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1. Sun Tzu said: We may distinguish six kinds of terrain,
to wit: (1) Accessible ground; (2) entangling ground;
(3) temporizing 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 accessible.
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 temporizing 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.
8. With regard to narrow passes, if you can occupy
them first, let them be strongly garrisoned and await
the advent of the enemy.
9. Should the army forestall you in occupying a pass,
do not go after him if the pass is fully garrisoned,
but only if it is weakly garrisoned.
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 them.
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 former.
16. When the common soldiers are too strong and
their officers too weak, the result is insubordination.