Friday, February 18, 2022

Fullbore Friday


Have you ever heard of Admiral Yi of the Royal Korean Navy?

Shame ... he was a complete stud ... and completely Fullbore.

This is also instructive for those who think the whole Korea vs Japan thingy just has to do with WWII. No ... a lot deeper than that.

It is hard to find good articles online about him outside Wikipedia - so I at least have to use their description of him for the uninitiated - it really is good;
Yi Sun-shin (Hangul: 이순신; hanja: 李舜臣; April 28, 1545 – December 16, 1598) was a Korean naval commander, famed for his victories against the Japanese navy during the Imjin war in the Joseon Dynasty, and is well-respected for his exemplary conduct on and off the battlefield not only by Koreans, but by Japanese Admirals as well.[1] Military historians have compared his naval genius to that of Admiral Horatio Nelson.[2] His title of Samdo Sugun Tongjesa (삼도 수군 통제사 ; 三道水軍統制使), literally meaning "Naval Commander of the Three Provinces," was the title for the commander of the Korean navy until 1896.

Perhaps his most remarkable military achievement occurred at the Battle of Myeongnyang. Outnumbered 133 warships to 13, and forced into a last stand with only his minimal fleet standing between the Japanese Army and Seoul, he still managed to destroy 33 of 133 Japanese warships in one of the most astonishing battles in military history.

Despite never having received naval training or participating in naval combat prior to the war, and constantly being outnumbered and outsupplied, he went to his grave as one of few admirals in world history who remained undefeated after commanding as many naval battles as he did (at least 23).

Yi died at the Battle of Noryang on December 16, 1598. With the Japanese army on the verge of being completely expelled from the Korean Peninsula, he was mortally wounded by a single bullet. His famous dying words were, "The battle is at its height...beat my war not announce my death."
Nelson would understand.

As a result of the difficulty I am having finding high-brow non-wikipedia, I'm going to steal from the a great tribute to him from the irreplacable website, badassoftheweek. Standard Kristen warning about pottymouth (BTW, whatever happened to her hotness? DB will do, I guess ... but still). Sailors should be OK about it though;
Throughout 1592 Admiral Yi Soon Shin won numerous other small-scale battle against the Japanese Navy, sinking hundreds of enemy vessels during the course of two campaigns while suffering only eleven wounded sailors, no KIAs and no ships lost. Now it should be noted that the Korean ships were superior to the Japanese ships in terms of firepower and hull strength, but still holy shit that's a fucking hell of a record. Yi was a brilliant naval strategist, carefully planning and coordinating all of his attacks and personally leading his navy into combat, issuing them directions on the fly. He received intelligence from local fishermen and villagers and planned his battles accordingly, striking enemy supply ships that were bringing food, supplies and munitions to the Japanese Army and severly hindering their war effort. In ship-to-ship combat on a tactical level, Yi relied on the firepower of his ships' cannons and ordered his men to avoid hand-to-hand combat with the Japanese navy at all costs. You see, the Japanese had tons of badass samurai so their strategy was to board the Korean ships and start chopping motherfuckers up Mifune-style and there wasn't a whole lot of shit that the Koreans could do about it except die painfully. Yi knew that his men didn't stand a chance against goddamned samurai so he did his best to set fire to the Japanese vessels before they even got close and burn those jerks to death before they could start impaling people on their magical katanas. His men were down with this strategy.

He also built something called "Turtle Ships" which sound kind of stupid and fruity but were actually awesome. Turtle Ships were large, fast-moving warships with reinforced metal plating completely covering the top deck to protect the sailors from enemy arrows and gunfire. The plates also had big-ass steel spikes sticking out of them so if any ninjas tried to fly on board they'd get impaled like when you knock Scorpion or Sub-Zero off the bridge level in Mortal Kombat. It carried about 30 guns, and the front of it was shaped like a badass dragon that shot a cannon out of it's mouth, had a smokescreen that came out of it's nose, and could be used as a battering ram to smash enemy ships into driftwood. Yi used the Turtle Ships to barrel through the enemy lines, blast everything they came across on either side and then ram the shit out of the enemy flagship, sinking it and drowning the Japanese commanders. Plus it looked fucking badass and intimidated the shit out of people:
Later in 1592 Yi Soon Shin took a force of 56 vessels and went up against a fleet of 73 Japanese battleships near Hansan Island, a fortress that pretty much served as party central for the Japanese invasion forces. Yi staged a fake retreat to draw the Japanese out of their fortified harbor and then caught them in a trap that sank 59 enemy ships and essentially crippled what was left of the Japanese Navy. Yi followed up this asskicking by capturing the enemy naval fortress at Pusan, sinking several hundred Japanese ships as they sat in port, crushing the enemy morale, seizing control of all the major supply routes to Northern Korea and choking off all Japanese reinforcements to the battlefront. Toyotomi Hideyoshi ordered his Admirals not to face the Korean Navy again because they were getting their fucking asses reamed up and down the coast, and an armistice was signed between Korea and Japan.

However, the peace didn't last long and before you know it the Japanese were ready to have more of their ships reduced to firewood by Admiral Yi. Unfortunately for the Koreans, in the time between the fighting the Japanese had managed to put a double agent into the Korean Court, and he convinced the King to order Admiral Yi to move his armada to a dangerous area known as the Chilchon Straits. When Yi received the order he immediately saw through the bullshit and refused it, reportedly giving the messenger the finger and then slapping him full in the face like a little bitch. So once again Yi Soon Shin was stripped of his rank, imprisioned and tortured within an inch of his life. Command was given to some jackass named Won Gyun, who was fucking incompetent. Won moved Admiral Yi's combined force of 169 battleships and 30,000 sailors to the Chilchon Straits, directly into the trap that was laid for him by the Japanese. In the span of only a few hours Japanese Commando Samurai Ninja Marines annihilated the entire armada and chopped Won Gyun up into shark chum. Only thirteen ships and two hundred men were able to escape the carnage by bravely running away at top speed as soon as the Japanese started fucking everything up. The King then decided to get his shit together and put Yi back in charge because at this point it was pretty motherfucking obvious that not just any idiot could lead the Korean Navy to victory against the Japanese war machine. When Yi retook command of his navy and saw the dire situation before him, he is reported to have said the following:

"I still have thirteen ships. As long as I am alive, the enemies will never gain the Western Sea."

So in 1597 Admiral Yi and his thirteen ships found themselves on the run, hunted by the entire Japanese Navy. At the Battle of Myeongnyang, Yi Soon Shin came face-to-face with a fleet of three hundred Japanese warships, all bearing down on him and filled to the brim with angry, screaming katana-wielding samurai warriors. Yi wisely positioned his tiny force to block a narrow strait Thermopylae-style in an effort to deny the Japanese the chance of completely enveloping him. The Japanese poured into the strait at top speed and ran head-on into a strong current that slowed them down considerably, leaving them exposed to fire from the Korean ships. During the course of the battle, Yi constantly repositioned his fleet in an effort to keep the Japanese marines at a distance and prevent them from boarding his ships. His cannons bombarded the enemy, and when the smoke cleared he had sunk 123 Japanese ships and killed over 12,000 enemy sailors, including the Admiral in command of the Japanese Navy. Yi's losses totaled three wounded and two killed.

This insane victory broke the back of Japanese morale and marked a turning point in the war. At the Battle of Noryang, over 150 Korean and Chinese vessels finished the job on the Japanese Navy, defeating an armada of 500 enemy ships as they attempted to retreat back to Japan. While giving pursuit, Yi was shot in the chest and died. His last words were, "The battle is at it's height. Do not announce my death." The remnants of the Japanese fleet would limp back to its homeland and her leaders would sue for peace - the war was over.
Read the whole thing. If I could only write that way....

To end it off, have some really bad East Asian FX;

First posted July 2014

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