Assault on Yokkaichi (1460AD)

Unknown to most historians is the invasion of Japan in 1460 by English forces. The invasion resulted in a major battle between the English (4/62) under the Earl of Lincoln and the Japanese (4/59b), under Lord Kantesugu.

Lord Kantesugu, commanding the Japanese, hoped to rest one flank of his army on the fortified town of Yokkaichi, alas the English approached from an unplanned direction at the town of Yokkaichi found itself on the front line. The townspeople of Yokkaichi were assisted in their defence by a garrison of 1000 Samurai. The question was could the town hold off the English until Kantesugu could bring up his main army?

The English sought to take the town by a combination of bombardment and assault. To this end a great number of cannon, 2000 archers and 1000 billmen and a further 1000 spearmen were deployed to the south of Yokkaichi. The Earl of Lincoln, in error, deployed some distance away, with slightly more than half his army, comprising some 4000 archers along with his mounted men at arms. They were separated from the besieging forces by a large wood.

With the main Japanese army some distance off the English bombardment began, but fortunately for the garrison of Yokkaichi, was ineffective. The garrison commander, reviewing the English on the low ground before him now took matters into his own hands and sallied forth. His initial attack fell on a body of 1000 archers who fell back in disorder while English billmen moved to protect them. Realising the risks of the attack the Samurai themselves now fell back to Yokkaichi. Soon the English bombardment continued, though the English now hesitant of future sallies. Above, the armies can be seen with Yokkaichi in the top left. The sally by the Japanese is underway.

Soon a second sally was conducted this time to the west. Now, as the garrison advanced on a second group of English archers, a small group of disgruntled Samurai remaining in Yokkaichi seized power and declared for the English. The sallying Samurai now were in a form of no-mans land between the town of Yokkaichi and the English archers.

However, the English commander had problems of his own. Both main armies were now approaching and his own field army was outnumbered by the Japanese main army. He therefore could not afford to direct his siege army to secure the town and support his new allies. Instead, he focussed on the events to his front rather than the sideshow around Yokkaichi. Above, the second sally where the Samurai are caught in the open. The main armies are almost engaged.

Time was critical and the rebellion still young. As a result Kantesugu’s agents in Yokkaichi regained control of the garrison and Yokkaichi once more declared for Kantesugu! (This little outcome a result of the Japanese player rolling a 6 for his PIP die and forgoing all other movement).

The result was of course the English siege was renewed and the English cannon barked destruction once more. In a further turn of events the rebels seized control of one of the town’s gates and now the English quickly sent in troops to assist the rebels, the nearest troops being English archers. Yokkaichi was in English hands.

Kantesugu however countered and more Samurai were sent forward. The English archers, who had themselves recently arrived, were now swept from the streets by the Japanese counter-attack. Yokkaichi was once more loyal to Kantesugu. Above the English archers, who are attempting to secure the town, are engaged.

Kantesugu was however on the offensive and no sooner had he secured the town than his troops sallied out, this time to the south and against the English cannon.

The attack, shown above, was successful and the English cannon were finally silenced. However, before the Samurai could reorganise English billmen attacked Yokkaichi itself! The citizen militia were unable to stop the English attack and the second body of English troops entered the town, looting as they went.

Kantesugu, still holding the main English army at arms length counter-attacked again, and ashigaru stormed Yokkaichi attacking from the north. The English, who were still more interested in plundering the town then defending it, were evicted with significant loss. Above the ashigaru attack.

Now with casualties having risen to unacceptable levels Earl of Lincoln determined a reassessment of his invasion was in order. The English expedition fell back to reorganise, and no doubt contemplate the art of siege and assault!

In way summary of a rather unusual turn of events there were three sallies, three changes of allegiance, two by puppet administrations, an over-through of a puppet administration by those forces loyal to Lord Kantesugu, which cost 6 PIPs, and three assaults. Partly this was a result of the victory point penalty after Yokkaichi was first lost. This meant the Japanese were near defeat unless they could recapture the town. Meanwhile, from the perspective of the English, the main Japanese field army was too risky to attack while so many troops were tied up in around Yokkaichi. Another fascinating and enjoyable game.

4 thoughts on “Assault on Yokkaichi (1460AD)

  1. The Earl of Lincoln can only echo his worthy and honourable opponent’s sentiments – that was probably the most enjoyable game of DBA I’ve ever played! Great write-up, by the way – you’ve remembered the Saga of Yokkaichi better than I could. You also give me more credit than I deserve – the main reason I never engaged your main army was that I largely forgot about it, becoming overly focussed on the BUA in a medieval version of the Hougoumont Effect. (This wasn’t helped by me thinking your Bd were Sp, so was hesitant about unleashing the Flower of English Knighthood upon them!)

  2. The “Saga of Yokkaichi” is an excellent description for the events. I suspect it will long be remembered by the townsfolk that remain. The battle around the town certainly became a life and death struggle which could have resulted in my defeat at an early stage.

  3. Indeed! I note the rout of your enslaved Ashigaru from the hilltop by sturdy English Yeomen didn’t get a mention – history is of course written by the victors 🙂

    1. The Japanese be they samurai, warrior monk, ashigaru or town militia are prepared to suffer death for their Samurai lord. Indeed, honour demands it. The action on the hill was but a pebble in the sea, a path to greater honour.

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