ODA NOBUNAGA'S WARS
Oda Nobunaga's territory in 1570's (the oranged areas) started from two Owarian districts (the red spot on this map). Black dots are locations of Oda Nobunaga's wars. The ochre spaces are not just independent warlords or vassals and allies of Oda's enemies', but also smaller-scaled warlords under Oda Nobunaga's overlordism, such as the Date clan -- so a sizeable part of it can also be said as Oda Nobunaga's roaming ground. Click the picture for the detailed map of Oda Nobunaga's Japan by the time of his death in 1582, and Toyotomi Hideyoshi's addendum to the map until 1598.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Army within the Oda overlordship 1570 - 1582
Right: Tokugawa Ieyasu's Army Generals & Captains 1560 - 1616
Oda Nobunaga didn't always win his wars. Nobody could get a clean sheet in a world where warfare was as regular as breakfast. But he did win most of the battles, including those that he didn't start; such as the rebellion of Araki Murashige of Itami in 1568, and the betrayal of Asai Nagamasa of Odani in 1570.
When it comes to Oda Nobunaga's wars, there are truths that you better know beforehand:
The winnings amassed by the clan were due to Oda Nobunaga's personal qualities more than anything else, characteristic to this era of personalities. His determination drove the joint army through hell and high water, and his managerial style kept the multitude of different people from falling apart -- Oda's army, contrary to what most people today imagine, was not a good one.
Tokugawa Ieyasu's army was; even as early as 1565 it was recognizably like the Japanese Armed Forces of the World War II. While Oda's joint army was a lot more anciently-shaped; it was a patchwork of all sorts of qualities with different levels of discipline.
After 1570, Oda Nobunaga relied more on winning battles by outnumbering the enemies, while Tokugawa Ieyasu kept on relying on individual soldiers' skills.
But Oda Nobunaga's greatness as a General was gained precisely because his Army was not so good.
Having such a 'patchwork' Army meant the General had to keep his eye open all the time, since the inventory had to get as a-matter-of-fact-ly as possible or else he would lose big time. It was Oda's job to know exactly what his men were like (in skills, i.e. who can do what and how good), and to mix the right ingredients of every detachment in every battle so that the elements could work as one, and because he did this job marvelously he became what he was, i.e. the victor of nearly every round.
Oda's problem was manpower at first. He started going to war at the age of 7 as an ordinary soldier, and at 15 he already led his own army. The little Oda of 1551 was a cavalier, using swords and arrows (the latter would be his favorite weapon all his life), and he noticed that his dad's soldiers were, individually and as an army alike, beneath standard. Then he noticed the props. These were obsolete already to him in 1549. His province Owari was too poor to afford gunpowder, and too far from the sources of such a luxury, and too politically inconsequential that traders of armaments passed it by without bothering to catch a glance. Nobunaga's dad, Oda Nobuhide, relied on slapdash conscription and nondescript masterless samurai that would fight for several days with minimum pay and meager portions of food, besides his own little band of followers. They used the same sorts of weapons that the Odas' ancestors, the Taira clan, had used before the year 1000.
Oda Navy under Admiral Kuki Yoshitaka's
command in 1880.
Oda Nobunaga's first job at 15 years old was to fix this seemingly untrainable army. Guns had been used in Japan since 1550's; but most of Owarinese in Oda Nobuhide's days had never even seen one. Those days, the clans that already had platoons of gunners were Saito of Mino, 'Western Mori', and Asakura of Echizen, besides the Kyushu warlords.
Oda Nobunaga knew this was the weapon of the future. After his 1560 breakthru' at Okehazama (click here for details and pictures), the fact that his troops were 'gunners at random' kept gnawing at him. At the historic battle that launched him onto the nationwide forays, the Oda clan's army didn't have anybody specializing in this kind of weapon yet.
Oda Nobunaga had to go a long way to secure a dozen of guns, then another dozen, then another, and many more when he started to get Portuguese and Italian Catholic priests among his guests -- these supposedly unworldly public-relation officers of God were double-jobbing as merchants, and whatever they were selling and buying, weapons were within their reach.
That's one of the reasons why Oda Nobunaga gave a job to the aimlessly-wandering Akechi Mitsuhide in 1566 (click here for story and pictures): although specializing on spears and was never a big-time shooter, Akechi knew all about guns and cannons. He could even make one.
In 1574, Oda Nobunaga didn't have to buy guns anymore, only ammo and cannons. He had already produced his own guns -- at the famous Kunimoto Firearm Factory, in Omi.
No wonder that Oda Nobunaga could equip tens of thousands of soldiers under his command with guns when hillbilly warlords around him were still unable to figure out how to load the thing without blasting their own noses off. You might not believe this, but it is a historically-correct fact that, when the campaign to master Japan started, Takeda Shingen didn't even have a gun.
At first, Oda Nobunaga used some sort of artillery equipments that were imported from China. At the end of 1570's, he switched to Spanish cannons and such, because the long and boring campaign against the Mori clan was a fine series of shows of the drawbacks in using Chinese props. The first Oda man who bought European cannons was Kuroda Kanbei, although the credit usually goes to his boss Toyotomi Hideyoshi. They were both busy with the siege upon the inner defense line of the Moris' domain -- in which the new artillery was very useful.
All through the 'Warring States Period', it looked like only the independent Christian warlords of the Kyushu isles (click here for story, profiles and pictures), the 'Western Mori' clan, the Odas, and the Tokugawas that kept on updating their army-related props and gadgets according to the latest development in European armaments.
In Oda Nobunaga's case, this extended to unintentional fashion statements. Although the most-famous and worldwidely-circulated images have always been of Oda Nobunaga's traditional Japanese armor ('yoroi' in Japanese), he and Tokugawa Ieyasu actually opted for the more practical, much simpler, and a lot safer European-style armor in real wars (the so-called 'nanban-do' in Japanese, whose literal translation would be 'barbarian cuirass').
picture: Oda Nobunaga's territory when he just
started the Japanwide campaign in 1560.
here are the stories and pictures of highlighted Oda Nobunaga's wars
|Click here for big photographs of the actual location of Oda Nobunaga's wars & big pictures of his enemies|
RELATED PAGES :
|PROFILES OF ODA'S GENERALS||ARMY MANAGEMENT||SAMURAI CODES|
|ODA CLANSMEN'S RELATIONSHIP||ENEMIES & CONQUESTS||ODA TERRITORIES|
|Takeda Shingen||Uesugi Kenshin||Asai Nagamasa||Imagawa Yoshimoto||Warrior-Monks|
|BIOGRAPHIES & PICTURES OF||Mori Terumoto||ODA NOBUNAGA'S ENEMIES|
GET REAL ABOUT JAPAN
& rap © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000,
your Oda Nobunaga pictures to