IV. THE ORDER OF BATTLE
The words of Sun Tzu Wu the Master:
1. The ancient masters of war first made their armies invincible, then waited until the adversary could, with certainty, be defeated.
2. The causes of defeat come from within; victory is born in the enemy’s camp.
3. Skillful soldiers make defeat impossible, and further render the enemy incapable of victory.
4. But, as it is written, the conditions necessary for victory may be present, but they cannot always be obtained.
5. If victory be unattainable, we stand on the defensive; if victory be sure, we attack.
6. Deficiency of strength compels defence; super-abundance of strength permits attack.
7. The skillful in defence crouch, hidden in the deepest shades; the skillful in attack push to the topmost heaven.[ Literally 9th heaven, and 9th earth. The Chinese divided the earth and sky each into 9 strata.]
8. If these precepts be observed, victory is certain.
9. A victory, even if popularly proclaimed as such by the common folk, may not be a true success. To win in fight, and for the kingdom to say, “Well done,” does not mark the summit of attainment. To lift an autumn fleece [An animal’s coat is thinnest in autumn.] is no proof of 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.
10. As has been said aforetime, the able warrior gains the victory without desperate and bloody engagements, and wins thereby no reputation for wisdom or brave deeds. To fight is to win, for he attacks only when the enemy has sown the seeds of defeat.
11. Moreover, the skillful soldier in a secure position does not let pass the moment when the enemy should be attacked.
12. The army that conquers makes certain of victory, and then seeks battle.
13. The army destined to defeat, fights trusting that chance may bring success to its arms.
14. The skillful leader is steadfast in the ‘Way’; upholds the ‘Rules of Engagement’, and thereby controls the issue.
15. Touching the laws of war, it is said: first, the rule of land; second, the measure of quantity; third, the calculating tables; fourth, the balancing scales of chances; fifth, the foretelling of victory.
16. For the rule is the survey of the land; the measure tells the amount of
that land’s produce; the tables its population; from the scales their
weight or quality is made known; and then can we calculate victory or
17. The army that conquers as against the army destined to defeat, is as a beam against a feather on the scales. The attack of conquering forces is as the outburst of long-pent-up waters into a chasm a thousand fathoms deep.
18. Such are the Orders of Battle.