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'Nemandawara-Jo' - 1575
the Japanese Crecy
Nemandawara castle, built on the shores of the BiwaKo to control the Nakasendo Highway
Ordered by his master,Oda Nobunago, to take the place, Toranaga Isi listens grimly to the news.......
That his opening attempt at 'midnight persuasion' has gone astray and Matsuyori Aichi is still alive inside
Which leaves only a formal siege
Though that should not take too long since Toranaga has brought along the new-fangled cannon the Portuguese have given to his master and the keep is made largely of wood
A sweating galloper arrives with the news that Mitsuyori's ally,Takeda Hideaki and his dreaded cavalry, are already moving to break the siege
The massed power of the Takeda horsemen arrives....
...to find Toranaga and his pitifully inferior ashigaru waiting
No noble samurai horse or sword armed warrior elite - just a line of teppo-tai (matchlock armed foot) protected by pikes and pavise
Contemptuous of his enemy Takeda orders an immediate charge
palms sweat as the ground quivers under the thundering hooves and the merciless torrent sweeps down
Then the order is barked and the terror vanishes as each matchlock gouts acrid smoke
As the cloud settles and thins they see the vaunted samurai strewn in ruin, the leaderless survivors in full flight - the end of an age, the dawn of another
Now the cannon open fire in earnest
And shortly Nemandawara begins to burn
Unwilling to be burnt alive Mitsuyori leads his samurai in a last banzai charge - and still sensible of bushido Toranaga orders his own samurai to meet them
But having failed to get himself killed, or commit seppuku, the defeated daimyo ends as part of the traditional victory ceremony, down on his knees between four Takeda leaders and preparing to join them. For Toranaga it is a moment to be savoured, an end to the remorseless in-fighting and intrigue.
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