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Battle of Nagashino

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Battle of Nagashino
Battle of Nagashino

Battle Information
Date June 28, 1575
Location Mikawa province
Result Oda-Tokugawa victorious
Forces
Oda-Tokugawa army Takeda army
Commanders
Nobunaga Oda
Ieyasu Tokugawa
Katsuyori Takeda
Notable Officers
Nobutada Oda
Mitsuhide Akechi
Hideyoshi Toyotomi
Tadakatsu Honda
Katsuie Shibata
Hanzo Hattori
Toshiie Maeda
Tadatsugu Sakai
Sadamasa Okudaira
Koretada Matsudaira
Masanobu Honda
Nobufusa Baba
Masakage Yamagata
Nobushige Oyamada
Masateru Sanada
Nobutsuna Sanada
Nabutoyo Takeda
Nobukimi Anayama
Masatoyo Naito
Masatane Hara
Narashige Wada
The Battle of Nagashino took place in 1575 near Nagashino Castle.

Before the BattleEdit

Nagashino castle had been under siege by Katsuyori Takeda since the 17th of June; Sadamasa Okudaira, a Tokugawa retainer, commanded the defending force. The castle was under attack because it threatened Takeda's supply lines.

BattleEdit

Nobunaga Oda and Ieyasu Tokugawa brought a total force of 38,000 men to relieve the siege on the castle by Katsuyori Takeda. Takeda's original 15,000 besiegers, only 12,000 faced the Oda-Tokugawa army in this battle. The Oda and Tokugawa positioned their men across the plain from the castle, behind the Rengogawa, a small stream whose steep banks would slow down the cavalry charges for which the Takeda clan was known.

Seeking to protect his arquebusiers, which he would later become famous for, Nobunaga built a number of wooden stockades, setting up his gunners to attack the Takeda cavalry in volleys. The stockades served to blunt the force of charging cavalry, provide sword blows and spear thrusts, and provide limited protection from arrows. Ports or gates in the staggered and overlapping stockades were positioned to channel the cavalry charges into lanes where they would be at a disadvantage to further gunfire, arrows, and sword and spear thrusts from the stockade's defenders. There were also approximately three gunmen for every four Takeda mounted samurai. Of Oda's forces, an estimated 1,000-1,500 troops were
Samurai arquebusiers

samurai musket

(while most sources in English list 3,000 as the number of arquebusiers, the vast majority of Japanese historians now agree that the document used as a source for the number of guns deployed had the original number of 1,000 altered by an Edo period Tokugawa family historian to read as 3,000) and they were placed under the command of his elite bodyguards. Oda sent out small forces against Takeda to feint frontal attacks, which caused Katsuyori to move against Oda's forces.

Takeda's men emerged from the forest and found themselves 200-400 meters from the Oda-Tokugawa stockades. The short distance, great power of the Takeda cavalry charge, and the heavy rain, which Katsuyori assumed would render the matchlock guns useless, encouraged him to order the charge.

Between the ferocity of the arquebusiers’ attack and the rigid control of the elite body-gourds, the arquebusiers stood their ground, and were able to fire multiple volleys at the charging cavalry. Ashigaru spearmen stabbed through or over the stockades at any horses that made it past the initial volleys, and samurai, with swords and shorter spears, engaged in single combat with any Takeda warriors who made it past the wooden barricades. Strong defenses on the ends prevented the Takeda forces from flanking the stockades. By mid-afternoon, the Takeda broke, fled, and were pursued and cut-down without quarter. According to kōki Shincho, Takeda suffered a loss of 10,000 men, two-thirds of his original sieging force. However this figure is excessively high, and is most likely an exaggeration. Other contemporary sources gives a number of 1000 killed in battle and another 2000 during the rout, and this seems much more likely. Eight of the famous 'Twenty-Four Generals' were killed in this battle, including Nobufusa Baba, Masakage Yamagata, and Masatoyo Naito.

AftermathEdit

After the Battle of Nagashino, arquebuses became a standard military asset in Japanese warfare. Though still rather faulty, the arquebus had proven that it could be very useful.

The defeat of the famous Takeda cavalry also signified a change in the general style of warfare, away from the more 'chivalric' cavalry combats and a melee-weapon infantry to a less personal, more industrialised warfare depending on advanced equipment and new tactics as much as on personal valor.

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