Need For Strengthening Domestic And External Issues
Wu Qi dressed in Confucian attire, had an audience with Lord Wen of Wei to discuss about military issues. Lord Wen of Wei said,”I am not interested in military affairs.” Wu Qi replied,”From the visible facts, I can deduce the hidden. From the past, I can discern the future. How can your lordship say this topic does not accord with your thoughts? Throughout the four seasons, you have gathered the skins of wild animals, covered them with lacquer, painted them with colors and embellished them with glistening images of rhinoceros and elephants. Wearing them in winter does not keep one warm; wearing them in summer does not make one cool. Moreover, the lord has ordered the making of twenty four feet and twelve feet long halberds and had leathers to cover the chariots. These chariots are not grand and beautiful at all. These chariots are not mobile enough for hunting. I have no idea what use you have for them. If they are to be used for war, but your lord does not seek capable people who are adept in using them, such a situation is similar to a nesting hen fighting against the fox or a bitch fighting a tiger. Although they have great fighting spirit, but they will still die. In the past, the Lord of Cheng Sang Clan focused on improving the culture and domestic issues but neglected military affairs, thereby leading to the extinction of the state. The Lord of Yu Hu Clan was belligerent thus he focused on military affairs and neglected domestic affairs, he too led the state to extinction. The enlightened ruler would have used such examples to remind him that he should tend to both the domestic affairs and military affairs together. When the enemy comes and you do not fight them, such does not count as righteousness. When you only start grieving the death of your soldiers after they have died, such does not count as benevolence.” Thereupon, Lord Wen personally laid a mat for Wu Qi and his wife presented Wu Wi with a goblet of wine. The lord later invited Wu Qi to the ancestral temple and appointed him as the Commander-in-Chief for the defence of the Western River. From then on, Wu Qi altogether fought seventy six battles with other feudal lords, winning sixty four of them decisively. For the other battles, they resulted in a draw. He expanded Wei’s territory in all directions, broadening Wei’s border by a thousand of li. All these were Wu Qi’s accomplishments.
Unity And Peoples Support
Wu Qi said:”In antiquity, the ruler who planned to run his state well, would teach and enlightened the people, be close to the people and understand their sufferings. There are four disharmonies the ruler should take note of. If there is disharmony in the state, you cannot start a military campaign. If there is disharmony within the army, they cannot be allowed to battle. If there is disharmony within formation, they cannot be used to lead an attack. If there is lack of cohesion during the conduct of the battle, you cannot score a victory. For this reason, the eminent ruler before he employ his people, he would unite them them first, before achieving great matters together. The ruler will not dare rely solely on his own plans, but will announce formally at the ancestral temple, divine its prospects and seek from Heaven the appropriateness of timing. Only if they are all auspicious, then he will proceed to mobilise the army. People will then know that the ruler value their lives, will be sorrowed by their deaths and willing to share weal and woe with them. Officers will then consider death while advancing is glorious and life gained through retreating is disgraceful.”
4 Virtues Of A Ruler
Wu Qi said:”The Way is actually how things should be done. It is the means by which one can turn back to foundation and return to beginning. Righteousness is ethical behavior. It is the means by which to achieve great accomplishments. Strategising is the means by which to keep harm distant and gain benefits. Principles are which to preserve duty and keep achievements. If one’s behavior does not accord with the Way and righteousness, but dwells in magnificence and enjoys power, disaster will inevitably befall him. Thus the wise ruler will run the state according to the Way, manage the state with righteousness, orders the people with propriety and rule the people with benevolence. Cultivating these four virtues and the state will flourish, neglecting them would lead to decline. This was why when Shang Tang exterminated the tyrant Xia Jie, the people of Xia rejoiced ad when King Wu of Zhou removed the vile King Zhou from Yin Shang Dynasty, the people did not comdemn him. The reason is their actions accorded with Heaven’s Mandate and morals, thus achieving success.”
Running The State And Victory
Wu Qi said:”In general, to govern the state and the army, you must instruct them with propriety, motivate them with righteousness and instill a sense of shame in them. For when men have a sense of shame, one can, to a large degree wage a war or to a lesser degree, preserve the state. Now being victorious in battle is relatively easier compare to preserving the results of victory. Thus it is said that for all strong states, those that garner five victories will meet with disaster; those that garner four victories will decline; those with three victories can achieve hegemony; those with two victories can claim to be kings and those with only one victory will become emperors. For this reason those who have conquered through numerous victories are rare, while those that perished because of it are many.”
Reasons For War And It’s Counter Strategies
Wu Qi said:”There are five reasons why wars are started and they are: to contend for fame;to contend for benefits and advantages; to seek revenge; internal strife and from famine. The names of wars raised based on these reasons are: righteous, bully, anger, plundering, contrary. The ‘righteous’ army is raised to save people from chaos. Relying on strength or power to bully people, such is the ‘bully’ army. Mobilising the army out of anger is termed as ‘anger’ army. Army raised to greedily seek profit without consideration for moral and ethics is called a ‘plundering’ army. While the country is in turmoil and the people are exhausted, embarking on military campaigns and mobilizing the masses is termed ‘contrary’. There are appropriate strategies to counter these wars. In the case of the ‘righteous’, you must use propriety to subjugate them. For the ‘bully’ you must be deferential to subjugate them. Against the ‘anger’ army, you must use verbal persuasion to subjugate them. Against the ‘plundering’ army you must win them with wits. Aginst the ‘contrary’, you must strictly impose your authority to subjugate them.”
Managing Troops, Selecting Talents, Strengthening
The Nation Lord Wu said:”I would like to hear your thoughts on managing troops, selecting talents, strengthening nation.” Wu Qi said:”From antiquity, enlightened rulers always make every effort to maintain propriety between themselves and their ministers, manifest the distinction on rank, allow the officials and people to settle into their respective positions that accord with their customs, select and recruit talents in order to prepare for the unexpected. In the past Lord Huan of Qi, Lord Wen of Jin and Lord Mu of Qin summoned tens of thousands of men, thus they were able to achieve hegemony. Thus the ruler of a strong state must evaluate his people first. Those who have courage and strength, should be assembled into a unit. Those who take pleasure in advancing into battle and exerting their strength so as to manifest their loyalty and courage should be assembled into another unit. Those who are nimble and fleet should be assembled into another unit. Officials who have lost their position and are eager to make amends should be assembled into a unit. Those who have lost in war and want to eradicate their disgrace should be assembled into a unit. These five will serve to be the elite troops. With three thousands of such men, one can then break any encirclement or break into any cities.”
Strength In Offense And Defense
Lord Wu further inquired:”I would like to hear your views on making battle formations stable, defense impregnable and victory in battle certain.” Wu Qi replied:”What I am saying is not only for hearing, carrying them out would allow you to see immediate effect. If you have worthy men hold high positions and relatively less worthy men occupy low position, then your battle formations are stable. If the people settle down into their respective positions, respect their local authorities, then the defense is solid. When the people support the policies of their government and not concerned about those of other states, then in battle you will already be victorious.”
Importance Of Seeking Talent
There was once when Lord Wu was planning state affairs, none of his ministers could be equal to him. After dismissing the court, he wore a happy and satisfied look. Wu Qi saw this and said:”There was once, Lord Zhuang of Chu was planning state affairs with his ministers, he discovered that none of his ministers could equal his intelligence. After he had dismissed the court, he looked very troubled. Official Shen asked him:’Why does your lordship wore such troubled countenance?’ Lord Zhuang replied:’I have heard that there are no lack of sages at any one time and there are no lack of talents in any states. Having them as teachers would allow one to achieve be king, while having them as friends would allow one to achieve hegemony. Now I am not talented, yet none of my ministers are equal to me. Our state is in deep trouble!’ Lord Zhuang was troubled by this but my Lordship seem to be pleased with it. This worries me.” After hearing this, Lord Wu immediately felt embarrassed.
Lord Wu addressed Wu Qi:”At present, Qin coerces us on the west, Chu encircles us in the south, Chao collides with me in the north, Qi enroaches us from the east, Yan cuts off our rear and Han occupies the front. These six states surround us and we have to defend against them. Our situation is precarious and it worries me. What can be done about this? “ Wu Qi said:”In general, being alert of danger is true measure of good governance, ensuring security of state. As you have now recognize the importance of being cautious, disaster can be kept away. Let me discuss the characteristic of each of the six states. Although Qi’s formations is sufficient in numbers and resources but they are not strong. Qin’s formation are diverse, fighting on their own. Chu’s formation is complete, but cannot maintain it for long. Yan’s formation are adept at defense but it is immobile. Han’s and Zhao’s troops are well controlled but not effective.” Six States Characteristics And Counter Strategies “The Qi people are strong and the country is prosperous but the ruler and officials are arrogant and does not care about its people. There is no strict enforcement of policies and salary are not fairly given. This resulted in disunity in their ranks. Although their numbers are large, but their formation is not strong. To win them, we should split our army into three. Have two groups to attack the left and right wing of Qi’s army. The third group will pursue them. Their battle formation can then be thrown into disarray and victory is secured. The Qin people are tough and their terrain is treacherous. The government is strict and orders are enforced. People believed in its rewards and punishment systems. The troops are brave and their fighting spirit is always high, thus they are able to scatter and engage combat individually. To win them, we should entice each group with small benefits, those that are greedy will abandon their generals to pursue them. Capitalizing on this opportunity, we can hunt each group down with our army. We can set up ambush to capture their commander-in-chief. The Chu people are weak, its lands are far and wide. But its government are in disorder and their people are weary. Thus although their formations are well-ordered, their cannot maintain their positions for long. To win them, strike and cause chaos in their encampments, to reduce their fighting spirit. Then strike and retreat quickly and repeatedly to wear them out. Then their army can be defeated. The Yan people are sincere and straightforward. Its people are cautious, love courage and righteousness and rarely use deception in their plans。 Thus they will defend their position but are immobile. To win them, is to pressure them immediately when engaged in battle. When they turn back to attack, keep a distance. When they are retreating, chase them. This will cause confusion to the generals and fear to the troops. Using our chariots to set an ambush, avoiding conflict in an open field, their generals can be captured. The Han and the Zhao are central countries. They are harmonious and their government equitable. The population is weary from battle but experienced in arms and they have little regards for their generals. Salaries are meager and their officers have no commitments to fight to death for their countries. So their troops are ordered but cannot be used. To win them, use large troops to pressure them. When they attack, we defend our positions. When they retreat, we chase them. This will wear them out. All this then are the assessment of the six nations.”
Providing Opportunity For Talent
“Within the army, there will be soldiers whose courage is that of the tiger, has strength that can lift tripods easily and has the fleetness of a barbarian horse. To seize enemy’s flag or kill the enemy’s generals, you need such men. You should select them and put them into one unit, honor and favour them. This is because in their hands hold the fate of the whole army. Those who are expert in weapons, strong and quick and are capable and motivated to kill enemies, they should be given rank and prominence. We should also treat the family well, encourage them with rewards and warn them with punishment. This is because such people can solidly hold their position for a long time and exterminate enemies. If the ruler can discern and evaluate men described, you can attack a force double your strength.” Lord Wu exclaimed:”Great!”
Enemies You Can Attack
Wu Qi said:”In general when evaluating the enemy, there are eight conditions under which one engages battle without doing assessment. 1. In violent winds and extreme cold, they arise early and on the march while barely awake and breaking ice to cross streams. 2. In the burning heat of the summer, they arise late and press forward with haste, through hunger and thirst, concentrating on reaching far off objectives. 3. The army has been out in the field for an extended period; their food supplies are exhausted; the people areresentful and angry; numerous baleful portents arisen with the officers unable to squash them. 4. The army’s resources have already been exhausted; firewood and hay are scarce; weather frequently cloudy and rainy; and even if they wanted to plunder for supplies, there is nowhere to do it. 5. The troops that are mobilized is not large; the terrain and water not advantageous; the men and horses are sick and worn out and no assistance from their allies. 6. The road is far and the sun setting; the officers and men have labored long and are fearful. They are tired and have not eaten, having just cast aside their armour. 7. The generals are weak, the official irresponsible; the officers and troops are not solid, the whole army is frequently in fear and the troops lack assistance. 8. Their formations are not yet formed, their encampment not yet finished or they are passing through dangerous territory only half of their troops are out of it. In these eight conditions, you can attack them without any doubts.”
Enemies You Cannot Attack
“There are six circumstances in which, without performing too much assessment, you should avoid conflict.
- 1. The land is broad and vast, the people are wealthy and numerous.
- 2. The government loves the people, the ruler beneficience extends and flows to all.
- 3. Rewards and punishment system is fair and transparent and is implemented in a timely fashion.
- 4. People are rewarded according to their accomplishment,and the talented and able are employed.
- 5. Forces are massive and well-equipped.
- 6. They have the assistance of all their neighbours or the support of a powerful state.
In general, if you are no match for the enemy in these areas, without a doubt avoid them. This is what I meant by, see possibility and advance, knowing difficulty and withdraw.”
Detecting The Enemies Situation
Lord Wu inquired:”From the external appearance, I would be able to know their internal situations. From their advance, I would know their objective. From these, I am able to predict victory or defeat. What is your opinion on this?” Wu Qi replied:”If the enemy approaches in large numbers but in a disarray, their flags and formations are in a mess and the troops frequently look about. By using one tenth of their strength, we can invariably cause them to be helpless. If reinforcement have not arrived, there is disunity within the troops, preparations for defense has not been completed, orders and rules have not been announced, the morale of the army is shaken, they cannot advance or retreat. You can defeat the enemy with half of its strength and never lose at all.”
Weaknesses You Can Attack
“Are there circumstances where the enemy can invariably be attacked?” Lord Wu inquired. Wu Qi replied:”In employing the army, you must ascertain the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses. If you spot an opportunity to attack, attack his weaknesses. Below are the situations you can attack an enemy.
- 1. When the enemy has just arrived from afar and their battle formations are not yet properly formed and deployed, they can be attacked.
- 2. If they have just eaten and not yet established their encampment, they can be attacked.
- 3. If they are on the move and the troops formation is disarray, they can be attacked.
- 4. If they have labored hard, they can be attacked.”
- 5. If they have not seized the advantages of the terrain, they can be attacked.
- 6. When they have not seized the critical timing, they can be attacked.
- 7. When their flags and banners move about chaotically, they can be attacked.
- 8. When they have traversed a great distance, their supplies and reinforcement just arrived and the whole troops have not rested, they can be attacked.
- 9. When crossing the river and only half of them have crossed, they can be attacked.
10.On treacherous terrain or narrow roads, they can be attacked. 11.The formations changes frequently, they can be attacked. 12.When a general is separated from his soldiers, they can be attacked. 13.When they are afraid, they can be attacked. In general, in such circumstances, select crack troops to make a swift attack on them, divide the remaining troops and continue the assault repeatedly.”
Factors In Using Troops
Lord Wu asked:”In Using Troops, what is primary?” Wu Qi replied:”First you need to be clear about the four principles of ‘lightness’, the two principles of ‘heaviness’ and the one principle on integrity.” Lord Wu asked:”What are they?” Wu Qi said:”The four principle of ‘lightness’ means the terrain feels that the horses are light, the horses will feel that the chariot is light, chariots will feel that the soldiers on it are light and the soldiers feel that the burden of war is light. The terrain feels that the horses means that one should choose a suitable terrain that would not hamper the movement of the horses, thus the terrain would feel that the horses are light. If the horses are properly fed, they will be strong and thus when they are pulling chariots, they would feel that the chariots are light. If the axles of the chariots are well-oiled, sturdy and properly maintained, they can move soldiers easily, thus the chariots will feel that the soldiers are light. If the soldiers have sharp weapons and their armor are sturdy, they will feel confident about winning thus the burden of war will be lighter. For the courageous that advance, they should be rewarded ‘heavily’. For those that retreat should receive heavy punishment. These are the two principles of ‘heaviness’ As for integrity, it refers to the integrity of the rewards and punishment system. If the ruler is to take note and implement these principles, the troops can achieve victory.”
Gaining Control Of The Army
Lord Wu asked:”What measures will ensure the soldiers will be victorious?” Wu Qi replied:”‘Control’ is foremost.” Lord Wu asked again:”It is not a matter of numbers?” “If the laws and orders are not clear, rewards and punishment not meted out; when sounding the gongs will not cause them to halt or beating the drum will not make them advance, even if you have a million men, of what use would they be? ‘Control’ is achieved by training and management. At any time, discipline is strict and during war, they move and attack with awe. Their advance and withdraw stride is measured; the left and right look out for each other. Even if broken off from the main order, they preserve their formations; even if scattered they will reform lines. The whole army is very united and they share weal and woe together. When they are employed, they do not feel tired. No matter where you dispatch them, no one can withstand them. Such army are called “The Father and Son Army”
Notes On Marching Armies
Wu Qi said:”In general, the way to command a marching army is to not contravene the proper timing advancing and stopping; not miss the appropriate times for eating and drinking; and not completely exhaust the strength of the men and horses. These three are the means by which the troops can undertake the orders of their superiors. When the order of the superiors are followed, control is achieved. If advancing and resting are not at proper timing; if drinking and eating are not timely; when horses are tired and the men weary and they are not allowed to relax in the encampment, then they will be unable to carry out the commander’s order. If the order is not carried out, such troops when in encampment, they will be in turmoil and in battle, they will be defeated.”
Wu Qi said:”In general, on the battlefield – soon to become a land of corpses-if the soldiers are committed to fighting to death, they will live, whereas if they seek to stay alive, they will die. A good general will act as if they are in a sinking boat or trapped in a burning building – there is not enough time for the wise to make plans or the courageous to get angry. Only thought that one can have is to fight! Thus it is said that the greatest harm can befall the army, is a result of hesitation while the disasters that befall the whole army is a result of too much doubts, leading to slowness.”
Education And Training Of Armies
Wu Qi said:”In war, men constantly perished from their inabilities and are defeated by unfamiliar. Thus when deploying troops, training is should be given priority. One man who has been trained in warfare can instruct ten men. Ten men who have been trained, can train hundred men. Hundred men who have been trained, can train thousand men. Thousand men who have been trained, can train ten thousand men. Ten thousand men who have been trained, can train the whole army. Use the advantage of being near to counter enemy that comes from afar, use the advantage of being well-rested to counter enemy that have labored and use the advantage of being satiated to counter enemy that are hungry. Have them from deploying in circular formations and change to square ones. Have them sit, then get up; move, then halt. Have them move from the left to the right; have them from being front troops change into rear troops. Have them divide then combine, unite then disperse. When all these changes are familiar, provide them with weapons. All these mentioned are the responsibilities of the general.”
Placing Individuals In Appropriate Positions
Wu Qi said:”The basic rule of warfare that should be taught is that men of short stature should carry spears and spear-tipped halberd, the tall should carry bows and crossbows, the strong should carry the flags and banners, the courageous should carry the bells and the drums, the weak should serve in logistics, while the wise should be involved in planning. People from the same village or districts should be grouped together, so that they can look out for each other. As for the orders from drum beats, to a single drum beat, they should equip and gather themselves together. To the second drum beat, they should be drilled in various deployment. To the third drum beat, they should be having their meals. To the fourth drum beat, they should make a final inspection. To the fifth drum beat, they should move out. Only upon hearing the drum beat and the soldiers move in unison, should you raise your banners and set off.”
Principles Of Marching And Stationing Armies
Lord Wu said:”Are there principles to note for advancing and halting the army?” Wu Qi answered:”Avoid stationing at ‘Heaven’s Furnace’ or ‘Dragon’s Head’. ‘Heaven’s Furnace’ is the mouth of a deep valley. ‘Dragon’s Head’ is the top of a high mountain. The left army should hold the Green Dragon Banner, the right army should hold the White Tiger Banner. The front should hold the Vermilion Bird Banner, the back should hold the Mysterious Military Banner and the central army would use banners to command the whole army. When about to engage in combat, determine the wind direction. If upwind, yell and charge in the direction of the wind, if contrary, maintain formation and wait for opportunity to attack.”
Maintenance Of Horses
Lord Wu asked:”How do we take care of our horses?” Wu Qi replied:”The stable should be clean and comfortable. The horses should be fed with appropriate grass and water. Feeding should be until neither too hungry or too full. In the winter, they should have warm stables and during the summer, cool stables. Their mane and hair should be kept trimmed and their hooves properly care for. They should be trained to be familiar with all sights and sounds so that they will not be easily startled. Practice their galloping and pursuit, exercise constraint in advance and halting. The bond between the horse and the men should be strong before the horses can be employed. The equipments such as saddles, bridles, bits and reins must be strong and durable. Normally, the horses are either injured at towards the end of war or at the start. Similarly, they are either injured by hunger or overfeeding. When the sun is setting and the road is still long, the men should ride in intervals of time for it is better to have the men be slightly weary then to over labor the horses. This is to allow the men to escape easily if the enemy attack. Anyone who is clear about this can traverse without hindrance.”
Management Of Troops
Wu Qi said:”Only people who has military capabilities and civility can be the commander of an army. He must be one who is strict and flexible as well. In general, when people appraise generalship, usually focus on courage. However, courage is but one of the many required characteristics of a general. Being only courageous, one would rashy rush into battle without any consideration for the gains and loss. Such action is not acceptable. Now the affairs to which the general must manage are five:first is control, second is preparation, third is commitment, fourth is caution, fifth is regulation. Control is governing the masses just as one controls a few. Preparation is during the journey to the battleground, always be prepared for enemy ambush. Commitment means entering combat without any concern for one’s life. Caution means that even after conquering, one maintains the same control and attitude as if just entering a battle. Regulation means laws and orders are kept to a minimum and not abrasive. To accept command without declining, destroy the enemy and only afterward speak about returning is the proper form of behavior for a general. Thus when the army goes forth, his only thought is to die with glory then to live with shame.”
4 Areas To Note And Characteristics Of Good Generals
Wu Qi said:”In general, there are four vital points to note for warfare and they are morale, terrain, affairs and strength. The control and management of army’s movement lies in the hand of one general. That is the vital point for morale. When the road is narrow and perilous, at the vital point of the mountain route by deploying ten men, a general can stop an army of thousands, that is vital point of terrain. Making full use of spies, using light calvary to harass the enemy, sowing discord between the ruler and officials and the higher ranks and lower ranks reproaching each other, such is the vital point of affairs. When the chariots have strong axles and secure pins; the boats have been suited with rudders and oars; the officers are thoroughly familiar with the formations; and the horses have trained in pursuits and maneuvers, such is the vital point of strength. One who knows these four is qualified to be a general. Moreover his reputation, virtues, benevolence and courage must be respected by his surbodinates and calm the masses. Furthermore, he must be able to scare his enemy with his reputation and decisive. When he issues orders, no one dare to disobey them. Wherever he may be, rebels will not dare opose him. Gaining such a person, the state will grow strong; losing him, the state will perish. This is what is call a good general.”\
Characteristics And Importance Of Good Communications
Wu Qi said:”Now the different drums, gongs and bells are the means to awe the ear; flags, banners, pennants are the means to awe the eye; and prohibitions, orders, punishments and fines are the means to awe the mind. Since the ear is awestruck by sounds, they must be clear and loud. Since the eye is awestruck by colors, the colors must be discriminating and bright. Since the mind is awestruck by penalties, it has to be strict and impartial. If these three are not established, even though you may have the support of the state, you will invariably be defeated by the enemy. Thus it is said that wherever the general’s banner are, the whole troops will go, and wherever the general points to, everyone will charge forward without concern for own’s life.”
Knowing The Enemy General
Wu Qi said:”In general, one essential of war is to know who the enemy general is and evaluate his talent. In accord with the situation, use schemes to achieve results without much labor. A commanding general who is stupid and tristing can be deceived and entrapped. One who is greedy and insensitive to honor can be given gifts and bribed. One who changes his mind easily and lack real plans, plot to labor and tire him out. If the upper ranks are wealthy and arrogant while the lower ranks are poor and resentful, sow discord among them. If their advancing and withdrawing are ofen marked by doubt and the troops have no one to rely on, they can be frightened into running off. If the officers despised the commanding general and have strong intent to return home, block off the easy roads, leaving the treacherous ones open, they can then be attacked and captured. If the terrain over which they advance is easy but the retreat route is difficult, wait for them to come forward. If the terrain over which they advance is difficult but the retreat route is easy, they can be pressed and attacked. If they encamp on low wetlands were there is no way for the water to drain off, if heavy rain falls several times, flood and drown them. If they encamp in wild marsh or fields dense with grass and stalks and there are strong winds blowing frequently, use fire to destroy them. If they remain encamped for a long time, with the generals and officers growing lazy and lax and the army letting their guard down, sneak up and launch surprise attack at them.”
Testing The Enemy General
Lord Wu asked:”When two armies are confronting each other and I do not know their general. If I would like to know more about him, what methods can I employ?” Wu Qi replied:”Gather some lower ranks men who are courageous and have them lead some light shock troops to test him. When the enemy responds to the attack, they, the shock troops, should pretend to run off. If the enemy move and stop in unison and their formation well preserved; when they pursue us, they feign being unable to catch up; when they perceived easy gain, they pretend not to realize it. A commander of such troops is termed as a ‘wise general’.Do not engage him. If their troops approach yelling and screaming, their flags and banner are not in formation, some of their units move in their own accord and no proper holding of weapons; and when they puruse, they pursue as if they are afraid they will not reach us, or seeing advantage are afraid of not gaining it, this marks a ’stupid general’. Even if his troops are numerous, he can still be taken.”
Chaos And Communication
Lord Wu asked:”If the chariots are sturdy, the horses are well-bred, the generals courageous and the soldiers are strong, but when you suddenly encounter the enemy and the troops are thrown in chaos and formations are broken, what can be done?” Wu Qi replied:”In general, it is a rule of battle that during daylight, flags, banners and pennants to relay orders while at night the gongs, drums, horns and whistles will be used instead. When the flags signal left, they move left. When the flags signal right, they move right. When the drum is beaten, they advance and when the gongs are sounded, they retreat. At the first sound of the horn, they should advance. At the second sound of the horn, they should gather. If anyone disobeyed order, they should be executed. Only in this way, the army would submit to your awesomeness and the officers and soldiers will not dare to disobeyed orders. In combat, no enemy will be stronger than you nor will any defenses remain impregnable to your attack.”
When Outnumbered By The Enemy
Lord Wu asked:”What if our troops are outnumbered?” Wu Qi replied:”Avoid engaging them on flat terrain and instead attack them in narrow quarters. Thus it is said, for one to attack ten, nothing is better than a narrow defile. For ten to attack hundred, nothing is better than deep ravine. For hundred to attack ten thousand, nothing is better than a dangerous pass. Now if you have a small number of troops, ambush your enemy in confined road, sounding the war drums and gongs. Even if their numbers are great, they would be startled. Thus it is said, when employing larger troops, fight in flat terrain; when employing smaller troops, fight in naturally confined terrain.”
How To Attack A Strong Enemy
Lord Wu asked:”If their forces are numerous, well trained and courageous. Behind them are dangerous high grounds; on the right are mountains; on the left a river; they are well fortified and have crossbows in defending position. When they withdraw, they are as steady as mountains. When they attack, they are like torrential rain. As their food stocks are plentiful, it will difficult to defend against them for very long. What should be done?” Wu Qi replied:”A very good question. Such enemy cannot be overcome by force alone, but by the wisdom of sage. If can prepare one thousand chariots and ten thousand calvary and support them with foot soldiers. Divide them into five groups, each one traversing a different route. Now if the five troops move out in different direction simultaneously, the enemy will certainly be confused and will not know what we are up to. If the enemy fortified his defenses, to stabilise the morale, send an emissary to observe and persuade the enemy to surrender. If they listen to our persuasions, they will abandon their positions and leave; if they do not listen, they will kill our emissary and burn our treaties. Then using our five troops to engage the enemy. on five fronts. If they can be defeated, we do not give chase. If they cannot be defeated, we will need make a fast retreat. If you want to feign retreat, have one troop to engage the enemy in the front, another troop to cut off his rear, while the other two troops flank the enemy. If the five troops strike simultaneously, they will certainly gain advantage. This is the way to attack the strong.”
When Surrounded By The Enemy
Lord Wu asked:”The enemy is approaching us, there is no place for retreat and the soldiers are terrified. What should I do?” Wu Qi replied:”To deal with this situation is, if we have the strength in numbers, divide ourselves and surround them. If we are outnumbered, concentrate our troops and keep on attacking the enemy. Then even though he is numerous, he can be forced to submit.
Caught In Unfavorable Terrain
Lord Wu asked:”If I encounter the enemy in a deep valley that has dangerous terrain all around and I am outnumbered. What should I do?” Wu Qi replied:”When in dangerous terrain like hilly regions, forests, valleys, deep mountains and vast wetlands, traverse quickly, departing from them posthaste. Do not be dilatory. When you counter the enemy in high mountains or deep valley, you should first beat the drums and attack the enemy, attack with your archers and crossbowmen. Take prisoners while shooting the enemy and also observe the enemy’s formation stance. If they are found to be in chaos, do not hesitate to attack them.”
Caught In A Valley
Lord Wu asked:”If on the left and right are high mountains, while the land is narrow and confined. If we meet the enemy, we dare not attack nor retreat. What should I do?” Wu Qi replied:”This is referred to as “valley” warfare. Even if your troops are numerous, they are not effective. Summon your talented officers to confront the enemy. Use the nimble footed soldiers, equipped with sharp weapons, at the forefront. Divide your chariots and array your calvary, concealing them several lis away. The enemy will then not dare to attack us for fear of ambush, since they did not see our chariots and calvary. The enemy will assume a solid defence. Thereupon, display your flags and array your banners, withdraw outside the valley and encamp. The enemy will invariably be frightened and we used the chariots and calvary to harass them, not permitting them any rest. This is the way for valley warfare.
Fighting Marine Battles
Lord Wu asked:”If we encounter the enemy in a vast, watery marsh where chariots wheels sink down to the point that the shafts are under water; our chariots and calvary are floundering; and there are no boats and oars to advance or retreat. What should I do?” Wu Qi said:”This is called the ‘water’ warfare. Do not employ the chariots and calvary and have them remain at the side. Mount some nearby height and look around. Ascertain the water conditions, fathom its expanse, depth and movement. Then conceive a plan for victory. If the enemy begins crossing the water, attacked them when half have crossed.”
Wet And Dry Weather
Lord Wu asked:”When it has been continuously raining for a long time, and the horses and the chariots are stuck in the mud. If we are surrounded by the enemy and our troops are terrified, what should I do?” Wu Qi said:”In general, avoid employing chariots when the weather and land are wet. Only mobilize them when they are dry. Chariots value high ground more than low one. When deploying chariots, be it advancing or halting, the above principles must be followed. If the enemy comes,chase them by following their tracks.”
Lord Wu asked:”What if a band of plundering force suddenly appear, plundering our lands and fields, seizing our cattle and horses, what should I do?” Wu Qi said:”When a raiding force suddenly appear, you must first ascertain their strength. Avoid attacking them and take on defence position. After their raids, they would feel that their armor is heavy and be afraid. So they will want to do a quick withdraw. Doing a quick withdraw would result in stragglers. You can then pursue and attack them, and they can be overcome.”
After Conquering Cities
Wu Qi said:”In general, there is a principle to follow when attacking the enemy’s city. That is after conquering the city, enter their public building, control and use the former bureaucrats and take over their supplies. Relay orders that troops are not suppose to cut down trees, destroy houses, take the grain, slaughter animals, or burn people’s supplies. This will show the populace that you do not have any vicious intentions. Accept those that surrender and settle them.”
Lord Wu asked:”Is making punishment severe and rewards clear, adequate for victory?” Wu Qi replied:”As to these matters of severity and clarity, I do not have all the answers. Even so, they cannot be totally relied on. When you issue orders and the people willingly follow them; when you raised the army and mobilize the masses, the people take pleasure in going to battle; when engaging the enemy, the people take pleasure in fighting till death, then these three are what a ruler of men can rely on.” Lord Wu inquired further:”How does one attain such results?” Wu Qi replied:”You should identify men of accomplishment and honor them with a grand feast. Also invite those that have not accomplish anything. This would stimulate them.” Thereupon Lord Wu had sitting mats set out in the ancestral temple hall, arranged in three tiers, and help feast for officers and chief officials. Those distinguished by great achievement sat in the first tier and were feasting in finest food and cutlery. Those who ranked next in accomplishment, sat in the middle tier and dine in fine food and less lavish vessels. Those who had not accomplished anything noteworthy sat in the last tier, feasting fine food in ordinary utensils. When the feast was over and they came out, Lord Wu also honored the parents and families of the meritorious outside the temple gate, again according to their accomplishments. He annually sent emissaries to call on the families of those who had died in service for the country, bestowing aid on their parents. Bu so doing, he showed that they would not be forgotten. After he had performed such actions for three years, Qin happened to mobilize its army against Wei. When Wei’s officers heard about it, without waiting for any official orders, they put on their armor and engage the enemy. Lord Wu summoned Wu Qi and said:”We have seen the results of what you previously told me.” Wu Qi commented:”I have heard that to each has his own strength and weakness. Morale has its high and low. I hope my lord will allocate fifty thousand previously undistinguished men to me. Let me lead them to engage the enemy. If we lose, we might be a joke to the feudal lord. To draw an analogy, if there is a villain who is sentenced to death but has escaped and he is hiding. One thousand men has been sent to look for him and they just look around for him. Why? This is because they are afraid that the villain would inflict personal harm to them. Thus a man who disregard death can frighten a thousand. Now if I can take a mass of fifty thousand and gather them into a single murderous villain, leading them against the Qin troops, we will surely make it difficult for the enemy.” Lord Wu agreed to his request, granting him another five hundred strong chariots and three thousand cavalry. They destroyed Qin’s five hundred thousand troops as a result of the policy to encourage officers. The day before the battle Wu Qi spoke to the troops:”All aides and officers must confront and capture enemy’s chariots, cavalry and infantry. If the chariots do not make prisoners of the enemy’s chariots, the cavalry do not make prisoners of the enemy’s cavalry, the infantry do not make prisoners of the enemy’s infantry, then even if we forge an overwhelming victory, no one will be accredited with any achievements.” On the day of the battle, although his orders were not onerous, but his awesomeness shook the world.