In hemmed-in situations, you must resort to stratagem. We may take it then that an army without its baggage-train is lost; without provisions it is lost; without bases of supply it is lost. Lesson 3: Lead your team as if you were leading a single man by the hand. Hence in the wise leader's plans, considerations of advantage and of disadvantage will be blended together. Should the army forestall you in occupying a pass, do not go after him if the pass is fully garrisoned, but only if it is weakly garrisoned.
Ground which is reached through narrow gorges, and from which we can only retire by tortuous paths, so that a small number of the enemy would suffice to crush a large body of our men: this is hemmed in ground. When a general, unable to estimate the enemy's strength, allows an inferior force to engage a larger one, or hurls a weak detachment against a powerful one, and neglects to place picked soldiers in the front rank, the result must be rout. The rule is, not to besiege walled cities if it can possibly be avoided. Hence the skillful fighter puts himself into a position which makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for defeating the enemy. Peace proposals unaccompanied by a sworn covenant indicate a plot. Bestow rewards without regard to rule, issue orders without regard to previous arrangements; and you will be able to handle a whole army as though you had to do with but a single man.
His successful application of his strategic thinking surely lent his literary work strength. Officers and men alike will put forth their uttermost strength. A mysterious chain of events leads to the murder of the Chinese U. The general who thoroughly understands the advantages that accompany variation of tactics knows how to handle his troops. There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard. Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. Having collected an army and concentrated his forces, he must blend and harmonize the different elements thereof before pitching his camp.
If the enemy has occupied them before you, do not follow him, but retreat and try to entice him away. Hence he does not strive to ally himself with all and sundry, nor does he foster the power of other states. Now this foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits; it cannot be obtained inductively from experience, nor by any deductive calculation. Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting. This shakes the confidence of the soldiers. To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence.
From a position of this sort, if the enemy is unprepared, you may sally forth and defeat him. If, when the soldiers have become attached to you, punishments are not enforced, they will still be unless. On difficult ground, I would keep pushing on along the road. The material for raising fire should always be kept in readiness. On contentious ground, attack not. Do not attack from the leeward. We shall be unable to turn natural advantage to account unless we make use of local guides.
Contributing to maintain an army at a distance causes the people to be impoverished. Make forays in fertile country in order to supply your army with food. If you are anxious to fight, you should not go to meet the invader near a river which he has to cross. If they will face death, there is nothing they may not achieve. Startled beasts indicate that a sudden attack is coming. The general, unable to control his irritation, will launch his men to the assault like swarming ants, with the result that one-third of his men are slain, while the town still remains untaken.
Therefore in chariot fighting, when ten or more chariots have been taken, those should be rewarded who took the first. Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory: 1 He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. Do not swallow bait offered by the enemy. If there is no help for it, they will fight hard. On the other hand, to detach a flying column for the purpose involves the sacrifice of its baggage and stores. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.
The spot where we intend to fight must not be made known; for then the enemy will have to prepare against a possible attack at several different points; and his forces being thus distributed in many directions, the numbers we shall have to face at any given point will be proportionately few. This is the art of handling large masses of men. Hence that general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack. Though according to my estimate the soldiers of Yueh exceed our own in number, that shall advantage them nothing in the matter of victory. In making tactical dispositions, the highest pitch you can attain is to conceal them; conceal your dispositions, and you will be safe from the prying of the subtlest spies, from the machinations of the wisest brains. In respect of military method, we have, firstly, Measurement; secondly, Estimation of quantity; thirdly, Calculation; fourthly, Balancing of chances; fifthly, Victory. Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him.
Without subtle ingenuity of mind, one cannot make certain of the truth of their reports. Sun Tzu said: In war, the general receives his commands from the sovereign, collects his army and concentrates his forces 2. He burns his boats and breaks his cooking-pots; like a shepherd driving a flock of sheep, he drives his men this way and that, and nothing knows whither he is going. To lift an autumn hair is no sign of great strength; to see the sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight; to hear the noise of thunder is no sign of a quick ear. Sun Tzu said: In the operations of war, where there are in the field a thousand swift chariots, as many heavy chariots, and a hundred thousand mail-clad soldiers, with provisions enough to carry them a thousand li, the expenditure at home and at the front, including entertainment of guests, small items such as glue and paint, and sums spent on chariots and armor, will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day. Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards. Born of Sun Ping, a senior military officer in the state of Qi, Sun Tzu grew up with an education focusing on military affairs.
Understanding Sun Tzu's - Full Documentary Few writers from ancient times enjoy the same level of recognition as Sun Tzu, the famous philosopher and general from ancient China. By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march; then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him. Rapidity is the essence of war: take advantage of the enemy's unreadiness, make your way by unexpected routes, and attack unguarded spots. In Sun Tzu's final chapter of his book, he opens with a statement that rings very true today as my own country, the United States, finds itself financing a prolonged war. Now the general is the bulwark of the State; if the bulwark is complete at all points; the State will be strong; if the bulwark is defective, the State will be weak. But when the army is restless and distrustful, trouble is sure to come from the other feudal princes.