|SUN ZI THE ART OF WAR|
SUN ZI said: Ground may be classified according to its nature as accessible, entangling, temporizing, constricted, precipitous an0 distant. Ground which both we and the enemy can traverse with equal ease is called accessible. On such ground, he who first takes high sunny positions, and keeps his supply routes unimpeded can fight advantageously. Ground easy to reach but difficult to exit is called entangling. The nature of this ground is such that if the enemy is unprepared and you sally out, you may defeat him. But, if the enemy is prepared for your coming, and you fail to defeat him, then, return being difficult, disadvantages will ensue. Ground equally disadvantageous for both the enemy and ourselves to enter is called temporizing. The nature of this ground is such that even ~hough the enemy should offer us an attractive bait, it will be adviable not to go forth but march off. When his force is halfway out because of our manoeuvring, we can strike him with advantage. With' regard to the constricted ground, ff we first occupy it, we must block the narrow passes with strong garrisons and wait for the enemy. Should the enemy first occupies such ground, do not attack him if the pass in his hand is fully garrisoned, but only if it is weakly garrisoned. With regard to the precipitous ground, if we first occupy it, we must take a position on the sunny heights and await the enemy. If he first occupies such ground, we should march off and do not attack him. When the enemy is situated at a great distance from us, and the terrain where the two armies deploy is similar, it is difficult to provoke battle and unprofitable to engage him. These are the principles relating to six different types of ground. It is the highest responsibility of the general to inquire into them with the utmost care.
There are six situations that cause an army to fail. They are; flight, insubordination, fall, collaose, disorganization, and rout. None of these disasters can be attributed to natural and geographical causes, but to the fault of the general. Terrain conditions being equal, if a force attacks one ten times its size, the result is flight. When the soldiers are strong and officers weak, the army is insubordinate. When the officers are valiant and the soldiers ineffective, the army will fall. When the higher officers are angry and insubordinate, and on encountering the enemy rush to battle on their own account from a feeling of resentment and the commanderin-chief is ignorant of. their abilities, the result is collapse. When the general is incompetent and has little authority, when his troops are mismanaged, when the relationship between the officers and men is strained, and when the troop formations are slovenly, the result is disorganization. When a general unable to estimate the enemy's strength uses a small force to engage a larger one or weak troops to strike the strong, or he fails to select shock troops for the van, the result is rout. When any of these six situations exists, the army ss on the road to defeat. It is the highest responsibility of the general that he examine them carefully.
Conformation of the ground is of great assistance in the military operations. It is necessary for a wise general to make correct assessments of the enemy's situation to create conditions leading to victory and to calculate distances and the degree of difficulty of the terrain. He who knows these things and applies them to fighting will definitely win. He who knows them not, and, therefore, unable to apply them, will definitely lose. Hence, if, in the light of the prevailing situation, fighting is sure to result in victory, then you may decide to fight even though the sovereign has issued an order not to engage. If fighting does net stand a good chance of victory, you need not to fight even though the sovereign has issued an order to engage. Hence, the general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only purpose is to protect his people and promote the best interests of his sovereign, is the precious jewel of the state.
If a general regards his men as infants, then they will march with him into the deepest valleys. He treats them as his own beloved sons and they will stand by him unto death. If, however, a general is indulgent towards his men but cannot employ them, cherishes them but cannot command them or inflict punishment on them when they violate the regulations, trion they may be compared to spoiled children, and are useless for any practical purpose.
If we know that our troops are capable of striking the enemy, but do not know that he is invulnerable to attack, our chance of victory is but half. ff we know that the enemy is vulnerable to attack but do not know that our troops are incapable of striking him, our chance of victory is again but haft. ff we know that the enemy can be attacked anct that our troops are capable of attacking him, but do not realize that th: conformation of the ground makes fighting impracticable, our chance of victory is once again but half, Therefore, when those experienced in war move, they are never bewildered; when they act, they are never at a loss. Thus the saying: Know the enemy and know yourself, and your victory will never be endangered; know the weather and know the ground, and your victory will then be complete.