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"Query about Perry Choson Korean artillery" Topic

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Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2017 4:29 p.m. PST

Hi everyone, I've asked this question on the LAF, and I wanted to pick the brains of those here familiar with the Imjin Wars.

I'm slowly assembling my Choson Koreans by the Perry Bros. My question concerns the artillery. If you look at the website:


you'll see two types of artillery:

KOR 20 Shin Ki Jeon (multi- rocket propelled arrow launcher) and
KOR 21 Hwa Go (multi-barrelled artillery piece)

Now to me, the Shin Ki Jeon looks like a Hwa Cha rocket launcher. This launcher can fire up to (depending on the size) 200 Singijeon or "fire arrows". However this term for the missile looks very similar to the name the Perry's give to the artillery piece. Shouldn't this be a Hwa Cha?

To make things worse, I cannot find a "Hwa Go" at all on Google. What is this artillery piece supposed to shoot? Is it a Korean version of an "organ gun"? If so, how was this thing supposed to hit anything with such seemingly short barrels?

As you can tell, I'm somewhat confused. Are there any Korean experts who can let me know about these artillery pieces? The pieces do look cool, even if they didn't seem to discourage the invading Samurai too badly.

Thanks for any help.


GurKhan27 Sep 2017 1:08 a.m. PST

See this blog entry – link – for a hwago exhibited at the Jinjuseong Fortress museum:

"The Hwago is a similar system but is more of an organ-gun with 50 short gun barrels loaded with three metal darts each".

GurKhan27 Sep 2017 1:14 a.m. PST

Incidentally, link suggests that the earliest models of hwacha were more like this hwago:

"However, early Hwacha did not launch rockets. Instead it mounted several bronze guns that shoot iron-fletched darts. The rocket launching Hwacha was a much later development that was introduced in 1451 AD, three years after the perfection of Korean Shingijeon (신기전 or 神機箭) rocket."

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2017 11:24 a.m. PST

Thanks so much Duncan!

Great sources. However the second source shows an early Hwa Cha that looks exactly like the Perry model of the Hwa Go.

Could it be that these weapons were not concurrent, and that one (the Hwa Cha) developed from the other (the Hwa Go)?

Either way the Hwa Go couldn't have that much of a range and could be thought of as analogous to the European early organ guns or a multi barreled frame gun. Best thought of as an anti-personnel weapon against chargers maybe? Of course each barrel holding three darts is a very cool weapon!

GurKhan28 Sep 2017 1:16 a.m. PST

It looks as if the rocket-launching hwacha did develop from the dart-shooting hwacha-also-called-hwago, yes. Can't help as to whether they were concurrent, that depends on whether the older model remained in use once the newer one was introduced. It may have hung around for specialised uses – as you say, an anti-assault weapon. Good for defending a breach in a wall, maybe?

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2017 9:20 a.m. PST

Thanks again, that does make sense.

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