Naval technology has progressed through history from the simplest rafts to the complex, city-sized vessels used today. As each new innovation hits the waters, naval warfare was forced to adapt.

This list comprises ten examples of naval vessels so innovative and effective, they have changed the face of ship design and naval warfare.

11Kobukson – 1592

The Kobukson, or ‘Turtle Ship,’ was the first ironclad vessel in the world. The vessel gets its name from the distinctive ‘shell’ of armor making up its roof.

The roof was comprised of wooden planks topped with iron spikes making it a formidable defensive platform for ramming attacks.

Turtle Ships were instrumental in defeating the Japanese navy attacking Korea during the 16th century.

While Turtle Ships were not the main naval vessel used in the fighting, they were highly innovative for their time and changed how vessels were armored in the region.

It would take nearly three centuries before a completely ironclad vessel would be used during the American Civil War making the Kobukson a truly innovative and influential weapon system.


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