All warfare is based on the art of warfare by sun tzu pdf. A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent.
Though effective, appear to be ineffective. If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.
If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. If his forces are united, separate them” is also interpreted: “If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Hold out baits to entice the enemy.
Feign disorder, and crush him. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected. The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. 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! If your opponent is of choleric temperament, seek to irritate him.
There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare. What is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy. Know your enemy and know yourself, find naught in fear for 100 battles. Know thy enemy but not yourself, wallow in defeat every time. For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill.
To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill. The best victory is when the opponent surrenders of its own accord before there are any actual hostilities It is best to win without fighting. What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease. He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them. Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy.
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence. Sunzi said: The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy. To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. Thus the good fighter is able to secure himself against defeat, but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy.
Management of many is the same as management of few. It is a matter of organization. When torrential water tosses boulders, it is because of its momentum. When the strike of a hawk breaks the body of its prey, it is because of timing. The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim. A skilled commander seeks victory from the situation and does not demand it of his subordinates.
The expert in battle seeks his victory from strategic advantage and does not demand it from his men. Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Thus he is master of his enemy’s fate. Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible and hence we can hold the enemy’s fate in our hands. The ultimate in disposing one’s troops is to be without ascertainable shape.