Was Medieval Japanese warfare like "pike and shot" or more with melee weapons?

Mrbsct

Ad Honorem
Jul 2013
2,620
USA
#1
Title

Was it more like archery(later guns) was the main form form fighting and the Yari was there to prevent cavalry charges and heavily armored infantry samurai from closing in. Or was it more predominatly people going attacking with polearms and archery mainly a skirmishing role?

In Ancient China, crossbows were main arm with pikes being supporting similar to pike an shot.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
33,144
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#2
Title

Was it more like archery(later guns) was the main form form fighting and the Yari was there to prevent cavalry charges and heavily armored infantry samurai from closing in. Or was it more predominatly people going attacking with polearms and archery mainly a skirmishing role?

In Ancient China, crossbows were main arm with pikes being supporting similar to pike an shot.
Originally, samurai warfare consisted of what was almost a series of individual archery contests, with each man confronting an opponent, shouting out his name and accomplishments before engaging. That all changed when the Mongols attacked. The Mongols weren't interested in single combat and it came as a shock to the Japanese.

By the end of the 16th century, guns had replaced bows when they were available, and used in mass formations, and replaced archery in the same role.
 
Jul 2018
497
Hong Kong
#3
By the end of the 16th century, guns had replaced bows when they were available, and used in mass formations, and replaced archery in the same role.
Guns did not completely replace bows in the end of the 16th century. Arquebuses requires long time for reloading bullets, and its firing accuracy is low, though having longer range and more devastating effect (especially of heavier-typed used for castle-defense).

So usually, It was the mixture of "bows and arquebuses" for the component of daimyos' army for long-range supporting firepower, with pikemen and mounted warrior forming the entire army. It's undeniable that few clans / factions (of financially robust) had greater reliance on firearms such like Tachibana (立花), Otomo (大友), Shimazu (島津), Date (伊達), Saika Ikki (雑賀一揆). Those financially-weak minor clans could not burden the heavy cost of troops largely equipped with arquebuses, which was very expensive unless their domains could produce en masse.
 
Last edited:

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
33,144
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#4
Guns did not completely replace bows in the end of the 16th century. Arquebuses requires long time for reloading bullets, and its firing accuracy is low, though having longer range and more devastating effect (especially of heavier-typed used for castle-defense).

So usually, It was the mixture of "bows and arquebuses" for the component of daimyos' army for long-range supporting firepower, with pikemen and mounted warrior forming the entire army. It's undeniable that few clans / factions (of financially robust) had greater reliance on firearms such like Tachibana (立花), Otomo (大友), Shimazu (島津), Date (伊達), Saika Ikki (雑賀一揆). Those financially-weak minor clans could not burden the heavy cost of troops largely equipped with arquebuses, which was very expensive unless their domains could produce en masse.
Right, which is why I said when they were available. It is remarkable that a relatively poor clam like the Uesugi achieved the success they did with a lower concentration of firearms.

There was one particular daimyo who advocated the replacement of bows with firearms in his clan writings, but I can't remember who.
 

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