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The Complete Art of War: The Art of War by Sun Tzu; On War by Carl von Clausewitz; The Art of War by Niccolò Machiavelli; The Art of War by Baron de Jomini

The Complete Art of War: The Art of War by Sun Tzu; On War by Carl von Clausewitz; The Art of War by Niccolò Machiavelli; The Art of War by Baron de Jomini

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The Complete Art of War: The Art of War by Sun Tzu; On War by Carl von Clausewitz; The Art of War by Niccolò Machiavelli; The Art of War by Baron de Jomini

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Jun 10, 2015


Collected here in this 4-in-1 omnibus are the most important books ever written on the art of war: 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu; 'On War' by Carl von Clausewitz; 'The Art of War' by Niccolò Machiavelli, and 'The Art of War' by Baron De Jomini. These four books will give you as complete a view on the art of war as you can attain. Sun Tzu's 'The Art of War' is the most important book ever written about warfare and conflict. Lionel Giles' translation is the definitive edition and his commentary is indispensable. 'The Art of War' can be used and adapted in every facet of your life. This book explains when and how to go to war, as well as when not to. Learn how to win any conflict whether it be on the battlefield or in the boardroom. Although Carl von Clausewitz participated in many military campaigns, he was primarily a military theorist interested in the examination of war. 'On War' is the West's premier work on the philosophy of war. Other soldiers before him had written treatises on various military subjects, but none undertook a great philosophical examination of war on the scale of Clausewitz's. 'On War' is considered to be the first modern book of military strategy. This is due mainly to Clausewitz's integration of political, social, and economic issues as some of the most important factors in deciding the outcomes of a war. It is one of the most important treatises on strategy ever written, and continues to be required reading at many military academies. Niccolò Machiavelli considered 'The Art of War' to be his greatest achievement. Here you will learn how to recruit, train, motivate, and discipline an army. You will learn the difference between strategy and tactics. Machiavelli does a masterful job of breaking down and analyzing historic battles. This book of military knowledge belongs alongside Sun-Tzu and Clausewitz on every book shelf. Antoine-Henri Jomini was the most celebrated writer on the Napoleonic art of war. Jomini was present at the majority of the most important battles of the Napoleonic Wars. His writing, therefore, is the most authoritative on the subject. In this fully illustrated version of 'The Art of War', he advises: "The art of war, as generally considered, consists of five purely military branches,-viz.: Strategy, Grand Tactics, Logistics, Engineering, and Tactics. A sixth and essential branch, hitherto unrecognized, might be termed Diplomacy in its relation to War. Although this branch is more naturally and intimately connected with the profession of a statesman than with that of a soldier, it cannot be denied that, if it be useless to a subordinate general, it is indispensable to every general commanding an army."
Jun 10, 2015

Sobre el autor

Sun Tzu, also known as Sun Wu or Sunzi, was an ancient Chinese military strategist believed to be the author of the acclaimed military text, The Art of War. Details about Sun Tzu’s background and life are uncertain, although he is believed to have lived c. 544-496 BCE. Through The Art of War, Sun Tzu’s theories and strategies have influenced military leaders and campaigns throughout time, including the samurai of ancient and early-modern Japan, and more recently Ho Chi Minh of the Viet Cong and American generals Norman Swarzkopf, Jr. and Colin Powell during the Persian Gulf War in the 1990s.

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The Complete Art of War - Sun Tzu

The Complete Art of War

The Art of War

by Sun Tzu (Translated by Lionel Giles)

On War

by Carl von Clausewitz (Translated by Colonel J.J. Graham)

The Art of War

by Niccolò Machiavelli (Translated by Peter Whitehorne and Edward Dacres)

The Art of War

by Baron de Jomini (Translated by G.H. Mendell, and W.P. Craighill)

©2017 Wilder Publications
All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission except for brief quotations for review purposes only.
ISBN 13: 978-1-63384-684-5
First Edition
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Table of Contents

The Art of War, by Sun Tzu

Chapter I: Laying Plans

Chapter II: Waging War

Chapter III: Attack by Stratagem

Chapter IV: Tactical Dispositions

Chapter V: Energy

Chapter VI: Weak Points and Strong

Chapter VII: Maneuvering

Chapter VIII: Variation in Tactics

Chapter IX: The Army on the March

Chapter X: Terrain

Chapter XI: The Nine Situations

Chapter XII: The Attack by Fire

Chapter XIII: The Use of Spies

On War, by General Carl von Clausewitz


Preface to the First Edition


The Introduction of the Author

Brief Memoir of General Clausewitz

Book I: On the Nature of War

What Is War?

1. Introduction

2. Definition

3. Utmost Use of Force

4. The Aim Is to Disarm the Enemy

5. Utmost Exertion of Powers

6. Modification in the Reality

7. War Is Never an Isolated Act

8. War Does Not Consist of a Single Instantaneous Blow

9. The Result in War Is Never Absolute

10. The Probabilities of Real Life Take the Place of the Conceptions of the Extreme and the Absolute

11. The Political Object Now Reappears

12. A Suspension in the Action of War Unexplained by Anything Said as Yet

13. There Is Only One Cause Which Can Suspend the Action, and this Seems to Be Only Possible on One Side in Any Case

14. Thus a Continuance of Action Will Ensue Which Will Advance Towards a Climax

15. Here, Therefore, the Principle of Polarity Is Brought into Requisition

16. Attack and Defence Are Things Differing in Kind and of Unequal Force. Polarity Is, Therefore, Not Applicable to Them

17. The Effect of Polarity Is Often Destroyed by the Superiority of the Defence over the Attack, and Thus the Suspension of Action in War Is Explained

18 A Second Ground Consists in the Imperfect Knowledge of Circumstances

19. Frequent Periods of Inaction in War Remove it Further from the Absolute, and Make it Still More a Calculation of Probabilities

20. Therefore, the Element of Chance Only Is Wanting to Make of War a Game, and in That Element it Is Least of All Deficient

21. War Is a Game Both Objectively and Subjectively

22. How this Accords Best with the Human Mind in General

23. War Is Always a Serious Means for a Serious Object. Its More Particular Definition

24. War Is a Mere Continuation of Policy by Other Means

25. Diversity in the Nature of Wars

26. They May All Be Regarded as Political Acts

27. Influence of this View on the Right Understanding of Military History, and on the Foundations of Theory

28. Result for Theory

End and Means in War

The Genius for War

Of Danger in War

Of Bodily Exertion in War

Information in War

Friction in War

Concluding Remarks, Book I

Book II: On the Theory of War

Branches of the Art of War

On the Theory of War

1. The First Conception of the Art of War Was Merely the Preparation of the Armed Forces

2. True War First Appears in the Art of Sieges

3. Then Tactics Tried to Find its Way in the Same Direction

4. The Real Conduct of War Only Made its Appearance Incidentally and Incognito

5. Reflections on Military Events Brought about the Want of a Theory

6. Endeavours to Establish a Positive Theory

7. Limitation to Material Objects

8. Superiority of Numbers

9. Victualling of Troops

10. Base

11. Interior Lines

12. All These Attempts Are Open to Objection

13. As a Rule They Exclude Genius

14. The Difficulty of Theory as Soon as Moral Quantities Come into Consideration.

15. The Moral Quantities must Not Be Excluded in War

16. Principal Difficulty of a Theory for the Conduct of War

17. First Speciality.—Moral Forces and Their Effects (Hostile Feeling)

18. The Impressions of Danger (Courage)

19. Extent of the Influence of Danger

20. Other Powers of Feeling

21. Peculiarity of Mind

22. From the Diversity in Mental Individualities Arises the Diversity of Ways Leading to the End

23. Second Peculiarity.— Living Reaction

24. Third Peculiarity.— Uncertainty of All Data

25. Positive Theory Is Impossible

26. Means Left by Which a Theory Is Possible (The Difficulties Are Not Everywhere Equally Great)

27. Theory must Be of the Nature of Observations Not of Doctrine

28. By this Point of View Theory Becomes Possible, and Ceases to Be in Contradiction to Practice

29. Theory Therefore Considers the Nature of Ends and Means—ends and Means in Tactics

30. Circumstances Which Always Attend the Application of the Means

31. Locality

32. Time of Day

33. Weather

34. End and Means in Strategy

35. Circumstances Which Attend the Application of the Means of Strategy

36. These Form New Means

37. Strategy Deduces Only from Experience the Ends and Means to Be Examined

38. How Far the Analysis of the Means Should Be Carried

39. Great Simplification of the Knowledge Required

40. This Explains the Rapid Growth of Great Generals, and Why a General Is Not a Man of Learning

41. Former Contradictions

42. On this Account All Use of Knowledge Was Denied, and Everything Ascribed to Natural Talents

43. The Knowledge must Be Made Suitable to the Position

44. The Knowledge in War Is Very Simple, but Not, at the Same Time, Very Easy

45. Of the Nature of this Knowledge

46. Science must Become Art

Art or Science of War

1. Usage Still Unsettled (Power and Knowledge. Science When Mere Knowing; Art, When Doing, Is the Object)

2. Difficulty of Separating Perception from Judgment (Art of War)

3. War Is Part of the Intercourse of the Human Race

4. Difference



On Examples

Book III: Of Strategy in General



1. Possible Combats Are on Account of Their Results to Be Looked upon as Real Ones.

2. Twofold Object of the Combat

3. Example

4. When this View Is Not Taken, Then a False Value Is Given to Other Things

Elements of Strategy

Moral Forces

The Chief Moral Powers

Military Virtue of an Army



Superiority of Numbers

The Surprise


Assembly of Forces in Space

Assembly of Forces in Time

Strategic Reserve

Economy of Forces

Geometrical Element

On the Suspension of the Act in Warfare

On the Character of Modern War

Tension and Rest

The Dynamic Law of War

Book IV: The Combat


Character of the Modern Battle

The Combat in General

The Combat in General (Continuation)

On the Signification of the Combat

Duration of the Combat

Decision of the Combat

Mutual Understanding as to a Battle

The Battle

Its Decision

Effects of Victory

The Use of the Battle

Strategic Means of Utilising Victory

Retreat after a Lost Battle

Night Fighting

The Art of War, by Niccolò Machiavelli


The First Booke

Why a good man ought never to use the exercise of armes, as his art.

A kinge that hath about him any that are to much lovers of warre, or to much lovers of peace shal cause him to erre.

Oute of what countrie is best to chuse souldiours to make a good election.

Whether it Be Better to Take Menne Oute of Townes or out of the Countrie to Serve.

Of what age souldiours ought to bee chosen.

By what meanes souldiours bee made bolde and experte.

Of what science soldiours ought to bee chosen.

Howe to chose a souldiour.

How to provid againste soche inconveniences as souldiours maie cause.

The nomber of horsemen, that the romanies chose for a legion, and for a consailes armie.

The choosing and ordering of horsemen, that is to be observed at this present.

The Second Booke

Howe the Romaines armed their souldiers and what weapons thei used.

A brave and a terrible thing to the enemies

Whether the Romanes maner in arming of men, be better then the arming of men, that is used nowe a daies.

An ensample whiche proveth that horsemen with staves, cannot prevaile against footemen with pikes, and what great advauntage the armed have, againste the unarmed. The victory of carminvola against the duchemen.

The Battailes When Thei Are a Faightyng, Doe Throng Together.

How to arme men, and what weapons to appoincte theim, after the romaine maner, and duche facion.

The victorie of lucullo, against tiarane king of armenia; for what pupose horsemen be most requisite.

The reason why footmen are able to overcome horsemen; how footmen maie save them selves from horsemen; the exercise of souldiours, ought to be devided into thre partes; what exercises the auncient common weales used to exercise their youth in, and what commoditie insued thereby; how the antiquitie, learned their yong soldiours, to handell their weapons; what thantiquitie estemed moste happie in a common weale; mouster maisters; for thexercisyng of yong men unexperte.

The exercises that souldiers ought to make in these daies; the exercise of swimmyng; tiber, is a river runnyng through rome the water wher of will never corrupte; thexercise of vautyng, and the commoditie thereof; an order that is taken in certain countries, concerning exercises of warre; what knowledge a souldiour ought to have; a cohorte is a bande of men; of what nomer and of what kind of armours and weapons, a maine battaile ought to bee, and the distributing and appoinetyng of thesame; veliti are light armed men; thecapitaines that ar appointed to every band of men; twoo orders observed in an armie; how a captain muste instructe muste instructe his souldiours how thei ought to governe themselves in the battaile.

The chief importance in the exercisyng of bandes of men; three principall for thorderyng of menne into battaile raie; the manner how to bryng a bande of men into battaile raie after a square facion; the better waie for the ordring of a band of men in battaile raie, after the first facion; how to exercise men, and to take soche order, whereby a band of men that were by whatsoever chance disordred maye straighte wai be brought into order againe; what advertisement ought to bee used in tourning about a whole bande of menne, after soche sorte, as though it were but one bodie; how to order a band of menne after soche sort that thei maie make their front againste thenemie of whiche flanke thei list; how a band of man oughte to be ordered, when in marchyng thei should bee constrained to faighton their backes.

How a battaile is made with twoo hornes; the orderyng of a battaile with a voide space in the middeste.

To what purpose the pikes and velite extraordinarie must serve.

Neither centurion nor peticapitaine, ought not to ride; what carriages the capitaines ought to have, and the nomber of carrages requisite to every bande of menne.

Without many capitaines, an armie cannot be governed; to what purpose ansignes ought to serve; for what purpose drummes oughte to bee used; the propertie that soundes of instrumentes have in mens myndes.

A notable discourse of the aucthour, declaryng whereof groweth so moche vilenes disorder and necligence in these daies, concernyng the exercises of warre.

The causes why the aunciente orders are neclected.

The Armyng of Horsemen; the Weapons That Light Horsmenne Should Have; the Nombre of Horsmen Requisite for a Maine Bataille of Six Thousand Men; the Nombre of Carrages That Men of Armes and Light Horsmen Ought to Have.

The Thirde Booke

The greateste disorder that is used now a daies in pitching of a fielde; the order how a romain legion was appoincted to faight; the maner that the grekes used in their falangi, when thei fought against their enemies; the order that the suizzers use in their main battailes when thei faight; howe to appoincte a main battaile with armour and weapons, and to order thesame after the Greke and Romain maner.

The descripcion of a battaile that is a faightyng.

Questions concerning the shotyng of ordinaunce.

An aunswere to the questions that were demaunded, concernyng the shoting of ordinaunce; the best remedie to avoide the hurte that the enemie in the fielde maie doe with his ordinaunce; a policie against bowes and dartes; nothyng causeth greater confusion in an armie, than to hinder mennes fightes; nothing more blindeth the sight of men in an armie, then the smoke of ordinaunce; a policie to trouble the enemies sight; the shotte of greate ordinaunce in the fielde, is not moche to bee feared of fotemenne; bicause menne of armes stand closer together then light horsmen, thei ought to remaine behinde the armie till the enemies ordinaunce have done shootyng; the artillerie is no let, why the auncient orders of warfar ought not to be used in these daies.

A generall rule againste soche thynges as cannot bee withstoode.

A battaile how greate so ever it bee, cannot atones occupy above v. rankes of pikes.

An advertiement concernyng the pitchying of a field.

How the front of the armie ought to bee made; how the middell part of the armie ought to be ordered.

The orderyng of the hinder part of tharmy.

The retire of the pikes, to place the targaet men.

How the pikes that are placed on the flankes of the armie ought to governe them selves when the rest of the armie is driven to retire.

Thexercise of the army in generall; the nomber that is mete to be written in the ansigne of every band of men; the degrees of honours in an armie, whiche soche a man ought to rise by, as should bee made a generall capitain.

The armes that oughte to bee in the standarde, and in the ansignes of an armie; the second and thirde exercise of an armie; the fowerth exercise of an armie; the soundes of the instrumentes of musicke, that the antiquitie used in their armies; what is signified by the sounde of the trompet.

The cries, and rumours, wher with the firste charge is given unto the enemies, and the silence that ought to bee used after, when the faight is ones begunne.

The Fowerth Booke

To deffende moche the fronte of an armie, is most perillous; what is beste for a capitaine to dooe, where his power is, moche lesse then thenemies power; a general rule; the higher grounde ought to be chosen; an advertisement not to place an armie wher the enemie maie se what the same doeth; respectes for the sonne and winde; the variyng of order and place maie cause the conquered to become victorius; a policie in the ordering of men and pitchyng of a fielde; how to compasse about the enemies power; how a capitaine maie faight and bee as it were sure, not to be overcome; how to trouble the orders of the enemie; what a capitaine oughte to dooe when he hath not so many horsmen as the enemie; a greate aide for horsemen; the policies used betwene aniball and scipio.

Cartes full of hookes made to destroie the enemies; the remedy that was used against cartes full of hookes; the straunge maner that Silla used in orderyng his army against Archelaus; how to trouble in the faighte the armie of the enemies; a policie of Caius Sulpitius, to make his enemies afraied; a policie of Marius againste the Duchmenne; a policie of greate importaunce, while a battaile is a faightyng; how horsemen maie bee disordered; how the Turke gave the Sophie an overthrowe; how the Spaniardes overcame the armie of Amilcare; how to traine the enemie, to his destruccion; a policie of Tullo Hostilio and Lucius Silla in dessemlyng of a mischaunce; sertorius slue a man for telling him of the death of one of his capitaines; howe certaine captaines have staied their men that hath been running awaie; Attillius constrained his men that ran awaie to tourne again and to faight; how Philip King of Macedonia made his men afraied to run awaie; victorie ought with all celeritie to bee folowed; what a capitaine ought to dooe, when he should chaunce to receive an overthrowe; how Martius overcame the armie of the Carthaginers; a policie of Titus Dimius to hide a losse, whiche he had received in a faight; a general rule; aniball; scipio; asdruball; a capitaine ought not to faight without advantage, excepte he be constrained; how advauntage maie bee taken of the enemies; furie withstode, converteth into vilenesse; what maner of men a capitaine ought to have about him continually, to consult withall; the condicions of the capitain of the enemies, and of those that are about hym is moste requisite to bee knowen; a timerous army is not to be conducted to faight; how to avoide the faightyng of a fielde.

Fabius Maximus.

Philip king of Macedonia, overcome by the Romaines; How Cingentorige avoided the faightyng of the fielde with Cesar; The ignorance of the Venecians; What is to be doen wher soldiours desire to faight, contrary to their capitaines minde; How to incourage souldiers; An advertisment to make the soldiour most obstinately to faight.

It is requisite for excellent Capitaines to bee good orators; Alexander Magnus used openly to perswade his armie; The effecteousnes of speking; Souldiours ought to be accustomed to heare their Capitaine speake; How in olde time souldiers were threatened for their faltes; Enterprises maie the easelier be brought to passe by meanes of religion; Sertorius; A policie of Silla; A policie of Charles the seventh king of Fraunce against the Englishmen; How souldiers maiebee made to esteme little their enemies; The surest wai to make souldiours moste obstinat to faight; By what meanes obstinatenesse to faighte is increased.

The Fiveth Booke

Commaundementes of Capitaines being not wel understoode, maie be the destruction of an armie; Respect that is to be had in commaundementes made with the sounde of the Trompet; In commaundmentes made with the voice, what respect is to be had; Of Pianars.

The victualles that thantiquitie made provision of, for their armies.

The occasions why the warres made nowe adaies, doe impoverishe the conquerors as well as the conquered; The order that the Romaines toke, concerning the spoile and the booties that their souldiours gotte; An order that the antiquitie tooke, concernyng their soldiours wages.

Captaines mai incurre the daunger of ambusshes twoo maner of wayes; How to avoide the perill of ambusshes; Howe ambusshes have ben perceived; Howe the Capitaine of the enemies ought to be esteemed; Where men be in greatest perill; The description of the countrey where an army muste marche, is most requiset for a Capitaine to have; A most profitable thyng it is for a capitayne to be secrete in all his affaires; An advertisment concernyng the marchyng of an armie; The marching of an armie ought to be ruled by the stroke of the Drumme; The condicion of the enemie ought to be considered.

Annone of Carthage.

Nabide a spartayne; Quintus Luttatius pollecie to passe over a river; How to passe a ryver without a bridge; A polecie of Cesar to passe a river, where his enemie beyng on the other side therof sought to lette hym.

How to know the Foordes of a river.

Howe to escape oute of a straight where the same is besette with enemies; Howe Lutius Minutius escaped out of a strayght wherin he was inclosed of his enemies; Howe some Capitaynes have suffered them selves to be compassed aboute of their enemies; A polecie of Marcus Antonius; A defence for the shotte of arrowes.

The Sixthe Booke

How the Grekes incamped; Howe the Romaines incamped; The maner of the incamping of an armie; The lodging for the generall capitaine.

The lodgings for the men of armes, and their Capitaine; Note, which is breadth and whiche length in the square campe; The lodgings for the lighte horsemen, and their capitain; The lodgings for the footemen of twoo ordinary main battailes; The lodgings for the conestables; The nomber of footemen appoincted to every lodging; The lodynges for the chiefe Capitaines of the maine battayles and for the treasurers, marshals and straungers; Lodginges for the horsemen, of the extraordinarie mayne battailes; The lodgynges for the extraordinarie Pykes and Veliti; How the Artillerie must be placed in the Campe; Lodgynges for the unarmed men, and the places that are apoineted for the impedimentes of the campe.

The Campe ought to be all waies of one facion.

Theantiquitie used no Scoutes; The watche and warde of the Campe.

Dilligence ought to be used, to knowe who lieth oute of the Campe, and who they be that cometh of newe; Claudius Nero; The justice that ought to be in a campe. The fauts that the antiquitie punisshed with Death; Where greate punishementes be, there oughte likewise to bee great rewardes; It was no marvel that the Romaines became mightie Princes; A meane to punishe and execute Justice, without raising tumultes; Manlius Capitolinus; Souldiours sworen to kepe the discipline of warre.

Women and idell games, were not suffered by the antiquitie, to bee in their armies.

Ordre in the removing the armie by the soundes of a Trumpet.

Respectes to be had for incampyng; How to choose a place to incampe; How to avoide diseases from the armie; The wonderfull commoditie of exercise; The provision of victualles that ought alwaies to bee in a readinesse in an armie.

Howe to lodge in the Campe more or lesse menne, then the ordinarie; The nombre of men that an army ought to be made of, to bee able to faighte with the puisantest enemie that is; Howe to cause men to do soche a thing as shold bee profitable for thee, and hurtfull to them selves; Howe to overcome menne at unwares; How to tourne to commoditie the doynges of soche, as use to advertise thy enemie of thy proceadynges; How to order the campe, that the enemie shal not perceive whether the same bee deminished, or increased; A saiyng of Metellus; Marcus Crassus; How to understand the secretes of thy enemie; A policie of Marius, to understande howe he might truste the Frenchmen; What some Capitaines have doen when their countrie have been invaded of enemies; To make the enemie necligente in his doynges; Silla Asdruball; The policie of Aniball, where by he escaped out of the danger of Fabius Maximus; A Capitayne muste devise how to devide the force of his enemies; How to cause the enemie to have in suspect his most trusty men; Aniball Coriolanus; Metellus against Jugurte; A practis of the Romayne oratours, to bryng Aniball out of Credit with Antiochus; Howe to cause the enemie to devide his power; Howe Titus Didius staied his enemies that wer going to incounter a legion of men that were commyng in his ayde; Howe some have caused the enemie to devide his force; A policie to winne the enemies countrie before he be aware; Howe to reforme sedicion and discorde; The benefitte that the reputacion of the Capitaine causeth, which is only gotten by vertue; The chiefe thyng that a capitayne ought to doe; When paie wanteth, punishment is not to be executed; The inconvenience of not punisshynge; Cesar chaunsynge to fall, made the same to be supposed to signifi good lucke; Religion taketh away fantasticall opinions; In what cases a Capitaine ought not to faight with his enemie if he may otherwyse choose; A policie of Fulvius wherby he got and spoyled his enemies Campe; A policie to disorder the enemie; A policie to overcome the enemie; A policie; How to beguile the enemie; Howe Mennonus trained his enemies oute of stronge places to bee the better able to overcom them.

The enemie ought not to be brought into extreme desperacion; How Lucullus constrained certaine men that ran awaie from him to his enemies, to fayght whether they wold or not.

A policie wher by Pompey got a towne; How Publius Valerius assured him self of a towne; A policie that Alexander Magnus used to be assured of all Tracia, which Philip kynge of Spaine did practise to be asured of England when he wente to sainct Quintens; Examples for Capitaines to winne the hartes of the people.

Warre ought not to be made in winter; Rough situacions, colde and watrie times, are enemies to the oder of warre; An overthrowe caused by winter.

The Seventh Booke

A drie diche is moste sureste.

An advertisemente for the buildyng and defending of a Toune or Fortresse; Small fortresses cannot bee defended; A toune of war or Fortresse, ought not to have in them any retiring places; Cesar Borgia; The causes of the losse of the Fortresse of Furlie, that was thought invincible; Howe the houses that are in a toune of war or Fortresse ought to be builded.

The fortifiyng of the entrance of a Toune.

Battelments ought to be large and thicke and the flanckers large within.

Neither the ditche, wall tillage, nor any kinde of edificacion, ought to be within a mile of a toune of warre.

The provision that is meete to be made for the defence of a toune.

What incoragethe the enemy most that besiegeth a toune; What he that besiegeth and he that defendeth oughte to doo; Advertisementes for a besieged towne; Howe the Romaines vitaled Casalino besieged of Aniball; A policie for the besieged.

A policie of Fabius in besieging of a toune; A policie of Dionisius in besiegynge of a toune.

Howe Alexander wanne Leucadia.

The besieged ought to take heed of the first brunte; The remedie that townes men have, when the enemies ar entred into the towne; How to make the townes men yeelde.

How townes or cities are easelie wonne; How duke Valentine got the citie of Urbine; The besieged ought to take heede of the deciptes and policies of the enemie; How Domitio Calvino wan a towne.

A policie to get a towne.

How Simon of Athens wan a towne; A policie to get a towne; How Scipio gotte certaine castels in Afrike.

Howe Pirrus wan the chiefe Citie of Sclavonie; A policie to get a towne; How the beseiged are made to yelde; Howe to get a towne by treason; A policie of Aniball for the betraiyng of a Castell; How the besieged maie be begiled; How Formion overcame the Calcidensians; What the besieged muste take heede of; Liberalitie maketh enemies frendes; The diligence that the besieged ought to use in their watche and ward.

An order of Alcibiades for the dew keping of watch and warde.

The secrete conveighyng of Letters; The defence against a breach; How the antiquitie got tounes by muining under grounde.

The reamedie against Caves or undermuinynges; What care the besieged ought to have; What maketh a citee or campe difficulte to bee defended; By what meanes thei that besiege ar made afraied; Honour got by constancie.

Generall rules of warre.

How to consulte.

What thynges are the strength of the warre.

Provisions that maie bee made to fill a Realme full of good horse; The knowledge that a capitaine oughte to have.

The auctor retorneth to his first purpose and maketh a littel discorse to make an ende of his reasonyng.

A prince may easelie brynge to intiere perfection the servis of warre; Two sortes of Capitaines worthie to bee praysed.

The Auctor excuseth the people of Italie to the great reproche of their prynces for their ignorance in the affaires of warre.

A discription of the folishenesse of the Italian princes; Cesar and Alexander, were the formoste in battell; The Venecians and the duke of Ferare began to have reduced the warfare to the Aunciente maners; He that despiseth the servis of warre, despiseth his own welthe.

The Art of War, by Baron de Jomini

Translator’s Preface

Definitions of the Branches of the Art of War

Statesmanship in its Relation to War

Article I: Offensive Wars to Reclaim Rights

Article II: of Wars Defensive Politically, and Offensive in a Military Point of View

Article III: Wars of Expediency

Article IV: Of Wars with or without Allies

Article V: Wars of Intervention

Article VI: Aggressive Wars for Conquest and other Reasons

Article VII: Wars of Opinion

Article VIII: National Wars

Article IX: Civil Wars, and Wars of Religion

Article X: Double Wars, and the Danger of Undertaking Two Wars at Once

Military Policy

Article XI: Military Statistics and Geography

Article XII: Other Causes which exercise an Influence upon the Success of a War

Article XIII: Military Institutions

Article XIV: The Command of Armies, and the Chief Control over Operations

Article XV: The Military Spirit of Nations, and the Morale of Armies

Definition of Strategy and the Fundamental Principle of War

The Fundamental Principle of War

Of Strategic Combinations

Article XVI: Of the System of Operations

Article XVII: Of the Theater of Operations

Article XVIII: Bases of Operations

Article XIX: Strategic lines and Points, Decisive Points of the Theater of War, and Objective Points of Operations

Objective Points

Article XX: Fronts of Operations, Strategic Fronts, Lines of Defense, and Strategic Positions

Fronts of Operations and Strategic Fronts

Lines of Defense

Strategic Positions

Article XXI: Zones and Lines of Operations

Observations upon the Lines of Operations in the Wars of the French Revolution

Maxims on Lines of Operations

Observations upon Interior Lines—What Has Been Said Against Them

Article XXII: Strategic Lines

Article XXIII: Means of protecting a Line of Operations by Temporary Bases or Strategic Reserves

Strategic Reserves

Article XXIV: The Old System of Wars of Position and the Modern System of Marches

Article XXV: Depots of Supplies, and their Relation to Marches

Article XXVI: The Defense of Frontiers by Forts and Intrenched Lines.—Wars of Sieges

Intrenched Lines

Article XXVII: The Connection of Intrenched Camps and Têtes de Ponts with Strategy

Têtes De Ponts

Article XXVIII: Strategic Operations in Mountains

Article XXIX: Grand Invasions and Distant Expeditions

Epitome of Strategy

Grand Tactics and Battles

Article XXX: Positions and Defensive Battles

Article XXXI: Offensive Battles, and Different Orders of Battle

Article XXXII: Turning Maneuvers, and too extended Movement in Battles

Article XXXIII: Unexpected Meeting of Two Armies on the March

Article XXXIV: of Surprises of Armies

Article XXXV: Of the Attack by Main Force of Fortified Places, Intrenched Camps or Lines. —Of Coups de Main in General

Coups De Main

Of Several Mixed Operations, Which Are in Character Partly Strategical and Partly Tactical

Article XXXVI: Of Diversions and Great Detachments

Article XXXVII: Passage of Rivers and Other Streams

Article XXXVIII: Retreats and Pursuits

Article XXXIX: Of Cantonments, either when on the March, or when established in Winter Quarters

Article XL: Descents

Logistics; Or, the Practical Art of Moving Armies

Article Xli: A few Remarks on Logistics in General

Article XliI: of Reconnoissances and Other Means of Gaining Correct Information of the Movements of the Enemy

Of the Formation of Troops for Battle, and the Separate or Combined Use of the Three Arms

Article XliII: Posting Troops in Line of Battle

Article XliV: Formation and Employment of Infantry

Article XLV: Cavalry

Article XLVI: Employment of Artillery

Article XLVII: Of the Combined Use of the Three Arms


Supplement to the Summary of the Art of War

Note upon the Means of Acquiring a Good Strategic Coup-d’oeil

Appendix: on the Formation of Troops for Battle

Sketch of the Principal Maritime Expeditions

The Art of War

By Sun Tzu

Translated and commented on by Lionel Giles

Chapter I: Laying Plans

1. Sun Tzu 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 neglected.

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.

[It appears from what follows that Sun Tzu means by Moral Law a principle of harmony, not unlike the Tao of Lao Tzu in its moral aspect. One might be tempted to render it by morale, were it not considered as an attribute of the ruler.]

5. 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.

[Tu Yu quotes Wang Tzu as saying: Without constant practice, the officers will be nervous and undecided when mustering for battle; without constant practice, the general will be wavering and irresolute when the crisis is at hand.]

6. Heaven signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons.

[The commentators, I think, make an unnecessary mystery of two words here. Meng Shih refers to the hard and the soft, waxing and waning of Heaven. Wang Hsi, however, may be right in saying that what is meant is the general economy of Heaven, including the five elements, the four seasons, wind and clouds, and other phenomena.]

7. Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death.

8. The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence, courage and strictness.

[The five cardinal virtues of the Chinese are (1) humanity or benevolence; (2) uprightness of mind; (3) self-respect, self-control, or proper feeling; (4) wisdom; (5) sincerity or good faith. Here wisdom and sincerity are put before humanity or benevolence, and the two military virtues of courage and strictness substituted for uprightness of mind and self-respect, self-control, or ‘proper feeling.’]

9. 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.

10. These five heads should be familiar to every general: he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail.

11. Therefore, in your deliberations, when seeking to determine the military conditions, let them be made the basis of a comparison, in this wise: —

(a) Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the Moral law? [I.e., "is in harmony with his subjects..]

(b) Which of the two generals has most ability?

(c) With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth?

(d) On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced?

[Tu Mu alludes to the remarkable story of Ts`ao Ts`ao (a.d. 155-220), who was such a strict disciplinarian that once, in accordance with his own severe regulations against injury to standing crops, he condemned himself to death for having allowed him horse to shy into a field of corn! However, in lieu of losing his head, he was persuaded to satisfy his sense of justice by cutting off his hair. Ts`ao Ts`ao’s own comment on the present passage is characteristically curt: when you lay down a law, s ee that it is not disobeyed; if it is disobeyed the offender must be put to death.]

(e) Which army is stronger?

[Morally as well as physically. As Mei Yao-ch`en puts it, freely rendered, "espirit De Corps and ‘big battalions.’"]

(f) On which side are officers and men more highly trained?

[Tu Yu quotes Wang Tzu as saying: Without constant practice, the officers will be nervous and undecided when mustering for battle; without constant practice, the general will be wavering and irresolute when the crisis is at hand.]

(g) In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment?

[On which side is there the most absolute certainty that merit will be properly rewarded and misdeeds summarily punished?]

12. By means of these seven considerations I can forecast victory or defeat.

13. 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!

[The form of this paragraph reminds us that Sun Tzu’s treatise was composed expressly for the benefit of his patron Ho Lu, king of the Wu State.]

14. While heading the profit of my counsel, avail yourself also of any helpful circumstances over and beyond the ordinary rules.

15. According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one’s plans.

[Sun Tzu, as a practical soldier, will have none of the bookish theoric. He cautions us here not to pin our faith to abstract principles; for, as Chang Yu puts it, while the main laws of strategy can be stated clearly enough for the benefit of all and sundry, you must be guided by the actions of the enemy in attempting to secure a favorable position in actual warfare. On the eve of the battle of Waterloo, Lord Uxbridge, commanding the cavalry, went to the Duke of Wellington in order to learn what his plans and calculations were for the morrow, because, as he explained, he might suddenly find himself Commander-in-chief and would be unable to frame new plans in a critical moment. The Duke listened quietly and then said: Who will attack the fir st tomorrow — I or Bonaparte? Bonaparte, replied Lord Uxbridge. Well, continued the Duke, Bonaparte has not given me any idea of his projects; and as my plans will depend upon his, how can you expect me to tell you what mine are?]

16. All warfare is based on deception.

[The truth of this pithy and profound saying will be admitted by every soldier. Col. Henderson tells us that Wellington, great in so many military qualities, was especially distinguished by the extraordinary skill with which he concealed his movements and deceived both friend and foe.]

17. 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.

18. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.

[All commentators, except Chang Yu, say, When he is in disorder, crush him. It is more natural to suppose that Sun Tzu is still illustrating the uses of deception in war.]

19. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.

20. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.

[Wang Tzu, quoted by Tu Yu, says that the good tactician plays with his adversary as a cat plays with a mouse, first feigning weakness and immobility, and then suddenly pouncing upon him.]

21. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest.

[This is probably the meaning though Mei Yao-ch`en has the note: while we are taking our ease, wait for the enemy to tire himself out. The Yu Lan has Lure him on and tire him out.]

If his forces are united, separate them.

[Less plausible is the interpretation favored by most of the commentators: If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them.]

22. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.

23. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.

24. Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought.

[Chang Yu tells us that in ancient times it was customary for a temple to be set apart for the use of a general who was about to take the field, in order that he might there elaborate his plan of campaign.]

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.

Chapter II: Waging War

1. Sun Tzu 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 armor, will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day. Such is the cost of raising an army of 100,000 men.

[The swift chariots were lightly built and, according to Chang Yu, used for the attack; the heavy chariots were heavier, and designed for purposes of defense. Li Ch`uan, it is true, says that the latter were light, but this seems hardly probable. It is interesting to note the analogies between early Chinese warfare and that of the Homeric Greeks. In each case, the war-chariot was the important factor, forming as it did the nucleus round which was grouped a certain number of foot-soldiers. With regard to the numbers given here, we are informed that each swift chariot was accompanied by 75 footmen, and each heavy chariot by 25 footmen, so that the whole army would be divided up into a thousand battalions, each consisting of two chariots and a hundred men.]

[2.78 modern li go to a mile. The length may have varied slightly since Sun Tzu’s time.]

2. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.

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 ardor 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.

[This concise and difficult sentence is not well explained by any of the commentators. Ts`ao Kung, Li Ch`uan, Meng Shih, Tu Yu, Tu Mu and Mei Yao-ch`en have notes to the effect that a general, though naturally stupid, may nevertheless conquer through sheer force of rapidity. Ho Shih says: Haste may be stupid, but at any rate it saves expenditure of energy and treasure; protracted operations may be very clever, but they bring calamity in their train. Wang Hsi evades the difficulty by remarking: Lengthy operations mean an army growing old, wealth being expended, an empty exchequer and distress among the people; true cleverness insures against the occurrence of such calamities. Chang Yu says: So long as victory can be attained, stupid haste is preferable to clever dilatoriness.]

[Now Sun Tzu says nothing whatever, except possibly by implication, about ill-considered haste being better than ingenious but lengthy operations. What he does say is something much more guarded, namely that, while speed may sometimes be injudicious, tardiness can never be anything but foolish — if only because it means impoverishment to the nation. In considering the point raised here by Sun Tzu, the classic example of Fabius Cunctator will inevitably occur to the mind. That general deliberately measured the endurance of Rome against that of Hannibals’s isolated army, because it seemed to him that the latter was more likely to suffer from a long campaign in a strange country. But it is quite a moot question whether his tactics would have proved successful in the long run. Their reversal it is true, led to Cannae; but this only establishes a negative presumption in their favor.]

6. There is no instance of a country having benefitted from prolonged warfare.

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.

[That is, with rapidity. Only one who knows the disastrous effects of a long war can realize the supreme importance of rapidity in bringing it to a close. Only two commentators seem to favor this interpretation, but it fits well into the logic of the context, whereas the rendering, He who does not know the evils of war cannot appreciate its benefits, is distinctly pointless.]

8. The skillful soldier does not raise a second levy, neither are his supply-wagons loaded more than twice.

[Once war is declared, he will not waste precious time in waiting for reinforcements, nor will he return his army back for fresh supplies, but crosses the enemy’s frontier without delay. This may seem an audacious policy to recommend, but with all great strategists, from Julius Caesar to Napoleon Bonaparte, the value of time — that is, being a little ahead of your opponent —has counted for more than either numerical superiority or the nicest calculations with regard to commissariat.]

9. Bring war material with you from home, but forage on the enemy. Thus the army will have food enough for its needs.

[The Chinese word translated here as war material literally means things to be used, and is meant in the widest sense. It includes all the impedimenta of an army, apart from provisions.]

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.

[The beginning of this sentence does not balance properly with the next, though obviously intended to do so. The arrangement, moreover, is so awkward that I cannot help suspecting some corruption in the text. It never seems to occur to Chinese commentators that an emendation may be necessary for the sense, and we get no help from them there. The Chinese words Sun Tzu used to indicate the cause of the people’s impoverishment clearly have reference to some system by which the husbandmen sent their contributions of corn to the army direct. But why should it fall on them to maintain an army in this way, except because the State or Government is too poor to do so?]

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.

[Wang Hsi says high prices occur before the army has left its own territory. Ts`ao Kung understands it of an army that has already crossed the frontier.]

12. When their substance is drained away, the peasantry will be afflicted by heavy exactions.

13. 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;

[Tu Mu and Wang Hsi agree that the people are not mulcted not of 3/10, but of 7/10, of their income. But this is hardly to be extracted from our text. Ho Shih has a characteristic tag: "The people being regarded as the essential part of the State, and food as the people’s heaven, is it not right that those in authority should value and be careful of both?"]

while government expenses for broken chariots, worn-out horses, breast-plates and helmets, bows and arrows, spears and shields, protective mantles, drought-oxen and heavy wagons, will amount to four-tenths of its total revenue.

14. 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.

[Because twenty cartloads will be consumed in the process of transporting one cartload to the front. A picul is a unit of measure equal to 133.3 pounds (65.5 kilograms).]

15. 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.

[Tu Mu says: Rewards are necessary in order to make the soldiers see the advantage of beating the enemy; thus, when you capture spoils from the enemy, they must be used as rewards, so that all your men may have a keen desire to fight, each on his own account.]

16. 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.

17. This is called, using the conquered foe to augment one’s own strength.

18. In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.

[As Ho Shih remarks: War is not a thing to be trifled with. Sun Tzu here reiterates the main lesson which this chapter is intended to enforce."]

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 regimen t, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them.

[The equivalent to an army corps, according to Ssu-ma Fa, consisted nominally of 12500 men; according to Ts`ao Kung, the equivalent of a regiment contained 500 men, the equivalent to a detachment consists from any number between 100 and 500, and the equivalent of a company contains from 5 to 100 men. For the last two, however, Chang Yu gives the exact figures of 100 and 5 respectively.]

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.

[Here again, no modern strategist but will approve the words of the old Chinese general. Moltke’s greatest triumph, the capitulation of the huge French army at Sedan, was won practically without bloodshed.]

3. Thus the highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy’s plans;

[Perhaps the word balk falls short of expressing the full force of the Chinese word, which implies not an attitude of defense, whereby one might be content to foil the enemy’s stratagems one after another, but an active policy of counter-attack. Ho Sh ih puts this very clearly in his note: When the enemy has made a plan of attack against us, we must anticipate him by delivering our own attack first.]

the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy’s forces;

[Isolating him from his allies. We must not forget that Sun Tzu, in speaking of hostilities, always has in mind the numerous states or principalities into which the China of his day was split up.]

the next in order is to attack the enemy’s army in the field;

[When he is already at full strength.] 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.

[Another sound piece of military theory. Had the Boers acted upon it in 1899, and refrained from dissipating their strength before Kimberley, Mafeking, or even Ladysmith, it is more than probable that they would have been masters of the situation before the British were ready seriously to oppose them.]

The preparation of mantlets, movable shelters, and various implements of war, will take up three whole months;

[It is not quite clear what the Chinese word, here translated as mantlets, described. Ts`ao Kung simply defines them as large shields, but we get a better idea of them from Li Ch`uan, who says they were to protect the heads of those who were assaulting the city walls at close quarters. This seems to suggest a sort of Roman Testudo, ready made. Tu Mu says they were wheeled vehicles used in repelling attacks, but this is denied by Ch`en Hao. See supra II. 14. The name is also applied to turrets on city walls. Of the movable shelters we get a fairly clear description from several commentators. They were wooden missile-proof structures on four wheels, propelled from within, covered over with raw hides, and used in sieges to convey parties of me n to and from the walls, for the purpose of filling up the encircling moat with earth. Tu Mu adds that they are now called wooden donkeys.]

and the piling up of mounds over against the walls will take three months more.

[These were great mounds or ramparts of earth heaped up to the level of the enemy’s walls in order to discover the weak points in the defense, and also to destroy the fortified turrets mentioned in the preceding note.]

5. The general, unable to control his irritation, will launch his men to the assault like swarming ants,

[This vivid simile of Ts`ao Kung is taken from the spectacle of an army of ants climbing a wall. The meaning is that the general, losing patience at the long delay, may make a premature attempt to storm the place before his engines of war are ready.]

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.

[We are reminded of the terrible losses of the Japanese before Port Arthur, in the most recent siege which history has to record.]

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.

[Chia Lin notes that he only overthrows the Government, but does no harm to individuals. The classical instance is Wu Wang, who after having put an end to the Yin dynasty was acclaimed Father and mother of the people.]

7. With his forces intact he will dispute the mastery of the Empire, and thus, without losing a man, his triumph will be complete.

[Owing to the double meanings in the Chinese text, the latter part of the sentence is susceptible of quite a different meaning: And thus, the weapon not being blunted by use, its keenness remains perfect.]

This is the method of attacking by stratagem.

8. It is the rule in war:

a) If our forces are ten to the enemy’s one, to surround him;

b) If five to one, to attack him;

[Straightway, without waiting for any further advantage.]

c) If twice as numerous, to divide our army into two.

[Tu Mu takes exception to the saying; and at first sight, indeed, it appears to violate a fundamental principle of war. Ts’ao Kung, however, gives a clue to Sun Tzu’s meaning: Being two to the enemy’s one, we may use one part of our army in the regular way, and the other for some special diversion. Chang Yu thus further elucidates the point: If our force is twice as numerous as that of the enemy, it should be split up into two divisions, one to meet the enemy in front, and one to fall upon his r ear; if he replies to the frontal attack, he may be crushed from behind; if to the rearward attack, he may be crushed in front. This is what is meant by saying that ‘one part may be used in the regular way, and the other for some special diversion.’ Tu Mu does not understand that dividing one’s army is simply an irregular, just as concentrating it is the regular, strategical method, and he is too hasty in calling this a mistake."]

d) If equally matched, we can offer battle;

[Li Ch`uan, followed by Ho Shih, gives the following paraphrase: If attackers and attacked are equally matched in strength, only the able general will fight.]

e) If slightly inferior in numbers, we can avoid the enemy;

[The meaning, "we can watch the enemy," is certainly a great improvement on the above; but unfortunately there appears to be no very good authority for the variant. Chang Yu reminds us that the saying only applies if the other factors are equal; a small difference in numbers is often more than counterbalanced by superior energy and discipline.]

f) If quite unequal in every way, we can flee from him.

9. Hence, though an obstinate fight may be made by a small force, in the end it must be captured by the larger force.

10. 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.

[As Li Ch`uan tersely puts it: "Gap indicates deficiency; if the general’s ability is not perfect (i.e. if he is not thoroughly versed in his profession), his army will lack strength."]

11. There are three ways in which a ruler can bring misfortune upon his army:—

a) By commanding the army to advance or to retreat, being ignorant of the fact that it cannot obey. This is called hobbling the army.

[Li Ch`uan adds the comment: It is like tying together the legs of a thoroughbred, so that it is unable to gallop. One would naturally think of the ruler in this passage as being at home, and trying to direct the movements of his army from a distance. But the commentators understand just the reverse, and quote the saying of T`ai Kung: A kingdom should not be governed from without, and army should not be directed from within. Of course it is true that, during an engagement, or when in close touch with the enemy, the general should not be in the thick of his own troops, but a little distance apart. Otherwise, he will be liable to misjudge the position as a whole, and give wrong orders.]

(b) 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.

[Ts`ao Kung’s note is, freely translated: The military sphere and the civil sphere are wholly distinct; you can’t handle an army in kid gloves. And Chang Yu says: Humanity and justice are the principles on which to govern a state, but not an army; opportunism and flexibility, on the other hand, are military rather than civil virtues to assimilate the governing of an army—to that of a State, understood.]

c) By employing the officers of his army without discrimination,

[That is, he is not careful to use the right man in the right place.]

through ignorance of the military principle of adaptation to circumstances. This shakes the confidence of the soldiers.

[I follow Mei Yao-ch`en here. The other commentators refer not to the ruler, but to the officers he employs. Thus Tu Yu says: If a general is ignorant of the principle of adaptability, he must not be entrusted with a position of authority. Tu Mu quotes: The skillful employer of men will employ the wise man, the brave man, the covetous man, and the stupid man. For the wise man delights in establishing his merit, the brave man likes to show his courage in action, the covetous man is quick at seizing advantages, and the stupid man has no fear of death.]

12. But when the army is restless and

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