Explosive Weapons

Chongtong is a weapon that shoots various arrows or bullets by using the explosion of gun powders, and these Chongtongs were the main fire arms of the Joseon forces that were used along with the bow and arrow.

At the time of the Imjin War, the fire arms used by the Joseon forces could be classified by small-sized fire arms, such as, Seungja Chongtong, Daeseungja Chongtong, Jungseungja Chongtong, Soseungja Chongtong, Byeolseungja Chongtong and others, large fire arms, such as, Cheonja, Jija, Hyeonja, Hwangja, Byeolhwangja Chongtong and others, and explosives like, Bigyeokjincheonroe, and others, and the multi-shooting machines, such as, Gijeongihwacha and Chongtonggi Hwacha.

Cheonja Chongtong Cheonja Chongtong

These fire arms made continuous advancement after Choi Mu-seon developed them at the end of Goryeo but they were all manually-igniting fire arms (fire arms in the method of shooting by igniting by hand), one step lower than the rifle that the Japanese forces carried. Therefore, it was mainly used for the shooting to enemies with mass formation, rather than the aiming and shooting. Obviously, there were some fire arms that could make certain aiming for shooting with the advancement of existing fire arms as in the case of Soseungja Chongtong, but most were still in manually-igniting style of fire-arm then.
Obviously, the multi-shooting machines in Hwacha and the time bomb in Bigyeokjincheonroe and others are the weapons with intense cutting edge technology of the time.

For the Hwacha, it installed the Chongton machine frame with 50 Sajeong Chongton or Singi Jeonji loaded with 100 rockets on the chariot, and on the front and side of the chariot, it had the space for swords and spears. Shooting is made for igniting the wick on each chongtong or singijeon, and when each wick is connected to each other, only one wick may be ignited to shoot entire arrows consecutively. As such, the hwacha might be shooting powerful fire power in short period of time that it asserted the biggest effect for the attack on dense targets. Therefore, it was widely used for both defense and offense and it was one of the most impacted weapons to the enemy. It may be said as the original form of multi-shooting rocket, tank, self-propelled artillery, and armored car or carrier.
Chongtonggi Hwacha Chongtonggi Hwacha
Also, the Bigyeokjincheonroe was an unique bomb of Joseon developed by the Gun powder fire arm master, Yi Jang-son, and he made it with iron with the round shape with explosive and steel pieces inside. The fire arms used at the time were weapons that impact heavily to the target but the Bigyeokjincheonroe is the metal explosive that approached the target and exploded. By using the length of the explosive wick, it made the time bomb with the explosion time to adjust, and it asserted substantial force in the battle to regain Gyeongju Fortress. According to the record of Japan, 'it had the sudden explosion to shake down the world and scatter the iron pieces to kill people when they hit people in scattering'. The sequence of shooting is shown as follows.
Bigyeokjincheonroe Bigyeokjincheonroe

1. Insert the iron pieces and Gun powder Gun powders into the iron pipe.
2. Cover the cap and ignite the fire on the wick.
3. Insert it in the device and shoot it to the enemy. Therefore, this weapon was useful in the naval battle as well as in the land battle.

In the meantime, one of the key factors for the Joseon naval force to win over the Japan consecutively was that the large canons were improved and developed from the end of Goryeo. At the time of the Imjin War, it was loaded on the turtle ship and panokseons operated by the Joseon naval force and it overwhelmed the Japanese battle ship in the battle of ship to ship. The following dimension and capability of the gun of the time are shown as follows.

Name of gun Length (cm) Diameter (mm) Materials to shoot (『Gunsik Eonhae』) Shooting distance
130~136 118~130 1 shot of Daejang Gunjeon 100 shots of Jorantan 900 steps, 10 ris
89~89.5 105 1 shot of Janggunjeon 100 shots of Jorantan 800 steps
79~83.8 60~75 1 shot of Chadaejeon 100 shots of Jorantan 800 steps, 1500 steps
50.4 40 1 shot of Piryeongchajungjeon 40 shots of Jorantan 1100 steps
88.8~89.2 58~59 1 shot of Piryeongmokjeon 40 shots of Jorantan 1000 steps

At the time of the Imjin War, the Japanese naval force used the unique strategy that had been handed down from the old days in getting on the ship and hand on fight. This strategy was the personal combat to use the personal weapon to kill the enemy after jumping on the ship and it came mainly from the pirates jumping on the victim's ship, deliver the blow and take away the goods. Thereafter, with the rifle coming in the middle of the 16th century with the addition of shooting strategy by using the rifle in addition to the existing personal fight, but there has been not much change of strategy.

On the other hand, the Joseon naval force used the gun shot strategy on the basis of various large guns loaded on both sides of their battle ships along with the collision strategy with the use of battle ships and fire attack strategy. In particular, the guns of Joseon forces had much longer shooting distance compared to the rifle of the Japanese force, it did not need to approach to attack them, resulting in absolute advantage for the Joseon naval force compared to the on land battle.