Battle of Tangdao
Battle of Tangdao (唐岛之战) was a naval engagement that took
place in 1161 between the Jurchen Jin and the
Southern Song Dynasty
Southern Song Dynasty of
China on the East
China Sea. The conflict was part of the Jin-Song
wars, and was fought near Tangdao Island. It was an attempt by the Jin
to invade and conquer the Southern Song Dynasty, yet resulted in
failure and defeat for the Jurchens. The Jin Dynasty navy was set on
fire by firearms and Fire Arrows, suffering heavy losses. For this
battle, the commander of the Song Dynasty squadron, Li Bao, faced the
opposing commander Zheng Jia, the admiral of the Jin Dynasty. On the
fate of Zheng Jia, the historical text of the Jin Shi states:
Zheng Jia did not know the sea routes (among the islands) well, nor
much about the management of ships, and he did not believe (that the
enemy, the Song, was near). But all of the sudden they appeared, and
finding us quite unready they hurled incendiary gunpowder projectiles
on to our ships. So seeing all his ships going up in flames, and
having no means of escape, Zheng Jia jumped into the sea and
This battle was followed by another naval confrontation, the Battle of
Caishi (采石之战) taking place in 1161. The battle is significant
in the technological history of the Song navy. The 20th-century
Joseph Needham has called the era "one of continual
innovation" when the size of the Song fleet grew "from a total of 11
squadrons and 3,000 men [the Song navy] rose in one century to 20
squadrons totalling 52,000 men, with its main base near Shanghai."
They were further reinforced by the aid of seafaring Chinese
merchants. The technological gains of the Song navy ensured its access
and dominance of the East
China Sea for centuries in competition with
the military forces of Jurchen and Mongol rivals. By 1129, the Song
navy had invented gunpowder bombs for warship trebuchets. The weapon
was made mandatory for all ships in the Song fleet. The construction
of paddle-wheel ships, operated with treadmills, went on for several
decades between 1132 and 1183. The engineer Gao Xuan devised a
paddle-wheel ship outfitted with up to eleven paddle-wheels on each
side. Iron plating for armoring the ships was designed in 1203 by the
engineer Qin Shifu.
Naval history of China
Military history of
Timeline of the Jin–Song Wars
History of the Song Dynasty
Technology of the Song Dynasty
^ Needham 1987, p. 60.
^ Needham 1987, p. 157.
^ Needham 1971, p. 476.
Needham, Joseph (1971). Science and Civilisation in China: Civil
Engineering and Nautics, Volume 4 Part 3. Cambridge University Press.
Needham, Joseph (1987). Science and Civilisation in China: Military
Gunpowder Epic, Volume 5, Part 7. Cambridge University
Press. ISBN 978-0-521-30358-3.
Turnbull, Stephen (2002). Fighting Ships of the Far East:
Southeast Asia 202 BC - AD 1419 14194. Osprey Publishing.
Coordinates: 37°N 121°E / 37°N 1