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Thread: Daimyos/leaders in battle

  1. #1
    Senior Member Senior Member Zen Blade's Avatar
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    hi all,

    well,

    I have a question. We all know of the tales of Ieyasu at Mikatagahara, and the Uesugi vs. Shingen myth, but....

    How common was it for daimyos or high ranking retainers to lead troops into combat, or where might they be during combat? Obviously, they often resided at a headquarters somewhere behind lines or might travel the battle field in the back, but how often did they actually engage in combat?

    I would imagine that smaller clans would tend to have their leaders fight hand to hand in or near the front row. But what about larger clans?

    hopefully, Seal or someone else knows of examples or the standard procedure.

    -Zen Blade

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    Zen Blade Asai
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  2. #2
    Member Member Choco's Avatar
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    I suppose that it depended of the personal bravery and status of every individual daimyo. Low level daimyos commanding small detachaments probably were more usual to fight in the front ranks than Big daimyos commanding big armies.

    Some daimyos would have been eager to be in the first line while others would prefer to stay as far as possible of the battlefield

    Only thing I know is that apparently at the end of the civil wars period it was quite established that a very high ranked daimyo, commander in chief was supposed to stay far away of the battlefield in the Head Quarters.

    Tokugawa in the decisive battle of Segihagara was way away from the first line .... Probably having fun with the geishas while the despicable lesser beings sweated blood

  3. #3
    Member Member Contubernalis's Avatar
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    I agree with Choco that if you were a small clan, leading a detachment of an army, yeah, you'd be near or at the LOB. Also that trusted advisors and such would be held back to assist the bossman during the battle. I do think that if a decisive battle-winning move was made, many generals would lead the charge--how else you gonna make the highlights on the 11 o'clock news?

  4. #4
    Member Member Jester san's Avatar
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    I'd like to know this one for sure, which could only be achieved by being there.

    It is known for sure that a samuri would not respect a leader (general or daymio) that did not have great skill and courage. This would apply even more for the larger and more powerful clans. Especially during the period in the game, because if some samuri reconed he and his family was better, more honourable, and able to kick the arse of his daymio then he would (Hojo as a case history).
    So no gereral or daymio could completely command from the rear and still have the respect of his troops, but any smart general will not endanger themselves needlessly.
    I agree with Contubernalis about a battle winning move - what self-respecting samuri (general and daymio included) would want to miss the honour and glory and respect of being first to the scene of the victory.

    Of course just because the man at the front with the daymio's flag and his armour and his sword, look's like the daymio - that does not mean that he is the daymio
    Do not attempt to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sort.

  5. #5
    Member Member Anssi Hakkinen's Avatar
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    Remember: even though all samurai battles tended to dissolve into big, ugly melees at one point or another, they still required someone to coordinate the whole thing. And that can't be accomplished from the front line: it limits your strategic vision greatly when someone's constantly making a valiant effort to kill you.

    Thus, there must be someone leading from the rear, preferably from a hill where he can see the battle, in order to organize the use of reinforcements etc. This is a natural task for the overall commander of the army, who almost always is the highest-ranking daimy˘ present.

    However, as far as I have understood, the daimy˘ followed the same practice as did the European armies of the time: the overall commander could only be in one place at the time, but he could send his underlings wherever they were needed. Thus, at Sekigahara, while Ieyasu surveyed the battle from his HQ, his most high-ranking retainers (Ii, Honda etc.) were at the front lines, commanding their troops (and the Red Devil was actually wounded spearheading a charge).

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  6. #6

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    that is why among the armies of sengoku jidai, one i admire most is the leader of the "red devils" because he is always in the fron lines and he treats enemy hostages with courtesy, it is the woulnd he got in sekigahara that would lead to his death...like the cherry blossom, blooms in all its glory and fades away...
    In my sword; the wind, in my heart; courage, in my eyes; death...I am Minagawa

  7. #7
    Southpaw Samurai Member Ii Naomasa's Avatar
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    Awww...I can feel the love.

    Seriously, though, when it came time to pick a name for Shogun on EA Play (and, subsequently here), given the choices available to me, I had to go with the Red Devil himself for many of the same reasons you did, Minagawa Daimon.

    As others have pointed out, daimyo and other high level leaders were sometimes involved in direct hostilities, but often avoid such. One must remember that while a daimyo wielded much power, they also held a great responsibility to his family and all the supporting families under his wing. Running off to join a battle put this responsibility to risk, as he would both be giving up overall control of the battle (his situational awareness and ability to react to threats beyond those of his person) and also endangering himself. Seeing their daimyo up in the front lines might give strength to the grunts, but in the wrong circumstances, subordinate officers might see it as an attempt at putting personal glory over the needs of the group...a bad sign in a leader.

    Most daimyo and other senior officers had already won the respect of their peers and subordinates back when they weren't of such high position. Most of the more respected clan and family leaders were officers either for their fathers or another lord before coming into their own glory. If a daimyo felt he needed to be in the middle of battle to earn respect from his subordinates, he was probably in trouble to begin with.

    Subordinates, out of respect or loyalty for their lord (and/or their clan) would probably try to stop (at risk of their position) their daimyo from engaging in battle himself. Leaders of great renown and/or skill were crucial to a clan's existence. An easy example of such would be Takeda. Shingen lost battles without too much harm coming to his holdings and power, but it wasn't shortly after he died that Takeda began to crumble. One must remember that while it is natural for men to think about themselves, the culture of the samurai made them very much aware about the future and its security.

    As has been pointed out, some daimyo might have been involved in mop-up actions, but even in that there was danger. False-routs or even just rallying troops could turn a clean-up action into a full fledged battle again. Nor was the battlefield safe for such an important and obvious target. After all, the shot that most probably eventually took Ii Naomasa's life happened near the end of the Battle at Sekigahara, not during the middle of it. Firearms and snipers made battlefields and their surrounding areas deadly before and after battles.

    As Jester-san said, the only way to truly know about the conduct of most daimyo would be to be there for every battle. Battle records aren't often detailed enough and, even then, English translations are very hard to come by.

    [This message has been edited by Ii Naomasa (edited 03-13-2001).]
    Naomasa Ii
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  8. #8

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    well said naomasa-san, the leader of the red devils and the man whose name you use is worthy of the highest respects, i might be rooting for the wester army during the battle of sekigahara but the ii lord though from the tokugawa camp is a most respectable samurai, not to say that their red armor looks cool,talking abt daimyos whod sit on their stool, the very same thing happened to lord takeda when he went out his tent and sit on a stool to listen to a lone musician playing on the battlement of the castle that the takeda forces are sieging to death, all it took was one lucky shot to kill a man, but the results in the long time perspective was the beginning of the end for the takeda-shido which culminated in nagashino, i could rant on and on but i think ii and i have a understanding of how different daimyos are during the era of warring states. Kantorai-shido kenchikuka!!!
    In my sword; the wind, in my heart; courage, in my eyes; death...I am Minagawa

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