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The Annotated Art of War (Parts 11.11-14: Nine Ground Tactics)

 

Disciplines > Warfare > The Annotated Art of War > Parts 11.11-14: Nine Ground Tactics

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XI. The Nine Situations

 

Sun Tzu said: Commentary

11. On dispersive ground, therefore, fight not. On facile ground, halt not. On contentious ground, attack not.

For the Nine Varieties of Ground, here are simple rules.

Avoid fighting in your own territory unless necessary. It is better to make the enemy realize they have no chance.

When you are just inside enemy territory, keep going to build a buffer against your own borders. To fight and lose would result in repulsion or lay your lands open for attack.

When on ground that is advantageous to both, defend it rather than sally forth to attack.

12. On open ground, do not try to block the enemy's way. On the ground of intersecting highways, join hands with your allies. When on ground where all can move easily, move quickly to deflect and redirect the enemy to places where you can beat them.

At the confluence of routes, use alliances who have similar interests to control traffic.

13. On serious ground, gather in plunder. In difficult ground, keep steadily on the march. Where the enemy may come up behind you, take what you can and move on.

Where the terrain slows you down, keep going, for to be caught and have to fight here could be hazardous.

14. On hemmed-in ground, resort to stratagem. On desperate ground, fight. When there are narrow ways, use these to your advantage.

When you have now way out, then you must fight.

Note that fighting is the last thing you should do. It is better to maneuver and so win without losing lives.

 

 

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