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The Annotated Art of War (Parts 12.3-4: Seasons)

 

Disciplines > Warfare > The Annotated Art of War > Parts 12.3-4: Seasons

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XII. The Attack by Fire

 

Sun Tzu said: Commentary
3. There is a proper season for making attacks with fire, and special days for starting a conflagration. Fires cause great fear as they destroy life and possessions and are difficult to control.

When everything is wet, fires are difficult to start unless the thing to be fired is sheltered, such as arsenals.

When fires are to be started should be chosen carefully. Strategic plans should also be taken into account, using fire as a part of an overall campaign.

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. The best days for fires are when the trees and ground are dry enough for the fire to easily spread.

Rising winds fan the flames and continued winds keep them going, feeding the fires with new oxygen.

You should also only use fires when the winds will blow the smoke back into the enemy's eyes and not towards you. It is sometimes forgotten that smoke kills more people than flames, especially in an enclosed environment.

 

 

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