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Art of War: Sun Tzu

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Elimu (Education Forum)' started by Ndahani, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. Ndahani

    Ndahani JF-Expert Member

    Apr 14, 2009
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    This is the part of the bookby Sun Tzu, the art of war which many strategists use for making the working startegies.It is a good book to read for those in army

    Sun Tz˘u’s
    The Art of War
    translated by Lionel Giles, M.A.
    Pax Librorum
    Publishing House
    The Art of War by Sun Tz˘u, as translated by Lionel Giles, M.A.
    First published in 1910.
    This edition has been corrected of transcription errors and typeset for modern printing
    equipment to maximize quality and readability. It is simultaneously published as a
    paperback book, and can be purchased from the or websites for
    $3.99 USD. If you enjoyed this free eBook, please consider supporting the publisher
    by purchasing a copy.
    II./1. 2009.
    All rights reserved. No part of this eBook may be used or reproduced in any manner
    whatsoever without written permission of the Publisher. Non-profit digital distribution
    however is explicitly permitted and encouraged by the Publisher. Please note that the
    text presented herein is in the public domain and the publisher makes no copyright
    claims thereto.
    Editor: Aggott Hönsch István
    The paperback edition of this eBook is identified by ISBN 978-0-9811626-1-4
    Published by Pax Librorum Publishing House
    Pax Librorum - Timeless Classics Reborn
    To my brother
    Captain Valentine Giles, R.G.
    in the hope that
    a work 2400 years old
    may yet contain lessons worth consideration
    by the soldier of to-day
    this translation
    is affectionately dedicated

    I. Laying Plans .................................................. 1
    II. Waging War ................................................... 5
    III. Attack by Stratagem ........................................ 9
    IV. Tactical Dispositions ......................................... 13
    V. Energy ........................................................ 15
    VI. Weak Points and Strong ..................................... 19
    VII. Manoeuvring .................................................. 23
    VIII. Variation in Tactics .......................................... 27
    IX. The Army on the March ...................................... 29
    X. Terrain ........................................................ 35
    XI. The Nine Situations ........................................... 39
    XII. The Attack by Fire ........................................... 47
    XIII. The Use of Spies .............................................. 51

    Laying Plans
    1. Sun Tz˘u said: The art of war is of vital importance to the State.
    2. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin.
    Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be
    3. The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to
    be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to
    determine the conditions obtaining in the field.
    4. These are: (1) the Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) the
    Commander; (5) method and discipline.
    5, 6. The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with
    their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives,
    undismayed by any danger.
    7. Heaven signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and
    8. Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security;
    open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and
    9. The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity,
    benevolence, courage and strictness.
    The Art of War, Sun Tz˘u
    10. By method and discipline are to be understood the marshaling
    of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank
    among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies
    may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure.
    11. These five heads should be familiar to every general: he who
    knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail.
    12. Therefore, in your deliberations, when seeking to determine the
    military conditions, let them be made the basis of a comparison,
    in this wise: —
    13. (1) Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the Moral Law?
    (2) Which of the two generals has most ability?
    (3) With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and
    (4) On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced?
    (5) Which army is stronger?
    (6) On which side are officers and men more highly trained?
    (7) In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward
    and punishment?
    14. By means of these seven considerations I can forecast victory
    or defeat.
    15. The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will
    conquer: — let such a one be retained in command! The general
    that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer
    defeat: — let such a one be dismissed!
    16. While heeding the profit of my counsel, avail yourself also of
    any helpful circumstances over and beyond the ordinary rules.
    17. According as circumstances are favourable, one should modify
    one’s plans.
    18. All warfare is based on deception.
    19. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using
    our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must
    make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we
    must make him believe we are near.
    I. Laying Plans
    20. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush
    21. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in
    superior strength, evade him.
    22. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him.
    Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.
    23. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united,
    separate them.
    24. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not
    25. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged
    26. Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations
    in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a
    battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many
    calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how
    much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point
    that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.

    Waging War
    1. Sun Tz˘u said: In the operations of war, where there are in the
    field a thousand swift chariots, as many heavy chariots, and a
    hundred thousand mail-clad soldiers, with provisions enough
    to carry them a thousand Li, the expenditure at home and at
    the front, including entertainment of guests, small items such
    as glue and paint, and sums spent on chariots and armour,
    will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day. Such
    is the cost of raising an army of 100,000 men.
    2. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming,
    then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardour will be
    damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your
    3. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State
    will not be equal to the strain.
    4. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardour damped, your
    strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains
    will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no
    man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that
    must ensue.
    5. Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness
    has never been seen associated with long delays.
    6. There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged
    The Art of War, Sun Tz˘u
    7. It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war
    that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying
    it on.
    8. The skillful soldier does not raise a second levy, neither are his
    supply-waggons loaded more than twice.
    9. Bring war material with you from home, but forage on the
    enemy. Thus the army will have food enough for its needs.
    10. Poverty of the State exchequer causes an army to be maintained
    by contributions from a distance. Contributing to maintain an
    army at a distance causes the people to be impoverished.
    11. On the other hand, the proximity of an army causes prices
    to go up; and high prices cause the people’s substance to be
    drained away.
    12. When their substance is drained away, the peasantry will be
    afflicted by heavy exactions.
    13, 14. With this loss of substance and exhaustion of strength, the
    homes of the people will be stripped bare, and three-tenths of
    their income will be dissipated; while Government expenses
    for broken chariots, worn-out horses, breast-plates and helmets,
    bows and arrows, spears and shields, protective mantles,
    draught-oxen and heavy waggons, will amount to four-tenths
    of its total revenue.
    15. Hence a wise general makes a point of foraging on the enemy.
    One cartload of the enemy’s provisions is equivalent to twenty
    of one’s own, and likewise a single picul of his provender is
    equivalent to twenty from one’s own store.
    16. Now in order to kill the enemy, our men must be roused to
    anger; that there may be advantage from defeating the enemy,
    they must have their rewards.
    17. Therefore in chariot fighting, when ten or more chariots have
    been taken, those should be rewarded who took the first. Our
    own flags should be substituted for those of the enemy, and
    the chariots mingled and used in conjunction with ours. The
    captured soldiers should be kindly treated and kept.
    II. Waging War
    18. This is called, using the conquered foe to augment one’s own
    19. In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy
    20. Thus it may be known that the leader of armies is the arbiter
    of the people’s fate, the man on whom it depends whether the
    nation shall be in peace or in peril.

    Attack by Stratagem
    1. Sun Tz˘u 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 capture 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 baulk 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
    The Art of War, Sun Tz˘u
    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
    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:
    III. Attack by Stratagem
    (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
    (5) He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered
    with by the sovereign.
    Victory lies in the knowledge of these five points.
    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.

    Tactical Dispositions
    1. Sun Tz˘u said: The good fighters of old first put themselves
    beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity
    of defeating the enemy.
    2. To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but
    the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy
    3. Thus the good fighter is able to secure himself against defeat,
    but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy.
    4. Hence the saying: One may know how to conquer without
    being able to do it.
    5. Security against defeat implies defensive tactics; ability to
    defeat the enemy means taking the offensive.
    6. Standing on the defensive indicates insufficient strength; attacking,
    a superabundance of strength.
    7. The general who is skilled in defence hides in the most secret
    recesses of the earth; he who is skilled in attack flashes forth
    from the topmost heights of heaven. Thus on the one hand we
    have ability to protect ourselves; on the other, a victory that is
    8. To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common
    herd is not the acme of excellence.
    The Art of War, Sun Tz˘u
    9. Neither is it the acme of excellence if you fight and conquer
    and the whole Empire says, “Well done!”
    10. To lift an autumn hair is no sign of great strength; to see the
    sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight; to hear the noise of
    thunder is no sign of a quick ear.
    11. What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only
    wins, but excels in winning with ease.
    12. Hence his victories bring him neither reputation for wisdom
    nor credit for courage.
    13. He wins his battles by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes
    is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means
    conquering an enemy that is already defeated.
    14. Hence the skillful fighter puts himself into a position which
    makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for
    defeating the enemy.
    15. Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle
    after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to
    defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.
    16. The consummate leader cultivates the Moral Law, and strictly
    adheres to method and discipline; thus it is in his power to
    control success.
    17. In respect of military method, we have, firstly, Measurement;
    secondly, Estimation of quantity; thirdly, Calculation; fourthly,
    Balancing of chances; fifthly, Victory.
    18. Measurement owes its existence to Earth; Estimation of quantity
    to Measurement; Calculation to Estimation of quantity;
    Balancing of chances to Calculation; and Victory to Balancing
    of chances.
    19. A victorious army opposed to a routed one, is as a pound’s
    weight placed in the scale against a single grain.
    20. The onrush of a conquering force is like the bursting of pent-up
    waters into a chasm a thousand fathoms deep. So much for
    tactical dispositions.
    1. Sun Tz˘u said: The control of a large force is the same in principle
    as the control of a few men: it is merely a question of dividing
    up their numbers.
    2. Fighting with a large army under your command is nowise
    different from fighting with a small one: it is merely a question
    of instituting signs and signals.
    3. To ensure that your whole host may withstand the brunt of
    the enemy’s attack and remain unshaken — this is effected by
    manoeuvres direct and indirect.
    4. That the impact of your army may be like a grindstone dashed
    against an egg — this is effected by the science of weak points
    and strong.
    5. In all fighting, the direct method may be used for joining battle,
    but indirect methods will be needed in order to secure victory.
    6. Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are inexhaustible as Heaven
    and Earth, unending as the flow of rivers and streams; like
    the sun and moon, they end but to begin anew; like the four
    seasons, they pass away to return once more.
    7. There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations
    of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be
    The Art of War, Sun Tz˘u
    8. There are not more than five primary colours, yet in combination
    they produce more hues than can ever been seen.
    9. There are not more than five cardinal tastes, yet combinations
    of them yield more flavours than can ever be tasted.
    10. In battle, there are not more than two methods of attack — the
    direct and the indirect; yet these two in combination give rise
    to an endless series of manoeuvres.
    11. The direct and the indirect lead on to each other in turn. It is
    like moving in a circle — you never come to an end. Who can
    exhaust the possibilities of their combination?
    12. The onset of troops is like the rush of a torrent which will even
    roll stones along in its course.
    13. The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon
    which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.
    14. Therefore the good fighter will be terrible in his onset, and
    prompt in his decision.
    15. Energy may be likened to the bending of a crossbow; decision,
    to the releasing of a trigger.
    16. Amid the turmoil and tumult of battle, there may be seeming
    disorder and yet no real disorder at all; amid confusion and
    chaos, your array may be without head or tail, yet it will be
    proof against defeat.
    17. Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline; simulated fear
    postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength.
    18. Hiding order beneath the cloak of disorder is simply a question
    of subdivision; concealing courage under a show of timidity
    presupposes a fund of latent energy; masking strength with
    weakness is to be effected by tactical dispositions.
    19. Thus one who is skillful at keeping the enemy on the move
    maintains deceitful appearances, according to which the enemy
    will act. He sacrifices something, that the enemy may snatch
    at it.
    V. Energy
    20. By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march; then with a
    body of picked men he lies in wait for him.
    21. The clever combatant looks to the effect of combined energy,
    and does not require too much from individuals. Hence his
    ability to pick out the right men and to utilise combined energy.
    22. When he utilises combined energy, his fighting men become as
    it were like unto rolling logs or stones. For it is the nature of a
    log or stone to remain motionless on level ground, and to move
    when on a slope; if four-cornered, to come to a standstill, but if
    round-shaped, to go rolling down.
    23. Thus the energy developed by good fighting men is as the
    momentum of a round stone rolled down a mountain thousands
    of feet in height. So much on the subject of energy.

    Weak Points and Strong
    1. Sun Tz˘u said: Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming
    of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in
    the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted.
    2. Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy,
    but does not allow the enemy’s will to be imposed on him.
    3. By holding out advantages to him, he can cause the enemy to
    approach of his own accord; or, by inflicting damage, he can
    make it impossible for the enemy to draw near.
    4. If the enemy is taking his ease, he can harass him; if well
    supplied with food, he can starve him out; if quietly encamped,
    he can force him to move.
    5. Appear at points which the enemy must hasten to defend;
    march swiftly to places where you are not expected.
    6. An army may march great distances without distress, if it
    marches through country where the enemy is not.
    7. You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack
    places which are undefended.You can ensure the safety of your
    defence if you only hold positions that cannot be attacked.
    8. Hence that general is skillful in attack whose opponent does
    not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defence whose
    opponent does not know what to attack.
    The Art of War, Sun Tz˘u
    9. O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to
    be invisible, through you inaudible; and hence we can hold the
    enemy’s fate in our hands.
    10. You may advance and be absolutely irresistible, if you make
    for the enemy’s weak points; you may retire and be safe from
    pursuit if your movements are more rapid than those of the
    11. If we wish to fight, the enemy can be forced to an engagement
    even though he be sheltered behind a high rampart and a deep
    ditch. All we need do is to attack some other place that he will
    be obliged to relieve.
    12. If we do not wish to fight, we can prevent the enemy from
    engaging us even though the lines of our encampment be
    merely traced out on the ground. All we need do is to throw
    something odd and unaccountable in his way.
    13. By discovering the enemy’s dispositions and remaining invisible
    ourselves, we can keep our forces concentrated, while the
    enemy’s must be divided.
    14. We can form a single united body, while the enemy must split
    up into fractions. Hence there will be a whole pitted against
    separate parts of a whole, which means that we shall be many
    to the enemy’s few.
    15. And if we are able thus to attack an inferior force with a superior
    one, our opponents will be in dire straits.
    16. The spot where we intend to fight must not be made known; for
    then the enemy will have to prepare against a possible attack
    at several different points; and his forces being thus distributed
    in many directions, the numbers we shall have to face at any
    given point will be proportionately few.
    17. For should the enemy strengthen his van, he will weaken his
    rear; should he strengthen his rear, he will weaken his van;
    should he strengthen his left, he will weaken his right; should
    he strengthen his right, he will weaken his left. If he sends
    reinforcements everywhere, he will everywhere be weak.
    VI. Weak Points and Strong
    18. Numerical weakness comes from having to prepare against
    possible attacks; numerical strength, from compelling our
    adversary to make these preparations against us.
    19. Knowing the place and the time of the coming battle, we may
    concentrate from the greatest distances in order to fight.
    20. But if neither time nor place be known, then the left wing will
    be impotent to succour the right, the right equally impotent to
    succour the left, the van unable to relieve the rear, or the rear
    to support the van. How much more so if the furthest portions
    of the army are anything under a hundred Li apart, and even
    the nearest are separated by several Li!
    21. Though according to my estimate the soldiers of Yüeh exceed
    our own in number, that shall advantage them nothing in the
    matter of victory. I say then that victory can be achieved.
    22. Though the enemy be stronger in numbers, we may prevent
    him from fighting. Scheme so as to discover his plans and the
    likelihood of their success.
    23. Rouse him, and learn the principle of his activity or inactivity.
    Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable
    24. Carefully compare the opposing army with your own, so that
    you may know where strength is superabundant and where it
    is deficient.
    25. In making tactical dispositions, the highest pitch you can
    attain is to conceal them; conceal your dispositions, and you
    will be safe from the prying of the subtlest spies, from the
    machinations of the wisest brains.
    26. How victory may be produced for them out of the enemy’s own
    tactics — that is what the multitude cannot comprehend.
    27. All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what none
    can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.
    28. Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory,
    but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of
    The Art of War, Sun Tz˘u
    29. Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural
    course runs away from high places and hastens downwards.
    30. So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at
    what is weak.
    31. Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground
    over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation
    to the foe whom he is facing.
    32. Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare
    there are no constant conditions.
    33. He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent
    and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born
    34. The five elements are not always equally predominant; the four
    seasons make way for each other in turn. There are short days
    and long; the moon has its periods of waning and waxing.
    1. Sun Tz˘u said: In war, the general receives his commands from
    the sovereign.
    2. Having collected an army and concentrated his forces, he must
    blend and harmonise the different elements thereof before
    pitching his camp.
    3. After that, comes tactical manoeuvring, than which there is
    nothing more difficult. The difficulty of tactical manoeuvring
    consists in turning the devious into the direct, and misfortune
    into gain.
    4. Thus, to take a long and circuitous route, after enticing the
    enemy out of the way, and though starting after him, to contrive
    to reach the goal before him, shows knowledge of the artifice of
    5. Manoeuvring with an army is advantageous; with an undisciplined
    multitude, most dangerous.
    6. If you set a fully equipped army in march in order to snatch an
    advantage, the chances are that you will be too late. On the
    other hand, to detach a flying column for the purpose involves
    the sacrifice of its baggage and stores.
    7. Thus, if you order your men to roll up their buff-coats, and
    make forced marches without halting day or night, covering
    The Art of War, Sun Tz˘u
    double the usual distance at a stretch, doing a hundred Li
    in order to wrest an advantage, the leaders of all your three
    divisions will fall into the hands of the enemy.
    8. The stronger men will be in front, the jaded ones will fall behind,
    and on this plan only one-tenth of your army will reach its
    9. If you march fifty Li in order to outmanoeuvre the enemy, you
    will lose the leader of your first division, and only half your
    force will reach the goal.
    10. If you march thirty Li with the same object, two-thirds of your
    army will arrive.
    11. 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
    12. We cannot enter into alliances until we are acquainted with
    the designs of our neighbours.
    13. We are not fit to lead an army on the march unless we are
    familiar with the face of the country — its mountains and
    forests, its pitfalls and precipices, its marshes and swamps.
    14. We shall be unable to turn natural advantage to account unless
    we make use of local guides.
    15. In war, practise dissimulation, and you will succeed. Move
    only if there is a real advantage to be gained.
    16. Whether to concentrate or to divide your troops, must be
    decided by circumstances.
    17. Let your rapidity be that of the wind, your compactness that of
    the forest.
    18. In raiding and plundering be like fire, in immovability like a
    19. Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when
    you move, fall like a thunderbolt.
    VII. Manoeuvring
    20. When you plunder a countryside, let the spoil be divided
    amongst your men; when you capture new territory, cut it
    up into allotments for the benefit of the soldiery.
    21. Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.
    22. He will conquer who has learnt the artifice of deviation. Such
    is the art of manoeuvring.
    23. The Book of Army Management says: On the field of battle, the
    spoken word does not carry far enough: hence the institution
    of gongs and drums. Nor can ordinary objects be seen clearly
    enough: hence the institution of banners and flags.
    24. Gongs and drums, banners and flags, are means whereby the
    ears and eyes of the host may be focused on one particular
    25. The host thus forming a single united body, it is impossible
    either for the brave to advance alone, or for the cowardly to
    retreat alone. This is the art of handling large masses of men.
    26. In night-fighting, then, make much use of signal-fires and
    drums, and in fighting by day, of flags and banners, as a
    means of influencing the ears and eyes of your army.
    27. A whole army may be robbed of its spirit; a commander-in-chief
    may be robbed of his presence of mind.
    28. Now a soldier’s spirit is keenest in the morning; by noonday it
    has begun to flag; and in the evening, his mind is bent only on
    returning to camp.
    29. A clever general, therefore, avoids an army when its spirit is
    keen, but attacks it when it is sluggish and inclined to return.
    This is the art of studying moods.
    30. Disciplined and calm, to await the appearance of disorder and
    hubbub amongst the enemy: — this is the art of retaining
    31. To be near the goal while the enemy is still far from it, to wait
    at ease while the enemy is toiling and struggling, to be well-fed
    The Art of War, Sun Tz˘u
    while the enemy is famished: — this is the art of husbanding
    one’s strength.
    32. To refrain from intercepting an enemy whose banners are in
    perfect order, to refrain from attacking an army drawn up
    in calm and confident array: — this is the art of studying
    33. It is a military axiom not to advance uphill against the enemy,
    nor to oppose him when he comes downhill.
    34. Do not pursue an enemy who simulates flight; do not attack
    soldiers whose temper is keen.
    35. Do not swallow bait offered by the enemy. Do not interfere with
    an army that is returning home.
    36. When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press
    a desperate foe too hard.
    37. Such is the art of warfare.
    Variation in Tactics
    1. Sun Tz˘u said: In war, the general receives his commands from
    the sovereign, collects his army and concentrates his forces
    2. When in difficult country, do not encamp. In country where
    high roads intersect, join hands with your allies. Do not linger
    in dangerously isolated positions. In hemmed-in situations,
    you must resort to stratagem. In a desperate position, you
    must fight.
    3. There are roads which must not be followed, armies which must
    not be attacked, towns which must not be besieged, positions
    which must not be contested, commands of the sovereign which
    must not be obeyed.
    4. The general who thoroughly understands the advantages that
    accompany variation of tactics knows how to handle his troops.
    5. The general who does not understand these, may be well acquainted
    with the configuration of the country, yet he will not
    be able to turn his knowledge to practical account.
    6. So, the student of war who is unversed in the art of varying his
    plans, even though he be acquainted with the Five Advantages,
    will fail to make the best use of his men.
    7. Hence in the wise leader’s plans, considerations of advantage
    and of disadvantage will be blended together.
    The Art of War, Sun Tz˘u
    8. If our expectation of advantage be tempered in this way, we may
    succeed in accomplishing the essential part of our schemes.
    9. If, on the other hand, in the midst of difficulties we are always
    ready to seize an advantage, we may extricate ourselves from
    10. Reduce the hostile chiefs by inflicting damage on them; make
    trouble for them, and keep them constantly engaged; hold out
    specious allurements, and make them rush to any given point.
    11. The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the
    enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him;
    not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact
    that we have made our position unassailable.
    12. There are five dangerous faults which may affect a general:
    (1) Recklessness, which leads to destruction;
    (2) cowardice, which leads to capture;
    (3) a hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults;
    (4) a delicacy of honour which is sensitive to shame;
    (5) over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him to worry
    and trouble.
    13. These are the five besetting sins of a general, ruinous to the
    conduct of war.
    14. When an army is overthrown and its leader slain, the cause
    will surely be found among these five dangerous faults. Let
    them be a subject of meditation.
    The Army on the March
    1. Sun Tz˘u 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 neighbourhood 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
    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-marshes.
    The Art of War, Sun Tz˘u
    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
    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
    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 utilise 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 neighbourhood 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.
    IX. The Army on the March
    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
    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
    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
    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.
    The Art of War, Sun Tz˘u
    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. Clamour 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
    36. Too frequent rewards signify that the enemy is at the end of his
    resources; too many punishments betray a condition of dire
    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
    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.
    IX. The Army on the March
    42. If soldiers are punished before they have grown attached to you,
    they will not prove submissive; and, unless submissive, they
    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.

    1. Sun Tz˘u said: We may distinguish six kinds of terrain, to wit:
    (1) Accessible ground; (2) entangling ground; (3) temporising
    ground; (4) narrow passes; (5) precipitous heights; (6) positions
    at a great distance from the enemy.
    2. Ground which can be freely traversed by both sides is called
    3. With regard to ground of this nature, be before the enemy in
    occupying the raised and sunny spots, and carefully guard your
    line of supplies. Then you will be able to fight with advantage.
    4. Ground which can be abandoned but is hard to re-occupy is
    called entangling.
    5. From a position of this sort, if the enemy is unprepared, you
    may sally forth and defeat him. But if the enemy is prepared
    for your coming, and you fail to defeat him, then, return being
    impossible, disaster will ensue.
    6. When the position is such that neither side will gain by making
    the first move, it is called temporising ground.
    7. In a position of this sort, even though the enemy should offer
    us an attractive bait, it will be advisable not to stir forth, but
    rather to retreat, thus enticing the enemy in his turn; then,
    when part of his army has come out, we may deliver our attack
    with advantage.
    The Art of War, Sun Tz˘u
    8. With regard to narrow passes, if you can occupy them first,
    let them be strongly garrisoned and await the advent of the
    9. Should the enemy forestall you in occupying a pass, do not go
    after him if the pass is fully garrisoned, but only if it is weakly
    10. With regard to precipitous heights, if you are beforehand with
    your adversary, you should occupy the raised and sunny spots,
    and there wait for him to come up.
    11. If the enemy has occupied them before you, do not follow him,
    but retreat and try to entice him away.
    12. If you are situated at a great distance from the enemy, and the
    strength of the two armies is equal, it is not easy to provoke a
    battle, and fighting will be to your disadvantage.
    13. These six are the principles connected with Earth. The general
    who has attained a responsible post must be careful to study
    14. Now an army is exposed to six several calamities, not arising
    from natural causes, but from faults for which the general is
    responsible. These are: (1) Flight; (2) insubordination; (3) collapse;
    (4) ruin; (5) disorganization; (6) rout.
    15. Other conditions being equal, if one force is hurled against
    another ten times its size, the result will be the flight of the
    16. When the common soldiers are too strong and their officers
    too weak, the result is insubordination. When the officers are
    too strong and the common soldiers too weak, the result is
    17. When the higher officers are angry and insubordinate, and on
    meeting the enemy give battle on their own account from a
    feeling of resentment, before the commander-in-chief can tell
    whether or not he is in a position to fight, the result is ruin.
    X. Terrain
    18. When the general is weak and without authority; when his
    orders are not clear and distinct; when there are no fixed duties
    assigned to officers and men, and the ranks are formed in a
    slovenly haphazard manner, the result is utter disorganization.
    19. When a general, unable to estimate the enemy’s strength,
    allows an inferior force to engage a larger one, or hurls a
    weak detachment against a powerful one, and neglects to place
    picked soldiers in the front rank, the result must be a rout.
    20. These are six ways of courting defeat, which must be carefully
    noted by the general who has attained a responsible post.
    21. The natural formation of the country is the soldier’s best ally;
    but a power of estimating the adversary, of controlling the forces
    of victory, and of shrewdly calculating difficulties, dangers and
    distances, constitutes the test of a great general.
    22. He who knows these things, and in fighting puts his knowledge
    into practice, will win his battles. He who knows them not, nor
    practises them, will surely be defeated.
    23. If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight, even
    though the ruler forbid it; if fighting will not result in victory,
    then you must not fight even at the ruler’s bidding.
    24. The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats
    without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his
    country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of
    the kingdom.
    25. Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you
    into the deepest valleys; look upon them as your own beloved
    sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.
    26. If, however, you are indulgent, but unable to make your authority
    felt; kind-hearted, but unable to enforce your commands;
    and incapable, moreover, of quelling disorder: then your soldiers
    must be likened to spoilt children; they are useless for
    any practical purpose.
    The Art of War, Sun Tz˘u
    27. If we know that our own men are in a condition to attack, but
    are unaware that the enemy is not open to attack, we have
    gone only halfway towards victory.
    28. If we know that the enemy is open to attack, but are unaware
    that our own men are not in a condition to attack, we have
    gone only halfway towards victory.
    29. If we know that the enemy is open to attack, and also know
    that our men are in a condition to attack, but are unaware
    that the nature of the ground makes fighting impracticable, we
    have still gone only halfway towards victory.
    30. Hence the experienced soldier, once in motion, is never bewildered;
    once he has broken camp, he is never at a loss.
    31. Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself,
    your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and
    know Earth, you may make your victory complete.
    The Nine Situations
    1. Sun Tz˘u said: The art of war recognises nine varieties of ground:
    (1) Dispersive ground; (2) facile ground; (3) contentious ground;
    (4) open ground; (5) ground of intersecting highways; (6) serious
    ground; (7) difficult ground; (8) hemmed-in ground; (9) desperate
    2. When a chieftain is fighting in his own territory, it is dispersive
    3. When he has penetrated into hostile territory, but to no great
    distance, it is facile ground.
    4. Ground the possession of which imports great advantage to
    either side, is contentious ground.
    5. Ground on which each side has liberty of movement is open
    6. Ground which forms the key to three contiguous states, so
    that he who occupies it first has most of the Empire at his
    command, is a ground of intersecting highways.
    7. When an army has penetrated into the heart of a hostile country,
    leaving a number of fortified cities in its rear, it is serious
    8. Mountain forests, rugged steeps, marshes and fens — all country
    that is hard to traverse: this is difficult ground.
    The Art of War, Sun Tz˘u
    9. Ground which is reached through narrow gorges, and from
    which we can only retire by tortuous paths, so that a small
    number of the enemy would suffice to crush a large body of our
    men: this is hemmed in ground.
    10. Ground on which we can only be saved from destruction by
    fighting without delay, is desperate ground.
    11. On dispersive ground, therefore, fight not. On facile ground,
    halt not. On contentious ground, attack not.
    12. On open ground, do not try to block the enemy’s way. On the
    ground of intersecting highways, join hands with your allies.
    13. On serious ground, gather in plunder. In difficult ground, keep
    steadily on the march.
    14. On hemmed-in ground, resort to stratagem. On desperate
    ground, fight.
    15. Those who were called skillful leaders of old knew how to drive
    a wedge between the enemy’s front and rear; to prevent cooperation
    between his large and small divisions; to hinder the
    good troops from rescuing the bad, the officers from rallying
    their men.
    16. When the enemy’s men were scattered, they prevented them
    from concentrating; even when their forces were united, they
    managed to keep them in disorder.
    17. When it was to their advantage, they made a forward move;
    when otherwise, they stopped still.
    18. If asked how to cope with a great host of the enemy in orderly
    array and on the point of marching to the attack, I should say:
    “Begin by seizing something which your opponent holds dear;
    then he will be amenable to your will.”
    19. Rapidity is the essence of war: take advantage of the enemy’s
    unreadiness, make your way by unexpected routes, and attack
    unguarded spots.
    XI. The Nine Situations
    20. The following are the principles to be observed by an invading
    force: The further you penetrate into a country, the greater will
    be the solidarity of your troops, and thus the defenders will not
    prevail against you.
    21. Make forays in fertile country in order to supply your army
    with food.
    22. Carefully study the well-being of your men, and do not overtax
    them. Concentrate your energy and hoard your strength. Keep
    your army continually on the move, and devise unfathomable
    23. Throw your soldiers into positions whence there is no escape,
    and they will prefer death to flight. If they will face death, there
    is nothing they may not achieve. Officers and men alike will
    put forth their uttermost strength.
    24. Soldiers when in desperate straits lose the sense of fear. If
    there is no place of refuge, they will stand firm. If they are in
    hostile country, they will show a stubborn front. If there is no
    help for it, they will fight hard.
    25. Thus, without waiting to be marshaled, the soldiers will be
    constantly on the qui vive; without waiting to be asked, they will
    do your will; without restrictions, they will be faithful; without
    giving orders, they can be trusted.
    26. Prohibit the taking of omens, and do away with superstitious
    doubts. Then, until death itself comes, no calamity need be
    27. If our soldiers are not overburdened with money, it is not
    because they have a distaste for riches; if their lives are not
    unduly long, it is not because they are disinclined to longevity.
    28. On the day they are ordered out to battle, your soldiers may
    weep, those sitting up bedewing their garments, and those lying
    down letting the tears run down their cheeks. But let them
    once be brought to bay, and they will display the courage of a
    Chu or a Kuei.
    The Art of War, Sun Tz˘u
    29. The skillful tactician may be likened to the shuai-jan. Now the
    shuai-jan is a snake that is found in the Ch’ang mountains.
    Strike at its head, and you will be attacked by its tail; strike
    at its tail, and you will be attacked by its head; strike at its
    middle, and you will be attacked by head and tail both.
    30. Asked if an army can be made to imitate the shuai-jan, I should
    answer, Yes. For the men of Wu and the men of Yüeh are
    enemies; yet if they are crossing a river in the same boat and
    are caught by a storm, they will come to each other’s assistance
    just as the left hand helps the right.
    31. Hence it is not enough to put one’s trust in the tethering of
    horses, and the burying of chariot wheels in the ground
    32. The principle on which to manage an army is to set up one
    standard of courage which all must reach.
    33. How to make the best of both strong and weak — that is a
    question involving the proper use of ground.
    34. Thus the skillful general conducts his army just as though he
    were leading a single man, willy-nilly, by the hand.
    35. It is the business of a general to be quiet and thus ensure
    secrecy; upright and just, and thus maintain order.
    36. He must be able to mystify his officers and men by false reports
    and appearances, and thus keep them in total ignorance.
    37. By altering his arrangements and changing his plans, he keeps
    the enemy without definite knowledge. By shifting his camp
    and taking circuitous routes, he prevents the enemy from
    anticipating his purpose.
    38. At the critical moment, the leader of an army acts like one who
    has climbed up a height and then kicks away the ladder behind
    him. He carries his men deep into hostile territory before he
    shows his hand.
    39. He burns his boats and breaks his cooking-pots; like a shepherd
    driving a flock of sheep, he drives his men this way and that,
    and nothing knows whither he is going.
    XI. The Nine Situations
    40. To muster his host and bring it into danger: — this may be
    termed the business of the general.
    41. The different measures suited to the nine varieties of ground;
    the expediency of aggressive or defensive tactics; and the fundamental
    laws of human nature: these are things that must
    most certainly be studied.
    42. When invading hostile territory, the general principle is, that
    penetrating deeply brings cohesion; penetrating but a short
    way means dispersion.
    43. When you leave your own country behind, and take your army
    across neighbourhood territory, you find yourself on critical
    ground. When there are means of communication on all four
    sides, the ground is one of intersecting highways.
    44. When you penetrate deeply into a country, it is serious ground.
    When you penetrate but a little way, it is facile ground.
    45. When you have the enemy’s strongholds on your rear, and
    narrow passes in front, it is hemmed-in ground. When there is
    no place of refuge at all, it is desperate ground.
    46. Therefore, on dispersive ground, I would inspire my men with
    unity of purpose. On facile ground, I would see that there is
    close connection between all parts of my army.
    47. On contentious ground, I would hurry up my rear.
    48. On open ground, I would keep a vigilant eye on my defences.
    On ground of intersecting highways, I would consolidate my
    49. On serious ground, I would try to ensure a continuous stream
    of supplies. On difficult ground, I would keep pushing on along
    the road.
    50. On hemmed-in ground, I would block any way of retreat. On
    desperate ground, I would proclaim to my soldiers the hopelessness
    of saving their lives.
    The Art of War, Sun Tz˘u
    51. For it is the soldier’s disposition to offer an obstinate resistance
    when surrounded, to fight hard when he cannot help himself,
    and to obey promptly when he has fallen into danger.
    52. We cannot enter into alliance with neighboring princes until
    we are acquainted with their designs. We are not fit to lead an
    army on the march unless we are familiar with the face of the
    country — its mountains and forests, its pitfalls and precipices,
    its marshes and swamps. We shall be unable to turn natural
    advantages to account unless we make use of local guides.
    53. To be ignorant of any one of the following four or five principles
    does not befit a warlike prince.
    54. When a warlike prince attacks a powerful state, his generalship
    shows itself in preventing the concentration of the enemy’s
    forces. He overawes his opponents, and their allies are prevented
    from joining against him.
    55. Hence he does not strive to ally himself with all and sundry,
    nor does he foster the power of other states. He carries out his
    own secret designs, keeping his antagonists in awe. Thus he is
    able to capture their cities and overthrow their kingdoms.
    56. Bestow rewards without regard to rule, issue orders without
    regard to previous arrangements; and you will be able to handle
    a whole army as though you had to do with but a single man.
    57. Confront your soldiers with the deed itself; never let them know
    your design. When the outlook is bright, bring it before their
    eyes; but tell them nothing when the situation is gloomy.
    58. Place your army in deadly peril, and it will survive; plunge it
    into desperate straits, and it will come off in safety.
    59. For it is precisely when a force has fallen into harm’s way that
    is capable of striking a blow for victory.
    60. Success in warfare is gained by carefully accommodating ourselves
    to the enemy’s purpose.
    61. By persistently hanging on the enemy’s flank, we shall succeed
    in the long run in killing the commander-in-chief.
    XI. The Nine Situations
    62. This is called ability to accomplish a thing by sheer cunning.
    63. On the day that you take up your command, block the frontier
    passes, destroy the official tallies, and stop the passage of all
    64. Be stern in the council-chamber, so that you may control the
    65. If the enemy leaves a door open, you must rush in.
    66. Forestall your opponent by seizing what he holds dear, and
    subtly contrive to time his arrival on the ground.
    67. Walk in the path defined by rule, and accommodate yourself to
    the enemy until you can fight a decisive battle.
    68. At first, then, exhibit the coyness of a maiden, until the enemy
    gives you an opening; afterwards emulate the rapidity of a
    running hare, and it will be too late for the enemy to oppose

    The Attack by Fire
    1. Sun Tz˘u said: There are five ways of attacking with fire. The
    first is to burn soldiers in their camp; the second is to burn
    stores; the third is to burn baggage-trains; the fourth is to
    burn arsenals and magazines; the fifth is to hurl dropping fire
    amongst the enemy.
    2. In order to carry out an attack with fire, we must have means
    available. The material for raising fire should always be kept
    in readiness.
    3. There is a proper season for making attacks with fire, and
    special days for starting a conflagration.
    4. The proper season is when the weather is very dry; the special
    days are those when the moon is in the constellations of the
    Sieve, the Wall, the Wing or the Cross-bar; for these four are
    all days of rising wind.
    5. In attacking with fire, one should be prepared to meet five
    possible developments:
    6. (1) When fire breaks out inside the enemy’s camp, respond at
    once with an attack from without.
    7. (2) If there is an outbreak of fire, but the enemy’s soldiers
    remain quiet, bide your time and do not attack.
    The Art of War, Sun Tz˘u
    8. (3) When the force of the flames has reached its height, follow
    it up with an attack, if that is practicable; if not, stay where
    you are.
    9. (4) If it is possible to make an assault with fire from without,
    do not wait for it to break out within, but deliver your attack at
    a favourable moment.
    10. (5) When you start a fire, be to windward of it. Do not attack
    from the leeward.
    11. A wind that rises in the daytime lasts long, but a night breeze
    soon falls.
    12. In every army, the five developments connected with fire must
    be known, the movements of the stars calculated, and a watch
    kept for the proper days.
    13. Hence those who use fire as an aid to the attack show intelligence;
    those who use water as an aid to the attack gain an
    accession of strength.
    14. By means of water, an enemy may be intercepted, but not
    robbed of all his belongings.
    15. Unhappy is the fate of one who tries to win his battles and succeed
    in his attacks without cultivating the spirit of enterprise;
    for the result is waste of time and general stagnation.
    16. Hence the saying: The enlightened ruler lays his plans well
    ahead; the good general cultivates his resources.
    17. Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops
    unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the
    position is critical.
    18. No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his
    own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique.
    19. If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay
    where you are.
    20. Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded
    by content.
    XII. The Attack by Fire
    21. But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come
    again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.
    22. Hence the enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general
    full of caution. This is the way to keep a country at peace and
    an army intact.

    The Use of Spies
    1. Sun Tz˘u said: Raising a host of a hundred thousand men
    and marching them great distances entails heavy loss on the
    people and a drain on the resources of the State. The daily
    expenditure will amount to a thousand ounces of silver. There
    will be commotion at home and abroad, and men will drop
    down exhausted on the highways. As many as seven hundred
    thousand families will be impeded in their labour.
    2. Hostile armies may face each other for years, striving for the
    victory which is decided in a single day. This being so, to
    remain in ignorance of the enemy’s condition simply because
    one grudges the outlay of a hundred ounces of silver in honours
    and emoluments, is the height of inhumanity.
    3. One who acts thus is no leader of men, no present help to his
    sovereign, no master of victory.
    4. Thus, what enables the wise sovereign and the good general
    to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of
    ordinary men, is foreknowledge.
    5. Now this foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits; it cannot
    be obtained inductively from experience, nor by any deductive
    6. Knowledge of the enemy’s dispositions can only be obtained
    from other men.
    The Art of War, Sun Tz˘u
    7. Hence the use of spies, of whom there are five classes: (1) Local
    spies; (2) inward spies; (3) converted spies; (4) doomed spies;
    (5) surviving spies.
    8. When these five kinds of spy are all at work, none can discover
    the secret system. This is called “divine manipulation of the
    threads”. It is the sovereign’s most precious faculty.
    9. Having local spies means employing the services of the inhabitants
    of a district.
    10. Having inward spies, making use of officials of the enemy.
    11. Having converted spies, getting hold of the enemy’s spies and
    using them for our own purposes.
    12. Having doomed spies, doing certain things openly for purposes
    of deception, and allowing our own spies to know of them and
    report them to the enemy.
    13. Surviving spies, finally, are those who bring back news from
    the enemy’s camp.
    14. Hence it is that with none in the whole army are more intimate
    relations to be maintained than with spies. None should be
    more liberally rewarded. In no other business should greater
    secrecy be preserved.
    15. Spies cannot be usefully employed without a certain intuitive
    16. They cannot be properly managed without benevolence and
    17. Without subtle ingenuity of mind, one cannot make certain of
    the truth of their reports.
    18. Be subtle! be subtle! and use your spies for every kind of
    19. If a secret piece of news is divulged by a spy before the time is
    ripe, he must be put to death together with the man to whom
    the secret was told.
    XIII. The Use of Spies
    20. Whether the object be to crush an army, to storm a city, or to
    assassinate an individual, it is always necessary to begin by
    finding out the names of the attendants, the aides-de-camp,
    the door-keepers and sentries of the general in command. Our
    spies must be commissioned to ascertain these.
    21. The enemy’s spies who have come to spy on us must be sought
    out, tempted with bribes, led away and comfortably housed.
    Thus they will become converted spies and available for our
    22. It is through the information brought by the converted spy that
    we are able to acquire and employ local and inward spies.
    23. It is owing to his information, again, that we can cause the
    doomed spy to carry false tidings to the enemy.
    24. Lastly, it is by his information that the surviving spy can be
    used on appointed occasions.
    25. The end and aim of spying in all its five varieties is knowledge
    of the enemy; and this knowledge can only be derived, in the
    first instance, from the converted spy. Hence it is essential
    that the converted spy be treated with the utmost liberality.
    26. Of old, the rise of the Yin dynasty was due to I Chih who had
    served under the Hsia. Likewise, the rise of the Chou dynasty
    was due to Lü Ya who had served under the Yin.
    27. Hence it is only the enlightened ruler and the wise general who
    will use the highest intelligence of the army for purposes of
    spying, and thereby they achieve great results. Spies are a
    most important element in war, because on them depends an
    army’s ability to move.