A model from the Naval War College Museum collection of a Korean “turtle ship,” such as those that helped repulse the sixteenth-century Japanese invasion of that country—a campaign vital to the spirit of the modern Republic of Korea Navy, as noted by Yoji Koda (Vice Admiral, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Retired) in this issue’s lead article.
The model, just over twenty-six inches long and almost nineteen tall, was donated to the Naval War College in 1993 by Rear Admiral Ha Jong-keun, president of the Royal Korean Naval War College. The original ship was 113 feet long, thirty-four feet in beam; it displaced 150 tons, mounted fourteen guns, and carried a complement of 130. The spikes on the “turtleback” deterred boarding; the iron plates, which were bolted to wood sheathing up to a foot thick, made the turtle ship the world’s first ironclad. The Mandarin Chinese character on the model’s flag signifies “Turtle.”
Photographs and design by the Naval War College Visual Communications Branch.