HMS Rattlesnake

HMS_Rattlesnake_(1822)HMS Rattlesnake was a 28-gun  corvette of the Royal Navy launched in 1822. She made a historic voyage of discovery to the Cape York and Torres Strait areas of northern Australia.

This is not the reason I am mentioning HMS Rattlesnake. Nor am I mentioning it because of it’s obvious North American name. The corvette was built after the Napoleonic Wars but managed to find employment through the middle of the 19th century as a survey vessel and the rescuer of young ladies in distress ((Rattlesnake was the ship that rescued Barbara Crawford Thompson, who had been shipwrecked on Prince of Wales Island, North Queensland, aged 13 years in November 1844 and who spent the next five years living with the local Kaurareg people, despite their reputation for being cannibals. The true and certified version of her life story can be found in the book “Wildflower” The Barbara Crawford Thompson Story by Queensland historian Raymond J Warren))

The reason I am mentioning Rattlesnake is that one of her sister-ships, HMS Samarang, surveyed Port Hamilton in 1845 by Sir Edward Belcher in the Samarang. Post Hamilton was named after the then secretary of the Admiralty, Captain W. A. B. Hamilton. I intend to post something about Port Hamilton in Korea in the future and the Samarang will be mentioned but I did not have a picture of her, hence the entry for the Rattlesnake.

Both vessels were members of the Atholl-class of corvettes and were armed with:

Upper deck: 20 x 32-pdr (25cwt) carronades
Quarterdeck: 6 x 18-pdr carronades
Forecastle: 2 x 9-pdr guns

New Year Greetings

It’s Lunar New Year with the New Year’s Eve tomorrow night.

So, to my Korean friends – 새해 복 많이 받으세요.

And to my Chinese friends – 新年快樂 or for those who are Cantonese, 恭喜發財  (did I get that right Pauline?).

Prosperity, peace and happiness for all in the year of the Dragon.

Korean Soldiers in WW2 German Army–Part 2

The most commented post here in Thomo’s Hole is Korean Soldiers in WW2 German Army. The comments have ranged from polite to vitriolic. The post concerned a photograph of a Korean soldier in Wehrmacht Uniform from the Second World War. It seems that this story has caught on and the movie makers are currently making a movie about this. The movies is currently titled “My Way”

Director Kang JeKyu has been working on this movies since 2010 and it is due for release late 2011. The movie has a budget of nearly US$28 million – the biggest budget for a Korean movie ever. The stars are Korean, Japanese and Chinese stars – Jang DongKun, Joe Odagiri and Fan Bingbing.

The story appears to have been based on the guy mentioned in the original post here but as it is a movie, it appears as though the story has been varied a lot to bring in the love interest and perhaps make some philosophical or moral comment.

Four links for further reading:

Imjin

image One of the recent searches in Thomo’s Hole was the word “imjin”. There are two Imjins I can think of, both military (well three really, there is that Korean river, the Imjin river too, of course).

The first I can recall is the Battle of Imjin River in the Korean War. This was a battle principally between Chinese forces and British and Belgian troops, with support later from Philippine and US troops. Perhaps the most famous incident of this battle was the defence of the “Glosters”, the 1st Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment, and in particular their defence when surrounded on Hill 235. One company of the Glosters, Company D, eventually escaped, the others being killed or captured.

The other Imjin I can recall refers to the Imjin War. These refer particularly to two Japanese invasions of Korea. The first was when Toyotomi Hideyoshi decided to conquer Korea, Ming Dynasty China, the Jurchens and India – just a small easily completed task. This was in 1592 and 1593.

The second invasion of Korea was in 1594 and lasted until 1596. In this second effort Hideyoshi’s expectations had been managed somewhat and his target was only Korea. These invasions finally finished in 1598 so this was Korea’s 7 Year War. The Imjin War is the name this is principally known as (in Korean, 임진왜란).

The part of the Imjin war that interests me the most is the naval aspect, especially in that the Imjin War saw the introduction of then famous Turtle Ship under the control of Admiral Yi SunSin. Perhaps the most significant battle of this was the last battle, the Battle of Noryang Point. In this battle, the Korean fleet under Admiral YiSunSin was joined by a Chinese fleet un Chen Lin. They caught the Japanese with about 500 ships anchored in the narrow straits of Noryang. At about 2:00 am, the Korean and Chinese fleets attacked.

The battle ended with an allied victory. The Japanese lost nearly 300 warships out of the original 500. Unfortunately, at his moment of truimph, Admiral Yi SunSin was mortally wounded and died before the battle and his victory was complete.

Admiral Yi SunSin's crane formation

Happy Tsagaan Sar … and New Year

Tonight is bituun so the home is cleaned and now the belly is full. Tomorrow is Tsagaan Sar (Цагаан сар) for Mongolians, the White Month. So, to my Mongolian friends – I hope you have a happy Tsagaan Sar.

This year it also coincides (well, is one day different really) with the Lunar New Year celebrated across the rest of Asia. So, to my Korean friends – 새해 복 많이 받으세요.

And to my Chinese friends – 新年快樂 or for those who are Cantonese, 恭喜發財  (did I get that right Pauline?).

Prosperity, peace and happiness for all in the year of the Tiger.

USS Swatara

Image from Naval History and Heritage Command As it was on this day, 19 May, in 1882 that Commodore Shufeldt landed in Korea from the USS Swatara, and as the Swatara has some connections to Australia, I thought I’d mention her here.

The ship is also quite interesting as she started life as a wooden, screw sloop in the United States Navy. She was named for Swatara Creek in Pennsylvania and was launched on 23 May 1865 by the Philadelphia Navy Yard; sponsored by Miss Esther Johnson; and commissioned on 15 November 1865, Commander William A. Jeffers in command. The details of the vessel are in the table below, comparing her to the rebuilt Swatara.

The first Swatara served with the US European Squadron until 1869, then serving in the Atlantic Squadron until 1871. In 1872, as part of the Secretary of the Navy George M. Robeson’s plans to overhaul and modernize ships of the Navy, the first Swatara was taken to the New York Navy Yard, ostensibly for “repairs.” In fact, the “repairs” constituted construction of a new ship, for Swatara was given a new hull and unused machinery which had been in storage since 1865. Embodying only certain fittings and equipment from the first ship, the second Swatara was launched on 17 September 1873 at the New York Navy Yard and commissioned on 11 May 1874, Capt. Ralph Chandler in command.

The Swatara transported five scientific parties to the South Pacific in 1874 to observe the transit of Venus. The first team landed at Hobart, Tasmania, on 1 October 1874 and then Kerguelen Island; Queenstown, Tasmania; New Zealand; and Chatham Island.

USS_Monongahela_(1862) She returned all but one of the parties, picked up by Monongahela ((USS Monongahela (1862) was a barquentine–rigged screw sloop-of-war that served in the Union Navy during the American Civil War finally being paid-off in 1908))(shown to the left), to Melbourne early in 1875 and then sailed back to the US where she joined the Atlantic Squadron again for a time and was then retired for a while.

Swatara was recommissioned on 24 December 1879 at Boston Navy Yard and departed on 21 January 1880 for the Far East. She visited numerous Mediterranean ports and transited the Suez Canal, eventually arriving at Hong Kong on 17 April 1880. Swatara called at many east Asian ports during her Asiatic Squadron duty, including long stays at Shanghai, Chefoo, and Yokohama. Departing from Yokohama on 7 July 1882, Swatara headed for home waters, via the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived at Hampton Roads on 4 December 1882 for an overhaul. She was eventually struck from the Navy list on 29 July 1896 and sold at public auction on 2 November.

Her connection with Korea, however, was in 1882.

The tale of this involvement goes back to 1866 when the US was attempting to spread its influence through the Pacific chasing trade amongst other things. Commodore Matthew C Perry had forced a trade treaty on Japan in a wonderful example of gunboat diplomacy. In 1866 however, the American schooner Surprise foundered in the Yellow Sea (East Sea) off Korea’s Coast and the crew abandoned ship and rowed to shore. The Korean authorities picked them up and returned them across the Yalu River and into Manchuria, being delivered to the American consul at Yingtsze on Liaotung Bay. They were returned from there to the US.

Meanwhile, at much the same time, the American schooner General Sherman was under charter to a British firm and sailed from Chefoo in China to Korea. This was supposed to be a trade cruise. The General Sherman sailed up the Taedong River toward Pyongyang and got stuck on a mud bank when the water lever dropped quickly. She remained stuck fast there. It seems that orders came from Seoul to clear out the problem so the Koreans attacked the vessel. The crew held out for four days until finally being overwhelmed. The ship was burnt.

In January 1867, curious to find out what had happened to the General Sherman, Robert W Shufeldt commanding ordered the USS Wachusett to Korea to find out what had happened. Bad weather forced the Wachusett before being able to receive a response from the Korean king about the General Sherman.

In spring of 1868, John C Febiger in command of the USS Shenandoah sailed to the mouth of the Taedong and made inquiries as to the General Sherman and her crew. He was told that a mob had destroyed the vessel and killed the crew after it had been intimidated. Febinger returned to the US.

In 1870, Frederick Low, who was the US minister to China was instructed by the US Secretary of State, Hamilton Fish, to secure a treaty from the Koreans for the protection of shipwrecked sailors. He was also told to secure an commercial treaty. Low sailed aboard the USS Colorado and along with a squadron of warships and gunboats, set sail for Korea from Nagasaki. They arrived at Chemulpo and contacted Korean officials. On 1 June 1870, four steam launches traversed the Yom-ha (Salée River) to make soundings near the island of Kanghwa at the mouth of the Han River. The Korean shore batteries opened fire and there was a short fire fight.

One year later, on 1 June 1871, Low ordered an attack on the Korean fortifications along the Yom-ha. This happened, the fortifications were destroyed and around 250 Koreans were killed in the process (3 Americans were also killed). The Americans, however, still did not get their trade treaty and left.

In 1876 a flotilla of Japanese warships sailed menacingly along the west coast of Korea and extracted the Treaty of Kanghwa from the Koreans, allowing unrestricted business and trade between the two nations.

h97294 In 1878, the now Commodore Robert Shufeldt left Norfolk in the USS Ticonderoga (pictured to the right in Chinese waters on this trip) with a fleet of American warships undertaking a round the world tour – sort of a precursor of the Great White Fleet. The objective of this fleet was the expansion of US trade. When he got to the east, he used the assistance of Japan to try and negotiate a commercial treaty with Korea (the fleet of warships may also have been of assistance). In 1880, however, the Chinese (the suzerains of Korea at that time) invited Shufeldt to Peking and discussions led to a treaty. Shufeldt eventually sailed from China to Korea aboard the USS Swatara in 1882 and on a hillside near Chemulpo a treaty of amity, commerce, peace and navigation was signed.

That then is the tenuous connection between the Swatara, Korea and Australia.

Details of the Two Swatara’s

 

Year Type Displacement Length Beam Draft Speed Complement Armament
1865 Steam driven Screw Sloop 1,113 long tons 216‘ (65.8 m) 30’ (9.1m) 13’ (4m) 12 kts 164 officers and men 1 × 60-pounder gun
6 × 32-pounder guns
3 × 20-pounder howitzers 
1879 Steam driven Screw Sloop 1,900 long tons 216’ (66 m) 37’ (11m) 16’6” (5m) 10.2 kts 230 officers and men 6 × 9 in (230 mm) smoothbore guns
1 × 8 in (200 mm) rifle
1 × 30-pounder gun 

 


Korean War Memorial Museum

Jeffro has done it again and got the gallery back in Thomo’s Hole. That means that the Korean War Memorial Museum exhibits I’d photographed are able to be viewed again. I’ll back these up over time to a cloud service somewhere and post alternate links, however, in the interim, https://thomo.coldie.net/gallery/v/museums/korean_war_memorial/ will take you to those albums, the albums covering the Koryo, Three Kingdoms and Chosun periods of Korean history.

Also there is some images from the Righteous Army times in the early 20th, late 19th centuries.

Happy Tsagaan Sar, New Year

To my Mongolian friends – I hope you have a happy Цагаан сар ((Tsagaan Sar))

To  my Korean friends – 새해 복 많이 받으세요 ((say hay boke mahn he pah du say oh))

To my Chinese friends – 新年快樂 ((Happy New Year)) or for my Cantonese Friends, 恭喜發財 ((kone hay far choi – or litterally, wishing you prosperity))

Korean Armour – Chosun, Koryo, Silla, Three Kingdoms

Just a reminder to those of you that have been using the pictures of Korean armour and weapons, that because I still can’t get to the Gallery in here, I have them placed in a web album in Picassa. You can find them at Thomo the Lost’s Picassa Album.