VII. TACTICAL OPERATIONS
The words of Sun Tzu Wu the Master:
1. For the most part, military procedure is as follows:
2. The general receives orders from his lord; assembles and settles harmony among the forces, and takes the field.
3. There is nothing more difficult than Battle Tactics. Their difficulty lies in the calculation of time and distance, in turning the devious into the direct, and misfortune into gain.
4. To make the enemy take a circuitous route by a show of gain, and then, whilst starting after him, to arrive before him, is to be a master of the art of maneuver.
5. Maneuvering with a disciplined army is advantageous; with an undisciplined multitude, most dangerous.
6. Employing your whole force at one time in order to gain advantage over the enemy, we may not have time enough to gain our object. If we push on with a portion of the force only, the baggage train is left. Discarding helmet and armour; stopping neither day nor night; marching double time; doing double work; and finally contending with the enemy at a distance of a hundred leagues: results in the loss of the general. Since the strong men arrive first, and the tired drop in rear, only one-tenth of the forces is available.
7. A forced march of fifty leagues to secure an advantage may result in failure to the leader of the vanguard, for only half his men will arrive.
8. After a forced march of thirty leagues to secure an advantage, only two-thirds of the army will be available.
9. We may take it then that an army without its baggage-train is lost; without provisions it is lost; without bases of supply it is lost.
10. The ruler who is ignorant of the designs of neighbouring princes, cannot make treaties with them.
11. He who is ignorant of mountain and forest, defile and marsh, cannot
lead an army. But he who employs a local guide can gain advantage from the ground.
12. Disguise your movements; await a favourable opportunity; divide or unite according to circumstance.
13. Let your attack be swift as the wind; your march calm like the forest; your occupation devastating as fire. In defence, as a mountain rest firm; like darkness impenetrable to the enemy be. Let your movements be swift as the lightning.
14. Let as many as possible take part in the plunder: distribute the profit from the captured territory. Let captive soldiers share in the plunder as well, making them your mercenaries.
15. He who understands the crooked and the straight way, conquers.
16. These are the methods of Battle Tactics.
17. According to the ancient books on war, the drum and bell are used, because the voice does not carry; the flag is used to assist the sight. The use of bell, drum, banner and flag is to attract the united attention of eye and ear.
18. When all are united, the strong are not left to go forward alone, the cowardly are not free to retreat unrestricted. In this way can a host be used.
19. In night fighting, beacons and drums are largely used; in day fighting, a great number of banners and flags and the enemy’s eyes and ears are confounded.
20. A whole army may be robbed of its spirit; a commander-robbed of his presence of mind. We thus awe his army, and defeat the general’s ambition.
In the morning the spirits are keen; at midday there is a laziness; in the evening a desire to return to camp. Wherefore, he who uses his soldiers well, avoids the time when the spirits are keen; but attacks the enemy when he is languid or seeking his camp. Thus should the nature of energy be turned to account.
21. To oppose confusion with order, clamour with quiet, is to have the heart under control.
22. To await an enemy from a distance while the enemy is toiling and struggling, to be well-fed while the enemy is famished, this is the art of husbanding one’s strength.
23. Do not attack an enemy whose banners are in perfect order, refrain from attacking an army drawn up in calm and confident array; this is the art of studying circumstances.
24. It is a military axiom not to advance uphill against the enemy, nor to oppose him when he comes downhill.
25. Do not pursue an enemy who is imitating flight; do not attack a spirited enemy.
26. If the enemy offer an allurement, do not take it.
27. Do not interfere with an enemy who has struck camp, and is about to retire. When surrounding an enemy, allow him an outlet. Do not press a desperate enemy too hard.
28. Such is the Art of War.