Wednesday, May 11, 2011


May is the month that Nobunaga was born and I have decided to share some of his greatest triumphs in his career, Nagashino. Matthew Stavros's Military Revolution in Early Modern Japan has translated some of Ota Gyuichi's Shincho-Ko ki's Nagashino. I was able translate the Nagashino section earlier this year and was quite pleased with it. Here is Mr. Stavros's version:

Stavros (pp. 8-9)

"Upon our arrival at Nagashino on the eighteenth day, Lord Nobunaga set up a base at Gokurakuji temple on a mountain in the village of Shitara. Nobutada camped at Mt. Niimido.

The village of Shitara sat on land slightly lower than its surroundings. About 30,000 soldiers could take up position there and avoid detection from the enemy army of Takeda. Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu established camp at Mt. Takamatsu at the top of the Koromitsu incline. Takigawa, Hideyoshi, and Niwa made camp at Arumihara. Altogether, the forces allied with Nobunaga were arranged so as to surround the enemy, Takeda Katsuyori. Nobunaga thought, 'With the Takeda so close and backed up against a great river, this is a fine blessing from heaven. We must destroy them all!'

Calling Sakai to his side, Nobunaga pulled about 2,000 archers and skilled gunmen from Ieyasu's troops. He placed these men in Sakai's charge. Just after six o'clock in the morning, troops [of Nobunaga] having reached the top of the mountain, raised their flags high and shouted battle cries. Watching the enemy from atop Mt. Takamatsu, Nobunaga issued orders not to take action until his signal was given. He then ordered about a hundred infantry gunners into formation so as to receive the approaching enemy.

In the first wave, an enemy general, Yamagata, gave the signal and hit the drum, sending his troops charging forth. They were all either immediately cut down or sent back by gunfire. A second wave of infantry troops came forth. Again, in accordance with Nobunaga's orders, fire rained down, forcing more than half of them to retreat.
In the third wave, fighters from Nishi Kozuke sallied forth. Kanto soldiers tend to be skilled horsemen. They rode forth, pounding their drums. Here too, Nobunaga's gunners remained in formation, well hidden, awaiting the approach of the enemy. Each wave of fire would bring down more than half of the charging enemy. The rest fled.

In this way, Nobunaga's troops remained stationary despite the enemy's charge, answering their attack with fierce infantry gunfire. The Takeda army was overwhelmed by this [tactic], left with no choice but to retreat.

The forth wave came from the forces of Baba Minonokami, again sounding their drums. But again, Nobunaga's lines remained tight answering the assault with gunfire. Most[of the enemy] were cut down.

From sunrise until about two o'clock in the afternoon, fighting continued in the east, northeasterly direction. The Takeda army was badly struck until only a few of them remained. Finally, the various bands gathered around Katsuyori and fled..."

The entire text was not published in Stavros's article and some things are left out. That being said, it does give the reader on what might have happened on that day when Nobunaga and Ieyasu gave the Katsuyori an old fashioned butt kicking. Nobunaga arranged his troops close as possible to the enemy. Why? So the Takeda army did not have the ability to maneuver freely and it would be at a great disadvantage.

Nobunaga no tame!


otsuke said...

For those want to know, Stavros made a mistake by listing Baba Mino no Kami as the forth wave. According to the Shincho-Ko ki, Tenkyu (Takeda Nobutoyo) the forth wave. Baba lead the fifth wave.

Tornadoes28 said...

I just started reading Stavros' article. Very interesting so far.

otsuke said...

Stavros mentions Hideyoshi's sieges, but Nobunaga was the man when it came to the starvation type.

Matthew Stavros said...

Thrilled to see you reading my work. Thanks. Matthew Stavros

Matthew Stavros said...


otsuke said...

You are very welcome.