Battle of Shergani Castle

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Battle of Shergani Castle
Part of South Nebraskan Invasion of East Nebraska
Hundred Regiments Offensive-Nzg.jpg
East Nebraskan soldiers atop Shergani Castle's scouting balcony about an hour before the battle's start.
Date June 4, 1940
Location Shergani Castle, East Nebraska
Result South Nebraskan Victory
  • South Nebraskan advance towards Togushaga stalled for 3 days.
  • Shergani Castle becomes rallying cry for the Allied Powers.
Belligerents
East Nebraska South Nebraska
Commanders and leaders
First Lieutenant Haktori Toboshima Major General Thomas Flieks
Strength
55 personnel 10,000 personnel
Casualties and losses
55 killed 3,814 killed

4,150 wounded

Battle of Shergani Castle

The Battle of Shergani Castle (June 4, 1940) was a minor engagement during the South Nebraskan Invasion of East Nebraska between the South Nebraskan 4th Republican Guards Division and the 16th Infantry Division and the East Nebraskan 3rd Infantry Division.

The 3rd Infantry Division contingent comprised 55 soldiers, who were stationed at Shergani Castle and were attacked by around 10,000 South Nebraskans. The East Nebraskans, led by First Lieutenant Haktori Toboshima, chose to fight to the death, in what is considered by some military historians as one of history's greatest last-stands.

Situation

As the South Nebraskans made their way through East Nebraska, a minor offensive aimed at capturing the city of Togushaga was launched on May 17. The East Nebraskan military was in a horrible situation near Togushaga, with many sick and/or wounded soldiers in the city. The city also had a large population of elderly and children. They ultimately decided to evacuate the city, but the evacuation of the city would not be finished by the time the South Nebraskans arrived. Major General Amai Kokei ordered a small contingent to hold back the South Nebraskans at Shergani Castle, which was two miles from the city.

Armed with only bolt action rifles, outdated sub machine guns, pistols, katanas and grenades, the contingent suspected that the castle had a weapons cache in it.

Meanwhile, the South Nebraskans knew that if they could capture Shergani Castle, it would be a huge blow to East Nebraskan morale, so the 4th Republican Guards Division and the 16th Infantry Division were tasked with capturing the castle as the rest of the 3rd Army Corp set up an encampment nearby to rest.

Upon arriving, the East Nebraskans found no weapons cache, but plenty of ammunition and medipacks. Quickly, First Lieutenant Toboshima organized his men into defensive positions; he assumed, correctly, that the South Nebraskan artillery could not fire accurately on such a small target (Shergani Castle is not a very large castle, only having two rooms, an outer wall, and scouting balcony).

The Battle

Although none of the 55 East Nebraskan soldiers survived the battle, details of the Battle of Shergani are considered fairly accurate, as Major General Amai Kokei and several others viewed the battle via a telescope from Togushaga. These are the events in order as they occurred.

  • Around 4:00 PM, the first attack on the castle begins.
  • A South Nebraskan grenade blows a hole in Shergani Castle’s north wall.
  • The doors to Shergani Castle are forced open by Republican Guard soldiers.
  • Several grenade explosions, likely from East Nebraskan soldiers, occur.
  • East Nebraskan soldiers retreat from the castle’s courtyard.
  • Several East Nebraskan soldiers begin carrying ammo crates and medipacks to the scouting balcony.
  • The castle’s walls are taken.
  • Five East Nebraskan soldiers, including First Lieutenant Toboshima, make a last stand on the scouting balcony.
  • First Lieutenant Toboshima, now the last soldier alive on the scouting balcony, begins to throw huge amounts of grenades down into the courtyard.
  • Having probably expended all his rifle ammo, Toboshima draws his katana and Nambu pistol, and rushes done the ladder from the scouting balcony into advancing South Nebraskan soldiers at 4:34.
  • At 4:45, a South Nebraska flag is planted on Shergani Castle’s scouting balcony, signalling the castle has been taken.

Despite losing all soldiers and the castle, the 55 men inflicted huge loses on 4th Republican Guards Division and the 16th Infantry Division, almost killing a quarter of the 16th.

Although the battle only lasted 45 minutes, it effectively knocked the 4th Republican Guards Division and the 16th Infantry Division out of action for the time being.

In total, 3,814 South Nebraskans were killed compared to only 55 for East Nebraska.

It is reported that the South Nebraskans suffered 4,150 wounded. There is also an unconfirmed report of a wounded South Nebraska pleading with Major General Thomas Flieks (the leader of the assault) to not send another wave;

“Please sir! Do not send more men; they are not humans defending the castle, but the Gods of War themselves!”

Aftermath

The planned assault on Togushaga was postponed 3 days to resupply the Republican Guards Division and the 16th Infantry Division with new men and equipment.

Togushaga was able to be successfully evacuated and the East Nebraskan troops soon retreated. Major General Amai Kokei made sure to spread the word of the “Heroic last stand” made at Shergani Castle. The East Nebraskan government made heavy use of the battle in propaganda, and with the Axis powers victories in 1940, news of the “Heroic last stand at Shergani Castle” was spread around the world as a highlight of Allied bravery and Axis incompetency.

After the fall of East Nebraska, the battle was used as a rallying cry for the East Nebraskan resistance movement, with their famous “Remember Shergani!” battle cry.

All soldiers at Shergani Castle were posthumously awarded the Order of Merit; the highest award available in the East Nebraska at the time. Emperor Yoshitora posthumously awarded every soldier the Order of the Rising Sun after the monarchy was restored in 1944.

Why Such High South Nebraskan Casualties?

Many had doubts over the high South Nebraskan casualty count. With the casualty counts of 3,814 to 55, one East Nebraskan soldier would have had to kill 70 men each.

Part of the reason speculated was the Three Dragon Grenade Tactic, which both Major General Kokei and surviving South Nebraskan soldiers said the East Nebraskan defenders used extensively. This would make sense, as the tactic would work well in Shergani Castle’s courtyard. A 1986 study, however, could not find evidence that grenades had been used on mass.

Modern military historians mostly agree the high South Nebraskan death count was caused by the slow aiming and reloading time of the South Nebraskans, the Three Dragon tactic, and the castle's interior architecture being well suited for defense.

At the time, South Nebraska did not train their soldiers to aim fast; rather to take their time and aim for their targets accurately. While this tactic worked well elsewhere on the Nebraskan continent, in close quarters combat the tactic is essentially useless.

Remembrance and Legacy

Currently, the battle is taught as a standard East Nebraskan upper secondary school lesson. The East Nebraskan Board of Education said that the battle is taught because “The heroism shown by the East Nebraskan soldiers acts as inspiration for young adults.”

June 4 is known as Shergani Day, and is celebrated with parades, and many go to Shergani Castle to pay their respects to the fallen soldiers.

The battle is rarely mentioned in South Nebraska, and is not considered a large part of the state's history.

In Popular Culture

Three documentaries about the battle; Shergani Day (1987), Shergani Castle: History’s Greatest Last Stand (2014), and The Battle of Shergani Castle (2029) have been produced.

The TV series “Banzai!” featured an episode in which one of the characters fought and died at Shergani Castle.