Nemandawara-Jo - 1575
precursor to Nagashino
Nemandawara castle on the shores of the BiwaKo, built to control the Nakasendo Highway north from the Kanto
Tasked to capture the castle for his master, Oda Nobunaga, Toranaga Isi recieves news that his attempt....
.... at negotiation has failed and Matsuyori Aichi still commands the fortress
Which means a formal siege
Though that should not take long since Toranaga has brought the cannon gifted to his master by the Portuguese - and the keep is made largely of wood
Word arrives that Mitsuyori's ally, Takeda Hideaki and his dreaded cavalry, are approaching to break the siege
The Takeda samurai arrive
To find themselves confronted by mere ashigaru - sword fodder for their blades
But Torananga's men are teppo-tai (matchlock men) covered by pikes and pavise
Contemptuous of their inferiors the samurai launch an immediate charge
palms sweat as the ashigaru feel the ground shiver under them and watch the torrent thunder down
Then the order is barked and the terror mercifully disappears in a wall of acrid smoke
As the cloud thins and settles the now near-defenceless teppi see their noble enemies in panic-stricken flight - those that are not dead or dying in front of them. It is the end of blind honour and the dawn of massed warfare under the Rising Sun
And shortly the cannons are back at work
And Nemandawara is burning
Reluctant to be burnt alive Mitsuyori leads his samurai in a last sortie. Still alive to bushido Toranaga orders his ashigaru aside and sends his own samurai to meet them.
But Mitsuyori is taken alive and having failed to commit seppuku becomes part of the traditional victory ceremony, kneeling between the four leading Takeda and preparing to join them.
While Toranaga Ishi congratulates himself on what must surely be the final act in the endless political in-fighting.
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