Korean Tech Time Machine: Ancient Rocket Launcher – The Hwacha
Not so long ago, we uploaded a post about ancient Korean technology. Among the items mentioned, one was the famous turtle ship, or the world’s first ironclad ship.
The turtle ship wasn’t the only powerful weapon the Koreans developed. Though we’re a peaceful lot here at Advanced Technology Korea, this war tool is too cool to not share.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
The Hwacha was a multiple rocket launcher developed during the Joseon Dynasty by several Korean scientists during the rule of King Sejong (also of Hangeul, or Korean alphabet, fame).
The Hwacha consists of a hand cart with a mobile wooden launchpad on the top filled with 100 to 200 cylindrical holes into which soldiers placed long arrows with gunpowder rockets at the front. That’s right. This was a portable wooden rocket launcher.
Photo Credit: Seoul Korea
One ancient story about the Battle of Haengju says that 40 Hwachas helped 3,400 Korean soldiers force 30,000 Japanese soldiers to retreat.
According to the Chosun Ilbo, the Hwacha and its arrows (singijeon) was reconstructed for a test launch at the 1993 Daejeon Expo by Dr. Chae Yeon-suk of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute.
The Hwacha was even featured on the American television program “Mythbusters.” See a clip below.
Anyone who encounters one of these might want to Hwacha-cha it out of there! (Sorry, the tech geek in me just had to do it).