October 18 - 1561 - The Fourth Battle of Kawanakajima
In the Sekogu period, Japan was divided into a large number of small provinces, each ruled by powerful daimyo and all at war with each other. Two of the most important daimyo were Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin. They seemed to constantly match each other. Takeda Shingen was known as the Tiger of Kai, while Uesugi Kenshin was the Dragon of Echigo. On a mountain plain known as Kawanakajima, the island between the rivers, they met in battle repeatedly. The Fourth Battle of Kawanakajima was their biggest and most well remembered engagement. Shingen had 20,000 men, while Kenshin held 18,000. Shingen took the first strategic move, sending a few thousand men toward the Uesugi forces to surprise them at night, forcing them into his main army's crane wing formation. Instead, Kenshin moved his troops toward the Takeda force first, with what was known as the winding wheel. This whirling formation kept fresh troops in the vanguard, and placed Kenshin in Shingen's tent. Shingen could only parry Kenshin's sword thrusts with his war fan. In the end, Uesugi Kenshin was driven back by Takeda bodyguards. The battle was astonishingly bloody, frustratingly inconclusive, and instantly legendary.