S-Space Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (규장각한국학연구원) Korean Culture (한국문화) Korean Culture (한국문화) vol.77/80(2017)
병자호란 시기 청군의 강화도 작전: 목격담과 조석․조류 추산 결과를 중심으로 한 전황의 재구성
A Study of the Qing Military Operation on Ganghwa Island in 1637 : The Reanalysis of Historical Records Using Tide and Tidal Currents Estimation
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 규장각한국학연구원
- 한국문화, Vol.80, pp. 221-259
- 1637 Qing invasion of Joseon; Fall of Ganghwa Island; Firsthand accounts; Yeomha Waterway; Paleo-tides; Paleo-tidal currents; 병자호란; 강화도 함락; 목격담; 염하수로; 조석 추산; 조류 추산
- On 16 February 1637, Qing’s infantry detachment succeeded in their landing operation on Ganghwa Island. According to the conventional narrative, only a few Joseon warships bravely fought, but failed to deter the enemy from crossing the shallow, narrow Yeomha Waterway, while Joseon’s main fleet, which had been approaching the Qing troops’ crossing site from the south along the waterway, was scared by the Qing military power and cowardly ran away. A closer analysis of historical records, especially firsthand accounts, however, reveals that there happened no naval battle: Joseon"s naval fleets, both from the south and north, failed to arrive at the area where the Qing ferryboats were crossing the waterway. Hence, the Qing troops crossed the waterway without any resistance. Then, why did Joseon fleets, especially the main one coming from the south, failed to arrive at the site of waterway-crossing operation? It is noteworthy that the presence and timing of strong tidal currents was singled out as the most crucial obstacle to the movement of the fleet from the south in Joseon’s eyewitness accounts as well as other historical records. This paper utilizes a scientific estimation of tides and tidal currents on the day in order to verify how accurate the historical accounts on Joseon side were on the one hand, and to build a new basis for a detailed reconstruction of the military event on the other hand.
The estimation results in general, and the timing of the hindcast high tide and slack water period (around 10:30 am) in particular, are in full accord with the Joseon"s witness accounts, giving credence to these historical records. A detailed reconstruction of the event on the basis of the estimation results and the historical accounts shows that twenty-seven warships of Joseon’s main fleet were trapped in a predicament: before the high tide and slack water period, they had no choice but to stand by away from the crossing point so long as their enemy boats were staying ashore; at the very moment the Qing ferryboats embarked on their punting movement around 11:00~11:30 am, Joseon’s main fleet could not proceed toward the north because of the tidal currents flowing southward, making seawater shallower and shallower after the high tide and slack water period. Meanwhile, Joseon’s other fleet of seven warships to the north, defeated beforehand by Qing’s ‘red barbarian cannon’ fires, could not dare to advance southward.