The Art Of War, Famous Book 7
- Sun Tzu said: In war, the general receives his commands
from the sovereign.
- Having collected an army and concentrated his forces,
blend and harmonize the different elements thereof before pitching his
- After that, comes tactical maneuvering, than which
nothing more difficult. The difficulty of tactical maneuvering consists
in turning the devious into the
direct, and misfortune into gain.
- Thus, to take a long and circuitous route, after
enemy out of the way, and though starting after him, to contrive to
reach the goal before him,
shows knowledge of the artifice of DEVIATION.
- Maneuvering with an army is advantageous; with an
undisciplined multitude, most dangerous.
- If you set a fully equipped army in march in order
to snatch an
advantage, the chances are that you will be too late. On the other
hand, to detach a flying
column for the purpose involves the sacrifice of its baggage and stores.
- Thus, if you order your men to roll up their buff-coats,
make forced marches without halting day or night, covering double the
usual distance at a stretch,
doing a hundred LI in order to wrest an advantage, the leaders of all
your three divisions will fall into the hands of the enemy.
- The stronger men will be in front, the jaded ones
behind, and on this plan only one-tenth of your army will reach its
- If you march fifty LI in order to outmaneuver the
will lose the leader of your first division, and only half your force
will reach the goal.
- If you march thirty LI with the same object, two-thirds
of your army will arrive.
- We may take it then that an army without its baggage-train
lost; without provisions it is lost; without bases of supply it is lost.
- We cannot enter into alliances until we are acquainted
with the designs of our neighbors.
- We are not fit to lead an army on the march unless
familiar with the face of the country--its mountains and forests, its
pitfalls and precipices, its
marshes and swamps.
- We shall be unable to turn natural advantage to account
unless we make use of local guides.
- In war, practice dissimulation, and you will succeed.
- Whether to concentrate or to divide your troops,
must be decided by circumstances.
- Let your rapidity be that of the wind, your compactness
that of the forest.
- In raiding and plundering be like fire, is immovability
like a mountain.
- Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night,
and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.
- When you plunder a countryside, let the spoil be
amongst your men; when you capture new territory, cut it up into
allotments for the benefit of the
- Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.
- He will conquer who has learnt the artifice of deviation.
Such is the art of maneuvering.
- The Book of Army Management says: On the field of
spoken word does not carry far enough: hence the institution of gongs
and drums. Nor can
ordinary objects be seen clearly enough: hence the institution of
banners and flags.
- Gongs and drums, banners and flags, are means whereby
the ears and eyes of the host may be focused on one particular point.
- The host thus forming a single united body, is it
either for the brave to advance alone, or for the cowardly to retreat
alone. This is the art of
handling large masses of men.
- In night-fighting, then, make much use of signal-fires
drums, and in fighting by day, of flags and banners, as a means of
influencing the ears and eyes of
- A whole army may be robbed of its spirit; a commander-in-chief
may be robbed of his presence of mind.
- Now a soldier's spirit is keenest in the morning;
by noonday it
has begun to flag; and in the evening, his mind is bent only on
returning to camp.
- A clever general, therefore, avoids an army when
its spirit is
keen, but attacks it when it is sluggish and inclined to return. This is
the art of studying moods.
- Disciplined and calm, to await the appearance of
hubbub amongst the enemy:--this is the art of retaining self-possession.
- To be near the goal while the enemy is still far
from it, to
wait at ease while the enemy is toiling and struggling, to be well-fed
while the enemy is
famished:--this is the art of husbanding one's strength.
- To refrain from intercepting an enemy whose banners
perfect order, to refrain from attacking an army drawn up in calm and
confident array:--this is the
art of studying circumstances.
- It is a military axiom not to advance uphill against
the enemy, nor to oppose him when he comes downhill.
- Do not pursue an enemy who simulates flight; do not
attack soldiers whose temper is keen.
- Do not swallow bait offered by the enemy. Do not
interfere with an army that is returning home.
- When you surround an army, leave an outlet free.
Do not press a desperate foe too hard.
- Such is the art of warfare.
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