Military control is the rights of the general, and it is the key that will allow him to establish authority on his army. Once the general is able to use his military control well, he would be like a tiger with wings, able to awe those around him, overcome any circumstances or even seize control of the situation. If the general is to lose the military control, not only would he lose authority over his army, he would be like a fish or dragon that is out of sea. Even if it wants to swim in the ocean or play in the waves, would it be possible?
5 Types Of People To Stay Away From
In governing the state or army, there are five types of people that you need to avoid and they are:
1. Those who form cliches and ostracize talented and ethical people.
2. Those who spend extravagantly on clothing and hats, displaying strong materialism.
3. Those who exaggerate the facts, misleads the people, spread rumours and strong believers of gods and spirits.
4. Those who create trouble by spreading lies or because of personal gains create trouble for many people.
5. Those who are very calculative about one’s gain or loss and betray his country.
The above are five types of people whose behavior are unscrupulous and immoral. As such you should avoid these people and do not get close to them.
How To Find Out A Persons Character
To know someone well is very difficult. This is because the measurement of morality is different across individuals and individual’s appearance does not tell us much about their characters too. There are people who looks gentle and kind but are actually scheming. There are people who looks humble but are actually liars. There are people who looks brave but are actually timid. There are people who looks to give its all but are actually disloyal.
Although it is difficult, still there are seven ways of knowing someone.
1. Sow discord to see one’s loyalty is towards who.
2. Use strong words to arouse one’s anger, so as to see how he reacts and also his magnanimity.
3. Ask for one’s opinion on certain plans to see how knowledgeable he is.
4. Inform one that a crisis is imminent and observe how brave he is.
5. Make one drunk, so as to observe his true character and moral.
6. Attempt to bribe one so as to see if he is corrupt.
7. Give one some tasks, so as to see if he is able to keep promises.
Characteristics Of Talented Generals
There are nine types of talented generals:
1. Uses himself as an example to educate his troops, uses regulations and rules to manage his subordinates, treat his army with respect, show care and concern for his army and willing to share weal and woes with his army. Such is a ‘benevolent’ general.
2. One who acts with a long term view, is not slipshod in his work, not corrupted and would rather sacrifice with honor than to live in shame. Such is a ‘righteous’ general.
3. Occupies high position but is not arrogant, has many accomplishments but is humble, high morality and do not mind giving way to those below his position, principled but able to accomodate others. Such is a ‘respectable’ general.
4. Uses many strategies that are not easily anticipated and able to turn crisis or dangers into opportunities, such is a ‘wise’ general.
5. Loyal and keeps his promise, rewards or punishes his subordinates promptly, considering only the accomplishment made or the crime committed. Such a general is an ‘honest’ general.
6. Agile and moves as fast as a released arrow, loyal to the state and knows how to use the sword or halberd very well. Such is a ‘infantry’ general.
7. Able to traverse high or dangerous terrain, goes into battle very fast, first to lead an attack and last to retreat. Such is a ‘cavalry’ general.
8. His capabilities awed the whole army and is almost invincible in the battlefield. Never let his guard down for all battles and gets stronger when engaging strong enemies. Such a general is an ‘agressive’ general.
9. Seek wisdom with humbleness, able seek and take into consideration people’s opinion or suggestion, treat people with respect and of high integrity. Aggressive in battles, decisive and wise. Such is a ‘commander-in-chief’ general.
Undesirable Characteristics Of Generals
There are eight undesired characteristics of a general and they are:
1. An insatiable greed for material gains.
2. Jealous of talented, capable people.
3. Believe rumors and is close to those who knows how to sweet-talk or spread rumors.
4. Able to assess enemy’s situation but able to accurately assess his own.
6. Indulge in vices
7. Fake, scheming and timid.
8. Sly, arrogant and do not act according to policies set out.
Aspirations Of Generals
To the nation, the army is like a weapon, thus the general that commands the army has great responsibilities. If the weapon is too hard, it can be damaged easily. The greater the responsibility of the general, the more dangerous it is. Thus a good general is one that does not solely rely on the strength of his troops, and does not become arrogant just because the ruler have entrusted him great responsibility. A good general is one who is not afraid of and stand against slanders, is not greedy or easily tempted. His only aspiration is to serve and protect his nation well, even at the cost of his life.
Knowledge Generals Must Acquire
A general should have five ‘good’s and four aims: He should be good at deployment of troops. He should be good at making the decisions for attack or retreat at the correct timing. He should be good at knowing his own strengths and weakness and that of his enemy as well. He should be good at recognizing opportunities. He should be good at using the terrain to his advantage. He should aim to win with his strategies. He should aim to be detailed in his planning. He should aim to be calm and discerning when in the midst of chaos. He should aim to unite his troops together as one.
A general that is well-versed in warfare should be resolute but not stubborn, benevolent but not weak. Only then would he be able to win stronger enemies. If he is too weak or too stubborn, he would reduce his strengths and most likely fail. Thus it is very important to maintain a balance.
Good generals should have five good behavior and avoid eight bad behavior. The general should behave with high morals so as to set an example for others. He should be filial and care for siblings so as to have a good reputation. He should keep his promises and be righteous so that he is able to make more friends. He should be loving and forgiving so that he can be accommodating to many people. He should be responsible and do things on his own so that he can establish his career. These are the five good behavior the general should have.
Being smart but not able to discern good or bad; Does not use capable people; Does not act in accordance with law and not able to right the wrongs of society; Wealthy but does not help poor people; Not smart and knowledgeable thus not able to foresee and prepare for disasters; Does not think about long-term consequences when solving problems; Does not recommend people who are capable when the need arise; Does not take full responsibility for losses in battles. These are the eight behaviors.
Before Setting Out For War
Since ancient times, when the country is about to go to war, the ruler will select the most capable to be the commander-in-chief to bring the state out of trouble. Before the army sets off, abstinence have to be practiced for three days and rituals are to be held at the ancestral temple to pay respect to the ancestors. During the ritual, the ruler will stand at the south and the commander-in-chief at the north.
The Grand Mentor will pass an axe to the ruler, a symbol of authority. The ruler will present the axe to the commander-in-chief and say:”From now on, you have the command of the troops. In battle, when the enemy is weak, attack; when the enemy is strong, retreat; Do not, because of your position, belittle others; Do not be stubborn and refuse to listen to other people’s opinion; Do not, because of the accomplishment you have made, lose credibility and loyalty of your men; You should only rest when all your troops are resting; Share the weals and woes with your troops. Only when you have done the above, your men will do their best thus enabling you to achieve victory over our enemy.”
The commander-in-chief after listening to the lecture by the ruler, will then swear loyalty to the ruler and proceed to lead the troops to war. Before the troops are out of the city gates, the ruler will say:”Please bear in mind the timing of attack and retreat. From now on, the troops fate and movements will all depend on you.” From then on, the commander-in-chief will have absolute authority over the troops and he can use the wise to plan strategies and the brave to fight battles. Thus he can score victories, achieve accomplishments creating a legacy for himself.
Grouping Of Soldiers
The grouping of soldiers should go like this: Those who are eager to go to war, taking on the enemy should be grouped together and they are termed as the “patriotic” troops; Those that are brave and great agility should be grouped together and they are termed as the “commando” troops; Those that are extremely mobile and traverse fast should be grouped together and they form the vanguard troops. Those that are skilled at fighting on horses should be grouped together and they formed the cavalry. Those that are skilled archers should be grouped together and they formed the long-range attack troops. Each of this troops has its own unique strengths and they should be deployed at positions that will maximize its strengths.
Winning Without Using Troops
Since ancient times, a ruler that is well-versed with governance is able to rule with peace in the country and people living in comfort, without using the army; a general that is well-versed at managing his troops, can make his enemy succumb to him without using his troops; a general that is well-versed in battle formations can win battles without going into it; a general that is well-versed in warfare is able to lead his troops to victories and put them in invulnerable positions. A general that is able to learn from his defeats and find a suitable solution will not face his demise in battles.
Since ancient times, the wise ruler will be able to let his people live and work in peace, thus the people are never exposed to war. This is why the ruler that governs well do not need to use his army.
When Emperor Shun is governing the country, he had Jiu You to be in charge of military punishment. Thus no one dare break the military laws, in the end there is no need to mete out punishment. This is an example of managing the troops well.
When Yao sent Shun on expedition, Shun was able to use props used for dancing to subdue the Miao tribes. Such is an example of winning without going into formations. Lord Huan of State of Qi was able to make State of Chu submit to him and subdue the northern tribes. Such is an example of how to win every battles.
Lord Zhao of State of Chu although was defeated by the State of Wu, but was able to seek help from State of Qin and later regained control of State of Chu. Liu Bang, although was defeated several times by Xiang Yu, managed to learn from his experience and change his strategies accordingly thus winning the decisive battle. These are examples of learning from defeats.
In the Classic of History, there is verse that says:”If you insult a gentleman, it is very difficult to gain his trust and if you insult a non-gentleman, it is very unlikely that he will give his best.” Thus the general must gain the respect and trust of the army. He must be able to maintain discipline in his army and the integrity of the rewards and punishment system. He must be an all rounder in literary and military fields as well. He must be flexible in the way he handles matters. He is always cultivating himself to be benevolent, righteous, smart and brave. When he is leading his troops to battle and has given the order to hide, he should be able to make his men behave like fishes in water, without any sounds. When he has given the order to attack, he should make his men behave like otters, charge out fast and with great aggression, creating chaos in enemy’s camp, severe all enemy’s communication, destroy the enemy and wave our the flags to show the might of the army. The general should also be able to make his men listen to his orders and deployment. When the order of retreat is given, the men retreat in an orderly fashion. When the order to attack is given, he is able to make his men “rain” down on the enemy, with attacking posture like a tiger coming down a hill, destroying the enemy completely.
Some strategies should be implemented when facing the enemy: When face with an emergency, handle it with composure. When the enemy is greedy, bait him with small benefits. When the enemy is in chaos, attack him. When the enemy belittle us, fan his arrogance further. When the enemy is in unity, seek to break them down. When the enemy is strong, seek to reduce their strength or advantage.
Comfort the army when in dangerous position an create joy when the army feels depress. Treat those that surrender us with care and benevolence. Allow a channel for the army to vent their injustice if any. Support the weaker ones and restrain the stronger ones. Treat the military advisors like your families. Refuse to mix with those who only talks about things people like to hear. Distribute the spoils of war to your subordinates as a form of reward.
Last but not least, when the enemy is weak, the general should not use full strength against the enemy. The general should not underestimate the enemy no matter what, and the general should not treat his subordinates badly just because he is the favourite of the ruler. The general should be well-versed with the battle conditions and circumstances, make detail plans and when he is sure of victory, then execute the plans. He should not have the spoils of war all to himself. If a general can do all the above, be disciplined himself, he would make his army give his best in every battle.
National defense should be the top priority of any states and the main task of building national defense is to promote preparedness in the population. This is because if there are any weaknesses in the national defense, it could lead to the demise of the state and lost of army, both irreversible. Such a situation is indeed terrible! Thus when the states is facing any danger, the whole state should be united, make plans together and appoint the best talent to be the commander-in-chief of the army. If the alertness of the state is not high, it is similar to the swallows buidling a nest on the curtains, the fishes swimming in a pot where their demise is near.
In Zuo Zhuan, there is a verse that says:”If the planning is not detailed to the point where no foreseeable mistakes can be made, one should not go into war.” or another verse that says:”When living in peace, one should think of the danger that is lurking, make preparation for it or prevent it from happening. Such is the core of good governance.” Even insects like hornets and scorpions have poisonous stings as their defence, all the more for a big state. If the state does not build up its defense well, even if they have numerical strength, it would still not be dependable. This is what is meant by “being prepared is always the best policy”. Thus the commander-in-chief before he sets out, he should be fully prepared.
Importance Of Training
If the troops are not given proper training and knowledge, even if there are a hundred of them, they would not be able to defeat a soldier that is properly trained. If the troops are given proper training, then one soldier is able to hold off a hundred men of the enemy.
That is why Confucius said:”To send people to war without training is as good as abandoning them.” and “After an altruistic man has educated the common people for seven years, they should be ready to take up arms.”
Thus if there is need for the commoners to join in the battle, they should be given proper training. Teach them what is the meaning of righteousness, let them understand what is loyalty and integrity. Inform them what behavior will be rewarded and what is punishable, so as to get a hold on their movement.Then they should be trained in making formations and stances so that they can function together as one.
One person can impart the knowledge and skills to ten people, and the ten people can impart the knowledge and skills to a hundred people and the hundred people can impart the knowledge and skills and this goes on until all the soldiers are trained. Only after all required skills and knowledge has been imparted to everyone and various military exercises has been conducted, then they can go sent to battles.
Pitfalls To Avoid When Using Troops
In the movement and deployment of troops there are nine pitfalls that can cause the whole army to be destroyed:
1. Did not seek out detailed and accurate information about the enemy; when the information is disseminated by the smoke towers, protocols are not followed resulting in information that is not close to reality being passed down.
2. Soldiers are not punctual for the gathering, thus affected the movement of troops, resulting in the lost of attacking opportunity.
3. Does not adhere to the order or deployment causing the army not to move as one body.
4. The superior does not take care of his subordinates but concentrate on gaining benefits for himself.
5. The general does everything to protect or further his interest and never take care of the needs of his subordinates.
6. The general listens and believes in slander or rumours and believe strongly in predictions by fortune selling, thus affecting the moral of the troops.
7. The soldiers are not following army protocols, creating a lot of noise that disturb the generals’ meeting.
8. The generals does not follow the overall plans and makes important decisions on his own.
9. Corruption and plundering, without any regards to the laws.
These nine situations are like the ‘parasites’ of the army. If these situations are found in the army, the army is bound to fail.
As a general, he should have a group of close aides that can come together to discuss about military issues, a group of spies to seek out intelligence for him and a group of capable assistants that will follow his orders and help him. A general that does not have a group of close aides is analogous to a man walking in the dark, with his hands and feet not having any idea where to start feeling around. A general without a group of spies is analogous to a blind man walking in the dark, he cannot do what he wants. A general without a group of capable assistants is analogous to a famished man eating poisonous food, there is no chance of surviving the poison. Thus a good general will choose those that are smart and knowledgeable to be his close aides, choose those that are resourceful, smart, cautious and make good judgement calls to be their spies and choose those that are brave and valiant to be his capable assistants.
Most of the losses in battles are a result of generals underestimating their enemies, thus when the army sets out for war, utmost discipline must be observed. If there is a lack of discipline in the army, it would lead to their demise. There are fifteen rules that the army and general should follow.
1. Must be very detailed in their strategy planning and gaining intelligence on enemy.
2. Rigourously check all information about the enemy and determine which is true.
3. Although the enemy may look stronger, one should not be cowed by it.
4. In the midst of gains, think of righteousness.
5. Reward and punishment must be fair and just.
6. Must tolerate hardship and withstand pressure to complete the task.
7. Be magnanimous.
8. Be honest and keep promises.
9. Respect talents and people of high morals and treat them well. 10.Be able to discern right from wrong.
11.Be cautious and do not go against rules.
12.Be benevolent and take good care of subordinates.
13.Be loyal to the state and place its interest ahead of ours. 14.When doing things one should seek a balance and do what is required of oneself.
15.Be smart and always seek to know and understand the enemy and oneself.
Timing And Opportunity
If a foolish man is able to win a clever man, it is against the natural logic of things. If a clever man wins a foolish man, it is what the natural logic of things dictates. But if a clever man is to be sent to war, the whether he wins or not will depend on timing & opportunity. And to be able to grab the opportunity at the correct timing depends on three critical factors and they are: Ability to grab opportunity, Being able to plan ahead and decisiveness. If something that happens and it is to one’s advantage and one are not prepared to grab the opportunity, he is not considered wise.
When the situation has changed and it is to one’s advantage and to the enemy’s disadvantage and one does not have a strategy to defeat the enemy, he is not considered smart. If the morale situation is turning to our advantage and we did not have measures to take advantage of it, it is considered not brave. Thus the wise general would be able to assess the situation and seize the correct timing and opportunity to achieve victory.
How Good Generals Manage Troops
Since ancient time, generals that are well-versed in war follows four principles. The first principle is orders once they are given must be strictly followed. When should advance and when should retreat should be made clear. What is allowed and what is not allowed should be made clear as well. The second principle is to instil the right values like benevolence, righteousness and educate morals to the troops. The third principle is to tell the troops what is right and wrong, allowing the troops to look out for each other and point out each other’s mistake. Last principle is to be decisive and strict in giving out rewards and administering punishments. If these four principles are strictly followed, then the basic infrastructure has been set up and the rest of the details will just fall into places. With the rules in place, the rest are easily understood.
Such a troop is able to win all battles. An incapable general would not be able to achieve the four principles. If orders are not clear, when the order of retreat are given, the troops would retreat in a mess. If orders of attack are given, each men make their attack individually. In the end, the general is not able to seize the opportunity, resulting in the demise of the troops. If instructions are not given clearly and there are no
particular rules for awarding rewards and punishment, one would lose the trust of the troops, cause disunity, capable people would not come to offer their services and unscrupulous people would gain power. As such, the general would lose in every battle.
Importance Of Popular Support
If one gains popular support when going into war, even Emperor Huang might stand in awe of him. If one gains the physical support of the population and achieve victory, such achievement cannot be compared to that of Emperor Tang of Shang Dynasty or Emperor Wu of Zhou Dynasty. As such, as long as the general is able to read situations well and people stand in awe of his character and values, talented people would come from all over the place, willingly to work under him.
3 Basic Ingredients For Victory
Before the general set out for war, there are three advantages he should take note of, because they are the fundamentals to achieving victory. They are timing advantage, environment advantage and the human advantage. Timing advantage refers to the weather, whether the weather is comfortable, there are no droughts or floods, the stars shows normality and there are no bad omens. These accrued to our army’s advantages from nature.
The environment advantage refers to surrounding terrains of our structures. Whether there are deep valleys or large rivers that surround our structures. The more complicated the terrain, or only a small route that leads to the structures is the best. Human advantage refers to whether the ruler is benevolent and wise, whether the general is capable and high morals, whether the whole army observes rules and rites, united and are willing to lay down their lives; food supply is ample and weapons are sharp. A smart general is able to use these three advantages to gain huge victory.
Characteristics Of Winning And Losing
People with capability takes up important position and given important tasks, people with lower capability occupy positions of lesser authority, the morale of the army is high and united, all levels are in harmony, men are courageous, discipline and in great fighting spirit, reward and punishment system is fair and transparent, such are the characteristics of a winning army. Men are lazy, have no respect for rules, scared of war and is not afraid of punishment, the army is disunited and overestimated own capabilities, each men cares about their own gains, spread rumors and the morale of the army is low. Such are the characteristics of a losing army.
Power To Reward And Punish
Being a commander, he holds the fate of many people and the nation. But if the ruler does not award the power to reward and punish to the commander, is it similar to having the hands of the monkey tied up but still want him to climb up a tree fast; similar to blindfolding Li Lou and asking him to differentiate the colors. Impossible. If the commander does not have such power but lies in the hand of other officials, the commander cannot make his decision independently, and all levels in the army will be very driven by personal gains, no one will fight for the country, thus there will be a lack of fighting spirit. As such, even with the wisdom of Yi Yin or Jiang Tai Gong, with the military achievement of Han Xin and Bai Qi, one cannot save the situation. As Sun Zimentioned:”There are some military orders that need not be obeyed. As Zhou Yafu mentioned:”When in the army, all soldiers should listen to the commander and not the edict of the ruler.”
How To Treat Subordinates
In ancient times, a good general will treat his subordinates as if they are his children. In the face of danger, he would be the first to lead. When receiving credit and honor for accomplishment, he would be the last to receive credit, letting his subordinates to receive them first. When treating the injured, he would comfort them in every possible way. If any of his subordinates sacrifice their lives for the country, a good general will see that they have the grandest funeral possible and take care of their families. When food supplies in the camp is low, he would give up his share of the food supply and distribute them to his subordinates. When the weather is freezing, he would on his own initiative, give up his winter clothing to allow his subordinates adequately dressed for the weather. Towards talents, a good general would treat him with respect and give it important tasks. Towards the brave, he would give them rewards timely and encourage them to achieve more accomplishment. If a general is able to do all this, he would win every battle.
When a commander is going out to battle, he should have a wide ‘variety’ of advisors that will help him to evaluate the gains and losses. There are those who are very good with words, come up with good strategies, knowledgeable and multi-talented. Such talents are the rare kind and should be the high-level subordinates. There are those who are as brave as bears or tigers, as nimble as monkeys, as strong-willed as a stone and when they fight, they are as ’sharp’ as the Dragon Spring Sword.
Such warriors are the rare kind and should be the middle-level subordinates. There are those who are good at expressing themselves, makes accurate predictions at times, have skills that are not valued. These are just normal people and should be the lower-level subordinates.
If a general is able to prepare for foreseen circumstances, able to make preparations before situation become too complicated, take precautions before problems become out of hand, have heavy punishment but never a need to use it. Such is a wise general. In the battlefield, when formations are made and battle has started, if the general is able to use circumstances to boost his troops strength and causing chaos in the enemy, in turn achieving victory. Such is a capable general. If the general charge into a battle without strategising thus resulting in heavy losses on both side with each side not achieving victory. Such is the worst way of using troops.
Terrains And Tactics
When doing battle on terrain with thick and tall grass, conducting guerrilla attacks would be advantageous. When doing battle on mountainous terrain or difficult passages, conducting swift strikes at the enemy, catching them unexpectedly would be advantageous. When doing battle on wide open plains where there are no cover, digging trenches to ambush enemy would be
advantageous. When the enemy outnumber us, attacking when there are weak or no daylight would be advantageous. When we outnumber the enemy, attacking when there are strong daylight would be advantageous. When we are well equipped and the morale is strong, one should try to achieve a swift victory. When the enemy is on the opposite bank, there are strong winds and vision is blur, it is advantageous to attack from the front and the back at the same time.
Catching The Enemy By Surprise
The way to victory is to be able to grasp the changing circumstances, directing troops to strike where the enemy is not well prepared. Would an unwise general be able to grasp the situation and be decisive? Grasping opportunity means to strike at the unexpected. When the fierce beast leaves it lair, he lose the cover of the terrain thus even a kid with a spear can scare him away. A bee with its poison sting can put a distance between it and a strong man. To the enemy, you should bring disaster to them when they are not well-prepared or expecting it. This is the way to victory.
Generals who are adept at war, once they have information on the strengths and weaknesses of the enemy and himself, he would be able to predict the outcome of the war. Things that the generals need to know to predict victory include: Which political ruler is saintly? Which general is talented in using troops? Which officials are capable? Which side has more provisions? Which side has better training? Which side’s troops are more disciplined? Which side’s war horses run faster? Which side has the advantage of the terrain? Which side has better advisers? How many neighboring countries are feared by rulers of each side? Which side has more resources? Which side’s population has better standard of living? By answering these questions, we can see who is weak and who is strong and thus the victor can be predicted.
Insects, like bees and hornets, makes people afraid of them because of their poisonous sting, thus people do not agitate them unnecessarily. In war, the soldiers are able to fight with valor and spirit because they are equipped with the best weapon and armor. Thus it is important to equip troops with the best weapon and armor. If the armor is not strong enough, it is similar to fighting in a naked body. If the arrow shot cannot hit the enemy, it is similar to not having a bow and arrow. If the arrow hits the target but is not able to pierce through the armor, it is similar to shooting an arrow that does not have an arrowhead. If intelligence before war is not gathered properly, it is similar to blind men preparing for war. If the general is not courageous, it is similar to fighting without a general.
Terrains And Types Of Troops
Terrain can serve as an advantage to troops. As a general, if he is not able to use the terrain to his advantage, his chances of victory is slim. Mountainous region, forested area and deep valleys are suitable for infantry. High mountains and narrow roads with a lot of grass are suitable for chariots and calvary. Mountain one one side and water bodies on the left or inside a canyon, it is advantageous to deploy archers. Fighting in wide flat terrains with a lot of spaces, it is advantageous to use long halberds. If there are thick undergrowth, it is advantageous to use long spears.
Defeating Enemy Generals
The characteristic and temperament of the generals has direct relationship with the outcome of war. There are general who are brave and not afraid of death. There are some who are impatient, has a bad temper and just want to finish the war fast. There are some who will hanker for any credit however small it maybe. There are some who are too lenient and does not command respect. There are some who are indecisive while others who has strategic thinking but could not execute it.
Thus there is no one effective way to defeat a general. To defeat a general, the method will be dependent on their characteristic and temperament. For those that only has courage and nothing else, agitate him. For those that are impatient, try to fight a prolong war, to exhaust his resources. For those that are greedy, use benefits like money or ladies to lure him. For those that are too benevolent and like a ‘toothless’ tiger, tire him out. For those that are smart but not courageous, ferociously attack him into a corner. For those that are smart but slow, attack him with swiftness.
When To Attack
In ancient times, generals who are good at commanding troops would surely seek out information about his enemy. And from these information, create the right strategy.
For the following situations that the enemy is in, we can attack.
1. When the troops are out at war for a long time, have lost their fighting spirit and sharpness, lack of supplies and does not have the support of the population.
2. Troops are not familiar with the commands, lack of equipment, lack of direction and plan, no reinforcement and the generals hoards all credits and riches.
3. No proper measures of reward and punishment, disorganized, and when the general won the battle starts to be arrogant.
For the following situations that the enemy is in, we should not attack.
1. Ruler is able to delegate the capable to support his generals
2. Adequate supplies
3. Population living well and content
4. Equipment are adequate and in good working condition
5. Has strong alliances with other countries
6. has the backing of strong nation
An Effective Army
All generals should make preserving the fighting capability of his troops as the key priority, in order to achieve victory in war. If the rewards and punishment are not meted out fairly, the troops will not listen to orders. If they do not listen to orders, the troops are useless. What it means by high fighting capability of troops? It means that the troops are always orderly and organized. Where they are stationed, they respect and observed local rites and rituals. When they march, they march with in awe. When they attack, they attack with swiftness and aggression. When they retreat, the enemy cannot attack them. The troops are united and act on orders. As such they will seldom be exposed to dangerous situations. Such troops are also united, has high mobility, disciplined and are able to take up challenges, always maintaining high level of fighting capability.
Motivating And Attracting Talents
Generals should reward or promote where appropriate. Only then would he be able to attract the capable to work for him. He must treat his subordinates with respect and motivate them with trust and sincerity. Only then would his subordinates be committed fully into the battle. He must give benefits and privileges often and maintain a fair system of reward and punishment, treating everyone at the same level.
Only then would he win the trust and respect of his troops. He must, during battle, lead the charge at the enemy and when retreating, be at the back to cover his troops. Only then would his troops be courageous. He should place great emphasis on the good actions taken by his troops, and reward them with appropriate rewards. Only then would his troops aim to improve, encourage each other and ensure high fighting spirit.
Saints will follow what the Way depicts. The Capable will follow the natural principles. The Wise would use what the past Saints and Capable have done as an example for himself. A haughty
person will surely fail. An arrogant person invites trouble easily. A person who talks but do not put to action will not gain trust. A self-centred person has no attachment to other people. As a general, if he rewards the non-meritorious, he will have his troops leave him. As a general, if he punishes those that are not wrong, there will be many grouses. A person whose emotions changes unpredictably, is improbable of escaping his demise.
Terrains And Tactics
Forest: During the day, must set up flags extensively to create an impression that the army is huge. During the night, more drums should be used to confuse the enemy. One must be good at using short weapons such as swords. Set up ambushes. In terms of tactics, one should attack from the front at times, attack from the rear at times or attack attack from the front and rear simultaneously.
Thick Undergrowth: Army should be good at swords, knife or shields, weapons that are suitable for close combat. Before engaging the enemy, one should seek out the route taken by the enemy. Along the route, set up posts. For every ten li, one big posts. For every five li, one small posts. Keep the flags and drums.
Unity And Trust Within The Troops
For a general to use his troops well, the key is the internal harmony and unity. The whole army would be ready to fight without much persuasion or orders being passed. If the officers and soldiers are suspicious of each other, the troops will not follow orders, loyal men and smart military strategist cannot perform, rumors will be rampant and bad thoughts will breed. If such situation arise, even if you have King Shang’s or King Zhou’s intelligence and wisdom, you would not achieve victory over individuals, what more can be said about facing a huge army?
Signals From The Enemy
During war, the general must use signs to deduce information about the enemy.
When two sides are opposing each other and the enemy does not move, he is taking advantage of the terrain it is occupying.