The Art Of War, Famous Book 9
- Sun Tzu said: We come now to the question of encamping
the army, and
observing signs of the enemy. Pass quickly over mountains, and keep in
neighborhood of valleys.
- Camp in high places, facing the sun. Do not climb
heights in order to fight. So much for mountain warfare.
- After crossing a river, you should get far away from
- When an invading force crosses a river in its onward
not advance to meet it in mid-stream. It will be best to let half the
army get across, and then
deliver your attack.
- If you are anxious to fight, you should not go to
meet the invader near a river which he has to cross.
- Moor your craft higher up than the enemy, and facing
Do not move up-stream to meet the enemy. So much for river warfare.
- In crossing salt-marshes, your sole concern should
be to get over them quickly, without any delay.
- If forced to fight in a salt-marsh, you should have
grass near you, and get your back to a clump of trees. So much for
operations in salt-marches.
- In dry, level country, take up an easily accessible
with rising ground to your right and on your rear, so that the danger
may be in front, and safety lie
behind. So much for campaigning in flat country.
- These are the four useful branches of military knowledge
which enabled the Yellow Emperor to vanquish four several sovereigns.
- All armies prefer high ground to low and sunny places
- If you are careful of your men, and camp on hard
army will be free from disease of every kind, and this will spell
- When you come to a hill or a bank, occupy the sunny
the slope on your right rear. Thus you will at once act for the benefit
of your soldiers and
utilize the natural advantages of the ground.
- When, in consequence of heavy rains up-country, a
you wish to ford is swollen and flecked with foam, you must wait until
- Country in which there are precipitous cliffs with
running between, deep natural hollows, confined places, tangled
thickets, quagmires and crevasses,
should be left with all possible speed and not approached.
- While we keep away from such places, we should get
the enemy to
approach them; while we face them, we should let the enemy have them on
- If in the neighborhood of your camp there should
be any hilly
country, ponds surrounded by aquatic grass, hollow basins filled with
reeds, or woods with
thick undergrowth, they must be carefully routed out and searched; for
these are places where men in ambush or insidious spies are likely to be
- When the enemy is close at hand and remains quiet,
he is relying on the natural strength of his position.
- When he keeps aloof and tries to provoke a battle,
he is anxious for the other side to advance.
- If his place of encampment is easy of access, he
is tendering a bait.
- Movement amongst the trees of a forest shows that
the enemy is
advancing. The appearance of a number of screens in the midst of thick
grass means that the
enemy wants to make us suspicious.
- The rising of birds in their flight is the sign of
an ambuscade. Startled beasts indicate that a sudden attack is coming.
- When there is dust rising in a high column, it is
the sign of
chariots advancing; when the dust is low, but spread over a wide area,
it betokens the approach of
infantry. When it branches out in different directions, it shows that
parties have been sent to collect firewood. A few clouds of dust moving
to and fro signify
that the army is encamping.
- Humble words and increased preparations are signs
enemy is about to advance. Violent language and driving forward as if to
the attack are signs that
he will retreat.
- When the light chariots come out first and take up
a position on the wings, it is a sign that the enemy is forming for battle.
- Peace proposals unaccompanied by a sworn covenant
indicate a plot.
- When there is much running about and the soldiers
fall into rank, it means that the critical moment has come.
- When some are seen advancing and some retreating,
it is a lure.
- When the soldiers stand leaning on their spears,
they are faint from want of food.
- If those who are sent to draw water begin by drinking
themselves, the army is suffering from thirst.
- If the enemy sees an advantage to be gained and makes
no effort to secure it, the soldiers are exhausted.
- If birds gather on any spot, it is unoccupied. Clamor
by night betokens nervousness.
- If there is disturbance in the camp, the general's
weak. If the banners and flags are shifted about, sedition is afoot. If
the officers are angry, it
means that the men are weary.
- When an army feeds its horses with grain and kills
for food, and when the men do not hang their cooking-pots over the
camp-fires, showing that
they will not return to their tents, you may know that they are
determined to fight to the death.
- The sight of men whispering together in small knots
in subdued tones points to disaffection amongst the rank and file.
- Too frequent rewards signify that the enemy is at
the end of
his resources; too many punishments betray a condition of dire distress.
- To begin by bluster, but afterwards to take fright
at the enemy's numbers, shows a supreme lack of intelligence.
- When envoys are sent with compliments in their mouths,
it is a sign that the enemy wishes for a truce.
- If the enemy's troops march up angrily and remain
for a long time without either joining battle or taking themselves off
again, the situation is one
that demands great vigilance and circumspection.
- If our troops are no more in number than the enemy,
amply sufficient; it only means that no direct attack can be made. What
we can do is simply to
concentrate all our available strength, keep a close watch on the enemy,
and obtain reinforcements.
- He who exercises no forethought but makes light of
his opponents is sure to be captured by them.
- If soldiers are punished before they have grown attached
you, they will not prove submissive; and, unless submissive, then will
be practically useless. If,
when the soldiers have become attached to you, punishments are not
enforced, they will still be unless.
- Therefore soldiers must be treated in the first instance
humanity, but kept under control by means of iron discipline. This is a
certain road to victory.
- If in training soldiers commands are habitually enforced,
army will be well-disciplined; if not, its discipline will be bad.
- If a general shows confidence in his men but always
insists on his orders being obeyed, the gain will be mutual.
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