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  • Chapter III. ATTACK BY STRATAGEM

  • 1. Sun Tzu said: 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.

  • 2. Hence to fight and conquer in all your

  • battles is not supreme excellence; supreme

  • excellence consists in breaking the enemy's

  • resistance without fighting.

  • 3. 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.

  • 4. 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.

  • 5. 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.

  • 6. Therefore the skillful 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.

  • 7. 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.

  • 8. 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.

  • 9. 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.

  • 10. Hence, though an obstinate fight may be

  • made by a small force, in the end it must

  • be captured by the larger force.

  • 11. 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.

  • 12. There are three ways in which a ruler

  • can bring misfortune upon his army:--

  • 13. (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.

  • 14. (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 soldier's

  • minds.

  • 15. (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.

  • 16. 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.

  • 17. 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.

  • 18. 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.

Chapter III. ATTACK BY STRATAGEM

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Chapter 03 - The Art of War by Sun Tzu - Attack by Stratagem

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    richardwang posted on 2014/03/21
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