The Annotated Art of War (Parts Parts 3.6-10: Fighting Strategy)
Warfare > The
Annotated Art of War > Parts Parts 3.6-10: Fighting Strategy
chapter << Chapter: 3 >> Next chapter
Previous part |
III. Attack by Stratagem
|Sun Tzu said:
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.
||The best way of
fighting is to avoid fighting. The best way to win a war is with
superior strategy that out-thinks, out-plans and out-maneuvers
the enemy such that they are forced to concede or else suffer a
|7. With his forces intact he will dispute the mastery of the Empire, and
thus, without losing a man, his triumph will be complete. This is the method of
attacking by stratagem.
depletes forces which limits the number of wars a commander can
wage. If, however, soldiers are not lost and few munitions are used,
then the army may march and march to war, defeating all in its path
with little incremental cost.
|8. It is the rule in war, if our forces are ten to the enemy's one, to
surround him; if five to one, to attack him; if twice as numerous, to divide our
army into two.
||Here are some simple
rules of thumb that worked for Sun Tzu. The underlying principles
1. Surrounding an army requires many men and is likely to
spread forces thin unless you have a serious advantage in resources.
If an army is surrounded by an overwhelming force, there is no
way of escape and the only alternative to overwhelming defeat is to
2. With sufficient numbers, you can still crush an opposing
force, although to do so may lose many men and so should be done
with care. A way here is to use
flanking and other indirect
3. With a smaller advantage, you can still use distractions and
phalanxes to divide and
conquer a monolithic army.
A general rule is that if you have more
troops than you need in a single situation, them you can gain
advantage by employing the excess troops elsewhere.
|9. If equally matched, we can offer battle; if slightly inferior in numbers,
we can avoid the enemy; if quite unequal in every way, we can flee from him.
||If your men are
better trained, better equipped and more motivated, then
hand-to-hand combat should succeed.
If you are weaker, then it is
better to flee and fight another day when you have built advantage
in other ways.
|10. Hence, though an obstinate fight may be made by a small force, in the end
it must be captured by the larger force.
||Glorious suicide is