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Thread: Army size, supportability

  1. #1
    Senior Member Senior Member Zen Blade's Avatar
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    alright, another thought... does anyone have ideas/knowledge on how the armies were supported throughout the year... foods, money, clothing, etc...

    The reason I ask this is that throughout the Sengoku Jidai, campaigns were waged in all months, but obviously armies would have different needs in different parts of the year. Since much of Japan is hilly and much of the land was covered with brigands at the time, how easy was it to move a decent sized force and keep them supplied? Was it a "survive off the land"???

    army size...
    obviously this varied from place to place depending on many things, but anyone know what a decent sized army would number and how such a force was assembled. (since it probably would not always be a standing army as that would put too heavy a burden on the land) Or, might it have been that the samurai and such were always standing, but the ashigaru (gunners and spearmen) would work their farms and in times of need would go join their local lord's force?

    well, hopefully this will spark some talk and such in the forum.

    -Zen Blade

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    Zen Blade Asai
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Senior Member Idaho's Avatar
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    I wouldn't imagine that the armies would have been scared of a few bands of brigands! I imagine that they would have lain pretty low when the army was in town.

    I don't know much about the logistical support for armies at that time - it was probably the same as everywhere else; the local population had to feed them and probably starve themselves in the process.

    As for living on the land - that is a FULL time job, and not sustainable for a large group.
    "The republicans will draft your kids, poison the air and water, take away your social security and burn down black churches if elected." Gawain of Orkney

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    Member Member Tenchimuyo's Avatar
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    I think a decent army size would be about 80,000 men! But more than 40% are squires who followed their samurai master into the battle, taking care the weapons and armors.
    A great warrior rarely reveal his true skills....

  4. #4
    Member Member Anssi Hakkinen's Avatar
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    Squires and such were more common during the Gempei war and around that period: by the time Sengoku Jidai was in full swing, the formalities of samurai warfare were being ignored by most combatants. People who could have been squires and related support personnel were more useful as ashigaru.

    As for the standing army thing:
    In my understanding, samurai were supposed to be ready to serve their lord at all times: they were professional soldiers, after all. This doesn't mean they had to spend all their time in garrison duty, on the contrary, but they always had to be available if needed. (Some samurai in poorer realms, Chosokabe's for example, were more like farmers who occasionally did part-time military service than actual soldiers.)

    Ashigaru were more irregular, as can be expected. They could be anybody in their civilian lives, but they were hired for full-time military service for a certain period and formed into a "warband." At the end of the daimy˘'s current campaign or whatever, the surviving ashigaru were given their pay and they returned to their civilian lives.

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    "If the choice is given between life and death, a samurai must choose death. There is no more meaning beyond this."
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    "It is a good viewpoint to see the world as a dream. When you have something like a nightmare, you will wake up and tell yourself that it was only a dream. It is said that the world we live in is not a bit different from this".
    - Yamamoto Tsunetomo: Hagakure

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