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Fortresses of the Joseon dynasty


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#1 Kiyomasa

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 09:16 AM

Hi!

Anyone speaking Korean here, and know a great deal about Joseon fortresses???

I'm trying to find good sources on Joseon dynasty fortresses, there are basically none in english so i have tried with korean sources, but since i don't speak Korean :cry^: , this is very difficult and Google translate ain't doing me much good :wallbash: .

I would really want som help with understanding for example the different kinds of Sanseong (mountain fortresses), like temoesik, pogoksik or bokhapsik, or how simple walls and gates were constructed and so on.

Here are some good websites in Korean:

http://blog.daum.net/sahakdo
http://blog.empas.co...l...7&c=1851028
http://user.chol.com....htm#%E...˜ 성


André

#2 cloud god

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 12:57 PM

I can't read Asian languages on this computer but how do you know they are good when you can't read them. I know there are variate types of fortresses but I doubt if there are much details left today. To tell the truth I was never interested in those sorts of things. I will see what I can find later but I don't think I will have time to translate those until this weekend but I am not sure I would have the luxury of time to visit this forum. Why do you want to know about mountain fortresses in the first place? Not many people are interested in things like that.
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#3 Kiyomasa

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Posted 23 August 2008 - 11:09 AM

I translate the pages via Google Translate, the result may be poor but it is readable. The websites i listed seemed to have much information (even if basic) but since i don't speak Korean (though i'm learning Chinese and Japanese) i cannot of course know if they´re reliable or not, but that's all i have to go on for the moment.

I am mostly interested in these Korean fortresses because i want to have a better understanding of the Imjin War. While a whole lot is known about Japan and China, too little is known about the Korean fortifications of the period (at least in English).

What i wanted to learn more about was what kinds of basic Korean fortresses there was, typical defensive features, how well they performed in war, what role they played in the war. Many historians have portrayed the Korean fortresses of the period as backward, poor and lousy compared to Chinese and especially Japanese fortresses. I on the other hand doesen't believe this to be true, but its hard to prove without having any sources to begin with.

After realizing that there were basically no sources at all in english on these kinds of fortresses, i turned to korean, which there seems to be a whole lot of.

André

#4 cloud god

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Posted 23 August 2008 - 01:20 PM

That is too specific and there are way too many infos and jargons for me. I will have to pass this to someone else. Regarding the typical defensive features I think I heard they changed quite frequently and the structures are slightly different from the three kingdom era to Koryeo era to Chosun era. They were useful in wars for sure. I have no idea what kind of historians would say that. The role Sansungs play in war is really universal. There isn't just some "Korean way" of using fortresses. I can't say too much about the things you asked but here is an example how it was used in war. Korea fought with Qing Dynasty twice. The first time it was a draw. Qing could not afford to keep it up forever and made a peace treaty which declared Qing and Chosun as brothers and the peace between the two nations under one condition that Chosun would never consider Ming Dynasty as an enemy. Later, when Qing became even more powerful Qing demanded the "brother treaty" to be changed to "tributes treaty" and demanded for gold and Korean horses as well as soldiers to finish off Ming Dynasty. Chosun refused and the second war began. Mountain fortresses were used to fight the Qing's army and it was successful. Korea lost the second war but it had to do with shortage of foods and lack of actual trained soldiers instead of amateur peasants.
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#5 sg_han

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 02:05 AM

Hi!

Anyone speaking Korean here, and know a great deal about Joseon fortresses???

I'm trying to find good sources on Joseon dynasty fortresses, there are basically none in english so i have tried with korean sources, but since i don't speak Korean :cry^: , this is very difficult and Google translate ain't doing me much good :wallbash: .

I would really want som help with understanding for example the different kinds of Sanseong (mountain fortresses), like temoesik, pogoksik or bokhapsik, or how simple walls and gates were constructed and so on.

Here are some good websites in Korean:

http://blog.daum.net/sahakdo
http://blog.empas.co...l...7&c=1851028
http://user.chol.com....htm#%E...˜ 성


André


Nice website. Are you also interested in Korea/Korean?
大韓民國의國歌-愛國歌

#6 cloud god

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 01:55 PM

qing never consider korea as brothers


After the first war they did. I won't comment on whether they wanted to or not. It is not like Koreans thought of Jurchens as brothers. Jurchen was considered the second lowly race in the older days that pays off tributes to China and Korea for survival. The reason Qing invaded Chosun at the time is because of Ming and Chosun relationship and they ended up signing a peace treaty accepting that Chosun would not consider Ming as an enemy.
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#7 SNK_1408

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 04:14 AM

Joseon fortresses?

Joseon wasn't waring state like Qing or Japan during Sengoku period, there really wasn't need for many fortresses as country was largely peaceful, and especially after the Neo-Confucius scholars domination military development were strictly forbidden hence during Joseon times there was more scientific & scholastic development than building fortresses and developing weapons.

However, many of early Joseon fortresses are concentrated at the Hamgyeong province (far North-eastern parts of Korean peninsula) where frequent Jurchens and other nomadic incursions, and Kyongsang province at South-eastern parts of Korean peninsula for defending against to frequent Wokou (wajin or Wa, Japanese pirates) incursions.

The early days of Joseon fortresses were direct copies of late Koryo (i.e. Goryo) Dynasty, early forms of Goryo fortresses were famous for using the mountainous terrain as the base for the fortress then build the walls around with slabs of stones. later Goryo fortresses started using river or ponds to make fortress for protective from invading infantry and seize machines. Which was the standard of many other fortresses in East Asia. Nothing was special about Goryo fortress other than it's mostly mountainous in design.

Early Joseon fortress copied this same basic designs:

1. 장성(長城) - Jangseong - basic long walled castle/fortress (made mostly from stones) made for defense or blocking the wide area.
2. 관문성(關門城) - Kwanmunseong - design to blockage the entry or paths.
3. 산성(山城) - Sanseong - mountain fortress.
4. 전성(塼城) - Jeunseong - walled fortress or castle build from bricks. (Very few in Korea, mostly in China)

The typical early Joseon fortresses were Sanseong (mountain fortress) because mountains are accounts for over 70% of Korean peninsula, and using the nature as defense was cheap and very effective, also Korean mountains connects to other mountains in Korea hence it also provided effective communication mechanism.

Mostly long walled castles or fortresses were from Gogureyo or Baekje & Silla times, because during three-kingdom periods in Korea is known for warning states period where frequent wars required Jangseong.

However, with introduction of many gunpowder weaponry such as cannons, Joseon started deploying Jeunseong types, and one of last surviving fortress is Hwaseong (http://en.wikipedia....aseong_Fortress)

More pictures and detailed information at http://www.hwasong.h...savenije.pe.kr/

Here is the various mountain fortresses:
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And this is the Koryo mountain fortress
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And this is one of entrance for Hwaseong (brick style or later Joseon fortress style)
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역사를 보면 결국 힘있는 자가 힘없는 자를 정복하고 약탈하는 것입니다.
역사를 왜곡하는 민족은 반드시 멸망한다.
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#8 Kiyomasa

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 02:05 PM

Thanks for your reply!

I have some more questions:

I have read that hwachas were sometimes used to defend fortresses, but when did cannon and firearms begin to be used to defend fortifications? According to Turnbull, this only happened after the Imjin War, and the Koreans supposedly learned it from the Japanese.

Also are there any other fortress constructed in brick other than Hwaseong, and why did they choose to use brick?

And last, are there any battle accounts which reveal how these fortresses performed in war. I especially wonder how well they defended against the jurchen attack in the 1580s, and the later manchu invasions.

Excellent pictures btw!

André

#9 Yang Zongbao

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 03:03 PM

Thanks for your reply!

I have some more questions:

I have read that hwachas were sometimes used to defend fortresses, but when did cannon and firearms begin to be used to defend fortifications? According to Turnbull, this only happened after the Imjin War, and the Koreans supposedly learned it from the Japanese.

Also are there any other fortress constructed in brick other than Hwaseong, and why did they choose to use brick?

And last, are there any battle accounts which reveal how these fortresses performed in war. I especially wonder how well they defended against the jurchen attack in the 1580s, and the later manchu invasions.

Excellent pictures btw!

André


That's interesting. I think that Turnbull messed up again. The multiple rocket launcher idea was started by the Chinese (ie the Huoche rocket cart), but the Koreans made great use of it as their Hwacha. I don't think much is said of Japanese rocket use at all (being more famed for their Arquebusiers).

The cannon was already in use by the Imjin war, and it's commonly noted that the heavy Chinese and Korean cannons were superior to the ones used by the Japanese.
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#10 cloud god

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 03:44 PM

I have read that hwachas were sometimes used to defend fortresses, but when did cannon and firearms begin to be used to defend fortifications?


Shooting from a fortress is that unique? I think you should stop asking those historians who I guess are the same historians you originally asked. And no it is not from Japan. There is a theory Korea became aware of Western weapon called gun from Japan. At the time Japanese army was equipped with guns and the general who led the gunners surrendered and became Korean along with his soldiers. There are a couple of other theories but it seems the most likely that he brought some blueprints or informations how to get those guns as he surrendered.

And last, are there any battle accounts which reveal how these fortresses performed in war. I especially wonder how well they defended against the jurchen attack in the 1580s, and the later manchu invasions.


I aleady talked about the Manchu invasion how the fortresses were used during the second war. Jurchens invaded quite frequently even before that and they still had to pay tributes so that quite explain what happened. I don't remember any fortresses being used with significance.
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#11 Kiyomasa

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 06:52 PM

That's interesting. I think that Turnbull messed up again. The multiple rocket launcher idea was started by the Chinese (ie the Huoche rocket cart), but the Koreans made great use of it as their Hwacha. I don't think much is said of Japanese rocket use at all (being more famed for their Arquebusiers).

The cannon was already in use by the Imjin war, and it's commonly noted that the heavy Chinese and Korean cannons were superior to the ones used by the Japanese.


Ouch my bad!, i didn't mean Turnbull said hwachas originated in Japan, i meant that he said cannons and firearms were beginning to be used in defense of fortifications by the koreans.

Shooting from a fortress is that unique? I think you should stop asking those historians who I guess are the same historians you originally asked. And no it is not from Japan. There is a theory Korea became aware of Western weapon called gun from Japan. At the time Japanese army was equipped with guns and the general who led the gunners surrendered and became Korean along with his soldiers. There are a couple of other theories but it seems the most likely that he brought some blueprints or informations how to get those guns as he surrendered.


Well to make most use of cannons and firearms from a fortification you would need special gunholes (for the firearms) in the walls, and these supposedly were not in use in Korea before the Imjin War, even though they certainly made great use of cannons on ships. During the Imjin War Korea faced a totally different style of warfare, suddenly they had to face hundreds of thousands infantry-based armies relying on almost total use of firearms (although no cannons). To this new threat the Korean fortifications, for many different reasons (relatively small garrisons, limited use of flanking towers, etc), did not stand up to much. They were basically overwhelmed by these mass-infantry armies. Previous threats had been from nomadic jurchens who relied on horses in warfare, and in a largely mountaineous country, horse mobility are greatly reduced and thus the threat is limited. The same is true regarding the wako, who mostly operated in smaller bands often comprising a hundred warriors.

After the Imjin War, the Koreans supposedly began to make greater use of gunholes in their fortifications, thus they were able to counter mass-infantry attacks more efficiently.

The only fortresses i know of (like the famous Hwaseong) that make use of gunholes date from the seventeenth century or later (after the Imjin War), i have no idea if they were being used earlier. Apart from the Korean navy who made great use of cannons, to what extent were they used on land? Also, how much use did Koreans make of firearms? I'm guessing they mostly used cannons and hwachas.

Long Post B) It's late and i'm tired! Hope you understand what i'm trying to say...

André
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This is how some gunholes would look like

Edited by Kiyomasa, 11 September 2008 - 07:05 PM.


#12 Kiyomasa

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 08:18 PM

ugh, it really is to late for me to write...

Just forget my above post; of course you would not be able to shoot with cannons through those gunholes, the gunholes are way to small! Those "gunholes" are rather regular loop-holes designed for use with bows. Cannons would shoot between the merlons on the wall, not through the loop-holes!!

http://img518.images...e=wall61km3.jpg
Here are some better examples

http://img83.imagesh...05101127rq8.jpg

http://img143.images...05104963ud4.jpg
here are other regular loop-holes

André

#13 cloud god

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 08:00 AM

Thanks for sharing interesting pictures but the idea of shooting from a fortress rather than yelling at your enemy to death is pretty common not just in Japan or Korea but the whole Asia. Find yourself a new historian to ask questions.
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#14 Kiyomasa

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 01:20 PM

Thanks for sharing interesting pictures but the idea of shooting from a fortress rather than yelling at your enemy to death is pretty common not just in Japan or Korea but the whole Asia. Find yourself a new historian to ask questions.


I think you misunderstood me; of course the idea of shooting (with pre-gunpowder weapons) from a fortress is common, because its part of the idea behind fortifications; but that was not what i meant, i rather wondered how widespread the use of cannons and firearms and other gun-powder weapons were in Korea, and to what extent they were employed in defence of fortifications. The Japanese (during the later Sengoku period), as an example, relied extemsively in defending fortresses with tons of firearms.

I don't know much about Korean gunpowder weapons, but from what i've found they mostly used naval cannons, and rather relied on bows instead of firearms.

André

#15 Yang Zongbao

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 01:59 PM

Thanks for sharing interesting pictures but the idea of shooting from a fortress rather than yelling at your enemy to death is pretty common not just in Japan or Korea but the whole Asia. Find yourself a new historian to ask questions.



Cloud God. Be nice.
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