Monday, November 10, 2008


Sun Zi said : 

errain may be classified into six kinds:
  1. Accessible
  2. Entrapping
  3. Temporising
  4. Narrow passes
  5. Precipitous heights and distants

  The Six Terrains

Place that bith sides can reacheasily are called accessible areas.When fighting in these areas,one should try to be the first to occupy the higher sunny ground,and keep the roads open for transport of provisions. Then the situation will be favourable one.

Places where one can easily enter but are more difficult to exit are called entrapping.In these areas, if the enemy army had not taken precautions against one,then one should attack and defeat them. But if they are well prepared and one cannot defeat them, then one will have difficulties in withdrawing.Such situation is unfavourable to one!

Places unfavourable to both sides are considered as temporizing areas.In these areas, do not move forward to attack even if the enemy holds out some advantages.It will be beneficial if one pretends to leave,thus luring the enemy out into the open space,and then makes a sudden assault when they are half way out.

In narrow passes, if one have occupied the ground before the enemy, one should block the garrison and waits for the enemy to make an attack; if the enemy has occupied the ground before one block the pass with a strong garrison, one should not attack them. If the enemy has not guarded his pass with sufficient strength, one should make a quick attack seize the area .

In precipitous heights, if one has occupied precipitous heights before the enemy, then one should seize the higher and sunnier ground and wait for the enemy. If the enemy has occupied those areas before one, then one should retreat and not attack. When the enemy is in the distance, and is evenly matched with oneself, then it would be inadvisable to challenge him, for fighting in such a situation would be to one's disadvantage.

The above six points are principles of how to deal with different topographical situations. As a general, one cannot avoid serious considerations and study of them.

  Six Situations That Caused Army To Fail

There are six situations that cause an army to fail. They are :

Flight is a failure resulting from attacking an enemy army ten times as strong as one's own when other circumstances are equal.

When the soldiers are strong but the officers are weak, the failure that resulted is insubordination.

If the officers are valiant and the soldiers are cowardly, the army will decline.

If the officers are angry and insubordinate, and when encountering the enemy , rush into battle without authorisation, even before the commander can assess the feasibility of engaging, the army will collapse.

When the commander is incompetents and has little authourity and his instructions and orders are not strict, when there no consistent rules to guide the officers and soldiers, and troops formations are slovenly, the army will fall into disorder.

When the commanders fails to properly estimate the enemy's strength, and uses a small force to fight a large one, or weak troops to fight a strong one, without picking the troops for the front ranks, then the result is rout.

The above six situations will surely bring the army to defeat. It is one of the heaviest responsibilities of a commander to give them serious study.

  Considerations And Caluations

Terrain is a supplementary considerations in military operations. It is the responsibilities of the commanders to make correct judgements as to the enemy's situation, to devise a battle plan to defeat the enemy and to survey the terrain as well as calculate the distance.

Those who have a good understanding of these principles and apply them well will definitely win; otherwise will definitely lose !!

When one finds,after analysing the situation, that success is certain, one must act resolutely even if the sovereign orders against fighting the battle. When the battlefield situation does not promise success, one must refrain from fighting, even if the sovereign orders military action.

A commander advances without coveting personal glory and retreats without fearing punishments.

  Knowing Yourself And The Enemy's Strength

If one knows that one is able to strike the enemy, but does not know that the enemy is invulnerable to attack, then one has only half the chance to win.

If one know the enemy is vulnerable , but fails to see that one is incapable of fighting, then again one had only half the chance to win.

If one knows that the enemy is vulnerable, but fails to see that the one is incapable of fighting but does not realise that the topographical situations do not favour an attack, again the chances of winning are only one in two.

Therefore, in war, an experienced commander, once in motion always has a definite objective and is never bewildered; once in war, he always displays a flexible command and is never at a loss.

Thus it can be summed up:

Know the enemy and know and we will always win and never lose; know "weather" and know "terrain", and our victory is complete

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