, was difficult, and he did not know how to prepare gunpowder from the raw materials.

After a chain of experimental failures, Choi considered abandoning the project, but heard about a wealthy Chinese merchant named Lee Yuan who had great knowledge of gunpowder. Choi visited Lee while he was staying in Goryeo on business, and bribed Lee for the gunpowder recipe, in violation of Mongol and Chinese law. Korea began its first domestic production of gunpowder between the years of 1374 and 1376.

Choi demonstrated the power of the new weapon in front of King U and many other court advisers; and almost every one of them were impressed by its devastating power compared to other arms which were already in existence in Korea. The government gave him great support, establishing the official laboratory and factory for gunpowder in 1377; here Choi invented various kinds of cannon and other firearms. Among his inventions were the singijeon and the hwacha, a launching device somewhat resembling the first modern multiple rocket launcher. Then he put his inventions into real battle against the Japanese at the Battle of Jinpo, in which he participated as one of the Korean commanders; the battle was easily won by Korean forces, thanks to the gunpowder. He also began to build warships to chase off the pirates.

Since his inventions greatly contributed to his country, he was able to be promoted and participate in politics. However he was already old when he obtained the gunpowder recipe from the merchant, and his later days saw the change of Dynasty from Goryeo to Joseon. 

Soon after the foundation of the new Joseon Dynasty by King Taejo Yi Seong-gye, Choi retired from both military and political affairs, and died in 1395. After his death, King Taejo gave him the honorary title of vice-premier. He is still remembered in Korea as the perfect role model for many scientists and as a patriot. The third flagship of Chang Bogo U209-Class, SS-063 ROKS Choi Mu-seon was bestowed from the Brilliant Inventor and General of Goryeo-Joseon.

Latest Flagship of Sohn Won-yil U214-class Submarine: SS-077 ROKS Yoon Bong-gil

The Republic of Korea Navy has launched its fifth flagship Sohn Won-yil U214-class submarine, SS-077 ROKS Yoon Bong-gil, at the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI/현대중공업) shipyard in Ulsan. Named after Korean independence activist Yoon Bong-gil (1908-1932), the submarine is expected to boost the nation's underwater warfare capabilities.

Powered by a diesel-electric air independent propulsion (AIP) system, the submarine is capable of cruising at a maximum speed of 20 knots with a crew of 40. The high-yield steel used to build the vessel is designed to enable it to dive up to 400m deep and undertake fuel cell powered underwater missions for two weeks without emerging.

The submarine has a displacement capacity of 1,800 tonnes, is equipped with guided missiles, torpedoes and mines, and has an automatic simultaneous target tracking system and a torpedo guidance and detection system. It is scheduled for delivery to the Korean Navy in 2015, upon completion of seaborne operational exercises. HHI has already delivered South Korea's first, second and third class-214 submarines, and is also constructing the navy's seventh and ninth submarines of the same class.

Currently, the navy operates the 1,200 tonnes Chang Bogo U209-class submarines, which have been commissioned since the early 1990s. There are plans to purchase five more Sohn Won-yil U214-class submarines by 2018.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Final Flagship of Chang Bogo U209-class Submarine: SS-071 ROKS Yi Eok-gi

Yi Eok-gi (Hangul/Hanja: 이억기/李億祺; Born: September 3rd 1561 in Seoul-Hanseong – Killed in Action: August 27th 1597 in Chilcheollyang Strait, present-day Tongyeong City, Southern Gyeongsang Province) was the commander of the Eastern Jeolla Fleet and later became the commander of Western Jeolla Fleet. He was one of Yi Sunshin's good friends during the Japanese Imjin Invasions. 

Yi Eok-gi is a distant relation to the Royal House of Jeonju Yi. He is 5th Generation of Grand Prince Yangnyeong Yi Je, elder brother of King Sejong the Great a.k.a Grand Prince Chungnyeong Yi Do.

He was eventually killed in the devastating Battle of Chilcheollyang Strait while assisting Won Gyun, the Naval Commander of the entire Korean navy at that time. Won Gyun and Yi Eok-gi were forced to retreat multiple times back, being crushed by the advancing Japanese navy, and finally landed ashore on a nearby island (Hansan-do) with a few survivors. 

However, a fort filled with Japanese Soldiers on the island were waiting for them, and killed every person there. Yi Eok-gi met his end on this island. At the same time, Joseonese Naval Base in Hansan-do was vulnerable to Japanese forces and completely destroyed.

The attack order for the Battle of Chilcheollyang originated from the King Seonjo himself and the lack of aggressive action taken by Admiral Won. It should be also noted he was awarded lesser degree of honor than Won Gyun due to political reasons. The final flagship of Chang Bogo U209-class Submarine, SS-071 ROKS Yi Eok-gi was commissioned in 2001 in honor to the fallen admiral.

Korean Anarch-o-Submarine: SS-076 ROKS Kim Jwajin

Kim Jwa-jin (Hangul/Hanja: 김좌진/金佐鎭; Born: December 16th 1889 – Assassinated: January 24th 1930), sometimes called the "Korean Nestor Makhno" or by his pen name Baeg-ya (백야/白冶), played an important role in the attempt of development of Anarchism in Korea.

Kim was born to a wealthy family of the Andong Kim lineage (안동 김씨/安東金氏) in Haengsan-ri, Galsan-myeon, Hongseong County, Southern Chungcheong Province. His father was Kim Hyeong-gyu (김형규/金衡圭). When Kim was 18, he released 50 families of slaves when he publicly burned the slave registry and provided each family with enough land to live on. This was the first emancipation of slaves in modern Korea.

Kim Jwa-jin, had recognised and fought against Japanese imperialism from an early stage. In 1919 Kim established the Northern military administration office army (북로군정서군/北路軍政署軍). General Kim lead the Korean Righteous Armies in the Battle of Cheongsanni.

Afterward General Kim was appointed as the chairman of an executive committee at the age of 38 and attempted to integrate the Independence Movement groups in China and Manchuria. When anarchist and nationalist groups founded a rebel community in Manchuria in the province of Shinmin in 1929, Kim Jwa-jin was chosen to lead its armed forces. He was charged with organizing and leading guerrilla attacks on the Japanese. Though the Japanese soldiers were far more experienced and better armed than Kim Jwa-jin's band, Kim's attacks were successful both in defending the young Anarchist community of Shinmin, and in encouraging other groups in North-East Asia to resist the occupiers.

Kim  Jwa-jin was assassinated in 1930 while repairing a rice mill the Korean Anarchist Federation had built in Shinmin. Although his assassin was never found, the assassin's handler was caught and executed.

After the assassination of Kim Jwa-jin, the Anarchist Movement in Manchukuo and Korea became subject to massive repression. Japan sent armies to attack Shinmin from the south, while the former allies, the Chinese Soviet Republic, attacked from the north. By the summer of 1932, Shinmin's most prominent anarchists were dead, and the war on two fronts was becoming untenable. The anarchists went underground and anarchist Shinmin was no more.

As a leader of the Korean independence movement, Kim is remembered in both North and South Korea. In 1991, the county of Hongseong restored his birthplace. A festival is now held in his honor every October.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Samsung Techwin K9 Cheondung a.k.a T-155 Fırtına: Kimchi mixed with Kebab Howitzer, Activated.

The K9 Thunder a.k.a K9 Cheondung is a South Korean self-propelled 155 mm howitzer developed by Samsung Techwin for the Republic of Korea Armed Forces. It was developed to supplement and then replace the K55 self-propelled howitzers in South Korean service. K9 howitzers operate in groups with the K10 automatic ammunition resupply vehicle.

The development program of this 155 mm/52-caliber self-propelled howitzer has been underway since 1989. In 1996 the first prototype of this new artillery system was tested. The contract for the new K9 artillery system was awarded to Samsung Aerospace Industries (SSA) by the Korean Government on 22 December 1998. Republic of Korea Army received its first batch of K9 in 1999.

The K9 was involved in the Bombardment of Yeonpyeong between North and South Korean artillery units on 23 November 2010. During that hectic moment, six South Korean Marine Corps K9s engaged in the incident with North Korean artillery. The K9 engines had been damaged by the use of incorrect antifreeze fluid.

K9 is an indigenous system of an all-welded steel armour construction which is rated to withstand 14.5 mm armour piercing rounds, 152 mm shell fragments, and anti-personnel mines. The main armament consists of a 155 mm/52 caliber ordnance with a maximum firing range of 40 km. State-of-the-art mobility subsystems include a 1,000 horsepower (750 kW) engine with potential for growth and hydropneumatic suspension unit, a requirement for Korea's rugged mountainous terrain.

It was designed to give the artillery arm of the Republic of Korea Army a significant improvement in capability. With a claimed range of 40 km, it offers greater mobility, longer range, higher rate of fire, and increased battlefield survivability, as it can quickly be brought into action, open fire, and come out of action. It is less likely to be engaged by counter-battery fire, by relying on shoot-and-scoot. The unit also supports full CBRN protection.

The K9 has the ability to fire its shells in MRSI mode (Multiple Rounds Simultaneous Impact). In the MRSI mode, the K9 is able to fire three shells in under 15 seconds — 1 shell every 5 seconds — each in different trajectories so that all of the shells will arrive on their target at the same time.

The first country Samsung Techwin sold the K9 to was Turkey. Turkey received its first batch of the K9 and the license to domestically produce the system in 2004, in a deal that amounted to $1 billion. The domestic Turkish version was renamed as T-155 Firtina. Turkey is expected to field a force of 300 Firtinas by 2011. Samsung Techwin has also formed a venture on 29 March 2012 with Indian conglomerate Larsen and Toubro to supply the K9 for the Indian Army Howitzer competition.

T-155 Fırtına (Storm) is the Turkish variant of the K9 Thunder 155mm self-propelled howitzer by Samsung Techwin. Though essentially using the main systems of the K9 howitzer, including the South Korean designed 155/52 caliber gun system, majority of the chassis, automatic ammunition feeding mechanism, and the German designed MTU-881 KA 500 diesel engine, the T-155 has considerable differences in its turret design, parts of the chassis, the navigation system, and electronic systems (such as the radio and fire control system) which were developed in Turkey. Unlike the K9, T-155 Fırtına lacks commander's digital panoramic sight. Through the Inertial Navigation System produced by ASELSAN the howitzer is able to determine the coordinates of the targets at 17.5 meters deviation. Fırtına can open fire within 30 seconds.

According to the licence agreement with Samsung Techwin, the first eight T-155s were built in South Korea, while the remaining batch of more than 300 units would be produced in Turkey. The total reported cost of purchase and technology transfer for the Turkish government was $1 billion.

Same as Samsung Techwin K9 Thunder, T-155 Fırtına has a maximum firing range of 40 km, depending on the type of ammunition. It can reach a top speed of 66 km/h and has an operational range of 480 km.

The T-155 howitzers are built at the 1st Army Maintenance Center Command of the Turkish Army in Adapazarı. Production rate of the T-155 is 24 units per year. From 2001 to December 2009, more than 150 units have been delivered to the Turkish Army. A total of 350 T-155 Fırtına howitzers are planned to be produced.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Righteous Submarine: SS-075 ROKS Ahn Jung-geun (Introduction to Righteous Korean Independence Champion)

Thomas Ahn Jung-geun (Hangul/Hanja: 도마 안중군/多默 安重根; Born: September 2nd, 1879 – Executed: March 26th, 1910) was a Korean independence activist, nationalist and pan-Asianist. On October 26, 1909, he assassinated Itō Hirobumi, a four-time Prime Minister of Japan and former Resident-General of Korea, following the signing of the 1905 Eulsa Treaty (을사조약/乙巳條約/Eulsa Joyak), with Korea on the verge of annexation by Japan. Ahn was posthumously awarded the Republic of Korea Medal of Order of Merit for National Foundation (건국훈장 대한민국장/建國勳章大韓民國章/Geon-guk Hunjang Daehan Minguk-jang) in 1962 by the Korean Government, the most prestigious civil decoration in the Republic of Korea, for his efforts for Korean independence.

Ahn was born on September 2nd, 1879, in Haeju, Northern Hwanghae Province, DPRK, the first son of Ahn Tae-hun (안태훈/安泰勳) and Baek Cheon-jo (백천조/白川趙), of the family of the Sunheung Ahn lineage (순흥 안씨/順興安氏), originated from the commune of Sunheung-myeon, Yeongju City, Northern Gyeongsang Province. His childhood name was Ahn Eung-chil (안응칠/安應七). As a boy, he learned Chinese literature and Western sciences, but was more interested in martial arts and marksmanship. Kim Gu (김구/金九), future leader of the Korean independence movement who had taken refuge in Ahn Tae-Hun's house at the time, wrote that young Ahn Jung-geun was an excellent marksman, liked to read books, and had strong charisma.

At the age of 16, Ahn entered the Catholic Church with his father, where he received his baptismal name "Thomas" (多默/도마), and learned French. While fleeing from the Japanese, Ahn took refuge with a French priest of the Catholic Church in Korea named Wilhelm (Korean name, Hong Seok-ku\/홍석구/洪錫九) who baptized and hid him in his church for several months. The priest encouraged Ahn to read the Bible and had a series of discussions with him. He maintained his belief in Catholicism until his death, going to the point of even asking his son to become a priest in his last letter to his wife.

At the age of 25, he started a coal business, but devoted himself to education of Korean people after the Eulsa Treaty by establishing private schools in northwestern regions of Korea. In 1907 he exiled himself to Vladivostok to join in with the armed resistance against the Japanese colonial rulers. He was appointed a lieutenant general of an armed Korean resistance group and led several attacks against Japanese forces before his eventual defeat.

In 1909, Ahn passed the Japanese guards at the Harbin Railway Station. Ito Hirobumi had come back from negotiating with the Russian representative on the train. Ahn shot Ito three times with an FN M1900 pistol on the railway platform. He also shot Kawagami Toshihiko (川上俊彦), the Japanese Consul General, Morita Jiro (森泰二郞), a Secretary of Imperial Household Agency, and Tanaka Seitaro (田中淸太郞), an executive of South Manchuria Railway, who were seriously injured. After the shooting, Ahn yelled out for Korean independence in Russian, stating "Корея! Ура!/Koreya! Ura!", and waving the Korean flag.

Afterwards, Ahn was arrested by Russian guards who held him for two days before turning him over to Japanese colonial authorities. When he heard the news that Ito had died, he made the sign of the cross in gratitude. Ahn was quoted as saying, "I have ventured to commit a serious crime, offering my life for my country. This is the behavior of a noble-minded patriot." Despite the orders from the Bishop of Korea not to administer the Sacraments to Ahn, Fr. Wilhelm disobeyed and went to Ahn to give An the Last Sacraments. Ahn insisted that the captors call him by his baptismal name, Thomas.

In the court, Ahn insisted that he be treated as a prisoner of war, as a lieutenant general of the Korean resistance army, instead of a criminal, and listed 15 crimes Ito had committed which convinced him to kill Ito.
  1. Assassinating the Korean Empress Myeongseong
  2. Dethroning the Emperor Gojong
  3. Forcing 14 unequal treaties on Korea.
  4. Massacring innocent Koreans
  5. Usurping the authority of the Korean government by force
  6. Plundering Korean railroads, mines, forests, and rivers
  7. Forcing the use of Japanese banknotes
  8. Disbanding the Korean armed forces
  9. Obstructing the education of Koreans
  10. Banning Koreans from studying abroad
  11. Confiscating and burning Korean textbooks
  12. Spreading a rumor around the world that Koreans wanted Japanese protection
  13. Deceiving the Japanese Emperor by saying that the relationship between Korea and Japan was peaceful when in truth it was full of hostility and conflicts
  14. Breaking the peace of Asia
  15. Assassinating the Emperor Komei.
"I, as a lieutenant general of the Korean resistance army, killed the criminal Ito Hirobumi because he disturbed the peace of the Orient and estranged the relationship between Korea and Japan. I hoped that if Korea and Japan be friendlier and are ruled peacefully, they would be a model all throughout the five continents. I did not kill Ito misunderstanding his intentions."

Ahn's Japanese captors showed sympathy to him. He recorded in his autobiography that the public prosecutor, Mizobuchi Takao, exclaimed "From what you have told me, it is clear that you are a righteous man of East Asia. I can't believe a sentence of death will be imposed on a righteous man. There's nothing to worry about." He was also given New Year's delicacies and his calligraphy was highly admired and requested. After six trials, Ahn was sentenced to death by the Japanese colonial court in Ryojun (Port Arthur) in an unfair trial. Ahn was angered at the sentence, though he expected it. He had hoped to be viewed as a prisoner of war instead of an assassin. On the same day of sentencing at two o'clock in the afternoon, his two brothers Jeong-Geun and Gong-Geun met with him to deliver their mother's message, "Your death is for the sake of your country, and don't ask for your life cowardly. Your brave death for justice is a final filial regards to your mother." 

Judge Hirashi, who presided over Ahn's trial, had promised Ahn that a stay of execution for at least a few months would be granted, but Tokyo ordered prompt action. Prior to his execution, Ahn made two final requests; that the wardens help him finish his essay, "On Peace in East Asia", and for a set of white silk Korean clothes to die in. The warden was able to grant the second request and resigned shortly afterwards. Ahn requested to be executed as a prisoner of war, by firing squad. But instead it was ordered that he should be hanged as a common criminal. The execution took place in Ryojun, on March 26, 1910. His grave in Harbin hasn't been found.

There has been an argument that Itō's death resulted in the acceleration of the final stage of the colonization process, but the claim has been long disputed by some. According to Donald Keene, author of "Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852–1912", Ahn Jung-Geun was an admirer of Emperor Meiji of Japan. One of the 15 'charges' Ahn leveled against Ito was that he had deceived the Emperor of Japan, whom Ahn felt desired peace in East Asia and Korean independence. Ahn requested that Meiji be informed of his reasons for his assassination of Ito in the hopes that if Meiji understood his reasons, the emperor would realize how mistaken Ito's policies were and would rejoice. Ahn also felt sure that most Japanese felt similar hatred for Ito, an opinion he formed from talking with Japanese prisoners in Korea. While Ahn was staying in the prison and on the trial, many Japanese prison guards, lawyers and even prosecutors were inspired by Ahn's great spirit, righteousness, and humanity.

The assassination of Ito by Ahn was praised by Koreans and many Chinese as well, who were struggling against Japanese invasion at the time. Well-known Chinese political leaders such as Yuan Shikai, Sun Yat-sen, and Liang Qichao wrote poems acclaiming Ahn.

In the 2010 Ahn Jung-Geun Symposium in Korea, Wada Haruki (和田春樹), an activist who once worked at Tokyo University, evaluated Ahn by quoting Ito Yukio (伊藤之雄), a fellow history scholar in Kyoto University. In his text published in 2009, Ito Yukio claims that the reign by Ito Hirobumi resulted in strong resistance from Koreans as it was considered the first step for annexation of Korea due to the cultural differences, and that Ahn is not to be blamed even if he assassinated Ito without understanding Ito's ideology (2009, Ito).

On March 26, 2010, a nation-wide centenary tribute to Ahn was held in South Korea, including a ceremony led by the Prime Minister Chung Un-Chan and tribute concerts.

Ahn's family produced many other Korean independence activists. Ahn's cousin Ahn Myeong-geun (안명근/安明根) attempted to assassinate Terauchi Masatake, the first Japanese Governor-General of Korea (조선총독/朝鮮總督) who executed the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty in 1910. He failed, however, and was imprisoned for 15 years; he died in 1926. Ahn's brothers Ahn Jeong-geun (안정근/安定根) and Ahn Gong-geun (안공근/安恭根), as well as Ahn's cousin Ahn Gyeong-geun (안경근/安敬根) and nephew Ahn Woo-saeng (안우생; 安偶生), joined the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in Shanghai, China, which led by Kim Gu, and fought against Japan. Ahn Chun-saeng (안춘생/安春生), another nephew of Ahn's, joined the National Revolutionary Army of China, participated in battles against Japanese forces at Shanghai, and joined the Korean Liberation Army in 1940. Later, he became a lieutenant general of the Republic of Korea Army and a member of the National Assembly of South Korea.

Ahn strongly believed in the union of the three great countries in East Asia, China, Korea, and Japan in order to counter and fight off the "White Peril", namely, the European countries engaged in colonialism, and restore peace to East Asia. He followed the progress of Japan during the Russo-Japanese War and claimed that he and his compatriots were delighted at hearing of the defeat of one of the agents of the White Peril, but were disappointed that the war ended before Russia was totally subjugated.

Ahn felt that with the death of Itō, Japan and Korea could become friends because of the many traditions that they shared. He hoped that this friendship, along with China, would become a model for the world to follow. His thoughts on Pan-Asianism were stated in his essay, "On Peace in East Asia" (東洋平和論; 동양평화론) that he worked on and left unfinished before his execution. In this work, Ahn recommends the organization of combined armed forces and the issue of joint banknotes among Korea, Japan, and China. Sasagawa Norikatsu (笹川紀勝), a Professor of Law at Meiji University, highly praises Ahn's idea as an equivalent of the European Union and a concept that preceded the concept of United Nations by 10 years.

Ahn is highly renowned for calligraphy works. While he was in prison, many prison guards such as Chiba Toshichi (千葉十七) who respected him, made requests to Ahn for calligraphy works. He left many calligraphy works which were written in the jail of Lushun although he hadn't studied calligraphy formally. He would leave on his calligraphy works a signature of "大韓國人" (Great Korean) and a handprint of his left hand that was missing the last joint of the ring finger, which he had cut off with his comrades in 1909 as a pledge to kill Ito. Some of the works were designated as Treasure No. 569 of the Republic of Korea in 1972.[23] One of his famous works is "一日不讀書口中生荊棘" (일일부독서 구중생형극; Unless one reads every day, thorns grow in the mouth), a quote from the Analects of Confucius.

Memorial halls for Ahn were erected in the vicinity of Namsan Park at Seoul Jung-gu in 1970 by the South Korean government and in Harbin by the Chinese government in 2006. Another memorial hall honoring Ahn Jung-Geun was opened on Sunday, 19 January 2014 in Harbin. The hall, a 200-square meter room, features photos and memorabilia. Ahn Jung-geun Park in Jungdong, Bucheon Wonmi-gu, Gyeonggi Province is also dedicated to the Righteous Lieutenant-General of the Korean Resistance Army.

The North-Korean film An Jung Gun Shoots Ito Hirobumi is a dramatized story of the event. He is commemorated in the martial art Taekwondo with the Joon Gun pattern (32-movements) being dedicated to him.

Novelist Bok Geo-il's 1987 novel Looking for an Epitaph (碑銘 (비명)을 찾아서/Bimyeong-eul Chajaseo) is an alternate history story, which is set in the 1980s of Korea that remained a permanent colony of Japan, as a cascade effect of Ahn's failure to assassinate Ito. The Korean movie 2009 Lost Memories is very loosely based on the novel but tells a completely different story. In the Korean film, Ahn Jung-Geun is spotted and killed by Japanese soldiers before he is able to shoot Ito Hirobumi.

The South-Korean film Thomas Ahn Jung-geun (도마 안중근/Doma Ahn Jung-geun) is another dramatized story of the event.[27] Released on September 10, 2004, it is directed by Seo Se-won. Ahn Jung-Geun is played by actor Yu Oh-seong and Ito Hirobumi is played by Yoon Joo-sang.

In the PC game Civilization IV expansion pack, Beyond the Sword, Ahn Jung-Geun is a Great Spy. The story is summarized in the song 1909 by the band Scrabbel. In honor of him, SS-075 ROKS Ahn Jung-Geun, the third flagship of U-214 Sohn Won-yil Class submarines, was commissioned in 2009 and laid down in Hayate's birthday anniversaryJune 4th 2008.