Main The Ultimate Art of War: A Step-By-Step Illustrated Guide to Sun Tzu’s Teachings
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this book missing chapter 7
06 June 2022 (20:42)
no chapter 7!!
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BY THE SAME AUTHOR Fundamental Samurai Teachings (Book of Samurai Series Book I) Samurai Arms, Armour & the Tactics of Warfare (Book of Samurai Series Book II) Book of Ninja: The First Complete Translation of the Bansenshukai Ninja Skills: The Authentic Ninja Training Manual The Dark Side of Japan: Ancient Black Magic, Folklore, Ritual Iga and Koka Ninja Skills: The Secret Shinobi Scrolls of Chikamatsu Shigenori The Illustrated Guide to Viking Martial Arts In Search of the Ninja: The Historical Truth of Ninjutsu The Lost Samurai School: Secrets of Mubyoshi Ryu The Lost Warfare of India: An Illustrated Guide Modern Ninja Warfare: Ninja Tactics and Methods for the Modern Warrior Old Japan: Secrets from the Shores of the Samurai Samurai and Ninja: The Real Story Behind the Japanese Warrior Myth that Shatters the Bushido Mystique Samurai War Stories The Secret Traditions of the Shinobi: Hattori Hanzo’s Shinobi Hiden and other Ninja Scrolls Secrets of the Ninja: The Shinobi Teachings of Hattori Hanzo True Path of the Ninja: The Definitive Translation of the Shoninki THE ULTIMATE ART OF WAR ANTONY CUMMINS First published in the UK and USA in 2019 by Watkins, an imprint of Watkins Media Limited Unit 11, Shepperton House, 83–93 Shepperton Road London N1 3DF firstname.lastname@example.org Design and typography copyright © Watkins Media Limited 2019 Text copyright © Antony Cummins 2019 Artwork copyright © Antony Cummins 2019 The right of Antony Cummins to be identified as the Author of this text has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review. Commissioning Editor: Fiona Robertson Managing Editor: Daniel Culver Editor: James Hodgson Head of Design: Georgina Hewitt ; Designer: Karen Smith Production: Uzma Taj Commissioned artwork: Jay Kane Calligraphy: Yamamoto Jyuhō A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN: 978-1-78678-271-7 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Typeset in Adobe Garamond Pro and Brandon Grotesque Colour reproduction by XY Digital Printed in China www.watkinspublishing.com WARNING The information contained within this book is for historical research purposes only and should not be recreated nor re-enacted in any way. Watkins Media Limited, the author and any other persons who have been involved in working on this publication cannot accept responsibility for any injuries or damage incurred as a result of applying the information in this book. CONTENTS Foreword Introduction THE ART OF WAR CHAPTER 1: The Scroll of Preparation and Plans CHAPTER 2: The Scroll of Battle Preparations CHAPTER 3: The Scroll of Stratagems for Attack CHAPTER 4: The Scroll of Observing Patterns CHAPTER 5: The Scroll of Power CHAPTER 6: The Scroll of Deception CHAPTER 7: The Scroll of Military Combat CHAPTER 8: The Scroll of Changing Situations CHAPTER 9: The Scroll of Military Movement CHAPTER 10: The Scroll of the Landscape CHAPTER 11: The Scroll of the Nine Terrains CHAPTER 12: The Scroll of Attacking with Fire CHAPTER 13: The Scroll on the Use of Spies The Complete Strategy of Sun Tzu Index The Book of Samurai Series About the Author About the Illustrator About the Calligrapher FOREWORD As I write this foreword for The Ultimate Art of War, I am working on a new article interpreting the concepts and evolution of Chinese military dialectics. One may consider the two works belong to different realms – one aimed at a mainstream readership, the other at an academic audience – but it occurs to me that their importance is linked. The harder I try to advance the scholarship of Chinese strategic thought in the West, the more I fear my efforts might be in vain, as the current foundation of the scholarship remains flimsy. Groundwork is needed for the academic scholarship to stand firm. The Ultimate Art of War gives me some hope with regard to this longstanding problem. As a classic that is often heard of and read but seldom understood in the West, Sun Tzu’s Art of War has thus far remained in the translation phase. And we know this translation approach has reached its limits. Antony Cummins has made an important first step in going beyond mere translation by offering readers a modern reading that takes a step-by-step, graphical approach. By breaking down the Art of War into individual, easy-to-understand teachings, it helps clarify the chapters of the original that are hard to digest for most non-academic readers. Such use of lessons is an enhanced form of studying Sun Tzu by the means of maxims, yet it is more helpful than merely trying to learn from the maxims alone. I believe Antony Cummins has developed a new and systematic way of studying the Art of War for the Western world. I am impressed by Antony’s devotion and enthusiasm in his studies of the ninja and the samurai, and taking on the transmission of Chinese strategic thought to the West is another tremendous task that requires the same courage and determination. I am glad that Antony Cummins is on board with this project. His cross-cultural literacy and clever illustrations make The Ultimate Art of War an ideal companion book to Sun Tzu’s original text. As I suggested in my book Deciphering Sun Tzu, in addition to the historical and philosophical approach that I have been advocating and pursuing, the next essential step to be taken in the scholarship of Sun Tzu and broader Chinese strategy is a more extensive study of Chinese military and strategic history. I am hopeful that Antony Cummins will continue his great work and through his illustrated books help reignite the study of Chinese strategy in the West. Derek M.C. Yuen Author of Deciphering Sun Tzu: How to Read the Art of War BIO Derek M.C. Yuen has a PhD in Strategic Studies from the University of Reading. He is the author of Deciphering Sun Tzu: How to Read the Art of War (New York: Oxford University Press; London: Hurst). Based in Hong Kong, he has been researching and publishing on the synthesis of Chinese and Western strategic thought and the strategic thinking of Sun Tzu, Lao Tzu and Mao Zedong. He is currently working on a book about the strategic thought and military dialectics of Mao Zedong. INTRODUCTION The Art of War is a military text believed to have been written by an ancient Chinese strategist known as Sun Tzu during the late Spring and Autumn Period (fifth century BC). Its continued influence in all parts of the modern world is a testament to the timeless and universal wisdom of its teachings. There are myriad translations, interpretations, expansions and inspirations based on the original, all of which hold merit. However, this book focuses on Sun Tzu’s core teachings and explores each lesson in greater depth than has been done before. By breaking the Art of War down into individual, easy-to-understand teachings, this book aims to inspire readers to delve deeper into the weightier writings on war and strategy. WHY WE NEED AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE The Art of War has been in existence for over 2,000 years, yet it remains a text that is often read but seldom explored. New translations and treatments of the work continue to spring up year after year. From comic book interpretations to business models and leadership guides, there is seemingly no end of uses for the Art of War, but none of these books fully explores the teachings themselves. Previous illustrated editions have contained only the translated text lavishly adorned with gorgeous pictures of old China and related artefacts to help give a flavour of the subject matter. In contrast, this edition presents not only the translation itself, but also in-depth explanations supported by illustrations and diagrams specifically conceived to clarify Sun Tzu’s concepts. THE STRUCTURE OF THIS BOOK This book divides Sun Tzu’s original text into separate sections, signalled by the heading “Sun Tzu says”. Each section is followed by a number of individual lessons based on the content of that section. Where applicable, lessons have an accompanying illustration that conveys the essence of the teaching. Some are abstract, others are directly instructional. Lessons that are particularly abstract or that echo earlier teachings do not have an illustration. Take note of the following points: •When only circles are used, black circles represent the allied troops while red ones represent the leadership. •When hexagons, squares or blocks are used, black represents the allies and red the enemies. •The formations are not actual historical examples; they are there to provide an idea only. The lesson commentary expands on the core point or points that Sun Tzu is making. Where there is disagreement among the various ancient Chinese commentators and modern translators, I discuss the different interpretations, giving equal weight to the different versions. Each lesson concludes with a “war tip”, which summarizes the essence of the lesson in a sentence or two. WHO WAS SUN TZU? Sun Tzu (sometimes rendered as Sunzi) is an enigmatic figure. Most people will jump to the answer that he was a military strategist who wrote the Art of War. However, even this is not completely certain. His very name is incomplete – Sun Tzu just means “Master Sun”, Sun being a Chinese surname. Some scholars believe he did not actually exist. Sun Tzu’s birth and death dates are unknown – he does not appear in any census or writings of his supposed time and all transcriptions of the Art of War are from a much later date. The original is now lost. The lack of firm biographical information has led to a debate that has raged for over a thousand years. Theories about Sun Tzu include the following: You should never say “Master Sun Tzu” because it is like saying “Master, master Sun”. Instead say either “Master Sun” or just “Sun Tzu” •He presented the Art of War to the King of Wu in 512 BC. •He may be the historically identifiable person called Sun Wu of the fifth century BC. •He may be an unrecorded man dating to somewhere between the last half of the fifth century BC and the third century BC. •He may be a fake construct invented sometime between 200 BC and AD 200 to give the text credibility. In this book I have assumed that Sun Tzu is a historical figure and that he wrote the text known as the Art of War. WHAT IS THE ART OF WAR? Some people claim that Sun Tzu created military ways in old China. This is not true, he merely recorded and perfected them. Warfare existed before the Art of War, but the text is notable for capturing military principles in concise, down-to-earth terms without recourse to the lengthy dialogues on esoteric matters that characterize other ancient Chinese writings. It has been famous for its whole existence and, if anything, its fame is actually increasing. The original ideograms for the book and its author’s name. A literal translation would be “Military Matters by Master Sun”, but the text became widely known as the Art of War A HISTORY OF THE TEXT One of the main problems in dating ancient Chinese texts is that the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, held a mass book-burning crusade during his reign (220–210 BC), which destroyed most of the books that predated him. Until fairly recently, the earliest known transcription of the Art of War was from around AD 1000. However, in 1972 excavators unearthed a pair of tombs in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong. In one tomb they found bamboo strips on which the Art of War had been transcribed. The burial of the tomb was found to date to the Han dynasty (206 BC to AD 220), but the transcription could of course be even older than that. What is clear is that the structure of the text had been fixed in place by this time. The ideogram , usually translated as “chapter” or “scroll”, originally represented a bamboo book. The Art of War would have been written on 25cm (10in) bamboo strips laced together. Sadly, however, translators and historians agree that sections of the original text have been lost, moved out of place or added during later transcriptions (although they disagree as to which parts may have been moved or added). But take heart, all agree that most of the text is there and that later ideogram changes are minimal. The manual was passed down the ages, making its way around mainland Asia (also Russia) and into Japan where it was a core text of study for the samurai class. It was not until 1772 that it first appeared in Europe, with sections being presented in French by a Jesuit missionary. It allegedly found its way to Napoleon (or so say certain Chinese scholars) and then on to military theorists like the Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz (1780–1831). The first English translations (see page 12) appeared in the early 20th century and since then the Art of War has been translated many times into most of the major world languages. DATING THE TEXT Sun Tzu and the Art of War are commonly placed in the fifth and sixth centuries BC, but this may not be accurate. For a detailed current understanding, see Ames, R.T., Sun Tzu: The Art of War, Folio Society, London, 2017. A NOTE ON TRANSLATIONS This book reproduces the first full English translation, by the British sinologist Lionel Giles (1875–1958), which was published in 1910. However, in the lessons contained within this book I have also analysed and compared all the other leading translations to form a complete understanding of each teaching. I have referred particularly extensively to the 1993 translation by American writer Ralph D. Sawyer, which is one of the most accessible for modern-day Western readers. Therefore, you will find in a few places that my commentary does not match up exactly with the Giles version, but all is explained in the text. All of the translations are great works by accomplished authors who deserve praise for their outstanding efforts in bringing the writings of Sun Tzu to the English-speaking world. Everard Ferguson Calthrop’s partial 1905 translation is often criticized by later academics. However, his version is still included here but with caution because he was working from Japanese texts and, as an army officer himself, his focus was on conveying the essentials of Asian warfare to the modern Western military rather than on maintaining complete linguistic accuracy. Here is the full list of texts used for this edition: •Ames, R. T., Sun Tzu: The Art of War, Folio Society, London, 2017 •Calthrop, E. F., The Art of War, Capstone, West Sussex, 2010 •Cleary, T., The Art of War: Complete Texts and Commentaries, Shambhala, Boston 1988 •Clements, J., Sun Tzu: The Art of War, Macmillan, London, 2017 •Denma Translation Group, The Art of War: A New Translation, Shambhala, Boston, 2001 •Giles, L., The Art of War: Sun Tzu, Arcturus, London, 2017 •Griffith, S. B., Sun Tzu, The Art of War: A New Illustrated Edition, Watkins, London, 2002 •Minford, J., Sun Tzu: The Art of War, Penguin Books, London, 2005 •Sawyer, R. D., The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China, Westview Press, Colorado, 1993 •Trapp, J., The Art of War: A New Translation, Amber, London, 2011 •Yuen, D. M., Deciphering Sun Tzu: How to Read the Art of War, Hurst and Company, London, 2014 OTHER VERSIONS OF THE ART OF WAR As we have seen, there are numerous translations of the Art of War, but there are also documents that are considered as new “versions” of the work. These include Thomas Cleary’s translations of the documents Mastering the Art of War, The Lost Art of War and The Silver Sparrow Art of War, all of which are historical documents concerned with Sun Tzu’s text or alternative versions of it. Another important work is the Art of War by Sun Bin (died 316 BC), which was also discovered in the 1972 Shandong excavation. To date, only Sun Tzu’s standard text is regarded as the Art of War proper, and the extra discussions and sentences found in these other documents are seen as additions or complements to the original. This book has focused on the standard text and stayed within its boundaries, but has taken into account additions from other versions. TRANSLITERATION SYSTEMS There are two main systems for transliterating Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet to enable non-Chinese speakers to pronounce them. The original Wade-Giles system, established in the 19th century, gives us the classic spelling of “Sun Tzu”. The Hanyu-Pinyin system was developed in the 1950s and has been adopted by international organizations such as the United Nations. Using this system we get the alternative spelling of “Sunzi”, which is becoming popular among modern translators. Almost every name, title and concept in this book will have variations in its Roman spelling. The main problem comes with the names of the ancient Chinese commentators, which do not match across the different versions of the translated commentaries. For example, Tu Mu, Wade-Giles, becomes Du Mu in Hanyu-Pinyin and Ts’ao Ts’ao becomes Cao Cao. Rather than standardizing, I have decided to stick to the spelling that each author used in their text, so that anyone researching further using the source translations will be able to quickly locate the information they are looking for. For simplicity, I have removed all long vowel markers. CHINESE MILITARY STRUCTURE A number of Sun Tzu’s teachings rely on an understanding of Chinese military structure, an enduring feature of which was the division of the whole into three separate parts, which when brought together created a massive force. The system is based on multiples of five, starting with the smallest unit, which then builds as shown in the table (below): The original ideograms for “the three armies”, meaning a full military force. See Ralph D. Sawyer’s Seven Military Classics of Ancient China for further details. YIN AND YANG AND PARADOX IN CHINESE CULTURE Often Eastern wisdom seems mystical and beyond our comprehension with apparent paradoxes such as formless form and far being near and so on. Western minds see these concepts as problems to be solved, whereas in Eastern culture it is not a question of resolving but of merging and flux. Yin and yang are not static; they form into each other. Yang moves into yin and yin into yang in a perpetually productive relationship. In the West we may point to a closed box and say, ‘Is there a cat or no cat in that box?’ Then we use reason to decide whether there is a cat in there or not. In the East they will say that sometimes there will be a cat in the box and sometimes there will not – it all depends when you look. This is the route to understanding Eastern paradox. Each situation changes and, therefore, form becomes formless and returns to form again and whether something is near or far depends on the perception of the enemy and the movements an army makes. The orthodox needs the unorthodox to exist and they move in and out of phases. They are not, in fact, paradoxical at all; that’s just the way they have been presented to us in the past. Therefore, to explore Sun Tzu’s text is to enrich yourself with an understanding of ancient Chinese culture and the schools of thought from that time. DIFFERING INTERPRETATIONS This book aspires to be the most comprehensible and comprehensive version of Sun Tzu’s original text, built on the great efforts of translators over the past 100 years and more, with additional reference to Chinese commentators old and new. However, at times these translators and scholars disagree over what Sun Tzu was trying to say. Sometimes the ancient Chinese commentators, some of whom were themselves successful generals of their time, may even have used his words to support their own way of warfare. So it is hard to know which, if any, of the interpretations of a given concept matches his original intention. If Sun Tzu were to read this book, there would undoubtedly be some parts of it he would not recognize as his own work. What I hope he would recognize is my genuine endeavour to convey his ideas as faithfully as possible. CHAPTER 1 THE SCROLL OF PREPARATION AND PLANS THE SCROLL OF PREPARATION AND PLANS Sun Tzu’s opening chapter title features the ideogram 計, meaning “plans”. The chapter is divided into three main sections: 1 The five constant factors 2 The seven considerations 3 The 14 ways of deception The scroll starts with a discussion of the importance of war and the elements that need to be considered before going to war. Sun Tzu lists five factors that military commanders should focus on when preparing an army for war. This is followed by seven points of comparison that commanders should use to weigh up their forces against those of the enemy. The final section consists of a set of 14 types of deception that a military commander can employ to outwit the enemy. SUN TZU SAYS The art of war is of vital importance to the state. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected. The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field. These are: 1 The moral law 2 Heaven 3 Earth 4 The commander 5 Method and discipline • The moral law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger. • Heaven signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons. • Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death. • The commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage and strictness. • By method and discipline are to be understood the marshalling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure. These five heads should be familiar to every general: he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail. LESSON 1 THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE GOING TO WAR War decides the future of entire nations and peoples. On war may hang their livelihoods and even their survival. The way of the military commander is to bring about victory without incurring high levels of casualty or major loss of wealth. The state must be certain it can afford a war and see it through to the end; it must also consider whether the war is just. Excellent military leaders dedicate their lives to the study of war and its tactics. WAR TIP Approach the study of war as a profession, become an expert in all its elements and never go to war without considering all things from beginning to end. LESSON 2 NEVER NEGLECT THE FIVE CONSTANT FACTORS OF WAR The way Heaven Earth The commander Organization The five constant factors are the main focus of Sun Tzu’s teachings and, alongside the seven considerations, they form the backbone of his entire work. Always apply the following processes to all five factors: • ASSESSMENT – collect and record all the factors for both the enemy and allied forces. • COMPARISON – decide who has advantage in all the areas for which information has been collected. • DELIBERATION – using these factors, make plans with a war council. A military commander cannot be worthy of the name without absorbing the five constant factors. Leaders who truly understand them will gain victory in all conflicts; if they do not study them and assimilate their teachings, they will achieve only defeat. The translators and ancient Chinese commentators generally agree on the basic outline of the five constant factors. WAR TIP: The five constant factors are the building blocks for war. LESSON 3 THE WAY This is the first of the five constant factors. The ideogram for “way” can be used to represent the Taoist Way, the primary force of the universe which holds reality together, but here its connotations are more to do with morality, harmony, politics, unity of the force and state, and the relationship of troops and the general populace with their leaders. Giles translates the term as “moral law”, which goes some way toward encapsulating these ideas. From a student of war’s standpoint, it involves identifying corruption or injustice in both the allied and enemy forces. Consider whether the laws are correct and there is true justice and well-being in the society as a whole, both enemy and allied. If rulers are corrupt, unjust or inhumane, those they command will hate them and their authority will be weakened. The best situation is to command a force that is defending a home that is filled with justice and harmony. The way means troops and leaders being in accord and harmony with each other. When moral harmony is in place, the following conditions will result: •Troops join together and have one mind. •Troops are supportive of their rulers. •Troops will live and die for the state. •Troops will stand firm together. WAR TIP: Any force under a bad ruler will crumble and fall. Therefore, maintain harmony and unity above all else. LESSON 4 HEAVEN This is the second of the five constant factors. In the Art of War, Sun Tzu uses the ideogram for heaven to refer to climate and weather; in other contexts it can mean divine order. A good knowledge of weather forecasting and an understanding of the effect weather has on terrain and troops is essential. Soldiers who are too hot, too wet or too cold underperform. Too much heat can mean a lack of water, too much rain can mean being bogged down in muddy terrain and a frozen landscape can render equipment useless. When entering enemy territory a good military leader must understand the prevailing weather patterns and equip accordingly. Heaven can also mean: • Yin and yang (considered to be dark and light in this context) • Hot and cold •Thxging of the seasons WAR TIP: Always be aware of the weather conditions in the area where you will be going to war and learn to predict the weather as accurately as possible. LESSON 5 EARTH This is the third of the five constant factors. Earth in the Art of War means geography and topography. Without detailed information on the battleground, the surrounding area and potential escape routes, a functioning plan cannot be put together. A military commander must know the different types of terrain and how they will affect both the allied and the enemy forces. Details for this are found in chapters 10 and 11. Earth means to have an understanding and knowledge of the following: • The highest mountains and the lowest valleys • Distances, both short and long • The ground – is it difficult or easy to pass through; is it open and free or tight and confined? Earth has the following implications: • Forces may have to climb steep mountains. • Forces may be vulnerable in valleys. • If far away the forces are safe. • If the enemy is close there is danger. • Difficult ground will stop vehicles, mounted troops and equipment. • “Tight places” increase the risk of ambush and restrict the passage of troops. • Forces that find themselves on ground where they cannot move or escape are destined for death or defeat. WAR TIP: Obtain a detailed map of enemy territory and be realistic about how easily troops will be able to manoeuvre. LESSON 6 THE COMMANDER This is the fourth of the five constant factors. A strong military commander is key to success in warfare. Such a leader will have mastered the Art of War on behalf of the people and the troops. A proper military leader upholds the following five virtues at all times with an unbreakable determination: • WISDOM AND INTELLIGENCE – the ability to make detailed plans and be flexible enough to change them if required • INTEGRITY AND TRUSTWORTHINESS – so that the forces know their commander is fair • COMPASSION – understanding the plight of each soldier, sensing when the forces are in discomfort and pain and acting accordingly • COURAGE – mastering fear in order to be formidable • DISCIPLINE – enforcing a strict but fair code that rewards the right people and punishes wrongdoers, without any hint of favouritism WAR TIP: Train your mind, act in a way that inspires trust, understand the feelings of your troops, conquer your fear and treat everyone fairly. LESSON 7 ORGANIZATION This is the last of the five constant factors. The ideogram is often translated as “organization”, “discipline”, “routine”, “codes”, “laws” or “way of”. The original title of the Art of War in Chinese uses the ideograms and , which together mean “codes, matters, or ways of the military and soldiers”. Here in the text it refers specifically to systems of punishment, reward and discipline within the ranks. The ideogram is part of the original title for the Art of War: . Discipline means to take control of the following: • ORGANIZATION. The army must be divided into appropriate parts, these parts must have a station and position and a detailed roster of tasks that is easy for all to understand. All soldiers must know where they should be, when they should be there and what they should be doing. Equally, they must know where they should not go and which activities they should not involve themselves in. • CHAIN OF COMMAND. There should be a defined military hierarchy with established protocols. If there is an issue, each soldier must know who to inform and those informed must know who to consult to get the issue resolved. • LOGISTICS. Supplies and equipment must flow reliably. Troops need food and equipment, so there should be a proper procedure for obtaining, looking after and storing equipment and rations, and replacing them when necessary. WAR TIP: A military encampment has to be regulated and the whole army must be aware of the correct protocol for all situations. SUN TZU SAYS Therefore, in your deliberations, when seeking to determine the military conditions, let them be made the basis of a comparison, in this wise: 1 Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the moral law? 2 Which of the two generals has more ability? 3 With whom lie the advantages derived from heaven and earth? 4 On which side is discipline more rigorously enforced? 5 Which army is stronger? 6 On which side are officers and men more highly trained? 7 In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment? By means of these seven considerations I can forecast victory or defeat. The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it will conquer: let such a one be retained in command! The general that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it will suffer defeat: let such a one be dismissed! While heeding the profit of my counsel, avail yourself also of any helpful circumstances over and beyond the ordinary rules. According as circumstances are favourable, one should modify one’s plans. LESSON 8 WEIGH UP THE SEVEN CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE COMMITTING TO WAR In order to gauge the chances of victory, a military leader has to honestly compare the allied forces to those of the enemy. Gather together the command group to discuss and assess the following points in great detail, using information obtained through intelligence networks. The ideogram for seven, referring to the seven considerations used to compare two opposing armies. 1 Which side has more positivity and fewer difficulties? The side whose population is more content and enjoys greater health, wealth and positivity and whose military organization is more harmonious, with no internal rivalry, will have a more efficient military force. 2 Which side has better leaders? The side where the command team is more highly skilled and professional, and whose overall leader has more victories, skill and ability in warfare will have a greater chance when going to war. 3 Which side is in the better position and has the weather working for them? Here, two of the five constant factors, heaven (weather conditions) and earth (terrain), are combined. Compare the landscape to judge who is more likely to be hampered by natural obstacles (details on this are in chapters 10 and 11). Also compare forces in terms of the weather: which army has the wind against them, which army faces the sun, which army is in an area that may flood. These considerations and more affect the chances of victory. 4 Which side has better routines and discipline? The force with the more disciplined soldiers – those who follow orders and react better – will be able to move their troops with more speed and skill. They will be able to make and break camp with little effort, march in line and cross great distances, because their troops will know what to do and when to do it. 5 Which side is more powerful? Strength in numbers should never be underestimated. Do not be seduced by the story of the “heroic underdog” coming out on top; in reality, the larger army usually wins. Assess which force has more troops, better equipment and more advanced technology. Think very carefully before going to war against an army that is stronger in these respects. 6 Which side has better-trained troops? More professional soldiers who are continually updated with the most innovative military techniques will perform better on the field of battle. 7 Which side has the better set of internal rules? The force which has the clearer system of reward and punishment, whose troops know that their efforts to succeed will be recognized just as their misdeeds will be punished, will hold an advantage. Those who do not consider the above are not true commanders and should not be in a position of leadership. WAR TIP: The side that has the majority of the seven considerations in its favour will hold the advantage in war. This means superior political leadership that allows people to live contented lives with greater equality under the law; a larger, better-trained and better-led military force that promotes the worthy and expels the unworthy; and a better position in terms of terrain and weather conditions. LESSON 9 BE ADAPTABLE TO THE SITUATION With a full assessment of the five constant factors and the seven considerations, a military commander can now understand the situation, if they have perceived it truthfully, and identify the advantages and disadvantages of each side. After this they can field an army in the most appropriate way for the situation. However, you must be flexible. Too rigid an approach will make it easy for the enemy to read your intentions, so be ready to change any elements that need changing according to the situation. WAR TIP: An incorrect understanding of the situation will lead to bad strategy, so a good military commander must see the truth of the situation and plan or respond accordingly. Never lie to yourself. SUN TZU SAYS All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand. LESSON 10 KNOW THAT WAR IS THE PATH OF DECEPTION One of the most influential ideas in the Art of War is that warfare is the path of deception. The original ideograms used are (“deception”) and (“way”). Some people believe that war should be fought in a dignified, sporting manner, but Sun Tzu is not one of them. On the contrary, he believes that each side should try to deceive the other in order to connive its way to victory. To this end, he lists 14 types of deception, which are explained in the remaining lessons of this chapter. The original ideograms meaning “the way of deception” as used in the Art of War. Notice the famous character for “way”, . WAR TIP: Warfare should not be upfront, honourable and without deceit. Individual soldiers seek recognition for honour and bravery in combat; good military leaders seek victory by all means necessary. LESSON 11 PRETEND TO BE INCOMPETENT This is the first of the 14 deceptions. The enemy is always watching, so do not “play your hand” before you have to. Hide the fact that you are ready to engage; make the enemy think your force is unprepared. If the enemy perception of your forces is wrong then their strategy will also be wrong. WAR TIP: A well-trained army will always be ready but act like it is not. LESSON 12 DISGUISE WHEN TROOPS ARE ABOUT TO BE DEPLOYED This is the second of the 14 deceptions. Before an army departs for a new position, there are routines that it must go through, including packing up equipment, assembling troops and sending out scouts. A well-trained force can perform such activities at speed and without arousing suspicion. If the enemy observes your routine it can estimate where you will be and can then pre-empt you. The less warning the enemy receives about the redeployment of troops the better. WAR TIP: Enemy spies will be watching your camp. Do not give them anything to report until it is too late or alternatively give them something false to report. If the enemy can predict your movements they can intercept you. LESSON 13 WHEN NEAR APPEAR FAR, WHEN FAR APPEAR NEAR These are the third and fourth of the 14 deceptions. Most translators hold this teaching as the ability to hide an army so that an enemy thinks the army is at a distance from them or to station a small group of troops near the enemy to make the enemy believe that all your forces are close by. Use spies to spread rumour among the enemy that your forces are nearby or far away, depending on which deception you wish to engineer. If the enemy thinks that your forces are further away or nearer than they actually are, it will change its tactics to the advantage of your forces. However, Sawyer and Cleary believe that this is about intent and that when military commanders wish to move their troops far away they should act as if they are going to head toward the enemy or if they want to move close by they should make it look as if they are preparing to move far away. Scouts, rumours, and army routines are all ways to misrepresent your intentions. WAR TIP: Hide your army from enemy view or appear to be preparing to move to a place where you are not, either further away from or closer to the enemy than you actually intend. LESSON 14 OFFER THE ENEMY WHAT IT WANTS This is the fifth of the 14 deceptions. Discover what the enemy lusts for and offer that particular thing. Alternatively, offer something that would be a temptation to anyone. When the enemy moves to take it, a good military commander should take advantage of any gaps that arise from this movement. The following are common examples of temptation: • Leave a position undefended. • Leave a small force of troops exposed. • Leave riches to be collected. • Fake a retreat. WAR TIP: Induce an enemy force to move from a strong position to a weaker one so that you can take advantage of the changed situation. LESSON 15 CREATE DISORDER AND STRIKE This is the sixth of the 14 deceptions. Perform an action that will cause the enemy to move from order to disorder. This can come from the enemy’s own incompetence or actions that a military commander has put into place to create movement. Translators disagree as to whether this teaching should be combined with the previous lesson. Some translations say “offer bait and strike in the confusion”, which connects the two. The aim is to take advantage of any movement. WAR TIP Create movement in the enemy: movement means disorder, and disorder means gaps in defence. LESSON 16 WHEN THE ENEMY IS PREPARED FOR ATTACK, PREPARE TO DEFEND This is the seventh of the 14 deceptions. When an enemy is efficient and well disciplined, with no gaps in its defence and no apparent way to create gaps, do not move against the enemy but instead prepare for any assault it may make. WAR TIP Do not attack when the enemy is in a phase of strength. LESSON 17 AVOID ENGAGING AN ENEMY THAT IS STRONGER THAN YOU This is the eighth of the 14 deceptions. A smaller force that is tactically weaker and functioning at a lower rate of efficiency will always lose. Therefore, if you are facing an enemy that is stronger than you are, whether numerically, positionally or tactically, do not engage them. If the enemy cannot be overcome, then keep mobile and out of its way until you can change the situation. This also holds true for attacking cities. If a city is well governed and has good systems of punishment and reward, back off and wait for or create change. Alternatively, pick another target. WAR TIP When facing a larger, better and more equipped force, stay mobile and do not engage them. LESSON 18 ENRAGE THE ENEMY INTO MAKING MISTAKES This is the ninth of the 14 deceptions. If the enemy commander is prone to emotion – something that may be discovered through previous engagements or reports from spies – then take actions that will cause them embarrassment to raise their anger level. The aim is to provoke the enemy so that they are controlled by anger and not by intellect. An irritated opponent makes mistakes and mistakes give you the opportunity to attack. This lesson is concerned with creating weak points in the opponent’s formation so that a military commander can exploit them. There are three stages to the plan: 1 Attack a relatively soft enemy target in order to cause embarrassment. The idea is to provoke the enemy into making a “revenge move”. 2 Allow the enemy to win a small victory in return, so that it gains revenge and builds its momentum. 3 Finally, look for the gap created by this enemy movement and strike a decisive blow there. The key is that this action creates non-tactical movement within the enemy. It may mean sacrificing some of your troops or a position, but victory will result in the end. There are other ways to needle the enemy commander. For example, you could spread an embarrassing rumour about them to prick their ego. WAR TIP: An enemy who thinks many moves ahead is dangerous. Knock them out of this patient way of thinking by provoking them into tit-for-tat retaliation. LESSON 19 FEIGN INACTIVITY TO PUT THE ENEMY OFF GUARD This is the tenth of the 14 deceptions. Instead of showing strength, give the impression of inactivity or weakness. Allow the enemy to prod and test your forces without reacting. They will develop a false sense of security and become convinced that you are not going to move. This is the time to switch tack and go on the full offensive. Another way to interpret this teaching is in terms of humility and arrogance; when the enemy is humble, you need to make them arrogant. WAR TIP: Just as you try to provoke the enemy into a reaction, make sure they do not succeed in provoking you. Let them think you are dormant and they will become complacent – and vulnerable. LESSON 20 WHEN THE ENEMY IS AT FULL STRENGTH, TIRE THEM OUT This is the 11th of the 14 deceptions. If the enemy forces are relaxed, well fed, well prepared and at ease, make moves to send them on long distances and from point to point to tire them out. When they try to move one way, give them reason to go in the opposite direction. For example, threaten one of their allies or another of their positions, or provoke them with a bait team. Continue this until they are tired and their morale, rations, equipment and health are used up. Then it is time to strike. WAR TIP: Keep the enemy moving to tire them out and deplete their stores. LESSON 21 WHERE THERE IS UNITY, SOW DISCORD This is the 12th of the 14 deceptions. An enemy may appear to be united, but it will be made up of different factions or clans that can be divided. You should also seek to divide the people from their leaders to undermine popular support for the war and make the common soldiers hate their superiors. Civil leaders do not always see eye to eye with military leaders – find ways to exploit these rivalries. Division can be achieved through: • Bribing malleable members of the enemy • Spreading negative rumours and propaganda about key enemy figures • Sending secret letters with false information concerning the defection of an enemy general • Deploying infiltrators to become close friends with key enemy figures • Convincing enemy troops that your cause is worthier and your soldiers are happier WAR TIP: A united enemy is a strong enemy. A good military leader should use deception to cause ill-feeling to fester within the enemy ranks. LESSON 22 ATTACK WHERE THE ENEMY IS UNPREPARED This is the 13th of the 14 deceptions. A large military force can defend a huge expanse of land with multiple positions or fortifications or divisions, but even the most powerful army will have its weak spots. No matter whether the context is an individual battlefield or a whole country, use your intelligence network to identify a target that the enemy does not expect you to attack. This will most likely not be an overly important target, but it will bring you a victory and force the enemy to move or rethink. Hitting these places can have more impact than going for an obvious target. WAR TIP: The enemy will defend where they expect you to attack; therefore, attack where they are not prepared. LESSON 23 APPEAR WHERE AND WHEN UNEXPECTED This is the last of the 14 deceptions. The distinction between the previous lesson and this one is subtle. The essential difference is between where the enemy is not prepared and where the enemy does not expect to see an opposing force. The element of surprise can involve appearing from an unexpected direction (for example, from over a mountain) or at a time considered bad for an army to move (such as during winter). Put simply: take the enemy unawares. This will throw them off balance and make them rethink all their plans. However, some positions and timings are unexpected for good reason – in surprising the enemy, do not put your forces in a position of weakness. WAR TIP: Move your army to a position and at a time the enemy has not remotely anticipated. LESSON 24 NEVER DISCLOSE YOUR DECEPTIONS This lesson marks the end of the 14 deceptions of war. In the Giles translation it states that “These military devices … must not be divulged beforehand.” Clearly, it makes sense to keep your plans secret. However, the second part of the sentence can also be translated as meaning “it is impossible to plan your deceptions in full beforehand,” which is another plausible interpretation. Because all the facts of a situation cannot be known in advance, you need to be flexible and able to “think on the fly” to make these deceptions work. WAR TIP: When you have made plans to deceive the enemy, keep those plans secret and be ready to adapt them. SUN TZU SAYS Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose. LESSON 25 CREATE A WAR ROOM In old China war councils were most commonly held in or around religious areas, as war and religion were closely associated with each other. Opinions differ as to what form the leaders’ calculations took. Many commentators say that they would have used pieces to represent the allied and enemy forces and work through the battle, making moves almost as if playing a board game. However, others, including Clements and the Denma Group, believe that the process involved counting up the advantages for each side by putting tokens or rods in two piles – one for the allies, the other for the enemy. The side with the bigger pile was the one judged to have more advantages and, according to Sun Tzu’s rationale, would be the victor. WAR TIP: Establish a command centre where you can meet with your most trusted advisors to plan an upcoming war or battle. CHAPTER 2 THE SCROLL OF BATTLE PREPARATIONS THE SCROLL OF BATTLE PREPARATIONS The title of Sun Tzu’s second chapter includes the ideograms , meaning “to make”, and , meaning “battle” or “conflict”, which together represent the idea of “strategic planning for the military”. The chapter is divided into three main areas: 1 The raising of an army and its effects 2 The costs of taking an army to war 3 Behaviours, outlook and mindset The first section deals with the vast expense and disruption involved in raising an army and looks at how that affects not only the soldiers waging the war, but also the people left behind who have to make up for lost workers. It also considers the chaos that an army on the move creates as it passes places of habitation. The second part describes the cost of maintaining an army over a prolonged period at war and emphasizes the sheer scope of military operations. The final part focuses on the troops themselves, on how they should treat enemy soldiers and how they can bring enemy troops over to the allied side, how to capture equipment and stores. It also introduces the idea that the overall military leader is a “master of fate”. Above all, this chapter invites military commanders to consider whether their nation has the money and other resources to afford and endure a war. SUN TZU SAYS 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 [400 km], 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 armour, will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day. Such is the cost of raising an army of a hundred thousand men. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardour will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the state will not be equal to the strain. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardour damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue. Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays. There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on. LESSON 26 GATHER YOUR VEHICLES At this point Sun Tzu briefly alludes to different types of chariots, but this has much deeper connotations. The ancient Chinese military was rigorously organized into squads, companies and divisions, and each type of chariot was accompanied by a specific number of troops. The original text of the Art of War gives the following numbers: • 100,000 troops • 1,000 four-horse attack chariots • 1,000 armoured wagons According to historical analysis, the people accompanying a single vehicle broke down as follows: • 3 officers • 72 foot soldiers • 5 grooms • 5 attendants • 10 cooks • 5 labourers For this lesson, understand that an army must have many types of vehicles, from lightweight all the way to heavy, to serve its many needs, including attack and defence and also the movement of troops and supplies. Do not forget to enlist mechanics to maintain the vehicles. WAR TIP: An army must have a well-established detachment of vehicles with support troops to cover multiple tasks. LESSON 27 ACCOUNT FOR NON-COMBATANTS Remember that every army comprises auxiliary staff as well as combatants. Some armies even have more non-combatants than fighters. Cooks, administration staff, drivers, doctors, nurses and so on are all needed to keep an army functioning smoothly. Note that out of the 100 people listed as accompanying a vehicle in the previous lesson, 25 are non-combatants. WAR TIP: There will always be support staff to aid the fighting soldiers. These will move with the main body of the army. LESSON 28 WAR IS ALWAYS EXPENSIVE Sun Tzu alludes to various expenses a country at war will incur. To spell these out in a little more detail: • Expenses both at home and on the frontline will escalate, towns will be destroyed and food will be in short supply. • Hosting royal guests, envoys and other dignitaries often involves massive costs. • Acquiring equipment and vehicles is expensive enough, but then you also need to set up workshops to keep them working. The Giles version gives the cost of running an army of 100,000 to be 1,000 ounces of silver per day, which seems consistent with the colossal amount spent on warfare in modern times. Some other versions say “gold”, but either way it means coins of precious metal. WAR TIP: Keeping an army in the field is vastly expensive, and the longer the war goes on the more expensive it becomes. Always calculate if you can afford to fight. LESSON 29 PLAN FOR AS SWIFT A VICTORY AS POSSIBLE Aiming for a swift victory does not mean rushing into war without planning your tactics carefully. The point here is to use intelligence gathered from spies, scouts and traitors to assess how long it will take to win. There is no standard timescale, but you should not drag out a war any longer than necessary. WAR TIP: Always be realistic in your prediction of how long a war will last, then try to beat the deadline you have set with good tactics – but never rush. LESSON 30 A SLOW VICTORY MEANS TROUBLE If the war is lasting longer than you had anticipated, then the provisions and taxes allocated to it will start to run dry and the following will happen: • Equipment will be heavily damaged. • Troops will become exhausted. • Your home province will be at risk from attack. • Troop morale will decline. • Sieges will form and diminish your forces. • Strength will be sapped. • Money will be drained from the homeland. • The people will become poor. Avoid this happening by preparing to defeat the enemy swiftly through tactics, intelligence and propaganda. Otherwise it will be as if the life force of the army is drained. WAR TIP: If you underestimate the length of a military campaign, you will soon hit problems and your forces will start to break up. LESSON 31 BE PREPARED FOR OTHERS TO ATTACK YOU WHEN YOU ARE EXHAUSTED When entering into a military campaign, there will be neutral states or powers that are watching. When your state’s energy is depleted, your troops are weak and your equipment spent, these neighbour states may then prey on you. A military leader should understand that the strength of the nation and condition of the force will be much lower by the end of a conflict and plan for this. If you do not understand this, you may push the army too far and achieve victory but end up losing the homeland. WAR TIP: Assess the intentions, status and capability of third parties nearby and consider them as threats. Keep enough troops in reserve to defend the homeland. Do not overextend your resources. LESSON 32 BE SWIFT NOT HASTY There is a difference between being swift and being hasty. A swift action is a calculated move done with speed but not without thought, whereas a hasty action is not thought out. Hasty actions often go wrong but even so they are not worse than prolonged or stagnant actions. Acting when you are under extreme time pressure will make for mistakes. Avoid putting yourself under that kind of pressure by anticipating the danger before it arises. WAR TIP: Decisive actions are beneficial as long as you take time to think them through. Think first and then move with speed; never move in haste or as a reaction. LESSON 33 PROLONGED WAR IS ALWAYS A BAD THING It is never a good idea to purposefully enter into a prolonged military campaign. Your aim as a military commander is to force the enemy to submit without a fight or to create such an advantageous position that a quick victory is inevitable. WAR TIP: A strategy based on outlasting the enemy never works well. LESSON 34 REMEMBER THAT WAR IS HORRIFIC This lesson is somewhat ambiguous. Some translations convey the idea that without knowing the disadvantages of different weapons, tactics and military formations a leader cannot know how to put them to benefit. In other translations the point is that without experience of the horrors of war, a commander cannot understand how to achieve a positive outcome from it. Remember that war is only a means to an end. It is expensive and destructive and has negative effects on the state. Therefore, do not promote war as a glorious endeavour, but be mindful of the carnage it brings and conduct it with intelligence and speed. WAR TIP: Be fully aware of the horrific nature of war and of its consequences, but also understand that such experiences will produce knowledgeable commanders who know how to use up-to-date weapons and tactics. SUN TZU SAYS The skilful soldier does not raise a second levy, neither are his supply-wagons loaded more than twice. Bring war material with you from home, but forage on the enemy. Thus the army will have food enough for its needs. Poverty of the state exchequer causes an army to be maintained by contributions from a distance. Contributing to maintain an army at a distance causes the people to be impoverished. On the other hand, the proximity of an army causes prices to go up; and high prices cause the people’s substance to be drained away. When their substance is drained away, the peasantry will be afflicted by heavy exactions. With this loss of substance and exhaustion of strength, the homes of the people will be stripped bare, and three-tenths of their income will be dissipated; while government expenses for broken chariots, worn-out horses, breast-plates and helmets, bows and arrows, spears and shields, protective mantles, draught-oxen and heavy wagons, will amount to four-tenths of its total revenue. Hence a wise general makes a point of foraging on the enemy. One cartload of the enemy’s provisions is equivalent to twenty of one’s own, and likewise a single picul [shoulder-load] of his provender is equivalent to twenty from one’s own store. LESSON 35 DO NOT CONSCRIPT MORE THAN ONCE In old China it is believed that at times of war the sons of one in eight families were conscripted to serve in the standing army alongside the full-time military personnel. A state should correctly estimate how many soldiers they will need for a war, which means if they have to conscript a second wave of troops then their initial calculations were wrong. WAR TIP: Send the correct number of troops to war in the first wave. To have to send more people to finish the task is bad management. LESSON 36 ONLY SEND PROVISIONS TWICE An army should be provisioned only twice, once on its departure and once on its return to home territory. While in enemy territory, a military commander will have troops acquire more provisions and equipment from the enemy by a variety of methods, including stealing them, looting them when capturing towns, equipment dumps and factories, and, where necessary, buying them from the enemy population. There are numerous reasons for not sending supplies into enemy territory. These include the following: • Money is taken from the state, leaving the home population impoverished. • Food is taken from the mouths of the home population. • The supply lines have to be guarded. • It gives the enemy a soft target. • The provisions could fall into enemy hands. Far better to take supplies from the enemy, as it depletes their stocks and boosts yours. WAR TIP: Provide full provisions for an army that is leaving the homeland. When in enemy territory take from the enemy by hostile or peaceful means, then resupply the troops when they pass back into home territory. LESSON 37 UNDERSTAND THE EFFECTS THAT AN ARMY HAS ON AN AREA An army is like a fire: if it is not constantly fed it will burn out into nothing. Therefore, wherever an army takes up position it consumes local resources. Demand outstrips supply, causing price spikes that mean the local population goes short. While a few traders will profit from an army encamped near them, the overall effect will be to disrupt normal ways of living. The area will be altered for a certain period of time even after the army has left. If an allied army is nearby: • Prices in the area will rise. • Common people will have to spend their savings on overpriced food. • Tax and obligations to the government will become difficult to pay. • The people may become impoverished. • Everyone’s lives are disrupted. WAR TIP: When your forces move through an area it will have effects that ripple out and cause changes and problems within the local community. Plan for price rises and disruption in each place the army is stationed. LESSON 38 REPAIR AND REPLACE EQUIPMENT A force will dull its weapons, break protective gear and ruin vehicles. A military commander needs to understand that equipment can be repaired within the army by trained personnel, but that this takes time, money and effort. Account for maintenance within your budget and timeframe. Where possible, capture enemy vehicles and equipment to replace your own. WAR TIP: Wear and tear is often overlooked – make sure to allow for the cost of replacement equipment and repairs needed for a campaign. LESSON 39 ONE UNIT OF ENEMY STORES IS WORTH TWENTY OF YOUR OWN This lesson is about unseen logistics. When sending supplies into enemy territory, they first have to be collected in the homeland, packed and processed, loaded on to vehicles and then carried with the army or behind it, which all costs time, fuel, vehicles and personnel. This means that the collection, processing and transportation of a single unit of food or equipment, costs 20 times its actual worth, highlighting the importance of capturing enemy stores. Never forget that there are unseen costs for most things. WAR TIP: Transporting provisions into enemy lands is expensive. Taking them from the enemy is much more economical. SUN TZU SAYS Now in order to kill the enemy, our men must be roused to anger; that there may be advantage from defeating the enemy, they must have their rewards. Therefore in chariot fighting, when ten or more chariots have been taken, those should be rewarded who took the first. Our own flags should be substituted for those of the enemy, and the chariots mingled and used in conjunction with ours. The captured soldiers should be kindly treated and kept. This is called, using the conquered foe to augment one’s own strength. In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns. Thus it may be known that the leader of armies is the arbiter of the people’s fate, the man on whom it depends whether the nation shall be in peace or in peril. LESSON 40 WRATH AND REWARD If troops feel hatred toward the enemy they will gladly kill them. Therefore, find ways to demonize the enemy and make them appear subhuman. Soldiers who feel compassion toward the enemy become weak and lack fighting determination. Then if there is also the prospect of reward, troops will fight out of ambition to gain financial benefit. People will take risks for rewards – the higher the reward, the more they will risk. Therefore, the greatest benefits should be given to the troops who put themselves in the greatest danger – the ones who go ahead to achieve feats, such as capturing chariots, before their comrades. Such rewards cannot be given to every soldier who captures a chariot because there will not be enough wealth to go round. By incentivizing the first to achieve, you will encourage everyone to press forward. WAR TIP: A compassionate army is a weak army; troops must hate the enemy. Also, give rewards to the people who achieve before others so that everyone is inspired to act. LESSON 41 CAPTURE AND ADOPT ENEMY VEHICLES When you have captured a selection of enemy vehicles, check their status, service them and add them to your own forces. Remove all enemy markings and replace them with allied symbols. Once the captured vehicles have been transformed, mix them in with allied ones so that they do not stand out as an individual troop. WAR TIP: Capture enemy vehicles intact, maintain them and change their insignia so that they blend in with your own vehicles. LESSON 42 TREAT CAPTURED SOLDIERS WITH RESPECT Enemy soldiers should know that if you capture them they will be treated well and may even benefit from changing sides. Always treat enemy soldiers with respect and give them food with the promise of a bright future. Enemy soldiers are often conscripts that have been forced into war so their loyalty can be bought. If word gets back to the enemy ranks that captured comrades have been treated well, others may be encouraged to join your side. Offer them a position in line with their previous station or natural strengths with the added bonus of reward for future achievements. Both this lesson and the previous one concerning acquiring enemy vehicles can be seen as ways to enlarge your own forces at the cost of the enemy’s. WAR TIP: Gain a reputation for fair treatment of prisoners of war and for rewarding achievements. This will help weaken enemy bonds and boost your own numbers at a reduced cost. LESSON 43 THE MILITARY LEADER IS MASTER OF PEOPLE’S FATE A military leader does not only control the lives of soldiers, but also those of the general population. The future of your whole country can be decided by the strategy they adopt. A military failure can soon become a national failure. Tactics that bring about swift victory will be of the most benefit to your country. WAR TIP: Be aware that your military decisions affect areas far beyond the battlefield. Always plan for the swiftest victory possible. CHAPTER 3 THE SCROLL OF STRATAGEMS FOR ATTACK THE SCROLL OF STRATAGEMS FOR ATTACK The title of Sun Tzu’s third chapter includes the ideograms , meaning “plots” or “strategy”, and , meaning “attack”. The chapter discusses: 1 The importance of planning for victory not destruction 2 Different strategies depending on relative size of opposing forces 3 The role of the military leader In the first section commanders are urged to think in terms of victory over the enemy, not destruction of the enemy. Victory is different from destruction and there are many ways to bring the enemy to its knees, destruction being one of the lesser methods. The second section looks at strategies according to numbers of troops. It establishes the best action for when your force outnumbers the enemy, is equal to the enemy, or is outnumbered by the enemy. The final section investigates the role of the army leader within both military and civil contexts. Here you will learn how to avoid the “three ways of misfortune” and use the “five essentials of victory”. The scroll also covers the use of traps, tricks and stratagems. SUN TZU SAYS In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them. Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting. Thus the highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy’s plans; the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy’s forces; the next in order is to attack the enemy’s army in the field; and the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities. The rule is, not to besiege walled cities if it can possibly be avoided. The preparation of mantlets, movable shelters, and various implements of war, will take up three whole months; and the piling up of mounds over against the walls will take three months more. 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. Such are the disastrous effects of a siege. Therefore the skilful leader subdues the enemy’s troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field. With his forces intact he will dispute the mastery of the empire, and thus, without losing a man, his triumph will be complete. This is the method of attacking by stratagem. LESSON 44 PRESERVATION IS BETTER THAN DESTRUCTION To win 100 battles out of 100 battles is not an achievement; instead to block the plans of the enemy before battle breaks out is a higher skill. It should be the aim of a military leader to take the enemy territory intact. It is far better to use political moves and influence to have the enemy surrender instead of seeking their destruction. If they are destroyed, you have to rebuild; if troops are killed, you have to replace them. Ames, along with some ancient Chinese commentators, thinks that Sun Tzu is actually referring to the preservation of your own state. However, most translators interpret this as meaning the preservation of the enemy state. WAR TIP: To use politics, tactics and strategy to subdue and defeat the enemy before combat takes place is the height of warfare. By preserving their property rather than destroying it you can gain from its capture. LESSON 45 LEVELS OF WARFARE Defeat enemy plans Defeat enemy alliances Defeat enemy armies Defeat enemy cities As the previous lesson explains, a bloodless victory is best, but if this is not possible then the types of warfare are ranked as follows: 1 Dividing the enemy from its allies and support 2 Engaging in open combat with the enemy 3 Besieging a fortified city WAR TIP: Some types of warfare are preferable to others. Siege warfare is to be used only as a last resort. LESSON 46 WHY SIEGE WARFARE SHOULD BE AVOIDED Understand that siege warfare is expensive, time-consuming and should be avoided. Sun Tzu warns that it takes three months to get ready for a siege. The Clements translation stipulates that reaching the battlements will take three months. It is unclear where this addition comes from and if it means that the whole siege process takes a total of six months – three months to prepare and three months to advance – or if both stages are done simultaneously. However, the main point that it takes time remains. Preparing for a siege includes the following: MOVEABLE WALL Siege warfare is to create a temporary wall around a centre of habitation, be it a “wall” of troops or a physical wall. These walls are solid enough to hold but they can be moved closer in, tightening the siege until the enemy is totally cut off. SHIELDS Shields can either be held in the hand or fixed in the ground. Hand-held shields can be brought together to form a line and free-standing shields can be placed together to form a wall. SIEGE EQUIPMENT Siege equipment has evolved over time, but the basics remain the same. You will need ladders, towers, scaffolding, armoured troop carriers, mining apparatus, etc. Making siege equipment takes time and resources and you also need a workforce to maintain it. EARTHWORKS When besieging, create a network of defensive structures made of compacted earth to protect against the enemy firing out at you from inside the city. These can include trenches, vantage mounds, camp walls and defences against sally raids. WAR TIP: If you have not been successful in other strategies and you have to move to a siege, allow enough time and money to prepare equipment and fortifications. LESSON 47 NEVER BE IMPATIENT IN SIEGE WARFARE Laying siege is frustrating, takes a long time, costs a lot of money and may not pay off. A military leader who allows stress to build up will want to order a full charge to the walls to end the stalemate. However, this is a disastrously incorrect thing to do – a third of your troops will perish, the fortification will not break and it will leave you in a worse position. WAR TIP: Never give in to anger or impatience during a siege. If you send troops to climb city walls at the wrong time or out of anger you will leave behind a field of dead. LESSON 48 WAGE THE PERFECT WAR The perfect war is an ideal, consisting of: • Perfect political moves • Excellent alliances • Proper planning • Capturing the enemy without hostile action • Destroying other states • Taking other cities • Preserving your own troops • Preserving and turning enemy troops • Preserving and using enemy lands and equipment • Being victorious in all WAR TIP: Aim for the perfect war, but be realistic. The further up the scale toward perfection you reach, the greater your chances of victory. Remember, there is no such thing as a fair fight – make sure the odds favour you. SUN TZU SAYS It is the rule in war, if our forces are ten to the enemy’s one, to surround him; if five to one, to attack him; if twice as numerous, to divide our army into two. If equally matched, we can offer battle; if slightly inferior in numbers, we can avoid the enemy; if quite unequal in every way, we can flee from him. Hence, though an obstinate fight may be made by a small force, in the end it must be captured by the larger force. LESSON 49 TEACHINGS FOR WHEN OUTNUMBERING THE ENEMY If your forces outnumber the enemy by ten to one you will be able to totally and successfully surround them. Then, depending on the situation, the troop types and the geography, you should be able to move in and defeat them. If you outnumber the enemy by five to one you can attack them with full force as your superiority in numbers will ensure victory. Some Chinese commentaries state that your force should be divided into five parts, three for direct attacks and two for flanking manoeuvres or troops that hit hard against enemy weak spots. If you have double the enemy number, divide your force so that you can attack the enemy on two or more fronts. They will have to respond to your move and this will weaken their formations. Have harassing or flanking troops to help put the enemy at a disadvantage. The Chinese commentator Chen Hao states that these guidelines are only for when attacking a fortified city. Almost all other translations and commentaries see this as a set of rules for open battle. However, there are certain variations. For example, Clements translates it as: • Ten to one – surround the enemy • Five to one – invade the enemy • Two to one – attack the enemy Trapp and Ames say that in the case of dividing, the text actually means “to divide the enemy forces” not your own. So there are various, equally valid ways to understand this lesson. WAR TIP: If you outnumber the enemy by ten to one, surround them. If you outnumber them by five to one, attack on many fronts. If you are double their number, make flanking attacks. LESSON 50 TEACHINGS FOR WHEN YOU ARE EQUAL TO OR OUTNUMBERED BY THE ENEMY If you are equal to the enemy in number you can engage them in battle. The victor will be whoever has done more pre-war preparation and who is in the better position with the better plan. If the enemy is of a larger number but they do not have enough troops to destroy you completely, focus on defence, mobility, location, exit and strategy. A smaller military force can defeat a larger one, but it is a difficult task. Therefore, focus on defending the centre and on manoeuvrability. Be prepared to outwait the enemy, use deception, move into full defence or exit the situation quickly. If you are so outnumbered that there is no possibility of victory, move out and do not engage the enemy force. Move with swift lightness, using terrain to your advantage to stay out of the enemy’s range. Sun Tzu warns that the worst thing you can do is stand your ground. A smaller army that waits for a larger army will be crushed. Never make a death stand or a last-ditch attack when vastly outnumbered. Instead, focus all your thoughts on how to escape. WAR TIP: If you are equal in number with the enemy, engage them with tactics. If you are somewhat fewer in number, take a defensive position. If you are totally outnumbered, move away. SUN TZU SAYS 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. There are three ways in which a ruler can bring misfortune upon his army: 1 By commanding the army to advance or to retreat, being ignorant of the fact that it cannot obey. This is called hobbling the army. 2 By attempting to govern an army in the same way as he administers a kingdom, being ignorant of the conditions which obtain in an army. This causes restlessness in the soldiers’ minds. 3 By employing the officers of his army without discrimination, through ignorance of the military principle of adaptation to circumstances. This shakes the confidence of the soldiers. But when the army is restless and distrustful, trouble is sure to come from the other feudal princes. This is simply bringing anarchy into the army, and flinging victory away. 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. 2 He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces. 3 He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks. 4 He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared. 5 He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign. Hence the saying: if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. LESSON 51 THE MILITARY LEADER IS THE FOUNDATION OF THE NATION A military leader has to be both an expert and an innovator. You need to be well versed in the ancient principles, but build on them so that you do not become predictable. Otherwise you will be caught in the past. Military leaders must earn the right to command by understanding the complex subject of warfare, not simply be handed their position based on family connections or privilege. One author interprets the ideogram used here as a pole that supports a chariot’s frame, the implication being that, like this vehicle strut, if a good general is missing from the state, the state will fall over and collapse. Only those of the highest calibre should be considered for this position and Sun Tzu warns that there are three ways in which an unsuitable person can bring down a country if mistakenly given command of the army. These are explored in the next lesson. WAR TIP: Never put incompetent people in command of an army. LESSON 52 THE THREE FAULTS OF AN INCOMPETENT LEADER 1 MISTIMING ADVANCES AND RETREATS If a military leader does not know when to advance and when to retreat, then defeat is inevitable. Armies of all sizes will face certain situations where retreat is the best option. Being outnumbered is not the only reason to retreat; other factors, including terrain, weather, political change and espionage, can also come into play. A good military leader can assimilate all information and use it to identify the right time to advance and the right time to retreat. If they do not know how to do this they will restrict the capability of their army. Many translations use the term “hobbling” here because Sun Tzu uses an ideogram that refers to “tying up an ox’s legs” to stop it from wandering. The sense is that if the commander does not know when to advance or retreat then the army will become immobile just like a great ox tied to a stake. 2 GOVERNING AN ARMY AS IF IT WERE A STATE Military victories give rise to royal dynasties, royal dynasties give rise to professional armies, and professional armies give rise to professional military commanders. This division between state and military is fixed by edict. If a civilian or royal leader is appointed military commander and leads with a civilian mind, or if civilian leaders interfere with military matters, the army will become confused. Therefore, a military commander must be a professional soldier and this position must never be given to a civilian. 3 PUTTING CIVILIAN OFFICERS IN CHARGE OF MILITARY MATTERS If officers are appointed from civilian ranks to enter the army and if they are unaware of military protocol they will confuse all matters, and when involved in any task within the force they will cause disruption. Any of these three faults can lead to the failure of the allied army. WAR TIP: Appoint only military personnel to leadership positions. Make sure all officers are military-trained professionals and do not allow civilian leaders to interfere with the day-to-day running of the military. LESSON 53 USE STRENGTH AS A DETERRENT It is just as important to have a strong army during peacetime as during wartime. If the army is in disarray because of one or more of the three faults discussed in the previous lesson, rival states will move in to take advantage of the weakness. A strong army is a powerful deterrent, without which a country risks invasion. WAR TIP: In times of peace make sure to maintain a robust military so that other nations do not find opportunity to attack and conquer your lands. LESSON 54 THE FIVE PRINCIPLES OF VICTORY The following points are the foundations on which victory is built: Timing Size Harmony Preparation Leadership 1 KNOW WHEN TO FIGHT AND WHEN NOT TO FIGHT If you enter into direct combat every time you are provoked, you are sure to lose in certain situations. Therefore, know that there will be times when to wait, withdraw or outmanoeuvre are better options. 2 RECOGNIZE WHEN IT IS BETTER TO USE A SMALL FORCE The basic rule of thumb is that a bigger force will defeat a smaller force. However, there are certain situations in which this rule does not apply. For example, in difficult terrain, an urban setting or adverse weather a large force may become trapped and vulnerable to a smaller, cannier, more mobile opponent. Assess the conditions and use the correct number of troops for the situation. 3 ESTABLISH AN ESPRIT DE CORPS There must be harmony between officers and lower ranks, all must have the same hunger for victory and believe in the objectives set forth. Make sure you explain clearly to the troops the purpose of the war they are entering so that they all strive for the same result. If all people know they will profit from victory, the force will be united. 4 ALWAYS BE PREPARED AND ATTACK THOSE WHO ARE UNPREPARED Translations of this point differ slightly, but all versions stress the importance of preparation and acknowledge that those who are prepared will defeat those who are unprepared. However, some versions lean more toward the idea of constant preparedness, whereas others focus on being prepared during a campaign. The core teaching holds true across all versions: always be ready to move into action so that you can attack others when they are not ready. 5 BE IN TOTAL COMMAND AND ACCEPT NO INTERFERENCE The decision to go to war is made by political leaders, but once that decision has been made the politicians should step back and leave the army to get the job done without interference. It is now time for you as the military commander to use all your vast training to deliver the victory. WAR TIP: Know when to fight and how many troops to use, make sure all ranks are focused and in harmony, be prepared, and when ready, move out and leave the world of politics behind. Simply go to war and bring home victory. LESSON 55 ACHIEVE THE HIGHEST LEVEL AS A MILITARY LEADER Sun Tzu says that the highest level of leader will gain victory in all confrontations; a middle-level leader will win half of the time; and a low-level leader will never taste success. He defines these levels in terms of knowledge of one’s own forces and knowledge of the enemy. High-level leaders have deep knowledge of both sides; middle-level leaders know their own side, but not the enemy; and low-level leaders show little or no understanding of either side. Knowledge of your own side includes the following factors: • Knowing the capabilities of your troops, so that you do not waste their talents • Judging how much they can endure, so that you push them to the limit but not beyond • Understanding and addressing the problems facing all ranks, from the lowest to the highest Knowledge of the enemy and enemy territory is gained through scouting and espionage. The objective is to be able to read the mind of the enemy leader. Without such insight, you will be leading your troops blind into a hostile situation. Do not make the mistakes of the lowest-level commanders, who rely solely on what they can see with their own eyes. WAR TIP: To achieve the highest level of leadership, ensure that a constant stream of information flows through your headquarters, even in times of peace. Discard and update old data so that a form of “living knowledge” pulses through the command team. Then you will be ready for any conflict at any time. CHAPTER 4 THE SCROLL OF OBSERVING PATTERNS THE SCROLL OF OBSERVING PATTERNS The title of Sun Tzu’s fourth chapter uses the ideogram , meaning “shapes” or “patterns”, in the sense of observing a situation as it takes shape in order to predict the outcome. The chapter looks at three main areas: 1 The essence and foundation of defence 2 The moral alignment of a leader 3 The positioning of the army and unleashing of its power First Sun Tzu talks about how great military leaders of old could see beyond the basic situation and spot the initial signs of enemy hostility. He goes on to underline the need for a leader to follow a moral code and strictly enforce military discipline. Finally, he explains how all your hidden pre-conflict political moves and military manoeuvrings are the precursor to a single powerful stroke to defeat the enemy. Overall this chapter is about pre-empting events by seeing how small elements come together. In this way, a war can be won even before it starts. SUN TZU SAYS The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy. To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. Thus the good fighter is able to secure himself against defeat, but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy. Hence the saying: One may know how to conquer without being able to do it. Security against defeat implies defensive tactics; ability to defeat the enemy means taking the offensive. Standing on the defensive indicates insufficient strength; attacking, a superabundance of strength. The general who is skilled in defence hides in the most secret recesses of the earth; he who is skilled in attack flashes forth from the topmost heights of heaven. Thus on the one hand we have ability to protect ourselves; on the other, a victory that is complete. To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence. Neither is it the acme of excellence if you fight and conquer and the whole empire says, “Well done!” 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. What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease. Hence his victories bring him neither reputation for wisdom nor credit for courage. He wins his battles by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated. Hence the skilful fighter puts himself into a position which makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for defeating the enemy. Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory. LESSON 56 THE ESSENCE OF BEING A CONQUEROR An enemy army is never invincible. It goes through phases of solidity and weakness, with any movement creating gaps that can be closed only through high levels of discipline. When cracks start appearing within the enemy formation, you will know that you can gain victory. A good commander can create a solid and harmonious fighting force that gives no clues to the enemy of its internal workings and offers no gaps in its defensive formation. Such a strongly knit unit will become unconquerable because the enemy will find no weakness to exploit. However, if the force moves or is slack for any reason, then gaps in your defence will appear and opportunities to attack will present themselves. Therefore, good military leaders first secure their own forces, then use all their arts to provoke reaction and movement in the enemy and then they take advantage of any opening. This is what Sun Tzu means by: “To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.” A good commander can keep an enemy at bay and remain in total defence, but is always relying on the enemy to make a decision that produces a gap, as gaps are weaknesses and weaknesses bring opportunity. Having a perfect plan will not work unless the enemy makes the wrong move. WAR TIP: Secure your defences, then use all of your strategies to bring about change in the enemy and when suitable gaps appear, move on them. If you create the right conditions, the enemy will make a mistake that hands you victory. LESSON 57 KNOW THE CORRECT RATIO OF ATTACK AND DEFENCE A military leader should attack if there is a significant chance of success but defend when there is a limited chance. This follows on from the previous lesson of knowing to wait for enemy gaps. However, simply seeing a gap is not enough; a leader must know which openings give a strong chance of victory. This point is one of the more contested in the Art of War, with commentators interpreting it in two main ways. According to the first version, advocated by the Chinese commentator Zhang Yu among others, you should start in a fully defensive mode. After each side has made its opening feints and you have your strategy in place, wait for the enemy to move in a way that creates a gap. When this happens, assess whether it is a true gap or a feint in itself. If you judge the gap to be genuine, strike the enemy and take victory. Much criticized by Zhang Yu, the second version holds that when an allied army is weaker than the enemy and does not have the military might to take a victory, it should stay on the defensive even when gaps appear in the enemy line. The allied army should move on the offensive when gaps appear only if it has the power to take victory. WAR TIP: If the enemy opens up a gap, check that it is a real gap and not a trick and move to take victory only if you have the resources to mount a telling attack. LESSON 58 HIDE LOW AND STRIKE FROM HIGH Here Sun Tzu teaches ways of expertise in the two sides of warfare: defence and attack. The literal translation of the ideograms in the original text is “hiding in the nine worlds” , which Giles renders as “the most secret recesses of the earth”, and “striking from the nine heavens” , which Giles translates as “flashing forth from the topmost heights of heaven”. All translators agree on the basic idea that you should be able to hide in the terrain and strike from high places. However, the ancient Chinese commentators add three further layers of interpretation: These are the original ideograms for the “nine earths” and “nine heavens”, which represent the deepest parts of the earth and the highest heights respectively. • Using the advantages of landscape and weather. In defence this entails hiding in the mountains, crossing rivers and using natural features as fortifications. In attack it means taking advantage of sudden changes in the weather to strike with speed. • Conducting guerrilla warfare. In defence be “ghostlike” and silent, move without the enemy knowing where you are. Be unseen and unheard. In attack stay visible to the enemy, but make fast, unpredictable movements so that the enemy cannot keep up with the changes. • Taking on an attitude of defence or attack. When in defensive mode make your army fully visible to the enemy but take on an attitude of full defence. The text becomes a poetic teaching about remaining in position and immoveable instead of hiding out of sight. When in attacking mode, make your army fully visible but take on an attitude of attack and forward movement to take advantage of any gap the enemy exposes. WAR TIP: Use the land and weather to your advantage, move your force into hiding if needs be and strike from hidden places, but also know the difference between full defence and full attack when in open battle. LESSON 59 THINK AND PLAN MANY MOVES AHEAD The greatest tacticians, strategists and thinkers do not see events as single entities, but as an accumulation of fragments. To identify separate issues from apparently unrelated areas and predict the outcome they will combine to produce is the mark of the highest military leader. Those whose achievements come from seeing what is obvious do not show true excellence. The real standard of excellence is set by those who see the separate parts of a problem developing and who are able to avert the problem before others realize it even exists. Therefore, it is folly to praise a general who has just returned victorious from a hard campaign, as the general should have found a way to avoid the campaign becoming so difficult in the first place. Sun Tzu gives five analogies to underline the point that basic achievements should not be mistaken for excellence: • Seeing a clear victory in the present is not considered as correctly predicting future events. • Being victorious in a one-sided battle is not a demonstration of excellent strategy. • Lifting something that is very light (an “autumn hair”, the exact meaning of which is unknown) is not a show of strength. • Seeing the sun and moon is not a demonstration of good observation. • Hearing thunder is not a demonstration of good hearing. The greatest leaders win little fame, because they do not become embroiled in major battles. They make faultless plans that avert dangerous situations before they arise. Sun Tzu said that this type of expert military leader could be found in the ancient days. WAR TIP: Look at the separate parts that build a situation as it arises so that you can deal with the situation before it becomes problematic. LESSON 60 ESTABLISH A POSITION OF TOTAL DEFENCE, THEN STRIKE Following on from the idea of seeing the problems in a conflict well in advance, good military leaders need to position themselves in the correct place and time just before the problem emerges. If the situation cannot be resolved before all the pieces are in position then find the best place to work from, be it physical, tactical or political. Strike hard and defeat the enemy before it has time to create a real threat. WAR TIP: Identify the signs of hostile movement within the enemy, position yourself in the best place and strike the weakest point as it forms. SUN TZU SAYS The consummate leader cultivates the moral law, and strictly adheres to method and discipline; thus it is in his power to control success. In respect of military method, we have, firstly, measurement; secondly, estimation of quantity; thirdly, calculation; fourthly, balancing of chances; fifthly, victory. Measurement owes its existence to earth; estimation of quantity to measurement; calculation to estimation of quantity; balancing of chances to calculation; and victory to balancing of chances. LESSON 61 FOLLOW THE WAY AND MAINTAIN DISCIPLINE Sun Tzu reminds us here about two of the five constant factors: the way and military organization (see lessons 3 and 7). His point is that a military leader’s ability to pre-empt a situation will count for little without the ability also to maintain harmony among the troops by establishing proper codes of conduct and a punishment and reward system that is fair to all. The original ideograms for “way” and “organization”, two of the five constant factors. The Chinese commentator Li Quan says that the way means to attack only real enemies and to leave alone those who live in peace and are of no threat. Furthermore, he notes that victorious troops should behave correctly and not destroy the population and belongings of a conquered land. Sun Tzu finishes this section by stating that military leaders who follow these ways are able to control how their troops conduct themselves in victory. WAR TIP: Both before and after victory, maintain positive morality, harmony between the people and fair discipline for all. LESSON 62 USE THE FIVE FOUNDATIONS TO PLAN A MILITARY CAMPAIGN The planning of a military campaign can be summarized as a five-step process (note that these steps are not the same as the five constant factors): 1 Measurement of the land 2 Estimation of types of forces that need to be used on the land 3 Calculation of troop numbers available 4 Comparison between the two armies 5 Assessment of likelihood of victory, based on the previous four stages If you measure the terrain you will know the size and formation of the landscape. By understanding the landscape you will know what types of troops the enemy will use. Knowing what type of force the enemy will use means that you can calculate how many troops they will have or need. Knowing this will allow you to compare them to your own forces and such a comparison will tell you whether you can gain victory. Because the original text is lacking in detail and simply lists the steps, some translations differ in the second point. Rather than it being a case of estimating what types of troops the enemy will use on the terrain in question, some versions give this step as an estimation of the amount of produce that can be supplied by this area and type of land. This still leads in to the same third step: calculating how many troops the enemy will have at its disposal. WAR TIP: Measure the land, use that knowledge to estimate the enemy forces, their type and their numbers, compare both armies and then determine if you can win. SUN TZU SAYS A victorious army opposed to a routed one, is as a pound’s weight placed in the scale against a single grain. The onrush of a conquering force is like the bursting of pent-up waters into a chasm a thousand fathoms deep. LESSON 63 UNLEASH THE FORCE By following the previous lessons, you will have identified all eventualities, planned the correct course of action, moved your forces into position and pinpointed enemy weaknesses. Now it is time to unleash the onslaught you have prepared. Sun Tzu describes this collision of mismatched forces in metaphorical terms. Depending on the translation, he says it is like a pound’s weight balanced against that of a single grain, or a feather being struck on an anvil, or a torrent of water crashing down from a great height. When the enemy makes its move it will be overwhelmed by a counterattack made so ferocious and so unexpected by your strategic power that the enemy will be unable to comprehend what is happening. WAR TIP: Start at the beginning and go through all analysis and calculations. Stack everything to your advantage until you have eradicated all possibility of defeat and then crush the enemy forces before they realize what has hit them. CHAPTER 5 THE SCROLL OF POWER THE SCROLL OF POWER The title of Sun Tzu’s fifth chapter uses the ideogram , meaning “power” or “energy”, in this case referring to “military strength”. The chapter is divided into four main areas: 1 The size of the army not affecting the way it is managed 2 The difference between direct and indirect 3 The ability to hide disorder 4 The energy of the troops The first part of the chapter explains that no matter how big or small an army is, the systems in place to govern it remain the same. The second part presents the concept of direct and indirect, according to which a force must have solid direct troops and methods but also indirect troops and methods. The third part shows how a military leader can hide order inside of feigned disorder to confuse the enemy. The chapter concludes with a section on how to use specific types of people to build different forms of energy and power. Overall this chapter deal