IX. THE MOVEMENT OF TROOPS
The words of Sun Tzu Wu the Master:
1. Touching the disposal of troops and observation of the enemy in relation to mountain warfare:
1.1 Cross mountains quickly and camp in valleys, selecting positions of safety.
1.2 Place the army on high ground facing the sun, and avoid an enemy in high places.
2. Touching the disposal of troops and observation of the enemy in relation to water:
2.1 After crossing waters, pass on immediately to a distance.
2.2 When the enemy is crossing a stream, do not meet and engage him in the waters, but strike when half his force has passed over.
2.3 Do not advance on an enemy near water, but place the army on high ground, and in safety.
2.4 Moor your craft higher up than the enemy, and facing the sun. Do not fight the enemy when up-stream of you.
3. Touching the disposal of troops and observation of the enemy in relation to marshes:
3.1 Cross salty marshes quickly; do not linger near them.
3.2 If by chance compelled to fight in the neighbourhood of a marsh, seek a place where there is water and grass, and trees in plenty in the rear.
4. In open country place the army in a convenient place with rising ground in the right rear; so that while in front lies death, behind there is safety. Such is war in flat country.
5. Huangti, by observing these things, gained the victory over four Princes.
6. As a rule, the soldiers prefer high ground to low. They prefer sunny places to those the sun does not reach.
7. If the health of the troops be considered, and they are encamped on high and sunny ground, diseases will be avoided, and victory made certain.
8. If there be rising ground, encamp on its sunny side and in front of it; for thereby the soldiers are benefited, and the ground used to your advantage.
9. If, owing to rains in the upper reaches, a river becomes turbulent, do not cross until the waters have quieted.
10. Steep and impassable valleys, torrents, confined places, tangled impenetrable ground, swamps and bogs, narrow passages with pitfalls, pass quickly from these and approach them not. Cause the enemy to approach near to them, but keep yourself from these places; face them, so that the enemy has them in his rear.
11. If there be near to the army camp, precipices, ponds, meres, reeds and rushes, or thick forests and trees, search them thoroughly. These are places where the enemy is likely to be in ambush or insidious spies are likely to be lurking.
12. When the enemy is close, but quiet, he is relying on the natural strength of his position.
13. If the enemy challenges you to fight from afar, he wishes you to advance; be cautious.
14. If the enemy be encamped in open country, it is with some special allurement in view.
15. Movement amongst the trees shows that the enemy is advancing. Broken branches and trodden grass, as of the passing of a large host, must be regarded with suspicion.
16. The rising of birds in flight shows an ambush. Startled beasts show that the enemy is stealthily approaching from several sides.
17. High, straight spurts of dust betoken that chariots are coming. Long, low masses of dust show the coming of infantry. Here and there, thin and high columns of dust are signs that firewood and fodder are being collected. Small clouds of dust moving to and fro are signs that the enemy is preparing to encamp for a short time.
18. Humble words and busy preparations are signs that the enemy is about to advance to attack. Big words, and the spurring forward of horsemen, are signs that the enemy is about to retire.
19. An advance of the light chariots to the flanks of the camp is a sign that the enemy is forming for battle.
20. If the enemy, without consultation, suddenly desires an armistice, is a mark of ulterior design.
21. The passing to and fro of messengers, and the forming up of troops, are a sign that the enemy has some movement afoot.
22. An advance, followed by sudden retirement, is a lure to attack.
23. When the enemy use their weapons to rest upon, they are hungry.
24. If the drawers of water drink at the river, the enemy is suffering from thirst.
25. Disregard of booty or advantage that lies ready at hand is a sign of exhaustion.
26. The clustering of birds round a position shows that it is unoccupied.
27. Voices calling in the night betoken alarm.
28. Disorder in the army is a sign that the general is weak. A changing about of flags and banners is a sign that sedition is afoot and the army is unsettled.
29. If the officers are angry, it is because the soldiers are tired, and slow to obey.
30. The killing of horses for food shows that the enemy is short of provisions.
31. When the cooking-pots are hung up on the wall and the soldiers turn not in again, the enemy is at an end of his resources.
32. Exceeding graciousness and familiarity on the part of the general show that he has lost the confidence of the soldiers.
33. Frequent rewards show that discipline is at an end.
34. Frequent punishments are a sign that the general is in difficulties.
35. The general who first blusters, and then is obsequious, is without perception.
36. Envoys who offer apologies and hostages are anxious for a truce.
37. When both sides, eager for a fight, face each other for a considerable time, neither advancing nor retiring, the occasion requires the utmost vigilance and circumspection.
38. Numbers are no certain mark of strength.
39. Even if incapable of a headlong assault, if the forces be united, and the enemy’s condition ascertained, victory is possible.
40. He who, without taking thought, makes light of the enemy is certain to be captured.
41. If a general who is strange to the troops punish them, they cease to
obey him. If they are not obedient, they cannot be usefully employed.
42. If the troops know the general, but are not affected by his punishments, they are useless. By humane treatment we obtain obedience; authority brings uniformity. Thus we obtain victory.
43. If the troops have been trained in obedience from the beginning, they respect their leader’s commands. If the troops be not early trained to obedience, they do not respect their leader’s commands.
44. Orders are always obeyed, if general and soldiers are in sympathy.