The world’s first ironclad warship is the Turtle Ship of Korea.
The Korean ancestors made the Turtle Ship and tested its performance in 1413.
In the late 16th century Admiral Ri Sun Sin, together with technicians, completed it as a powerful warship on the basis of the preceding successes in the shipbuilding.
The prow looks like the head of a dragon, the body and tail like those of a turtle and so the ship resembles a turtle. Hence the name Turtle Ship.
Kim Song Ho, Section Chief of the History Institute of the Academy of Social Sciences, says:
“The Turtle Ship fully demonstrated its might in the Sachon and other naval engagements during the Imjin Patriotic War, the large-scale war in the middle ages fought by the Korean people against the Japanese invaders between 1592 and 1598.
At that time the Turtle Ship was clad with iron to stand any gunfire and its deck bristled with spikes not allowing the enemy’s mounting.”
The prow of the ship in the shape of dragon head emitted smoke from burnt sulphur and nitre in favour of combat activities of its forces.
The soldiers inside the ship could see outside, but the enemy outside could not see inside. So the ship could sail between hundreds of enemy vessels and fire the guns.
The Turtle Ship had simple yet firm and secure structure, fast speed and excellent firepower equipment. It was the most powerful warship at that time. And its size and shape were rational to have a very high navigability.
The Turtle Ship is the world’s first ironclad warship uniquely made by Korean ancestors who firmly defended the seas from ancient times. It is a precious cultural legacy showing well the patriotism and creative talents of the Korean people.