Takeda Shingen

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Vol. 9 Ch. 71 - Sunpu Castle Falls
The point the author raised about commanders fighting in the front line is very relevant to the age. The role of the commander is to lead, he or she must be able to gather as much information about the battle as possible and issue command accordingly. The fatal flaw of the way the Middle Age European conduct battle was thoroughly exploited by the Mongols. European commanders love to ride into battle with their personal guards, joining in with the bloodbath rather than conducting the battle from a vantage point. Perhaps this was a tradition from the Romans who idolise Alexander, the greatest success story of a "warrior type" commander, strange considering most successful Roman commanders are those who sit back and give order such as Pompey and Caesar. Unfortunately this weakness extends to the Chinese. In China by the time of the Mongols, bureaucracy had taken over, making the Song which already had a terrible military record before the Mongol even more vulnerable. Military commanders in China or military officials have to be physically able, those who have more tactical minded are not often chosen and were shifted to administration, in stark contrast to earlier turmoil age of Spring Autumn and Three Kingdoms period. The Mongols on the other hand were famously meritocratic and would carry old and frail commanders with a lot of experience on to the battlefield to receive command. Shingen and Kenshin might be the contrast the author was hinting at. Kenshin like to fight with his troops while Shingen is much more calculative. 4th battle of Kawanakajima was a strategic victory for the Takeda could be the product of Shingen approach to command.