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.