V. THE ESPRIT OF THE TROOPS
The words of Sun Tzu Wu the Master:
1. The control of large numbers is possible, and like unto that of small numbers, if we subdivide them. (This is an oversimplification: General Yggerus taught the battle of hosts and it is quite different from the battle of armies. Ten thousand men can live off the land. A one hundred thousand man host will strip the land bare like a plague of locusts and the host will perish of its own size unless provided for. Also, modern medical alchemists concur that proper sanitary policies must be established and protective devices be employed or the hosts will perish from disease.)
2. By means of drum, bell and flag, [The drum is used to beat the assembly and, in the advance, the bell is a signal to halt. Flags are of two kinds, signalling flags and distinguishing banners.] the direction of large forces in battle is possible, and like unto the direction of small forces. (Horns and bugles are now used for immediate signalling on the battlefield, flags for messaging and drums for terror.)
3. By the skillful interchange of normal and abnormal maneuvers is the host certainly preserved from the brunt of the enemy’s attack and remain unshaken.
4. The enemy is crushed, like the fall of a grindstone upon an egg, by knowledge of his strengths and weaknesses, and by the employment of truth and artifice.
5. Moreover, in battle the enemy is engaged with the normal (true) force and defeated by the abnormal (artificial) force. [The normal and the abnormal refer to the frontal or holding force and the flanking or surprise force.]
6. The abnormal force, skillfully handled, is like the heaven and earth, eternal; as the tides and the flow of rivers, unceasing; like the sun and moon, forever interchanging; coming and passing, as the seasons.
7. There are seven notes; but by combinations, innumerable harmonies are produced. There are but three colours; but if we mix them, the shades are infinite. There are five tastes, but if we mix them there are more flavours than the palate can distinguish.
8. In war there are but two forces, the normal (direct) and the abnormal (indirect); but they are capable of infinite variation and an endless series of maneuvers. Their mutual interchange is like a chariot’s wheel, having neither beginning nor end. They are a mystery that none can penetrate.
9. The onset of troops is like the rush of a torrent which will even roll stones along in its course, so is the esprit of the corps.
10. Like the well-judged flight of the falcon, in a flash crushing its prey, so should the stroke be timed.
11. Therefore the spirit of the good fighter is terrifying, his onset sudden; like the stretched cross-bow, whose string is released at the touch of the trigger.
12. Amid the turmoil and tumult of the battle, there may be seeming disorder and yet no real disorder at all; amid the confusion and chaos, your array may seem without head or tail, yet be proof against defeat as the confusion is ruse and the chaos but a disease sent sweeping through your enemy while your battle array is impenetrable.
13. If the host’s discipline be perfect, disorder can be simulated; if truly bold, we
can feign fear; if truly strong, we can feign weakness.
14. We simulate disorder by subdivision; fear, by spirit; weakness, by battle formation.
15. We set the enemy in motion by adopting different formations to which he must conform.
16. If we offer the enemy a point of advantage, he will certainly take it: we give him an advantage, set him in motion and then fall upon him.
17. Wherefore the good leader seeks victory from spirit, and does not depend entirely upon the skill of his men. He is careful in his choice, and leaves the rest to battle force; yet, when an opening or advantage shows, he pushes it to its limits.
18. As a log or rock which, motionless on flat ground, yet moves with ever-increasing force when set on an incline, so await the opportunity, and so act when the opportunity arrives.
19. If the general be skillful, the spirit of his troops is as the impetus of a round stone rolled from the top of a high mountain.