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1575 : THE SUMMER EVE OF NAGASHINO
This is the location of the Nagashino battle (snapshot in 2004). The castle itself is now barely recognizable, but the memory about it has still been much too real. The fateful battle of Nagashino happened on June 28, 1575. Click the picture or click here for a complete set of photographs of the real Nagashino battlefield.
The Oda clan fought day and night there
|BIOGRAPHY OF TAKEDA SHINGEN: Click Here|
Takeda Katsuyori, a.k.a Suwa Katsuyori, a.k.a Oda Nobunaga's Son In-Law, started this battle of June 28, 1575 by invading Tokugawa Ieyasu's territory and seized the small castle named Nagashino. Unlike the Takatenjin castle that Takeda had taken before, that he, out of sudden inspiration, had reduced to ashes, Nagashino was taken the normal way, i.e. unemotionally occupied.
The castle might have looked like nothing important, but wars are like Cecil B. DeMille's movies -- what matters is location.
Tokugawa couldn't afford to lose Nagashino. It was the clan's outmost defensive screen. But he got a big problem involving mathematics. Even by relaxing his standard for conscription, even via general mobilization, the Tokugawas could only assemble 8,000 warriors to defend their province. Tokugawa Ieyasu had been beaten by Takeda's legendary father before, so he got extra cautious in this one although the Takeda who had beaten him -- Shingen, the warlord who helped shaping what you know today as 'the way of the samurai' or 'bushido' (click here for 'bushido') -- had been dead for three years.
Tokugawa sent an S.O.S message to Oda Nobunaga, his ally. Oda's clansmen and Generals didn't think it's worth their lives; their nearly unanimous proposal was that Tokugawa retreated somewhere else, and let Takeda Katsuyori got the castle for the time being.
Only Oda Nobunaga didn't see it their way.
To him, Nagashino was just as important as it was to Tokugawa Ieyasu. They were allies; Tokugawa was Oda's wall of defense. If the wall got blasted through, it would leave his own clan militarily naked. And even though this was springtime, he wouldn't risk it by such a laid-back alliance that his men took it to be.
So Oda Nobunaga marched to Nagashino, taking his best Generals with him: Shibata Katsuie, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Oda Nobutada (who happened to be his heir). Famous Oda Captains came along, too: Sakuma Nobumori and Okubo Tadayo -- the latter was a firearm expert. Stunning the Tokugawa clan, the number of Oda soldiers that tagged along reached 30,000 -- while the Tokugawas only expected an offhand help as Oda extended before; say, 3,000 men or so.
This was all visually observable by Takeda Katsuyori from his seat at the castle. The senior Generals of the Takeda clan, relix of Takeda Shingen's days, all pointed at the endless line of Oda warriors and asked Katsuyori to review his plan again. They advised him to retreat and avoid losing lives in vain; they could fight the Tokugawas alone next time.
Takeda Katsuyori refused to listen. He ordered his proud cavalry to attack instead.
This was an infernal battlefield. Legends of the province of Kai died for nothing at all: Baba Nobufusa, Yamagata Masakage, Naito Kiyonaga, Hara Masatane, Sanada Nobutsuna, Sanda Masateru, Kasai Mitsuhide, Wada Narishige, Yonekura Shigetsugu, Atobe Shigemasa, and so forth. 10,000 was the total number of Takeda's lives that were lost in one single day at Nagashino. The Takeda clan lost just as many horses, too, because of Oda Nobunaga's cyclical firing (click here).
The mighty clan that Takeda Shingen had built painstakingly were from this day on swiftly slipping into oblivion.
|The real-life Takatenjin castle is nowhere. Takeda Katsuyori had really burnt it to ashes. What remains is just what the picture at your left side shows. At the right is Takeda Katsuyori's second home, the Suwa clan's castle.|
|CLICK HERE FOR PICTURES OF TAKEDA CLAN'S TERRITORY IN 21st CENTURY|
Real-life Oda clan's Commanders in this battle of Nagashino. From left to right: Oda Nobunaga, his son & heir General Oda Nobutada, Lord Shibata Katsuie, Captain Sakuma Nobumori, General Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Captain Okubo Tadayo -- he's an inimitable personnel Oda shared with Tokugawa Ieyasu. The two Captains were splendid there.
Oda Nobunaga, Oda Nobutada & Toyotomi Hideyoshi in Nagashino battle-camp according to a 17th century artist. Toyotomi, who was still a Captain this year, was unusually laying low throughout the battle.
snipers under the command of Okubo
Tadayo delivering their famous cyclical
firing. It is a technique that Oda Nobunaga invented. European
Generals didn't know the trick yet until 1615.
|Real-life Tokugawa camp: Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu, Captain Sakai Tadatsugu, and General Honda Heihachi. Sakai was the hero there. He read Oda Nobunaga's mind exactly the right way, and translated what's in there unerringly into real action, so the coordination between the Oda and Tokugawa armies went smoothly on until the battle was over.|
here for the battle of TOKUGAWA IEYASU versus TAKEDA SHINGEN + 24 TAKEDA
(in which Tokugawa almost couldn't get out alive)
Takeda clan's warriors
at this battle: Lord Takeda-Suwa
The picture below is all Takeda Generals (the famous '24 Takeda Generals') when Takeda Shingen was still around, documented by a painter in 17th century.
|NEXT : THE BATTLE OF TEDORI RIVER 1577 VERSUS UESUGI KENSHIN|
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ODA NOBUNAGA'S WARS
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|BIOGRAPHIES & PICTURES OF||Mori Terumoto||ODA NOBUNAGA'S ENEMIES|
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