The device under scrutiny is the Indian arrow launcher or fire cart. The Hwacha was a multiple rocket launcher used in Korea in the Josean Dynasty in the 14th to 19th centuries.
The fire cart was able to fire up to 200 rockets simultaneously which as you can imagine was quite a weapon at the time.
China then decided to restrict the exportation of gunpowder, resulting in the Korean’s beginning its own black powder production. This had a massive impact on the armies of the opposition particularly when the firepower was used against the forces of the Japanese samurai infantry.
The Mythbusters wanted to check out the feasibility of the Hwacha as a weapon and wanted to see if they could travel any sort of distance and explode on contact.
They loaded 200 tubes with the individually fused arrows and the team thought that this was the most exciting ancient weapon that they had created.
Tensions were high whilst they waited for the weapon to fire. All except a single volley fired successfully. This was the first time this type of device was used in hundreds of years and in spite of not hitting any of the ‘army’ of polystyrene men lined up on the field they were duly impressed as this was more to do with the aiming than the weapon itself.
A great attempt and it did prove that had the ‘army’ being on the advance, the Hwacha would most certainly have proved to be a devastating weapon.
We can’t wait to bring you the next adventure from the Mythbusters.