Battle of Nagashino
Takeda Katsuyori besieged Okudaira Nobumasa at Nagashino Castle in 1575. Nobumasa was holding the castle for Tokugawa Ieyasu and this castle was situated in the strategic location that could endanger the line of supply for Takeda's troops.
Both Ieyasu and Oda Nobunaga sent troops and Katsuyori was defeated.
Traditionally, it is believed that Oda-Tokugawa troops constructed several wooden barricades to stop the attack by the fearsome cavalry of Takeda Katsuyori. Then they organized 3000 musket footmen into three groups and fired in volleys from behind the barricades into the charging ranks of the Takeda soldiers. This battle was thus believed to be the complete departure from traditional duels that used to be popular back in Kamakura period. It may also be even considered a Japanese Agincourt, or (upon viewing the whole of human history) a precursor to the machine gun massacres of charging massed infantry during the trench warfare of World War I.
However, many recent studies contradict this belief. It is highly doubted that the massive amount of muskets is the sole key to loss of the battle. The Oda-Tokugawa army outnumbered Takeda by a 3 to 1 ratio, enough to win even with the Takeda deeply entrenched in a fortification. There are also three major doubts about the actual battle:
- Japanese horses of that time were much smaller than today's and unsuitable for charge on the horseback. Samurai are believed to have fought on foot in battle.
- The Takeda army is known to have a deep knowledge of tactics and it would have been unimaginable for them to attack head on into well-constructed barricades that were visible from far away. Then again, this presumes that the commander cared; general accounts portray Takeda Katsuyori as having forgotten these basics due to the temptation of his two apparently greatest enemies being right across the Rengaku river.
- Most of the Takeda deaths were incurred while in the retreat and not at Nagashino.
The major impact of this battle is that regardless of where the bulk of the Takeda were killed, they lost many seasoned veterans and their military ability was seriously depleted. The Takeda clan never recovered from this loss and was exterminated in 1582.