Monday, November 10, 2008


Sun Zi said :

In the operation of war , one should prepare one thousand swift chariots (each drawn by four horses), one thousand heavy vehicles (loaded with ordnance), the armour of one hundred thousand soldiers and provisions sufficient enough to carry them one thousand li ( a measuring unit in ancient China, about 2.78Li equals to a miles).

  Expenses Of War

Thus the expenses at both the front and at home , including those for diplomatic contacts, for the maintenance and upkeep of ordnance and equipment, and for the replenishment and supply of chariots and weapons, will be enormous.

It could easily reach a total of a thousand taels of silver per day.

Such is the cost of raising an army of 100,000 men !

  Effects Of Long Lasting War

Given the enormous expense of fighting a war, one must try to seek a quick victory. A long lasting war will only fatigue the army and taken the edge off its spirit.

To lay a siege to a fortress will exhaust all the army strength. To engage in a long lasting war outside the home country will drained the country financially. And subsequently into economics chaos.

When the army is weary, its spirit dampened, other state will seek advantages of this precarious situation to launch an attack.

In this case, even the most intelligent commander cannot save his country from the disastrous consequences that must ensure.

Thus we had heard of quick victories that are sought in a practical manner, but never seen intelligent manoeuvres that are associated with long drawn out war. 

There has never been a case which a prolonged war has benefited a nation. Obviously, those who do not fully realise the disastrous effects of a protracted war also do not fully appreciate the advantages of a swift victory.

  Supplies From Enemy ??

The commander who is well-versed in the art of war will not continually recruiting soldiers and having his supplies delivered from the home country over and over again.

He will only have weapons and armour supplied from the home country, while getting fresh provisions from the conquered local territory of enemy countries

In this way, the army will continually be adequately supplied.

  Long Distance Calculation

One of the factors that brings poverty to a country engaged in a war is the cost of long distance transportation.

To maintain a distant army impoverishes the local people. The price of commodities will normally rises in area where army is stationed. Rising prices will drain the people of their wealth and make them unable to pay the taxes.

Thus military strength will be exhausted, the national treasury depleted and seventh-tenths of the people wealth consumed.

At the same time, public expenses for damaged chariots, worn-out horses, breastplate and helmets, bows and arrows, spears and shields, protective mantles, draught oxen and heavy wagons will amount to six-tenth of its revenue.

Therefore, a wise commander will do all he can to get provisions from the enemy countries.

One zhong (approx. 640 litres) of provision obtained from the enemy country will equal to twenty zhong from his own. One shi (approx. 60 kg) of forage grass extracted from the enemy country will likewise equal twenty shi of domestic forage.

  Expand One Force

To urge his soldiers to kill the enemy, a commander should arouse them to anger. To encourage them to seize the enemy's property, he should award them with war trophies.

Accordingly, in chariot battles, when more than ten enemy chariots had been captured the soldiers who first captured should be awarded generously. the commander should have his own flags erected on the captured chariots, putting the vehicles into his own chariot formation. He should treat the captured soldiers kindly and take care of their daily provisions. This so called expanding one's force in the course of defeating the enemy.

Hence, let military operations be directed towards securing a quick victory, rather than towards prolonging the war.

The commander who is well-versed in the art of war controls his people's fate as well as guarantees the security of the nation.

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