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The Art of War

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The Art of War
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Author(s): Sun Tzu
Date Published: 2011/08
Page Count: 112
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-618-3
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-617-6

Two classic works on the attainment of victory

The ‘art of war’ has received much focus in recent times, especially within the business and managerial communities who have appreciated that the application of ‘strategy’ and ‘tactics’ in corporate development must necessarily originate in the military applications of those terms. In consequence there has been a revival of interest in works of Jomini, Clausewitz and even in ‘the Devil’s politics’ as explained in Machiavelli’s ‘ The Prince.’ The succinct phrasing of Sun Tzu’s classic The Art of War appeals not only because of its extreme age but also because its author manages to come to the crux of each issue with little preamble and quintessential simplicity. Sun Tzu was a military commander in ancient China whose status and influence borders upon the legendary, although some historians place him as a general of King Helu of Wu between 544-496 BC and others more broadly within the ‘warring states’ period of 476-221 BC. The Art of War is widely acknowledged to be one of the most successful books of military strategy ever written and was first translated from its original Chinese into French in 1772. Since then its status has grown until for many its is required reading and its iconic status means no explanation of its content is required. Sun Tzu’s text is accompanied in this Leonaur edition by a treatise on the Principles and Maxims of the art of War, which demonstrates the teachings of the master as applied to battlefields fifteen hundred years later. Beaureguard’s work considers Sun Tzu’s teachings and applies them to the American Civil War; it was written to assist Confederate commanders and forces. Even though the Confederacy lost the conflict it is widely acknowledged that it possessed the finest military minds and officer class. The American Civil War was one of the first wars of the industrial age and it became a struggle dominated by manufacturing capabilities, logistics and technological developments in communication—all elements that modern military leaders and businessmen understand very well.

Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.

1. Sun Tzu said: Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted.<br>
2. Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy’s will to be imposed on him.<br>
3. By holding out advantages to him, he can cause the enemy to approach of his own accord; or, by inflicting damage, he can make it impossible for the enemy to draw near.<br>
4. If the enemy is taking his ease, he can harass him; if well supplied with food, he can starve him out; if quietly encamped, he can force him to move.<br>
5. Appear at points which the enemy must hasten to defend; march swiftly to places where you are not expected.<br>
6. An army may march great distances without distress, if it marches through country where the enemy is not.<br>
7. You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places which are undefended. You can ensure the safety of your defence if you only hold positions that cannot be attacked.
<br><br>************<br><br>If an enemy endeavours to turn one of your flanks by moving his whole army to that flank there are several modes of defeating his intention.<br>
1st. If he marches in such an order that he cannot readily resume his line of battle facing your army, make a vigorous attack on the flank of his march along his whole line.<br>
2nd. If he marches as above in loose order, so as to leave any large interval between the different divisions of his army, attack one of the separated portions—suppose the rear portion—by interposing a body of troops between it and the rest of the army, to stop the head of its march while you direct other troops against the flank of its march.<br>
3rd. If, he marches compactly, and in such an order as will enable him to reform his line in a moment, you must choose the head or the rear of his line of march for attack; but the attack must be made with method and supported by cavalry, or the enemy’s cavalry (which will be found at both those points) will take your infantry in flank.<br>
4th. You may prolong your line to the threatened flank by either of the methods already given, and turn the tables on the enemy by outflanking him.<br>
The effective force of an army in battle depends chiefly on the rapidity and precision with which it can manoeuvre; and the basis of its excellence in this particular is found in the proficiency of each battalion and squadron in field movements. The effective force of an army in a campaign depends mainly on the regularity and rapidity with which its marches are conducted; and as the success of an action may often be influenced by the order of march in which an army approaches an enemy in position, it is impossible that the troops can be too much practised in every possible order of march.<br>
In all armies, ancient and modern, the line of battle has been divided into units, whose magnitude has been determined by the average range of the human voice. The unit should be as large as is consistent with the possibility of the men composing it, when formed in line, being directed by the voice of their commander.