Siege of Namwon

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Siege of Namwon
Part of Imjin War
Date August 12–15 1597
Location Namwon, North Jeolla
Result Decisive Japanese victory
Belligerents
Japanese Left Army

Korean Garrison

Ming army
Commanders and leaders
Ukita Hideie
Konishi Yukinaga
Shimazu Yoshihiro
So Yoshitoshi
Kuroda Nagamasa

Korea:
Yi Bok-nam
Yi Chun-won
Kim Gyeong-ro
Ma Eung-bang
Oh Eung-jeong
Im Hyeon
Yi Deok-hoe
Jeong Gi-won
Hwang Dae-jung
Shin Ho
Jo Gyeong-nam

Ming:
Yang Hao
Jiang Biao
Mao Cheng Xian
Strength
around 56800

Korea:
7,000 men
5,000+ civilians

Ming:
3,000 men
Casualties and losses
minimal

Korea:
almost all killed; one survivor

Ming:
unknown
Siege of Namwon
Hangul 남원전투
Hanja 南原戰鬪
Revised Romanization Namwon Jeontu
McCune–Reischauer Namwǒn Chǒnt'u

The Siege of Namwon was a battle of the Imjin War (1592-1598). The samurai armies of Japan had invaded the Korean peninsula, and in the summer of 1597 laid siege to the city of Namwon, which was defended by a combined garrison of Korean and Ming Chinese troops. The defenders faced overwhelming odds, and after fierce fighting, the Chinese general entered into secret negotiations with the Japanese commander. In exchange for safe passage for him and his men, they would leave one gate open and undefended. Both sides honored the bargain. The Chinese were allowed to withdraw and the Japanese forces poured into the city. The Koreans fought hard, but were reportedly all killed, with the exception of one survivor.

History[edit]

A Japanese Force of 56,000 soldiers led by Ukita Hideie besieged and assaulted Namwon, defended by 10,000 Korean and Chinese Soldiers and at least 5,000 women and children. The city was protected by a wall, constructed in the northern Chinese style, with a shallow dry moat, and corner gun towers. The Koreans wanted to relocate to the nearby mountains because of their knowledge of the terrain, hoping to play off their strengths and engage in guerrilla warfare. This also would have given them the higher ground. However the Chinese general Yang Yuan demanded the defense of the city claiming that he had fought and won numerous battles in China therefore he knew what strategy would serve them best. He wanted to withstand the siege from within the city walls and threatened to withdraw back to China if his orders were not followed.

As the city was on flat ground, with high ground all around it, the city was immediately placed under arquebus fire from day one, from all sides. General Yi Bok Nam and his cavalry was able to successfully repel the Japanese attack several times. However, with the annual rainfall the flat land was reduced to fields of mud rendering the Korean horsemen and their one great advantage, their steeds, useless.

When it became apparent his siege warfare strategy failed, the Chinese general Yang Yuan who was defending the South wall with his troops, negotiated with the Japanese in a secret meeting. In exchange for a safe retreat for himself and his troops Yang Yuan would give up the south wall and entrance to the Japanese without aggression. When Yang Yuan left abandoning the south wall the Japanese entered through the gates, Yi Bok-nam rode out along with his soldiers and met the Japanese. Every Korean defending Namwon fought to their death. None survived except for one 12-year-old boy who carried the royal seal of the Korean King. He was taken back to Japan where he was adopted and raised within a Japanese household. When asked why he had abandoned Namwon Yang Yuan claimed that he didn't intend to take a loss in Korea tarnishing his record. He was subsequently executed upon his return to China.

Order of battle[edit]

Defense[edit]

Ming-Chinese forces 3,000 men[edit]

Yang Yuan (Chinese: 楊元)
Middle Army : Li Xin Fang (Chinese: 李新芳)
Mao Cheng Xian (Chinese: 毛承先)
Jiang Biǎo(Chinese: 蔣表)

Korean forces 1,300 men[edit]

Yi Bok-nam (Hanja : 李福男, Hangul : 이복남) - 1,000 men
Yi Chun-won (Hanja : 李春元, Hangul : 이춘원)
Sin Ho (Hanja : 申浩, Hangul : 신호)
Kim Gyeong-no (Hanja :金敬老, Hangul : 김경로)

Miscellaneous[edit]

Jung Gi-won (Hanja : 鄭期遠, Hangul : 정기원)
Oh Ung-jung (Hanja : 吳應鼎 or 吳應井, Hangul : 오응정)
Im Hyeon (Hanja : 林鉉 or 任鉉, Hangul : 임현)
Yi Deok-hoe (Hanja : 李德恢, Hangul : 이덕회)

Japanese forces[edit]

According to the map of the Siege of Namwon drawn by Kawakami Hisakuni, the Japanese Left Army established their lines at Namwon on the four directions.

Timeline[edit]

The order of battle of the Japanese Left Army. The position of units on... . The armies are listed north to south.

Operation Zone Japanese Left Army Joseon - Ming Army Comments & Events
Northern Sector Kurushima Michifusa
来島通総

Kato Yoshiaki
加藤嘉明
Mōri Yoshinari
毛利吉成
2000 men
Shimazu Yoshihiro
島津義弘
10000 men

Yi Bok-nam
李福男

Kim Gyeong-no
金敬老

August 13 th : First Attack led by Kato Yoshiaki and Shimazu against the northern Gate

Kato Yoshiaki had been ordered not to attack but to move even north from the castle to guard against a possible relieving army coming from Jeonju after defeating a Ming army under Chen Yuzhong leading 2000 men.

Western sector Konishi Yukinaga
小西行長
7000 men

So Yoshitoshi
宗義智
1000 men
Matsura Shigenobu
松浦鎮信
3000 men
Arima Harunobu
有馬晴信
2000 men
Omura Yoshiaki
大村喜前
1000 men
Goto Sumiharu
五島純玄
700 men

Mao Cheng Xian
毛承先
Eastern sector 11 generals :

Hachisuka Iemasa
蜂須賀家政
7,200 men

Li Xin Fang
李新芳
Yang Yuan
楊元
August 16 : Hachisuka launched his attack, Li Xin Fang is killed and Yang Yuan retreated
Southern sector Ukita Hideie
宇喜多秀家
10000 men

Wakizaka Yasuharu
脇坂安治
Todo Takatora
藤堂高虎
Oda Katsuyoshi

Jiang Biǎo
蔣表
August 15 at 10 p.m. : Final Assault : Ukita Hideie launched his attack


Present remains[edit]

In Namwon, there is a small section of restored wall today, near the train station. However, the only true remains of the wall is just north of the train station, in the small farm houses, where large stone piles are still found (as of 2002).

External links[edit]