Infiltration of Enemy Lines

If a Ninja wanted to break through enemy lines to get to his area of operations, he had to be resourceful.

A tactic was often used in which a squad of Ninja or Samurai carried out a mock attack (ennyu no jutsu). If all the troops rushed to attack, the Ninja could get into the fortress unhindered. Sometimes the Ninja disguised himself as a simple foot soldier. These were mostly recruited from farmers and nobody knew their identity, so the Ninja could move around unmolested.

Sometimes a troop of Ninja was also with the enemy as mercenaries and so came unhindered into the area of operation. When building the castle of Iga, the Ninja mingled with the workers and were able to find out the weak points of the fortress, which later helped them to victory.

Strategies for an Infiltration

To get into the enemy castle or camp, the Ninja used different strategies.

First, he had to wait for the right time to attack (nyukyo no jutsu, Eng. the art of invasion). A favorable time for an attack was when the enemy force had left the camp for a campaign. He climbed over the ramparts and opened the gates to his troops. Another possibility arose when a camp had only been set up a few days or when new troops had arrived. At that point, everything was not properly organized and it was easy to disappear.

The Ninja used cooking and mealtimes, horse feeding times, and rest times to gain access.

The night after a celebration, after an accident or death, or after a sick person has recovered is particularly suitable. Even after winning and losing battles, it was easy to get to the camp.

He liked to use the weather – in rain, snow, storms, and on moonless nights he attacked his enemies.

Sleeping habits were also included in the planning. Lieber was attacked in spring and summer because people sleep more deeply at that time. In the fall and winter, most people don’t sleep that deeply, so he avoided that time.

He knew that older people need less sleep, that fat people usually sleep well and thin people badly.

Then he found out the weaknesses of the enemy’s defenses (monomi no jutsu). He preferred rooms that were easier to break into. These were usually rooms far from the kitchen, dining room, or pantry. He looked for back doors or unused rooms, like guest rooms.

Man as a Weak Point

But he also made use of the weaknesses in human defenses (nyudaki no jutsu). He used the laziness, stupidity, or other quirks of the guards to his advantage. In the rain or cold (ametori no jutsu, Eng. the art of the birds in the rainy), the guards preferred to stay away from their work or to carry it out half-heartedly. Usually, every distraction on the boring service was accepted with joy.

Sometimes the Ninja would throw an object over a guard’s head to get his attention (yoji gakure no jutsu). This technique was carried out until the opponent was no longer interested in pursuing a crack in the branches. In addition, you could irritate him with animal sounds.

A popular tactic was to hang a coat outside. When it was windy, it would make noise and attract the guards, allowing the Ninja to sneak away unmolested.

Avoiding Human Contact

He tried to avoid any human contact on his night missions. Conflicts hindered him in his execution and cost time, it is possible that the order even failed because of it. But when it was unavoidable, he tried to carry the body of the guard into the thick branches of a tree.

He liked to exploit people’s superstitions (kyonin no jutsu). Whether devil mask, fire spit, or various evil animals such as snakes, toads, rats, or ravens, he used everything that brought him an advantage.

When tasked with spreading terror and fear among his opponents, he liked to ambush, hit hard, and retreat. In this way, the morale of the troops was destroyed.

He liked to hide in the castle’s beams before the battle and waited. He then set fires to various locations in the castle, sabotaged ammunition depots and storerooms, polluted wells, and destroyed equipment.

Text: Stefan Imhoff