Former Korean general is the most unlikely badass in history


If one examines Yi Sun-sin’s early military training records, one could probably conclude that he would be a less than spectacular military officer. Not only did he fail his military qualification exams, he fell from his horse and broke his leg. He didn’t even reach the rank of officer until he was 32 (at a time when the average human lifespan was around 48 years).

At first his command was far from where any action would take place, but over the course of his military career he would fight the Japanese 23 times, usually outnumbered and starved of supplies. He is now a famous national hero in Korea, and the reason is pretty obvious.

He eventually passed his military exam and was posted to the Northern Frontier Army. When the looters began to harass the villages in the north, it was Yi who successfully defended them. Eventually, he took up the fight against Jurchen’s raiders. He devised a plan to draw them into a fight for a decisive victory. He not only beat them, he captured their leader, and they never made a major foray into his territory again.

Portrait of Yi Sun-sin, Busan Cultural Heritage Material No.56.

Political adversaries envious of his military achievements accused him of desertion and imprisoned him. He was tortured, imprisoned, and later forced to fight as an infantryman when the Japanese invaded Korea in 1592.

After the battle, he was again appointed commander, this time of a military training center. He was so great at his job that he was promoted quickly. As the commander of an important naval district, he reorganized the fleet and introduced the much-vaunted turtle ship, which he would use to devastate the Japanese.

Between 1592 and 1598, the Japanese, united under Toyotomi Hideyoshi, decided to undertake the conquest of the Korean peninsula. They landed at two strategic points and reached the Korean capital in 19 days.

Meanwhile, Yi, who had no training or experience in naval combat, teamed up with Korean Admiral Won Gyun and sailed for the Japanese Fleet. While the Japanese were busy looting Okpo town, Yi and Won Gyun arrived like a wrecking ball, destroying half of Japanese transport. He pursued other enemy ships in the area, destroying 18 more on the way back to his home port.

In Sacheon, Yi again clashed with a superior Japanese force anchored in the port, but this time he made the ships leave the port and destroyed all ships in the area. He repeated these kinds of victories over and over again, crushing the enemy in Dengpo and again in Danghangpo.

When the Japanese invasions began, Yi faced 1,700 enemy ships. He has won 15 consecutive battles with minimal loss of life – for the Koreans. Hundreds of enemy warships were now at the bottom of the ocean with thousands of enemy sailors. He succeeded so well at sea that the Japanese ground forces had to stop the fighting because they lacked supplies and food. Around this time, however, an enemy double agent provided bad intelligence in an attempt to lure Yi to his death in battle, but Yi saw through the plan and refused to follow these orders during battle. infantryman once again.

He was not reinstated until his replacement, Won Gyun, was killed in action. Under Won’s leadership, the Korean Navy was severely beaten and beaten by the enemy. The Japanese were more confident than ever, throwing 300 ships out of the safety of Busna Port to bring down Yi once and for all.

With 13 ships and 200 sailors, Yi encountered the enormous Japanese force in the Myeongnyang Strait. He chose the location because he forced the Japanese into a bottleneck, with relentlessly strange currents, and ensured the safety of being flanked. He defeated all the ships that entered the strait, without a single one of his ships being lost.

The war changed completely after Myeongnyang. The Japanese navy was completely demoralized, the army was cut off from its supplies. As they tried to return home, Yi encountered them one last time at the Battle of Noryang. Once again, Yi brought down enemy ships one by one and forced their retreat. But Yi was hit by a random enemy bullet and fell. The war was over, but Korea’s greatest hero had fallen.


Comments are closed.