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|Page 14 of 32|
1. Sun Tzu said: In war, the general receives his
commands from the sovereign.
2. Having collected an army and concentrated his forces,
he must blend and harmonize the different elements thereof
before pitching his camp.
3. After that, comes tactical maneuvering,
than which there is nothing more difficult.
The difficulty of tactical maneuvering 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 DEVIATION.
5. Maneuvering 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
7. Thus, if you order your men to roll up their
buff-coats, and make forced marches without halting day
or night, covering 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 destination.
9. If you march fifty LI in order to outmaneuver
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 lost.
12. We cannot enter into alliances until we are
acquainted with the designs of our neighbors.
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, practice dissimulation, and you will succeed.
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,
is immovability like a mountain.
19. Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night,
and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.