The Divine Weapon(Singijeon,신기전,神機箭) The Divine Weapon(Singijeon,신기전,神機箭) - (English) TYPE4
Film Date :   September 4, 2008
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The Divine Weapon(Singijeon,신기전,神機箭)

The Divine Weapon(Singijeon,신기전,神機箭) - (English) TYPE4

Singijeon is a multi-launch rocket system made by Korean Choe Mu-seon in 1377 near the end of the Goryeo Dynasty under King U. [1] These were launched by multiple means, such as the hwacha and other large-barreled guns. The juhwa were the first singijeon, and the result of efforts to acquire the technology to manufacture gunpowder. In order to gain ascendancy in the sea against the Japanese pirates, the Koreans had tried to acquire rockets and gunpowder and their production methods from China. [2] But the Chinese regarded the technology of gunpowder manufacture as a state secret and restricted access to it and its nitrous raw materials (which could only be found in China) trade. [3] Therefore, Koreans sought to acquire the manufacturing secrets of gunpowder for themselves, and, in 1374 (~1376), Choe successfully extracted potassium nitrate from the soil [4] and rocks from Japanese trade routes, and developed Korea's first gunpowder. This eventually led to the creation of the juhwa.

Singijeon were divided among three major types: large (dae) (대), medium (joong) (중), and small (so) (소). The large singijeon was a duplicate of the Chinese 百虎齊奔, which was capable of firing 100 fire arrows at once [5] . The 52cm long missile was launched individually on a handheld gun, and the launch was initiated by a fuse in the tube. Even after launch, the fuse would remain in the tube, consuming the black powder until it hit the "warhead" and caused detonation. [6] The fuse length was determined by the amount of gunpowder in the paper tube, and was adjusted depending on the distance that the missile had to cover so that it would explode on the target. Its range was around 1 to 2 kilometers. [7] The medium singijeon was of the same construction and function as the large singijeon, but, due to its smaller size of 13cm, [6] its range was limited to 150 meters. [8] However, its explosive warhead was still powerful enough to make a 30cm-deep crater in a patch of sand. [9] The small singijeon was simply an arrow with a gunpowder pouch attached to it, and had no explosive capabilities. It was launched in multiples of 100 by a hwacha, and had a range of 100 meters. All gunpowder weapons including the singijeon used black powder.

Singijeon saw most of its early use in the Northern borders of Joseon, in the campaign to expand its northern borders by driving out the "Orangkae" ("Barbarians," especially referring the Yeojin of the North). Later, its uses expanded to coastal defence against Japanese pirates and was much used throughout the conflicts during the Josun Dynasty. During the Imjin War, General Gwon-Yul attributed his perilously outnumbered yet successful defence against the Japanese forces at the Haengju Sansung to the Singijeon. [9]

Ironically, the location of the schematics of the singijeon were not known until much recently. Korean historians had found the schematics stuck as an appendix in the book 국조오례사례 ("Gookjo Oryae Seoryae") but did not realize what it was until Dr. Chae Yeon-suk affirmed them as the hidden schematics of the singijeon[citation needed]. The schematics detail the lengths of wooden materials using units down to 0.3mm. The schematics are one of the best representations of the acute scientific understanding of the Joseon Dynasty.

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