The TAKEDA Shingen history : KAWANAKAJIMA

Publié le par Yama no Kami Nobusada

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KAWANAKAJIMA : the Battle of the battle

    One clash with Kenshin at Kawanakajima, which took place on the tenth day of the ninth lunar month of 1561, is how remembered as one of the three most decisive battles of the age. The other two battles, at Kawagoe Fort in 1546, and Itsukushima in 1555, determined the ruling warlords of the entire eastern and western regions respectively. History books regard the events surrounding Kawanakajima from a different perspective, since it was the bloodiest battle in Japanese military history. Ordinarily, generals succeeded in bringing new territories under their power with minimum casualties. Kawanakajima was an outstanding exception. One military chronicle relates that more than eight thousand soldiers died in this single encounter. Shingen met his rival Kenshin at this same island several times before and after 1561, but no tattle approached this one in its level of destruction. If it had, the warlords strategic warfare would have led to total annihilation of both tides.



    Kenshin of Echigo headed some eight thousand men. Shingen of Kai brought about eight thousand with his vanguard and held twelve thousand more men as a rearguard force. Of these thirty thousand participants, the lows are estimated at 3400 men of the Echigo army, and 4600 men of Shingen's side. Losses such as this, forty percent of Kenshin's army, can in no way be justified by the strategic importance of the battle. These encounters at the same battlefield came to symbolize war when the entire country was embroiled in war. In addition to the tremendous loss of life, the 1561 battle is of particular interest because it was conducted by the leading military strategists of the day.



    In the early summer of 1561, Kenshin, who had just attained the highest position of the eastern military government, the post of Kantô Kanrei, returned to his own cattle, Kasugayama. Without rest, he mustered-his troops and set off for Shinano Province. The army camped at Mount Saijo, about four kilometers south of Kawanakajima. Three kilometers to-the east was Shingen's new fort, Kaizu, to which he had sent all generals assigned to northern Shinano Province. Fort Kaizu was strategically located to control the main thoroughfare through the province. Protected at three sides by mountain ranges, it was open only at the northwest facing the Chikuma River. Kenshin's fort at Mount Saijo, west of Kaizu was also on the eastern bank of the westward-winding Chikuma River.

Publié dans Histoire

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