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Takeda Shingen: Reloaded
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Tiger of Kai
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tornadoes28 wrote:
I've read some places that there were 3,000 Uesugi at the ford but I think I may have also heard 1,000 as well. Numbers are often exaggerated too so it could be closer to 1,000.


I got the 1,000 men from the Turnbull Kawanakajima book. (Don't start hating). I also think this would be reasonable or else there would be far to few men to fight Shingen.
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Tornadoes28
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tiger of Kai wrote:
Tornadoes28 wrote:
I've read some places that there were 3,000 Uesugi at the ford but I think I may have also heard 1,000 as well. Numbers are often exaggerated too so it could be closer to 1,000.


I got the 1,000 men from the Turnbull Kawanakajima book. (Don't start hating). I also think this would be reasonable or else there would be far to few men to fight Shingen.


Well I got 3,000 from Wikipedia (sorry Kitsuno) so I may get some hate for that too. Smile The SA Kawanakajima Battle page does not have too much information and does not mention any numbers for Kagemochi's forces at the ford.

I haven't found too many English language sources for the Kawanakajima battles, Turnbull I believe is one of the few. Probably the main reason is that really the kawanakajima battles, although interesting, were not very important battles in terms of impact on a national scene. They did not result in much other than solidifying Shingen's wariness of Kenshin and therefore preventing Shingen from ever being able to venture too far from Kai. The battles did not impact Kyoto politics or have much impact on a national scale.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tiger of Kai wrote:
I wondered why is it that Shingen failed to secure a total victory in his biggest battles? At 4th Kawanakajima he routed the Uesugi, but failed to pursue them and gain total victory. At Mikata ga Hara he did not take Hamamatsu castle, so Ieyasu got away, and he got attack afterwards in a night attack so he lost more men. At Uedahara he also lost. So why was it Shingen failed to gain that total victory mny others took; Okehazama, Nagashino, Shizugatake and Sekigahara to name some.


I'm afraid my answer will disappoint after several people have asked for me to chime in, but the bottom line is this is a flawed question. Or, rather, you're looking in the wrong places for the answers. Tatsunoshi has provided a glimpse at Shingen's strategic situation and that may include many of the answers. The answer isn't necessarily at the tactical level.

I would not assume there is some coherent similarity between the three battles you mentioned that gives us some insight into a greater understanding of "Shingen" and "why he failed to secure total victory". Let me put it this way: I've spent over a full year now working on Nagashino, using multiple original source texts, my 14 years of experience as a military officer, two trips to the battlefield, and an analytical framework that is apparently cutting edge in the field, to the point I have random professors from universities emailing my department to get in contact with me, sending me their papers for my review, and calling archaeologists in Japan to see if excavation is feasible. And you know how much I know about Nagashino, compared to when I started my research? Almost nothing. As in, I can't confirm what happened, I can only rule out that certain things people have thought for centuries don't make sense, and can suggest alternatives that do make sense.

My point to the above is, until you really sit down and examine everything about a battle, you really can't know much about it. I know the basic outline of what people have written about 4th Kawanakajima, but I haven't looked at it myself in detail. (don't worry, it will be on the list if I ever get to the point of writing a book). From my experience with Nagashino, however, I understand that it's not as simple as reading what Turnbull wrote about it, or looking at casualty lists.

What is victory? What does it mean to win? I'm very serious about that question--think about it for a minute. At the Alamo, about 250 (depending on what account you read) Texans held off 2400 Mexican soldiers for 13 days, killing 400-600 of them before the Alamo fell. Who won? The Texans held off a much larger force for longer than anyone thought, inflicting twice as many casualties as their own force. The Mexicans, on the other hand, killed all the Texans and took the Alamo. So the Mexicans won, right? The "massacre" at the Alamo became a rallying cry for Texas (and the US, in fact), and galvanized resistance to Mexico to the point that Mexico lost control of Texas and eventually got into a war with the US, which they lost decisively. So, again...who won?

Victory is more than a tally of casualties. Who accomplished their goal? Who was prevented from accomplishing their goal? How did it factor into their overall strategic and operational plan? These are the things I would have to spend time on to answer any questions like "who won Kawanakajima?", and it would/will require spending a lot of time going through primary sources, walking the ground, and other analysis that I haven't done. My "gut" response would be that Uesugi Kenshin accomplished what he wanted--prevented Shingen from making further advances north into Echigo. Shingen did not get what he wanted, namely the destruction of Kenshin's army. I'd score that for the Uesugi, but again, this is superficial analysis based on "facts" as reported by people I don't trust.

Mikatagahara, on the other hand, is a completely different situation, and there's no real parallel to be drawn between Kawanakajima and Mikatagahara to say "oh, THAT is why Shingen never achieved total victory!" The world is much more complicated than that. Mikatagahara was easily a tactical victory--they routed the Tokugawa, plain and simple. As Tatsu said, the Tokugawa couldn't have stopped Shingen from waltzing into Hamamatsu if they wanted to. Why didn't they? That's a good question, and again, it would take me a long time to sift through sources and come up with an answer I have any confidence in. Perhaps, as the Mikawa Go Fudoki reports, Ieyasu's leaving the gates open and Sakai's drum beats made Baba Nobuharu and Yamagata Masakage, Shingen's two lead commanders, suspicious, so the stopped short, reported to Shingen, and by that time Shingen decided they'd done enough and it was time to head back to Kai (perhaps, as Tatsu suggests, because Kenshin was out there and made Shingen nervous). Perhaps they just simply missed it. Understanding the decision making processes of commanders in battle is something I'm working on, and both from research experience and personal experience can tell you is not a simple thing. Mikatagahara reminds me a lot of Pearl Harbor: stunning tactical victory that stops short of being complete and total, to the later detriment of the tactical winner.

Back to the original question:

Quote:
why is it that Shingen failed to secure a total victory in his biggest battles?


The answer, as I show above, doesn't lie in the tactical decision making of Shingen, or even the tactical results. Uedahara is a bad example, as he lost, and yet still forced the Murakami out of Shinano. The question is really if any of his battles did anything to advance his strategic goals. Why did Nobunaga succeed where Shingen "failed"? Nobunaga was nothing if not consistent when it came to what his strategic goals were, and did an excellent job of integrating operational and tactical military action with political and economic action. From the beginning, Nobunaga had a consistent strategic goal. Did Shingen? It's debatable. Some point to comments made on his deathbed about wanting to see his banners flying in Kyoto as evidence that he wanted to take central control--but did he put together a coherent strategy to do so? Again, my superficial analysis is no--at least, not one that could overcome the disadvantages of geography and timing. By the time that was a goal he could do something about, Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobunaga were in his way, strong enough to resist him, and he still had the Hojo and Uesugi to deal with on other directions.

There's no consistent string of "Shingen always did X which cost him the victory" that I can see. Had Kansuke's plan gone as planned at Kawanakajima, the subsequent events might have been very different. Had Nobuharu and Masakage not pulled up at Mikatagahara, things may have gone very different. The point is that neither of those scenarios, from what I can tell, hinge SOLELY on the decision making of Takeda Shingen: Kenshin moved his forces, causing the Woodpecker plan to not work like Kansuke had envisioned it; Shingen's subordinate commanders may have held up and reported things in a way that made Shingen decided "good enough, let's get back to Kai before Kenshin starts more trouble."

Sorry, because I know you were looking for a simple answer. But these kinds of things are anything but simple.
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Tiger of Kai
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thank you so much, I feel like I learn't something very importanton historical research and thinking in general. I will keep that in mind in the future. Thanks very much again Wink. Sorry for the kind of childish question.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tiger of Kai wrote:
Thank you so much, I feel like I learn't something very importanton historical research and thinking in general. I will keep that in mind in the future. Thanks very much again Wink. Sorry for the kind of childish question.


It's not childish--you just need to understand (as do we all) that things don't happen in a vacuum. Sometimes victories are a matter of luck. Sometimes victories on the battlefield are lost in the political world. Circumstances have a lot to do with who is successful and who is not.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hey guys,

I need some online information about the Takeda campaigns in Kozuke, Suruga and Sagami.

Is it possible to get anything online?

I have tried Japanese wiki, but the translation is almost unreadable.

Thank you guys.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
A few general thoughts of a very late chim in Wink

A. Shingen's strategic goals : I think he actually does have a pretty solid long term strategy the problem was that the original strategy went up against Kenshin, who as most of us would agree, was a super weird person that defied all logic.

It took him awhile to realize that Kenshin was not someone who can be removed from the picture, and circumstances changed regarding the Imagawa's that ultimately had him change course.

I think his strategic thinking long term was pretty clear, "secure a coastal region with adequate port and grain production, and then either aim for Kanto or Kyoto. The problem was that he ran up against Kenshin and the Imagawa situation turned very quickly.

B. His goal on his last campaign: it is not clear that he wanted to go strait to Kyoto, but I think it was clear that he was going to try and weaken Nobunaga as much as possible, to remove a potential major threat before it fully mature, certainly if Nobunaga didn't confront Shingen soon at that point, Tokugawa probably would have needed to capitulate to the Takeda side, which would open yet ANOTHER front for Oda when he was already engaged in so many.

He had already made moves to take some castles in Eastern Mino, so Nobunaga 's home base was already under threat from minor Takeda incursions (didn't he actually get embarrasingly stomped by two such small raids before Nagashino?)


C. Katsuyori : I felt that he was under some serious pressure to be aggressive, both because his position in the clan was hardly secure (remember, he did NOT inherit the Takeda clan, his son did.) and because the threat of Nobunaga grows with every season. He probably felt that Nagashino was his last good chance to beat Oda before they steadily but surely become too big to handle, that's hardly a faulty analysis. He made a dangerous but logical gamble and lost.

Post Nagashino Takeda was really saved because Kenshin in his typical fashion decided on a whim again to change direction and attack Nobunaga, he had Kaga / Noto setup for the taking for many many years anyway but always felt like "hey, fighting stronger enemies is more fun!" and that they were beginning to be in conflict with the Mori clan also was drawing a lot of resources away.

Katsuyori appeared to have completely shifted strategy post Nagashino, seemingly aiming to change the structure of the Takeda clan towards an Oda like dictatorship, and both fortifying the regions and increasing it's commercial viability (taking advantage that for the first time ever they actually have a port.) but it was too little too late, and the drastic reforms predictably pissed off many retainers.

It is interesting to think that if the betryals by his relatives didn't happen and / or his younger brother could have actually held Takado things would have been different (the odds in that battle certainly didn't suggest it to fall almost immediately.) since Honno Ji was less than six month after that, but who knows if Honno Ji was going to happen or not if Takeda survived?

But it would be at least interesting to consider what happens if Takeda survived until Honno Ji, The pressure would be off and they would have at least a few years to develop .
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