Battle of Chungju

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Battle of Chungju (Choryang Pass)
Part of Imjin War
Date April 28 1592
Location Tangeumdae Hill, near Chungju
Result Decisive Japanese victory
Belligerents
Japanese army Korean army
Commanders and leaders
Konishi Yukinaga
So Yoshitoshi
Matsuura Shigenobu
Arima Harunobu
Omura Yoshiaki
Shin Rip
Byeon Gi
Kim Yeo-mul
Yi Il
Yi Jong-jang
Strength
First Division (ca. 18,700 men) 100,000[1]
Casualties and losses
Unknown Annals of the Joseon (Korean) Dynasty : 100,000[2]

3,000[3]

The Battle of Chungju or the Battle of Tangeumdae was the last battle of the Chungju Campaign fought between the Koreans and Japanese during the Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592. Chungju is located just south of the Han River and Seoul, Korea's capital. The failure to defend it led to the capture of the capital weeks later.

Chungju Battle[edit]

This story is an excerpt from The Annals of the Joseon Dynasty.

After having lost Busan, the Court in Hanseong (present-day Seoul) placed their hopes in a prominent general, Shin Rip, who had earned much recognition for his successes against the Jurchens in the North. Korean King gave to Shin rip a sword and power to command. so, he been able to recruited the Royal Guards and many expert archers.

Although Shin Rip was a notable general, he failed to protect Mungyeong Saejae mountain pass in a military blunder and retreated to Chungju castle where he believed he could stop the Japanese. When Shin Rip learned of the Japanese approach, he decided to meet the Japanese out on the flat plains near Chungju. Since much of his men were composed of cavalry, Shin Rip wanted a field battle where he could take advantage of the forces at his command.

Shin Rip lined up his cavalry division along the river in the classic Chinese strategy known as baesujin (Hangul: 배수진; hanja: 背水陣). Although fighting on a flat plain seemed a reasonable strategy, the various vegetation that grew there at the time actually hindered mounted troop movements. Furthermore, the limited weaponry impeded the Korean cavalry; given that their main weapon was the Korean composite bow and considering that the Japanese employed a considerable number of pikemen, the Korean cavalry might have had great difficulty charging the Japanese.

On April 27, a Korean scout spotted the Japanese but was killed by General Shin Rip, who did not believe that the enemy was near. In the meantime, Japanese General Konishi Yukinaga, who was staying in Sangju, found the Korean strategy and drew up plans to attack in secret.

On April 28, Yukinaga attacked Chungju unexpectedly, assaulting the castle there while Japanese troops situated along the river and in the mountains ambushed the Korean forces. A fire was ignited in the town of Chungju, killing many, and the castle was lost as Korean cavalry made a stand. The Koreans were defeated and while Shin Rip escaped, he later killed himself. The Japanese killed 3,000[4] Koreans and took Chungju with minimal losses.

Luis Frois, who was not present at the battle, described it in his records, drawing off of contemporary sources. In his writings, Konishi Yukinaga defeated 80,000 Korean cavalry and an ax-wielding knight, but the veracity of this claim is uncertain.

Aftermath[edit]

A messenger brought the news quickly to King Seonjo. The loss at the Battle of Chungju left no hope for him, and his entire family and court took flight to Pyongyang, where he hoped the remaining garrison could delay the capture of the capital of Hanseong (Seoul).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Annals of the Joseon Dynasty http://sillok.history.go.kr/inspection/insp_king.jsp?id=wna_12901024_003&tabid=w
  2. ^ Annals of the Joseon Dynasty http://sillok.history.go.kr/inspection/insp_king.jsp?id=wna_12901024_003&tabid=w
  3. ^ Swope, Kenneth M. "Crouching Tigers, Secret Weapons: Military Technology Employed During the Sino-Japanese-Korean War, 1592-1598." The Journal of Military History 69.1 (2005)
  4. ^ Swope, Kenneth M. "Crouching Tigers, Secret Weapons: Military Technology Employed During the Sino-Japanese-Korean War, 1592-1598." The Journal of Military History 69.1 (2005)

Source[edit]