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Atakebune were large Japanese warships of the 16th and 17th century used during the internecine Japanese wars for political control and unity of all Japan.

Japan undertook major naval building efforts in the mid to late 16th century, during the Sengoku period, when feudal rulers vying for supremacy built vast coastal navies of several hundreds of ships. The largest (and generally most dangerous) of these ships were called Atakebune.

The Atakebune were armed with a few cannons and numerous large-caliber arquebuses. Oda defeated Mori's navy with them at the mouth of the Kizu River, Osaka in 1578 in a successful naval blockade. These ships, the best of the Atakebune, were used somewhat in contrast to Japanese naval tactics of the time, which viewed naval combat as a battle between the crews of ships, rather than between the ships themselves (which contributed to the primary Japanese naval tactic of drawing near and boarding opposing ships, as the Japanese crews excelled at hand-to-hand combat).

These vessels may be regarded as floating fortresses rather than true warships, and were only used in coastal actions. They used oars for propulsion, as well as their bulk likely impeded wind-based propulsion via sails.

In the Japanese invasion of Korea the shortcomings of these ships became pronounced as they proved to be of no match to the superior build and fire power of the Korean navy's Panokseon ships, which could accommodate far more number of cannons due to sturdier structure and thus were employed in a distance engagement by cannon tactics rather than the grappling tactics of the Atakebune-based Japanese navy.

Number of pieces: 2,924

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