Mori Clan AAR: Winter 1546 – Summer 1547
In Winter, a Mori trade ship finally established a cotton trade with the Korean Kingdom. Despite the small scale of trade in its beginnings, it still brought in an extra 2-300 koku per season.
As Takamoto followed the Amako force from Iwami to Aki, he was met near the border by a small detachment.
Although concerned by the possibility of an ambush by the bulk of the Amako forces, Takamoto marched forward to destroy the small force. This task was accomplished quickly, and no sign was seen of the remainder of the Amako army.
Motonari, meanwhile, continued to develop the economic capacity of Mori domains by investing in improved irrigation in Iwami.
By Spring 1547, a Mori trading vessel had managed to establish trade with the Indonesian sultanates, providing a source of incense for the clan, which had the potential to become a valuable export to other clans in years to come.
The construction of stables, ordered over a year earlier in Aki was finally completed, allowing the Mori clan to produce cavalry forces beyond the bodyguard forces for Mori generals made up of the sons of senior clan retainers. Motonari knew that highly-trained cavalry would be crucial for the conflict ahead, and ordered the further expansion of the stables to improve the training facilities.
Mori warships continued their solo missions to seek out and secure trade routes. As one of the bow kobayas sailed past Amako territories, it was intercepted by an Amako bow kobaya. The Mori seamen were confident in their superior skills, and immediately closed for a boarding action. After a short fight, the Amako ship was captured and added to the Mori fleet.
Takamoto considered his next move. He knew his father was concerned that the war was dragging on, and to bring the war to a close Takamoto needed to march his army into Amako territory. On the other hand, with no sign of the Amako army last seen entering Aki, Takamoto was reluctant to accept the risk of allowing the Amako to lay waste to the Mori stronghold. On balance, however, Takamoto decided that the most likely encounter with the Amako army, should be continue the pursuit, would be an ambush as his own army marched through the thick forest. Takamoto decided to turn his forces around, and head for Izumo, trusting that the fortifications in Aki would stand against any assault.
By late summer, Takamoto and his army had nearly reached the border between Iwami and Izumo. He was not yet into enemy territory, however, when it became clear why he had found no sign of the Amako in Aki. The Amako force had apparently doubled back, as Takamoto now found enemy troops pouring out of the forest on either side of the road.
Takamoto sent orders down the column of troops. On one side of the road, the Amako had three units of cavalry and three units of spearmen. On the other, two units of archers and spearmen. Takamoto ordered his spearmen forward at the enemy cavalry. The Amako were overconfident, as their cavalry charged at Takamoto and his bodyguard, each man desperate to take the head of the heir to the Mori lands. Fortunately for the future of the Mori, the Amako cavalry were unable to reach Takamoto before the Mori spearmen intercepted them. The speed of the Mori response was such that the Amako cavalry were overwhelmed by the concentration of Mori spear.
After annihilating the Amako cavalry and three spear units, the Mori army continued uphill, being pursued by the remainder of the Amako army. Reaching the summit of the hill, Takamoto turned his forces around.
Fighting an uphill battle against a numerically superior foe and demoralised by the death of their general, the Amako were quickly defeated.
Takamoto lacked the cavalry to pursue effectively, and many escaped, but this battle effectively destroyed the Amako as a military power, and significantly enhanced Takamoto’s reputation as a leader.