Battle of Komaki and Nagakute

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Battle of Komaki and Nagakute
Part of the Sengoku period
Date 1584
Location Owari Province, Japan
Result Tokugawa Tactical Victory

Toyotomi Political Victory

Belligerents
forces of Hashiba Hideyoshi forces of Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobukatsu
Commanders and leaders
Hori Hidemasa
Ikeda Tsuneoki 
Mori Nagayoshi 
Hashiba Hidetsugu
Kinoshita Sukehisa 
Tokugawa Ieyasu
Sakai Tadatsugu
Mizuno Tadashige
Sakakibara Yasumasa
Niwa Ujishige
Ii Naomasa
Strength
40,000 (approximate) 18,500 (approximate)
Casualties and losses
Ikeda Tsuneoki
Ikeda Motosuke
Mori Nagayoshi

The Battle of Komaki and Nagakute (小牧・長久手の戦い Komaki-Nagakute no Tatakai?) was a series of battles in 1584 between the forces of Hashiba Hideyoshi (who would become Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1586) and the forces of Oda Nobukatsu and Tokugawa Ieyasu. Hideyoshi and Ieyasu had both served Oda Nobunaga and had not previously come into conflict; this would in fact be their only period of enmity.[citation needed] Although this episode of history is most commonly known by the two largest and most important battles, the event is also sometimes referred to as the Komaki Campaign (小牧の役 Komaki no Eki).

Background[edit]

In 1583, at the Battle of Shizugatake, Hideyoshi supported Nobukatsu, the second son of Oda Nobunaga, and defeated Shibata Katsuie, who supported Nobunaga's third son, Nobutaka. After winning the battle, Hideyoshi invited Nobukatsu and other generals to his residence at Osaka Castle, which he had just completed that same year. The meaning of such an invitation was for all the men to pay homage to Hideyoshi, which would reverse the roles between Hideyoshi and Nobukatsu. Therefore, Nobukatsu broke his bonds to Hideyoshi and did not go to Osaka Castle. Hideyoshi offered reconciliation to three of Nobukatsu's chief retainers (Tsugawa Yoshifuyu, Okada Shigetaka and Azai Nagatoki), which led to rumors that they were all in support of Hideyoshi. This in turn lead Nobukatsu to become suspicious of the three men, whom he ordered executed on the sixth day of the third month. These actions gave Hideyoshi the justification for attacking Nobukatsu and, as a result, Nobukatsu asked Ieyasu for auxiliary forces. The next day, when Ieyasu sent his forces out to battle, it became a battle between Hideyoshi and Ieyasu.

Order of Events[edit]

The first of these battles was fought around Mount Komaki and gave rise to the name "Battle of Komaki." The rest of the battles took place around Nagakute, giving rise to the modern-day names for the conflict.

Battle of Haguro[edit]

Inuyama Castle on a cliff

On the thirteenth day of the third month, Ieyasu arrived at Kiyosu Castle. On that same day, warriors of the Oda clan's vassals who were led by Ikeda Tsuneoki switched to the side of Hideyoshi and took over Inuyama Castle, which had originally been built by Oda Nobunaga.[1] Ieyasu was upset upon hearing this news and rushed to Inuyama Castle, arriving two days later. At the same time, Mori Nagayoshi (brother of Mori Ranmaru, who died at the Incident at Honnō-ji with Nobunaga) began his attempt for the Kiyosu Castle. Despite fierce arquebus fire from Mori's men, Sakai Tadatsugu succeeded at flanking and attacking Mori in the rear. Mori fled, having suffered 300 casualties.[2]

On the sixteenth day of the month, forces called to support Inuyama Castle arrived in Haguro. Ieyasu, however, had already known of these plans and had Sakai Tadatsugu and Sakakibara Yasumasa move 5,000 troops to Haguro that same evening. Early the following morning, Tadatsugu's troops launched a surprise attack on Nagayoshi, whose troops barely escaped after the onslaught. On the eighteenth, without fear of raids from enemies, Ieyasu took over Inuyama Castle and finished the defenses that had first been built up by Hideyoshi.

Mission to Mikawa[edit]

Mt. Komaki & Komaki Castle(not Komakiyama Castle)

Hideyoshi and his troops left his fortifications at Osaka Castle on the 21st day of the month, arriving at Inuyama Castle on the 27th day, and in Gakuden (present-day Inuyama) on the fifth day of the following month. Ieyasu, between entering Komakiyama Castle and arriving in Gakuden, stayed away from battle, except for a few smaller skirmishes here and there. Hideyoshi was lulled into complacency by this situation, aided by Tsuneoki, who said to him, "Ieyasu is now in Komakiyama Castle. He is away from his main base in Okazaki and if we were to move our arms against him, we will certainly win." The ambitious Hideyoshi decided to set out for Mikawa, along with the support of Nagayoshi (who had regained his reputation at the Battle of Haguro), Tsuneoki (who was embarrassed by his daughter's marriage) and the young Hidetsugu (17 years old at the time). Toyotomi Hidetsugu was able to amass 8,000 men, which were supported by Hori Hidemasa's 3,000 men, Mori Nagayoshi's 3,000 men and Tsuneoki's 6,000 men. On the following day, they all set out for Mikawa.

Battle of Iwasaki Castle[edit]

The Battle of Iwasaki Castle was fought between the forces of Niwa Ujishige and Ikeda Tsuneoki. Though it was just part of overall Battle of Komaki and Nagakute, it played an important role in the outcome.[1]

On the seventh day of the month, Ieyasu learned of Hidetsugu's encampment at Shinogi (modern-day Kasugai) through the information provided by farmers in Iga Province. He entered into Obata Castle (Moriyama-ku, Nagoya) the following day and chose to pitch camp for the evening. Early the next morning, he sent both the Niwa clan and the forces of Sakakibara Yasumasa to chase after Hidetsugu, and followed shortly thereafter with his own. Hidetsugu resumed his march on the eighth after hearing of Ieyasu's entrance to Obata Castle, but on the next morning, the situation changed very rapidly. Ikeda Tsuneoki led the attack of Iwasaki Castle (modern-day Nisshin) and was promptly shot off of his horse. Embarrassed by his fall, Tsuneoki forgot about the hit-and-run tactics and started a full assault on the castle. Though the defenders fought well, the castle fell.

During the battle, Mori Nagayoshi, Hori Hidemasa and Hidetsugu all rested their forces at the modern-day cities of Owariasahi, Nagakute and Nisshin, waiting for the oncoming forces, as Ieyasu was closing in on them.

Battle of Hakusanmori[edit]

At the time that Ikeda Tsuneoki was shot and fell from his horse at Iwasaki Castle, Toyotomi Hidetsugu moved his forces to Hakusanmori (present-day Owariasahi) to rest, but it was there that he met the forces of Ieyasu and Sakakibara Yasumasu. Hidetsugu's forces were pretty much destroyed by Ieyasu's surprise attack. Hidetsugu himself was knocked from his horse, but was able to get another horse and escape. It was at this battle that many members of the Kinoshita clan (including Sukehisa, the father of Hideyoshi's wife, Nene) died.

Battle of Hinokigane[edit]

Following the battle of Hakusanmori, Tokugawa fortified Mt. Komaki, creating a stalemate there. Thus, Ikeda Nobuteru, one of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's chief commanders, decided to begin raids through neighboring Mikawa Province with an army numbering 20,000. Tokugawa expected this and led a force to follow Hideyoshi's. Mizuno Tadashige led Tokugawa's rearguard against Ikeda's force and the noise of the battle alerted Hori Hidemasa, the head of one of Hideyoshi's divisions.

Hori Hidemasa led his men to the defense of his comrades, taking up position in the village of Nagakute. He held off the initial Tokugawa attacks, but was forced to withdraw as the main body of the Tokugawa army, numbering some 9000 warriors, arrived.[2]

Battle of Nagakute[edit]

The battle proper began as Ikeda's men opened fire with their arquebuses and then charged the Ii clan's divisions of the Tokugawa force. Mori Nagayoshi, another of Hideyoshi's commanders, waited until Tokugawa moved in to support the Ii, so that he could flank them. However, Tokugawa charged forward, rather than swinging around, and avoided the flanking maneuver. Mori Nagayoshi was shot off his horse, which demoralized Ikeda's force. Ikeda's head was taken soon afterwards and, despite Hideyoshi's arrival with reinforcements, Ieyasu decided to withdraw, unwilling to risk further casualties, and returned to Komaki.[3]

Aftermath[edit]

When news of the loss at the Battle of Hakusanmori arrived in the afternoon, the 20,000 troops of Hideyoshi rushed to Ryūsen-ji, near the battle site. Later that evening, when they heard that Ieyasu was staying at Obata Castle, they decided to assault it the next morning; however, during that time, Ieyasu had left Obata Castle, went to Komakiyama Castle and finally returned to Kiyosu Castle. Hideyoshi heard the news of Ieyasu's departure shortly thereafter and, on the tenth day of the fourth month, left Gakuden; he arrived back at Osaka castle on the first day of the following month. On the 16th day of the sixth month, Takigawa Kazumasu attacked Ieyasu's Kanie Castle, but was driven back. As a result, Kazumasu had his responsibilities taken from him and removed from Ieyasu's group. On the ninth day of the ninth month, Sassa Narimasa, at the behest of Ieyasu, attacked Suemori Castle in Noto Province, forcing out its resident, Maeda Toshiie.

Names for the Battle[edit]

During the Edo period, the public records of the Tokugawa clan and the shogunate refer to these battles as Battle of Komaki (小牧陣 Komaki no Jin). However, there are also documents that refer to it as the Battle of Iwasakiguchi (岩崎口の戦い Iwasakiguchi no Tatakai). There are places where the fighting in Nagakute is called the Battle of Nagakute (長久手合戦 Nagakute Gassen), but the two battles have generally been merged into one. Many other names have also been used to describe these battles, some of which separate the two, while the others keep them together. During the Meiji Restoration, the various Japanese words for battles, campaigns, etc., were mostly unified, leading to it sometimes being called the Komaki and Nagakute Campaign (小牧・長久手の役 Komaki-Nagakute no Eki). Through all of this, though, "Battle of Komaki and Nagakute" has come to be the accepted name.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Highlights of the Region: Aichi Prefecture. Chubu Wide-Area Tourism Promotion Council. Accessed October 23, 2007.
  2. ^ a b Turnbull, Stephen (1998). 'The Samurai Sourcebook'. London: Cassell & Co.
  3. ^ Battle of Nagakute. SamuraiWiki. Accessed October 23, 2007.