Planning a Siege



The general rule for use of the military
is that it is better to keep a
nation intact than to destroy it. It
is better to keep an army intact
than to destroy it, better to keep a
division intact than to destroy it,
better to keep a battalion intact
than to destroy it, better to keep a
unit intact than to destroy it.

Therefore those who win every
battle are not really skillful--those
who render others' armies helpless
without fighting are the best of all.

The superior militarist strikes
while schemes are being laid. The
next best is to attack alliances.
The next best is to attack the army.

The lowest is to attack a city. Siege
of a city is only done as a last resort.

Take three months to prepare your
machines and three months to
complete your siege engineering.

If the general cannot overcome his
anger and has his army swarm over
the citadel, killing a third of his
soldiers, and yet the citadel is still
not taken, this is a disastrous attack.

Therefore one who is good at martial
arts overcomes others' forces
without battle, conquers others'
cities without siege, destroys others'
nations without taking a long time.

It is imperative to contest all factions
for complete victory, so the
army is not garrisoned and the
profit can be total. This is the law
of strategic siege.

So the rule for use of the military
is that if you outnumber the opponent
ten to one, then surround
them; five to one, attack; two to
one, divide.

If you are equal, then fight if you
are able. If you are fewer, then
keep away if you are able. If you
are not as good, then flee if you are able.

Therefore if the smaller side is
stubborn, it becomes the captive
of the larger side.

Generals are assistants of the nation.
When their assistance is
complete, the country is strong.
When their assistance is defective,
the country is weak.

So there are three ways in which a
civil leadership causes the military
trouble. When a civil leadership
unaware of the facts tells its armies
to advance when it should not, or
tells its armies to retreat when it
should not, this is called typing up
the armies. When the civil leadership
is ignorant of military affairs
but shares equally in the government
of the armies, the soldiers
get confused. When the civil leadership
is ignorant of military maneuvers
but shares equally in the
command of the armies, the soldiers
hesitate. Once the armies are
confused and hesitant, trouble
comes from competitors. This is
called taking away victory by
deranging the military.

So there are five ways of knowing
who will win. Those who know
when to fight and when not to
fight are victorious. Those who
discern when to use many or few
troops are victorious. Those
whose upper and lower ranks have
the same desire are victorious.
Those who face the unprepared
with preparation are victorious.
Those whose generals are able and
are not constrained by their governments
are victorious. These five are
the ways to know who will win.

So it is said that if you know others
and know yourself, you will
not be imperiled in a hundred battles;
if you do not know others but
know yourself, you win one and
lose one; if you do not know others
and do not know yourself, you
will be imperiled in every single battle.



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