Historical Figure of the day- Oda Nobunaga : Apr 1, 2012
Born 23 June 1534
Died 21 June 1582
Key Conflict Japanese Feudal Wars
Key Battles Okehazama 1560, Anegawa 1570, Siege of Mount Hiei 1571, Sieges of Nagashima 1571-74, Nagashino 1575
A commander of exceptional tactical skill and political ambition, Oda Nobunaga had an inauspicious start in life. The son of the head of the Oda clan in Owari province, he earned a repuation for unruliness in his youth that cost him automatic succession to his father, who died when he was 15. Nobunaga awoke to his sense of duty when his retainer, Hirade Kiyohide, committed ritual suicide in protest at his young master’s irresponsible behavior.
Duly sobered, Nobunaga wrested control of the clan from his uncle. In 1560 he launched his military career in earnest with the stunning defeat of the far larger army of rival daimyo Imagawa Yoshimoto at Okehazama, making a daring night attack on his enemy under cover of a rainstorm.
Enemies and Rivals
In 1568 Nobunaga seized control of the Japanese capital, Kyoto. His rising power was opposed by rival samurai clans and by militant Budhist sects: the warrior monks of Mount Hiei, crushed by Nobunaga in 1571, and the Ikko-Ikki fundamentalist league, reduced to subjection in 1580.
Nobunaga used maximum force to achieve success, particularly in his victories over the Asai and Asakura clans at Anegawa in 1570 and the Takeda at Nagashino in 1575. Unsentimental about samurai values, Nobunaga allotted his peasant foot soldiers(ashigaru) the front line role, and maximized use of the arquebus as a weapon for trained infantry firing in volleys. He also made unsparing use of terror, incinerating the 20,000 inhabitants of Nagashima fortress in 1574. He promoted subordinates on merit regardless of their origins, and so ensured the efficiency of his generals but not necessarily their loyalty. At the height of his power Nobunaga was cornered by a rebel general, Akeche Mitsuhide, and committed suicide.
*Taken from Commanders- Edited by RG Grant, Published by DK.