Osprey Men-at-Arms 86 : Samurai Armies 1550-1615
In 1543 three Portuguese merchants entered a turbulent Japan, bringing with them the first firearms the Japanese had ever seen - simple matchlock muskets called arquebuses. They proved a decisive addition to the Japanese armoury, as for centuries the samurai had fought only with bow, sword and spear. In 1575, one of the greatest original thinkers in the history samurai, Oda Nobunaga, arranged his arquebusiers in ranks three deep behind a palisade and proceeded, quite literally, to blow his opponent's cavalry to pieces, marking the beginning of a new era in Japanese military history. Nobunaga's victory showed that there existed for the first time the potential to create an 'army' in the modern sense, for though it took years of training to acquire skill with the bow, a simple peasant could easily be instructed how to fire an arquebus. This vastly increased the possible numbers of troops which could be deployed in the field, and changed the nature of samurai warfare forever. S.R. Turnbull examines the nature of these new samurai armies, and the history of warfare in Japan, covering topics such as classic samurai tactics, siege warfare, weapons, dress, armour and equipment. The text is complemented by contemporary illustrations and eight full page colour plates by Richard Hook.
- The Golden Age
- Samurai Armies
- Samurai Battles
- Dress and Equipment - Samurai
- Dress and Equipment - Ashigaru
- The Plates