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Battle of Mikata ga Hara
Mikatagahara no Tatakai

Battle Information
Date January 25, 1573
Location Mikata ga Hara, north of Hamamatsu
Result Takeda victory and successful Tokugawa retreat
Forces
Takeda army Tokugawa-Oda army
Commanders
Shingen Takeda Ieyasu Tokugawa
Notable Officers
Katsuyori Takeda
Nobushige Oyamada
Masakage Yamagata
Nobufusa Baba
Masatoyo Naito
Masamori Obata
Yoshinobu Natsume
Norihide Hiraide
Kazumasu Takigawa
Tadakatsu Honda
Hanzo Hattori
Tadatsugu Sakai
Masanobu Honda
Tadayo Okubo
The Battle of Mikata ga Hara was one of the most famous battles of Shingen Takeda's campaigns, and one of the best demonstrations of his cavalry-based tactics.

Before the BattleEdit

The importance the Battle of Mikata ga Hara came about as a result of a major drive south by Shingen Takeda against Ieyasu Tokugawa's fortress of Hamamatsu. The Takeda army was drawn up on the high ground of Mikata ga Hara, to the north of Hamamatsu, where Ieyasu advanced to meet them in pitched battle, eventhough his officers weren't in favour of a battle with Shingen.[1]

BattleEdit

Ieyasu Tokugawa fought the Takeda on the snow-covered plain of Mikata ga Hara. The Takeda army was drawn up on the high ground in full battle order. At about four o'clock in the afternoon, as the snow was beginning to fall, the front ranks of the Tokugawa opened fire on the Takeda army with stones. Eventhough the Tokugawa's effect on provocking the Takeda had succeded, the Oda reinforcements had begun retriting. At this point the Takeda cavalry led by Katsuyori Takeda charged at the Tokugawa. This led the Tokugawa army to retreat.[2] Driven from the field by the Takeda cavalry, Ieyasu Tokugawa took refuge in Hamamatsu castle until Shingen Takeda turned for a spring offence.[3]

After Ieyasu returned to Hamamatsu castle, he had earlier sent to the castle a samurai who had cut the head of a warrior wearing a monk's cowl. He had proclaimed it to be the head of Shingen, but it had given them only a temporary respite from worry, and the rapid arrival of Ieyasu with apparently only five men remaining made it appear that defeat was certain. Mototada Torii was just giving orders for the gates to be shut and barred when Ieyasu interrupted him that to shut the gates was precisely what Shingen Takeda expected them to do, he reasoned. Instead he ordered for the gates to be left open for their retreating comrades, and huge braziers to be lit to guide them home. To add to this confident air Tadatsugu Sakai took a large war drum and beat it in the tower beside the gate. Feeling satisfied, Ieyasu afterwards took 3 meals of rice and went to sleep. Tokugawa's trick had worked on the Takeda and with only 16 arquebusiers and 100 other footsoldiers, the Tokugawa army attacked the Takeda force at the castle and successfully cut them down.[4]

AftermathEdit

After Shingen was informed of the attack, all the signs now pointed towards a long and desperate siege, and the snows were just beginning. In the event Shingen Takeda held a war council and resolved to withdraw and return the following year rather than risk a winter siege of Hamamatsu.[5]

SourcesEdit

  1. Samurai Source book, Stephen Turnbull pg.222
  2. War in Japan by Stephen Turnbull. pg.47
  3. Samurai Commanders 2 1577-1638
  4. War in Japan by Stephen Turnbull. pg.47
  5. War in Japan by Stephen Turnbull. pg.47

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