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paladin
12-22-2009, 03:42 AM
Ts`ao Kung has the note: "He who wishes to fight must first count the cost," which prepares us for the discovery that the subject of the chapter is not what we might expect from the title, but is primarily a consideration of ways and means.
1

Sun Tzu said: In the operations of war, where there are in the field a thousand swift chariots, as many heavy chariots, and a hundred thousand mail-clad soldiers, #

The "swift chariots" were lightly built and, according to Chang Yu, used for the attack; the "heavy chariots" were heavier, and designed for purposes of defense. Li Ch`uan, it is true, says that the latter were light, but this seems hardly probable. It is interesting to note the analogies between early Chinese warfare and that of the Homeric Greeks. In each case, the war-chariot was the important factor, forming as it did the nucleus round which was grouped a certain number of foot-soldiers. With regard to the numbers given here, we are informed that each swift chariot was accompanied by 75 footmen, and each heavy chariot by 25 footmen, so that the whole army would be divided up into a thousand battalions, each consisting of two chariots and a hundred men.

with provisions enough to carry them a thousand LI, #

2.78 modern LI go to a mile. The length may have varied slightly since Sun Tzu's time.

the expenditure at home and at the front, including entertainment of guests, small items such as glue and paint, and sums spent on chariots and armor, will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day. Such is the cost of raising an army of 100,000 men. #
2

When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength. #
3

Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain. #
4

Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue. #
5

Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays. #

This concise and difficult sentence is not well explained by any of the commentators. Ts`ao Kung, Li Ch`uan, Meng Shih, Tu Yu, Tu Mu and Mei Yao-ch`en have notes to the effect that a general, though naturally stupid, may nevertheless conquer through sheer force of rapidity. Ho Shih says: "Haste may be stupid, but at any rate it saves expenditure of energy and treasure; protracted operations may be very clever, but they bring calamity in their train." Wang Hsi evades the difficulty by remarking: "Lengthy operations mean an army growing old, wealth being expended, an empty exchequer and distress among the people; true cleverness insures against the occurrence of such calamities." Chang Yu says: "So long as victory can be attained, stupid haste is preferable to clever dilatoriness." Now Sun Tzu says nothing whatever, except possibly by implication, about ill-considered haste being better than ingenious but lengthy operations. What he does say is something much more guarded, namely that, while speed may sometimes be injudicious, tardiness can never be anything but foolish—if only because it means impoverishment to the nation. In considering the point raised here by Sun Tzu, the classic example of Fabius Cunctator will inevitably occur to the mind. That general deliberately measured the endurance of Rome against that of Hannibals's isolated army, because it seemed to him that the latter was more likely to suffer from a long campaign in a strange country. But it is quite a moot question whether his tactics would have proved successful in the long run. Their reversal it is true, led to Cannae; but this only establishes a negative presumption in their favor.
6

There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. #
7

It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on. #

That is, with rapidity. Only one who knows the disastrous effects of a long war can realize the supreme importance of rapidity in bringing it to a close. Only two commentators seem to favor this interpretation, but it fits well into the logic of the context, whereas the rendering, "He who does not know the evils of war cannot appreciate its benefits," is distinctly pointless.
8

The skillful soldier does not raise a second levy, neither are his supply-wagons loaded more than twice. #

Once war is declared, he will not waste precious time in waiting for reinforcements, nor will he return his army back for fresh supplies, but crosses the enemy's frontier without delay. This may seem an audacious policy to recommend, but with all great strategists, from Julius Caesar to Napoleon Bonaparte, the value of time—that is, being a little ahead of your opponent—has counted for more than either numerical superiority or the nicest calculations with regard to commissariat.
9

Bring war material with you from home, but forage on the enemy. Thus the army will have food enough for its needs. #

The Chinese word translated here as "war material" literally means "things to be used", and is meant in the widest sense. It includes all the impedimenta of an army, apart from provisions.
10

Poverty of the State exchequer causes an army to be maintained by contributions from a distance. Contributing to maintain an army at a distance causes the people to be impoverished. #

The beginning of this sentence does not balance properly with the next, though obviously intended to do so. The arrangement, moreover, is so awkward that I cannot help suspecting some corruption in the text. It never seems to occur to Chinese commentators that an emendation may be necessary for the sense, and we get no help from them there. The Chinese words Sun Tzu used to indicate the cause of the people's impoverishment clearly have reference to some system by which the husbandmen sent their contributions of corn to the army direct. But why should it fall on them to maintain an army in this way, except because the State or Government is too poor to do so?
11

On the other hand, the proximity of an army causes prices to go up; and high prices cause the people's substance to be drained away. #

Wang Hsi says high prices occur before the army has left its own territory. Ts`ao Kung understands it of an army that has already crossed the frontier.
12

When their substance is drained away, the peasantry will be afflicted by heavy exactions. #
13,14

With this loss of substance and exhaustion of strength, the homes of the people will be stripped bare, and three-tenths of their income will be dissipated; #

Tu Mu and Wang Hsi agree that the people are not mulcted not of 3/10, but of 7/10, of their income. But this is hardly to be extracted from our text. Ho Shih has a characteristic tag: "The PEOPLE being regarded as the essential part of the State, and FOOD as the people's heaven, is it not right that those in authority should value and be careful of both?"

while government expenses for broken chariots, worn-out horses, breast-plates and helmets, bows and arrows, spears and shields, protective mantles, draught-oxen and heavy wagons, will amount to four-tenths of its total revenue. #
15

Hence a wise general makes a point of foraging on the enemy. One cartload of the enemy's provisions is equivalent to twenty of one's own, and likewise a single PICUL of his provender is equivalent to twenty from one's own store. #

Because twenty cartloads will be consumed in the process of transporting one cartload to the front. A PICUL is a unit of measure equal to 133.3 pounds (65.5 kilograms).
16

purri
12-22-2009, 03:56 AM
As I understand it is one of: moral and economic/ supply string theory.

paladin
12-22-2009, 04:15 AM
yup.....jumping in over your head without thinking completely through the consequences.
I have packed away many of my books, but somewhere I have a very nice translation of not only the Art of War, but the entire story of his philosophy. This is one of the first books placed before me in the late 50's/early 60's at Fort Bragg/Pope Airplane Patch. Most folks read through it and forget 75% by the end of school.

2MeterTroll
12-22-2009, 04:46 AM
thats cause many of them listened to the OCS if then methodology that render's the esteemed text worthless by tossing out the flexibility.
its so much better to use the same old strat that old mac used and carries a better political value.

purri
12-22-2009, 04:57 AM
Thanks for your analysis Uncle P.

cookie
12-22-2009, 05:48 AM
These principles remind me of what Tolstoy writes in War and Peace. The analysis makes sense...

seanz
12-22-2009, 05:56 AM
Thanks Chuck, I don't have a very good edition and your elucidations are excellent.

Oh and by the way....



It cost 12 gallons of fuel to bring a single gallon of fuel to NATO forces in Afghanistan. US forces alone are currently using more than a million gallons of fuel each day.

(Source - BBC radio interview with US forces in Afghanistan, last week)

So the ratio has dropped from 20:1 to 12:1, that's a 40% gain in efficency of operations.
Go Team!
:rolleyes::D

bob winter
12-22-2009, 07:01 AM
So, what is the point of all this?

PeterSibley
12-22-2009, 07:23 AM
Perhaps the Taliban enjoy fireside reading ?

Nicholas Scheuer
12-22-2009, 07:35 AM
It is philosophy like that that brings to mind my favorite theory for dealing with "them" (enemies of fredom, commies, whomever) when they come to "take over" (the USA).

Instead of stockiging up on arms and ammunition, it is better to have a bow and arrow. Then when the "enemy troops" are marching down one's street at tnight, all one must do is hide behind a tree in the dark and shoot the last trooper in the back, silently, like the Apaches used to do in the movies, and take the weapon and ammo the enemy was carrying.

Resupply is no farther away than the next column of "enemy".

Didn't Mao write substantially the same thing, about using the arms one's enemy is using?

Moby Nick

LeeG
12-22-2009, 08:22 AM
15

Hence a wise general makes a point of foraging on the enemy. One cartload of the enemy's provisions is equivalent to twenty of one's own, and likewise a single PICUL of his provender is equivalent to twenty from one's own store. #

Because twenty cartloads will be consumed in the process of transporting one cartload to the front. A PICUL is a unit of measure equal to 133.3 pounds (65.5 kilograms).
16

if only Al Qaeda had JP8 fuel , 5.56mm ammunition, battery packs and software upgrade/patches for electronics.

LeeG
12-22-2009, 08:26 AM
Resupply is no farther away than the next column of "enemy".


Moby Nick

apparently the Taliban is funded to a not insignificant amount by graft skimmed off of NGO and US funded "nation building" programs.

Conflating Al Qaeda with the Taliban sure expanded the task of "gettin' the bad guys"

TimH
12-22-2009, 10:49 AM
Yes but the Taliban had WMDs..oh wait that was Iraq. Hmm, well the Taliban are mean to women.

LeeG
12-22-2009, 10:55 AM
and attacking a large indigenous force with force utilizes the US military to a much larger degree than hunting down a few hundred Al Qaeda through police work and covert ops. One of the aspects to the chicken hawk doctrine was using that big stick so that future opponents would tremble in their shoes. When you have a theorized enemy in future battlefields to be fought through present day proxies restraint really isn't in the picture. They could be swimming up the Rio Grande at any minute. Them.

BrianW
12-22-2009, 11:18 AM
Strangely enough, I 've met people returning from Afghanistan who prefer the AK-47 for the same reason.

BrianW
12-22-2009, 11:24 AM
if only Al Qaeda had JP8 fuel...

Just what does a Boeing 767 burn... coal?

LeeG
12-22-2009, 01:51 PM
Just what does a Boeing 767 burn... coal?

that is a stupid comment Brian, we run on those things, Al Qaeda in Waziristan, or Florida doesn't. The point was using the enemies resources that we use. What are Al Qaedas or the Talibans resources? It sure isn't what we use to run our war machinery.

bobbys
12-22-2009, 01:56 PM
Seems Hitler and Napoleon should have read this before there march into Russia.

paladin
12-22-2009, 04:17 PM
Both Hitler and Napoleon made the same error.....they got impatient waiting on the enemy, and decided to charge ahead......blindly, and both outran their supply lines.....Russia burned everything in their path....no food, water, supplies.....

cookie
12-23-2009, 06:09 AM
Both Hitler and Napoleon made the same error.....they got impatient waiting on the enemy, and decided to charge ahead......blindly, and both outran their supply lines.....Russia burned everything in their path....no food, water, supplies.....

Yep.
And Kutuzov's main challenge was to remain patient and withhold his generals from attacking at the wrong moment....

The Bigfella
12-23-2009, 06:20 AM
Kursk was the right moment

The scale of that battle is almost beyond comprehension

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
12-23-2009, 06:23 AM
"I have two generals who will not fail me: Generals January and February."

Captain Blight
12-23-2009, 06:47 AM
Perhaps the Taliban enjoy fireside reading ?
Somewhere in my Dungeon of Horrors I have a copy of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book, double-sided, one side Arabic the other side Farsi. Relic of my dad's Afghan days in the '50's.

PeterSibley
12-23-2009, 06:50 AM
That is something of an interesting artifact !! My copy is the simple East Wind Bookshop version .

paladin
12-23-2009, 10:04 AM
I have a similar copy in Farsi and Arabic, obtained from the same supplier that shipped them to Libya.

purri
12-23-2009, 05:13 PM
The Kursk Salient, a chilling tale. BTW did you know that the tank battles in the Eritrean revolutionary campaign against Ethiopia were the largest since WW2. Barely reported!

PeterSibley
12-23-2009, 05:31 PM
Like the current civil war in the Congo , huge and equally unreported .

paladin
12-23-2009, 08:17 PM
Oh, I dunno Peter.....I know a couple of folks that are there.....

JimD
12-23-2009, 08:42 PM
Somewhere in my Dungeon of Horrors I have a copy of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book...

Somewhere in mine I have a copy of Mohamar Kaddhafi's Green Book. Got it for a song in Nicaragua.

BrianW
12-23-2009, 08:42 PM
What are Al Qaedas or the Talibans resources? It sure isn't what we use to run our war machinery.

I understand they are very fond of Toyota pick ups. My wife wants one too.

paladin
12-23-2009, 08:50 PM
Yup...Toyotas run good in sand with machine guns mounted on a pedestal.....and with a couple of seats make good platforms for shoulder launched missiles...

JimD
12-23-2009, 08:50 PM
I understand they are very fond of Toyota pick ups. My wife wants one too.

I always suspected the Japanese were linked to Al Qaida.

skuthorp
12-23-2009, 09:55 PM
I understand they are very fond of Toyota pick ups. My wife wants one too.

Machine guns too?