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Chapter IX. THE ARMY ON THE MARCH
1. Sun Tzu said: We come now to the
question of encamping the army, and
observing signs of the enemy.
Pass quickly over mountains, and keep in
the neighborhood of valleys.
2. Camp in high places, facing the sun.
Do not climb heights in order to fight.
So much for mountain warfare.
3. After crossing a river, you should get
far away from it.
4. When an invading force crosses a river
in its onward march, do not advance to meet
it in mid-stream.
It will be best to let half the army get
across, and then deliver your attack.
5. If you are anxious to fight, you should
not go to meet the invader near a river
which he has to cross.
6. Moor your craft higher up than the
enemy, and facing the sun.
Do not move up-stream to meet the enemy.
So much for river warfare.
7. In crossing salt-marshes, your sole
concern should be to get over them quickly,
without any delay.
8. If forced to fight in a salt-marsh, you
should have water and grass near you, and
get your back to a clump of trees.
So much for operations in salt-marches.
9. In dry, level country, take up an easily
accessible position with rising ground to
your right and on your rear, so that the
danger may be in front, and safety lie
behind.
So much for campaigning in flat country.
10. These are the four useful branches of
military knowledge which enabled the Yellow
Emperor to vanquish four several
sovereigns.
11. All armies prefer high ground to low
and sunny places to dark.
12. If you are careful of your men, and
camp on hard ground, the army will be free
from disease of every kind, and this will
spell victory.
13. When you come to a hill or a bank,
occupy the sunny side, with the slope on
your right rear.
Thus you will at once act for the benefit
of your soldiers and utilize the natural
advantages of the ground.
14. When, in consequence of heavy rains up-
country, a river which you wish to ford is
swollen and flecked with foam, you must
wait until it subsides.
15. Country in which there are precipitous
cliffs with torrents running between, deep
natural hollows, confined places, tangled
thickets, quagmires and crevasses, should
be left with all possible speed and not
approached.
16. While we keep away from such places, we
should get the enemy to approach them;
while we face them, we should let the enemy
have them on his rear.
17. If in the neighborhood of your camp
there should be any hilly country, ponds
surrounded by aquatic grass, hollow basins
filled with reeds, or woods with thick
undergrowth, they must be carefully routed
out and searched; for these are places
where men in ambush or insidious spies are
likely to be lurking.
18. When the enemy is close at hand and
remains quiet, he is relying on the natural
strength of his position.
19. When he keeps aloof and tries to
provoke a battle, he is anxious for the
other side to advance.
20. If his place of encampment is easy of
access, he is tendering a bait.
21. Movement amongst the trees of a forest
shows that the enemy is advancing.
The appearance of a number of screens in
the midst of thick grass means that the
enemy wants to make us suspicious.
22. The rising of birds in their flight is
the sign of an ambuscade.
Startled beasts indicate that a sudden
attack is coming.
23. When there is dust rising in a high
column, it is the sign of chariots
advancing; when the dust is low, but spread
over a wide area, it betokens the approach
of infantry.
When it branches out in different
directions, it shows that parties have been
sent to collect firewood.
A few clouds of dust moving to and fro
signify that the army is encamping.
24. Humble words and increased preparations
are signs that the enemy is about to
advance.
Violent language and driving forward as if
to the attack are signs that he will
retreat.
25. When the light chariots come out first
and take up a position on the wings, it is
a sign that the enemy is forming for
battle.
26. Peace proposals unaccompanied by a
sworn covenant indicate a plot.
27. When there is much running about and
the soldiers fall into rank, it means that
the critical moment has come.
28. When some are seen advancing and some
retreating, it is a lure.
29. When the soldiers stand leaning on
their spears, they are faint from want of
food.
30. If those who are sent to draw water
begin by drinking themselves, the army is
suffering from thirst.
31. If the enemy sees an advantage to be
gained and makes no effort to secure it,
the soldiers are exhausted.
32. If birds gather on any spot, it is
unoccupied.
Clamor by night betokens nervousness.
33. If there is disturbance in the camp,
the general's authority is weak.
If the banners and flags are shifted about,
sedition is afoot.
If the officers are angry, it means that
the men are weary.
34. When an army feeds its horses with
grain and kills its cattle for food, and
when the men do not hang their cooking-pots
over the camp-fires, showing that they will
not return to their tents, you may know
that they are determined to fight to the
death.
35. The sight of men whispering together in
small knots or speaking in subdued tones
points to disaffection amongst the rank and
file.
36. Too frequent rewards signify that the
enemy is at the end of his resources; too
many punishments betray a condition of dire
distress.
37. To begin by bluster, but afterwards to
take fright at the enemy's numbers, shows a
supreme lack of intelligence.
38. When envoys are sent with compliments
in their mouths, it is a sign that the
enemy wishes for a truce.
39. If the enemy's troops march up angrily
and remain facing ours for a long time
without either joining battle or taking
themselves off again, the situation is one
that demands great vigilance and
circumspection.
40. If our troops are no more in number
than the enemy, that is amply sufficient;
it only means that no direct attack can be
made.
What we can do is simply to concentrate all
our available strength, keep a close watch
on the enemy, and obtain reinforcements.
41. He who exercises no forethought but
makes light of his opponents is sure to be
captured by them.
42. If soldiers are punished before they
have grown attached to you, they will not
prove submissive; and, unless submissive,
then will be practically useless.
If, when the soldiers have become attached
to you, punishments are not enforced, they
will still be useless.
43. Therefore soldiers must be treated in
the first instance with humanity, but kept
under control by means of iron discipline.
This is a certain road to victory.
44. If in training soldiers commands are
habitually enforced, the army will be well-
disciplined; if not, its discipline will be
bad.
45. If a general shows confidence in his
men but always insists on his orders being
obeyed, the gain will be mutual.
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Chapter 09 - The Art of War by Sun Tzu - The Army on the March

5630 Folder Collection
richardwang published on March 22, 2014
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