Slaughter at the barricades
Publication Date: March 25, 2000
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Osprey's examination of the campaign at Nagashino in 1575. When Portuguese traders took advantage of the constant violence in Japan to sell the Japanese their first firearms, one of the quickest to take advantage of this new technology was the powerful daimyo Oda Nobunaga. In 1575 the impetuous Takeda Katsuyori laid siege to Nagashino castle, a possession of Nobunaga's ally, Tokugawa Ieyasu. An army was despatched to relieve the siege, and the two sides faced each other across the Shidarahara. The Takeda samurai were brave, loyal and renowned for their cavalry charges, but Nobunaga, counting on Katsuyori's impetuosity, had 3,000 musketeers waiting behind prepared defences for their assault. The outcome of this clash of tactics and technologies was to change the face of Japanese warfare forever.
Stephen Turnbull is the world's leading English language authority on medieval Japan and the samurai. He has travelled extensively in the far east, particularly in Japan and Korea and is the author of The Samurai - A Military History and Men-at-Arms 86 Samurai Armies 1550-1615.