Konstantin V. Asmolov
This article is devoted to the special but rarely studied area of Korean and East Asian studies: military history. It is not necessary, although it is impossible not to realize the importance of this field of studies as the place of many important discoveries (from iron to atomic energy) and as having the greatest impact on the world culture, inspiring artists to create images of heroes, for example.
Despite its importance, miltary history is the area usually most neglected by historians for complex study-that is, most books devoted to military history describe only the externals (dates and locations of battles, the names of conquering generals and the vanquished; instead of the reasons why a particular general went where he did and the methods for victory), or local aspects such as weaponry or ancient war literature.
In this article, I will introduce a new methodological concept with a complex definition-system of military activity (SMA), developed through four components, each connected to, and influencing, the others. They are:
1. military technique-weaponry, fortresses, battleships, etc.
2. military organization-organizational layout, systems of structure, level of discipline and training.
3. moral spirit-moral condition and methods of psycho-physiological training.
4. military art-methods and tactics most frequently used in this system.
I want to illustrate this by the example of the struggle between Koguryo and the Chinese Sui and Tang empires. First, this was a time of great controversy and a breaking point of Koguryo history. Second, this military campaign is well-ocumented in both Chinese and Korean sources, which gives me an opportunity to judge this campaign objectively. Before providing a concrete description of the Koguryo SMA, we will take a look at the chronicle of the main events from the beginning of this controversy until the fall of Koguryo.
Needless to say the situation in China always impacted Koguryo. In times of divsion, Koguryo had friendly relations with neighboring states-exchange of embassies, honorific titles bestowed by the Chinese emperors, and the absense of large-scale conflicts since 385. But, when China became unified with various states, which had been
equal to Koguryo, within the territory, becoming a powerful empire, the balance broke down. Realizing this. King P'yongwon sent an emissary to the Imperial Court but also moved the capital, in 586, to P'yongyang, far from the border and a more fortified town. After this, Koguryo acted boldly, conducting secret trade and local raids on the Chinese border (597), leading to a "letter of admonishment" by the Chinese. Chinese sources state that King P'yongwon died from piety and fear, but his heir, King Yongyang, continued to attack, hitting the Chinese region of Liaoxi. Surrounded by 10,000 Malgal (Mohe in Chinese) tribes-faithful allies of Koguryo during the conflict, the army was driven back and the Chinese began to ready for a counterattack. But the army was not ready, and troops hungry and hit by disease reached only
Liaoshui, but pretended to be satisfied with this advance.
Nonetheless, when, in 605, the Koguryo king failed to visit the Chinese capital to congratulate the new emperor, it led to war (611-614). Chinese forces numbered some one million strong. But thanks to the strategy of the famed Koguryo commander Uiji Mundok, the campaign failed-of the original 300,000 troops sent to seize P'yongyang, only 2700 survived. In 613 the Chinese army was led by the emperor himself, but rebellions in the rear of the Chinese lines, led the Chinese to retreat. During this retreat the Koguryo's forces repeatedly smashed Chinese rear units. In the same year the Chinese General Hu Sizheng defected to Koguryo carrying very important information. In 614 forces from all over China had been assembled and were ready to strike, but mutinies in the ranks made them give up. The defecting general
was returned, and the Koguryo king still refused to attend the court ceremonies.
Meanwhile the war-weakened Sui dynasty collapsed in 618 giving way to the Tang. King Yongyang had died a year before, leaving the throne to King Yongnyu, less active and more pro-Chinese. This is evidenced by his allowing Chinese expedtions to bury soldiers who had died in previous campaigns on Koguryo soil, and by his failure to act against these expeditions which were destroying memorials erected for Koguryo's military successes. In 631, during his reign, construction of a fortified wall along the northern boundaries was begun. The man responsible for construction, the clever and cmel Yon Kaesomun, soon became the symbol of the anti-Chinese struggles. In 642, during a bloody coup, he was made prime minister for the new king, the nephew of the king just overthrown.
This marked the beginning of a new round of controversy between Koguryo and the Chinese Emperor Taizong. Koguryo and Paekche suppression of a Chinese ally on the peninsula led to a new Sino-Korean war. In 645, the Chinese were growing more successful and had conquered a number of fortresses and towns, including Liaodong, the main base on the frontline. The offensive stopped in October after a strong defensive showing by Koguryo at Anshi Fortress. Taizong was wounded and by their next attack, in 647, the Tang had changed their strategy, paying more attention to the taking
of territory. The Tang began to penetrate deep into Koguryo territory burning the outskirts of the Koguryo's capital. By 648 the Koguryo's army was being repeatedly beaten, but before its final defeat Taizong died. This gave Yon Kaesomun a chance to strengthen his position and attack the Shilla and Qidan. Although the new Tang's emperor was weak, time was against the Koguryo.
In 660 the Paekche fell, and the falling year the Tang defeated the Koguryo in a ground battle and seized P'yongyang. Yon Kaesomun was able to destroy Tang's rear units, making the Tang retreat, but this was to be his last victory as he died in 666 leaving a struggle for power between his three sons. Koguryo was doomed, and in 667-668 the Tang lead a final triumphant campaign-traitors opened the gates to the capital, allowing the Tang to mop up the last defensive positions from 669-673. After the death of the last Koguryo king, Pojang, the line of kingship and resistance completely ended.
Among two armies of equal skill, discipline and morale, the winner will be the one that is best armed. I will begin my analysis from the first component of SMA-technique, trying to classify them not by like types of weapons, but by the
ways of their tactical implementation.
The main and most popular projectile weapon was the bow: "skilled archer" was the translation of Ko Chumong's (King Tongmyong, Founder of Koguryo) name, and archery from horseback was a favorite pastime and sport among Koguryo's aristocracy. This respect for the bow comes from Altaian roots of Korean ethnogenesis, where the main figure was the nomadic armed with a bow. Other evidence to suggest that these were Altaian types of bows is from the Mongolian style of shooting-the drawing of the bowstring with the thumb which was protected with a ring on it. Compared to the Chinese, who turned to the crossbow, and the Japanese, who used an extended long bow, the Koreans modified the bow, making it of a composite and increasing their throwing ability-pictures show the shape of the bow to be
too curved to be a simple bow and sources state that these bows (about 90 centimeters long) were as strong as crossbows. Probably, the episode when the legendary founder of Koguryo was able to shoot more animals than the others reflects the introduction of a new kind of bow for the region.
The common length of the arrow was 40 centimeters but the heavy ones, able to handle firebombs, might reach 60 centimeters. The arrowhead was made of iron. The most typical shape was the laurel leaf or long-length, approximating the Roman pilum. But taking into consideration the length of the arrow itself, the similarities in shape does not suggest the same practical usage.
The bow was not the only projectile weapon. During the siege of one Koguryo's town the Chinese were attacked with arrows and stones. Kim Pu-sik mentioned Koguryo's stone-throwing machines, but the military terminology of this stone-throwing unit points to the absense of the use of special terminology like catapult (pao in Chinese; p'o in Korean) which had existed in contemporary China. We may then come to the conclusion that catapults were not highly developed.
The same was true for the crossbow. In Shilla, crossbow units existed before the unification of the Three Kingdoms. In Koguryo this weapon had been used only as a unitary weapon of generals, mostly for sharp-shooting high-ranking enemy officers. Both Taizong and the Chinese General Kibi Heli were wounded by crossbow bolts and, according to the legend, the Chinese emperor was hit by Yang Man-ch'un, the captain of the Koguryo's Anshi Fortress, himself.
Next comes the polearms, used well against the cavalry and in open order. Chinese martial tradition had various kinds of battle spidents, malberds, and other kinds of weaponry, analogy for which is absent in the West (like Da-dao, weapon of Chinese General Guan Yu). But Korean terminology is different and the number of polearms is reduced, mostly based on spears. The most typical weapon, ch 'ang (spear), was about 1.8-2 meters in length, and usually not very flexible. The spearhead is about 30 centimeters with a straight blade (shorter than the similar Japanese weapon and used only for slight cuts) and a ring to limit penetration. Another kind of spearhead was broad with a shovel-like blade and another, with a longer blade, was called t'ugopch'ang or pointed spear. This was probably an ancestor of the spears with long, more sword-like blades developed later during the period of the Unified Shilla.
Occasionally, spears had extra points or blades, curved forward or back, which could have taken the place of the ring, or as an extra part of the weapon. The name of this three-ended spear was samjicb 'ang, and was probably used later as a trident.
The broad-bladed or "smashing" spear (kkokch 'ang) comes close to the Chinese weapon ge. It can be used both as a line spear or as an axe-a similar weapon with a big index-shaped head can be seen in wall pictures in Anak Tombs. Sometimes it looked like a sheathed spear, sometimes like a spear that appeared later in feudal Japan. Some Korean historians specially mention weapons with hooks (kalgori-ch 'ang), hookspears and other similar swords with hooks in the middle of the blade. The main target of these weapons were enemy horsemen.
Similar to the polearm is the battleaxe with a long handle. It has been carried without a shield. For the slashing strikes the blade is sloped. As for the trident and halberd, sources state that these were only ceremonial weapons contained in Chumong's temple.
Koguryo warriors used two types of swords. The first was a short, straight double-edged blade with a handle made of bone. According to Chinese sources, the "throwing" of this kind of sword was widely used. The next one was longer and one-edged, with a straight or slightly curved blade without a garde (this later became the classic Japanese type, where in earlier chronicles this kind of sword was called "Korean" and was used by the guards or officials).
Armor, shield and helmets were typical in Koguryo. The helmet is similar to the helmets of central Asian nationalities and was decorated with wings, leathers and horse tails. The shield was the main protection, was round or six-comered and covered most of the soldier's body. This would suggest that the battle order for Koguryo
soldiers might have been closed.
Unfortunately, information I was able to obtain on the Koguryo fleet is insufficient. From Chinese sources and from the stele of King Kwanggaet'o, we understand that ships were categorized into transports, intelligence-gathering, and battleships. Actually, the ships should be called battleboats since they were small, able to be used close to shore or in the rivers. The size of the boats was based on ancient tradition-the raids conducted using these types of boats were known even in the time of the Hou Han dynasty.
Among the Three Kingdoms, Koguryo covered the most area and was the mightiest, with a large population and a large number of fortified cities (during the reign of King Kwanggaet'o 64 new cities were conquered). Areheological materials give us the opportunity to underline the main points of military town building.
The most common form of the Koguryo fortress was one made in the shape of the moon, located between the river and its tributary. The shores were connected by ditches and ground walls, strengthened with stones thus, before attacking the fortress itself, the enemy had to penetrate an extra defense line. The stone walls of the fortress (main
defense line) were about 6 meters high and 3 meters wide with a length of about 9 kilometers. The square of the fortress was also quite broad; for example, the fortress on the bank of the Taedonggang river was about ten kilometers squared. The walls were made from huge stone blocks fixed with clay, and even Chinese artillery could hardly break through them. During the siege of Liaodong, they had to destroy the mountain in order to destroy the wall. Walls were surrounded by a ditch, with or without water, to prevent an underground attack, and equipped with guard towers. Each of the towers could have been forts themselves, and they served as observation points or special locations for artillery. The walls had bastions and wooden cages on them (to protect from enemy catapults). A second defense line was missing, although local
stone houses or citadels might have been utilized for that purpose. The inside of the fortress were also divided into sections by stone walls. Moreover, the larger cities, and especially the capital, were usually surrounded by mountain fortresses-attackers would have been caught in between the firing. All fortresses had sources of water and enough equipment for a long siege. If rivers and mountains were absent, extra defense lines were added.
Bigger fortifications, with ground walls, along the northern boundaries were built during the reign of King Yongnyu, but never played an important role. The reasons for these walls will become more evident in the section on morale and spirit.
III. Military Organization
Among two armies equally equipped, with equal morale and with the same art of war, the winner will be the most disciplined, best trained and functionally divided. Wu-zi stated that an "army wins not by numbers but by organization."
The issue about military training seems to be most clear. Twice a year hunts, led by the king himself, maneuvers exercises, hunt-maneuvers and parades were all designed to give the Koguryo soldier a high-level of individual experience.
The military organization of Koguryo approximated the following:
-Five armies in the capital (mostly cavalry), personally led by the king. Combatants numbered approximately 12,500.
-Military units, located in the provinces and led by the governors. Unit sizes varied between 21,000 and 36,000 soldiers.
-Military colonies near the boundaries, from the time of King Kwanggaet'o, consisted mostly of soldiers and peasants.
-Garrisons in fortresses and like places such as in mountain passes or near important bridges, etc.
-Private armies of the feudal lords like Yon Kaesomun, his base during the coupand his guards during his ministership.
This system allowed Koguryo to maintain and utilize a 50,000 strong army without added expense (this was the number of troops in King Kwanggaeto's army), but the organizational structure was too sophisticated making tactical interaction difficult. In special cases, a large mobilization was possible allowing the army to swell to 300,000 (such was the size of the army of Uiji Mundok). In time of peace the army was led by the governors or military officials with ranks equal to that of colonel, but during war the role of loyal chiefs increased. The field army was led by the king or some of his relatives, such as Ko Yon-su did in 645; in special cases the field marshal might be the prime minister, as was the case with Yon Kaesomun, or a general, like Uiji Mundok.
Functional division in the Koguryo army was different from me Chinese system and is represented on some of the tomb paintings. The Chinese system was based on the soldier, equally skilled in all kinds of weaponry, while Koguryo units were divided according to major weapons: spearmen (some of the ancient spears were held by 2-3 men); axemen; archers, both on foot and horseback; heavy cavalry, armored and with heavy spears. Other groups like the catapult units, wall-climbers and storm units were part of the special units and were added to the common.
This variety of highly specialized combat units is one of the distinguishing points of the ancient Korean SMA. This specification allows us to analyze difficult tactical problems, considering the superiority of technique; for example, we are able to conclude that Koguryo's spearmen were better than the Chinese armed with the same weapon. This tradition of classification of the units according to their major weapon remained in Korea until the Japanese Invasion of 1592. The weak point is that it was impossible for one unit to take complex, tactical actions: such actions required the coordination of various units which proved extremely difficult to do without a centralized command structure. The controversy that ensued between the early feudal state system of the country and the progressive military divisions weakened Koguryo's
SMA, not allowing it to reach its full, potential power.
IV. Moral Spirit
Among two armies, equally armed, skilled and able to fight the winner will be the one with the better morale (conditions) and spirit, and with soldiers morally ready to fight. The morale of the Koguryo soldiers was extremely high-this is certified by partisan units in the Chinese rear and the high pathos of soldiers during the battle, by people, who by their own will, left their homes when Uiji Mundok implemented his scorched earth policy.
The main point is that the men of Koguryo had already come to grips with their ethnic self-consciousness, understanding their non-Chinese tradition and culture. Quintessential of this was the cult of Chumong, the legendary founder of the Koguryo kingdom and ideal ruler and hero. The temple of Chumong is mentioned even in Chinese sources. After the wedding of the god with a specially selected bride, faith in the presence of the unseen Chumong so raised the morale of the defenders that the Chinese could take them only by completely destroying them. Both the paintings from the tombs and the legends that many Koreans have heard around the fires are different from the Chinese stories.
Ethnic self-consciousness was combined with the self-consciousness of Koguryo as a state. For example, the text on the stele of King Kwanggaet'o, with its detailed list of conquered lands, captured fortresses and names of families removed from their place (taken by the king) to guard his tomb, is like a song of military glory and remembrance. Another expression emphasizing the consciousness of state was the wall along its boundaries, strictly demarcating the land of Koguryo. Also, the symbol of the state and the example of the king in the first line of troops significantly raised the morale of the troops.
The geographical location of the country put Koguryo in the first line of the battle against spreading Chinese hegemony. Koguryo was raised and strenghtened in the struggle against China and was the leader of that struggle. During the Three Kingdoms period, China fought the Okcho and Ye tribes with Koguryo, and later Malgal tribe
and the Turks. The rank of this leader in this union no doubt had added responsibility and this also raised the morale.
Koguryo people felt that they were the descendants of Old Choson-the first Korean kingdom, as they too bravely resisted the Chinese at the time of the Han dynasty, and in their SMAs there are numerous similarities. So the Koguryo warriors knew what they were fighting for. But morale training was not only to make men eager for battle; it was also for psycho-physiological training. The methods of training varied-military exercises brought out one's ability to pull oneself together, be sharp and cold-blooded; standing together with one's kinsmen on the battlefield also raised
one's responsibility as well as one's courage; the use of benevolent divination created the feeling that victory or defeat was in their hands.
The tradition of overcoming fear and death was connected with Buddhism, widely spread throughout the Three Kingdoms at that time. Being similar with Karma and knowing that death was not the end of existence, people followed the words of Wuzi:"Those who look at death on the battlefield as unavoidable will survive, those who
search for life will die."
Buddhism wasn't the only religion-Yon Kaesomun tried to provide an equality for all religions, trying to use them for the sake of the state and to attract their believers, eliminating religious persecutions. This practice brought the army to the institutions called kyongdang. This word later meant local Confucian school, but in Koguryo it was youth organizations based on local branches, where young men learned both the classical texts and the art of swordsmanship. Similar to the wellknown hwarang of the Shilla, they may have played the same role.
V. Military Art
Among two armies, equally armed, trained, equipped and ready to fight, the winner will be the one more skilled in the art of war: both in tactics and strategy.
At that time tactic meant "Know oneself and the enemy" within the concrete battle, battle order, etc. As information about this subject is absent in the sources, I will try to rebuild it according to the other components of the SMA. Mistakes, of course, are expected.
The key to this will be the parade order, painted on the Anak Tombs-the general with his army. The order had the general and his staff with guards in the middle of the army, surrounded by archers. The archers were defended by axemen, ready to attack the enemy in the event they came to close. In front of the general were the main infantry forces, including men with heavy spears and hook weapons. On the flanks were rows of heavy cavalry, armored and with heavy spears or spear-axes, with large shields-ready to counterattack in case of a flank attack by the enemy. In the very front and rear was the light cavalry-used for intelligence, pursuit, and for weakening the enemy's strike. Around the main troops were small groups of heavy cavalrymen and infantry.
Each unit was prepared to defend the other by providing mutual support. This battle order was good against ambushes or flank attacks, but when the battlefield was not flat, it was difficult to regroup quickly. Nonetheless, the battle order could have been carried out without the force having to make a preliminary stop. Light cavalry was stationed along the front without any real standing orders (in fact, these units were even called irregulars) and engaged first in combat; infantry units were part of the main line with the other units there to support it (this mutual support was extremely difficult for enemy horsemen). Archers were in front of or behind the first line, or even in it, and were prepared to go to the rear if the enemy came to close for shooting. The second line was made up of axemen-they would overwhelm and penetrate or help to push the momentum against the enemy. Heavy cavalry, on the flanks, would, from the very beginning, strike through the enemy avoiding the enemy's flanks and push toward the rear. Light cavalry was kept near the general and was used as reserves or to deal the last blow in pursuit of the enemy.
The plan of the fight also appears to be clear-the first blow was dealt by the light cavalry and spearmen, then came the counterattack from the front with the second line and, at the same time, the enemy's flank was struck by the heavy cavalry, surrounded and pursued by the reserves. Considering the high-quality of the Koguryo's horsemen, the plan was very good; especially against an attack from the front. But it was also too oriented in that direction and the light cavalry of the reserves and the axemen were too small in number to resist against a simultaneous attack. This would seem to be the reason Taizong's forces destroyed the Koguryo forces in battle-attacking from three directions. Koguryo lost control of the situation and was defeated.
This order, of course, is not the only one-on the walls are battle lines of cavalry
with the officers closing too. From the sources we know about mass troop frontal
attacks, and pointed sticks used as obstacles against enemy horses on the battlefield.
Special tactics were employed to prevent a siege on the fortresses. For example, extra wooden towers were built on the most dangerous places, or attacks not through the gates but by rope-Koguryo destroyed Chinese machines in this way during the siege on Anshi Fortress. Holes in walls were closed off by wooden cages, and the height of town walls were increased. Also widely used were large, movable shields, able to hide from one to four soldiers. These shields had holes for shooting through.
The Chinese-Koguryo boundary was along the mountains which limited opportunities for both the secret moving of troops or for sophisticated maneuvers of large units. This was a major reason for the strong defense of the mountain passes, an important link in the chain of the Koguryo's defense policy-the king himself frequently occupied these passes to prevent Chinese intrusion. Lightly armored Koguryo soldiers and even horsemen, whose horses were small but were strong and skilled, may have easily operated in the mountains. The mountains provided-good fortifications.
Possessing a good fleet, Koreans, from time immemorial, have been skillfiil at crossing rivers. Natives of Old Choson could readily transport large cavalry units, and the legend of Ko Chumong crossing the river on the shells of turtles may be reminiscient of the actual method. Bridges and forts at the end of the rivers had the same important function as the mountain passes, preventing penetration by the enemy in the middle of the country. Successful enemy attacks employing river crossings were also known by the Koguryo and widely used, with one of the most exciting episodes of Koguryo military history (the obliteration of an expedition corps by Uiji Mundok) associated with this maneuver.
Attacks using fire and water, frequently employed by the Chinese probably was not a specific method in the Korean SMA. The only information regarding a water attack is related to a much later victory by Kang Kam-ch'an over the Qidans. Employing fire in battle, in simplest form, meant burning the steppe during the battle. This method was used in one of the battle between Koguiyo and the Qidans, but the source is rather unclear, and the only reliable fact seems to be that sometime during the battle somebody set a fire and Koguryo won. Night attacks were also a frequent weapon of
Koguryo, and required swift movement and sudden attack. They were successful in raids from seized forts, or for destroying Chinese fleets.
Tactic is the art of winning battles, but strategy is the art of winning wars. A good example is taken from a war in Russia, where the great tactician Napoleon won all big battles, but was defeated by the great strategist Kutuzov. Clearly understanding that the Chinese army was too big to stand up against in battle, Koreans implemented tactics taken from the Old Choson period; a strategy of active defense based on cities (SADC).
The defense of cities was difficult and was frequently the scene of battles (six to seven strikes a day during the siege of Anshi Fortress), which is the most horrendous type of war described in the Chinese classics-slowly taking fort by fort, instead of cutting a wide swath. Incomplete seizes along with scorched earth tactics exhausted the enemy and weakened his morale. Besides the walled cities and fortified camps -and this is why I call this strategy "active defense," this system used small units of light cavalry to continuously harass the enemy, de-blockade units and strong reserves,
consisting of the best soldiers, to strike hard at the end.
The most detailed example of the SADC is the defeat of the Sui expedition sent to the Koguryo capital, after the main forces became heavily engaged in the seize of the Liaodong fortress. Exhausted by battles at small forts along the way, harassed continually by the irregulars, and having to carry all their provisions, the Chinese came to P'yongyang so tired that, on seeing the strong defense fortifications around the city, they left their catapults and returned to China. On their return, they were attacked by the Koguryo field army and completely annihilated.
A similar stratagem was offered by one a military advisors to General Ko Yon-su in 645:...(Taizong) is a genius and a great warrior; it will be impossible to stand against him. So, we have only one solution-to fortify and make a stand in this one place, and at the same time send secret troops to cut their supply of food. In less than one month their bread will be gone, they will search for battle but will not find it; their way to retreat will be cut off and they will be in our power....
Unfortunately, General Ko rejected this plan, entered into battle and was defeated. Probably, because of this, the Chinese described this plan in great detail, including all of the methods previously mentioned-burning the land, defense in the fortified camps, secret maneuvers, weakening of the enemy's morale.
Probably understanding the main strategy of the enemy, the Chinese began to implement a counter plan, similar to a Mongol plan in middle Asia: pay the most attention to the field army and small units, destroying them first; then spread out, blockading the cities, thus controlling the land, and isolating the knots of defense, taking them one by one. The plan was successful, and Koguryo was unable to develop effective measures except to counterattack from each defensive position. Among these counterattack measures, the somewhat ingenious strategy of Yon Kaesomun in 602,
when the Chinese first laid siege to P'yongyarig. The Koguryo field army did not come to the aid of the garrison, but attacked the fortified camps of the Chinese, deep in the rear, instead. After destroying these units Koguryo had to make a decision on whether to assist the capital or go straight to the Chinese border and attack China Proper. The Chinese became so frightened of Koguryo's next step that they gave up the siege, with Koguryo's showing their ability to attack enemy camps.
Military intelligence and special tactics are an important part of the strategy. The art of gathering information was well-known. Koreans were good at disinformation. In the Iron Age they sent only stone spearheads to the Chinese court as tribute, or kept their hotels "empty," secretly sending groups of rangers onto Chinese territory-Chinese spies standing arouno the hotels never saw anyone leave or enter. Koguryo had developed its system of spying, and one of the most famous spies, Paeksok, mentioned in the Samguk yusa, was able to infiltrate the hwarang Corps, staying in position for quite some time and finally being caught only through divine intervention.
The most popular military trick was one renowned in Old Choson: a false offering of peace and a desire to serve, which was an opportunity to weaken the enemy's alertness, gain strength and make a diversion. These kinds of tricks were used extensively during the main sieges.
Another trick was to provoke the enemy general to make a tactical error by infuriating him. "Friendly Advice" given by Uiji Mundok to a Chinese commander is an example. Letters taunting him, telling him not to try and take the capital made him so angry that he lost his mind and was soundly defeated. A tactical trick involved the periodic attacks on the enemy's rear guard. After the first strike, the enemy would think that "two bombs will not fall in one hole," when suddenly the reserve forces would strike again.
The last issue to be discussed concerns textbooks. Although Korean military classics were not mentioned in any of the sources, Chinese books on the art of war were certainly similar to them, and were required reading for young students.
In conclusion, I will breifly list some of the more typical elements of the Koguryo SMA:
-Military technique-the bow, spear and sword, main offensive weapons; light boat fleets; moon-shaped fortresses; developed system of extra fortifications;weak artillery.
-Military organization-good system of training; classification of major weapons; heavy, sophisticated organization.
-Military spirit-development of ethnic and state self-consciousness; use of geological and geopolitical situation for strengthening morale; religion-based techniques, kyongdang.
-Military art-developed and flexible battle order; ability to use natural conditions and complicated maneuvers; strategy of active defense based on the cities;similarity to Chinese doctrine; good leaders and generals like UIji Mundok, Yon
Kaesomun, and Yang Man-ch'un.
This proves that the SMA of Koguryo was highly developed and, continuing these traditions, Koreans were almost always successful in resisting Northern attacks, and were able to fight against such a powerful enemy as the Mongols in the 13th century, whose SMA was one of the best at that time.
This work helped me to understand exactly what the Koguryo SMA was. There are three components:
(1) Ethical cultural type-Based on the strong roots of the paleo-Asian hunter and Altaic nomadic people (the last quality is most prominent). They formed their own main weaponry, their own strategy and a tradition of ethnic self-consciousness;
(2) Level of sociopolitical organization of the state-The early feudal state is credited with developing the organization system, training, and, to a lesser degree, the weapons and strategy;
(3) Enemy SMA was redirected against them -The SMA of united China, credited with some specific methods like the SADC, had this tactic employed against them by the Koreans.
There is, understandably, some overlap of the components of SMA-weaponry, organization and morale are easily defined and provide the easiest way to observe the way war was waged by the army. Unfortunately, there are a number of elements that I was unable to reflect in this article-place of primary military training, tactical methods and cunning devices. But I consider this a first step on the long road to studying Korean militaiy history. Even this brief overview shows that the Korean SMA is an approval of the long cultural traditions of the Korean people and an important point in the history of Korea.