Chapter 8 Command 34
1) To make appointments is the province of the sovereign;
to decide on battle, that of the general.
2) There are three ways in which a ruler can bring
misfortune upon his army:
3) When on is ignorant of military affairs, to participate
in their administration. This causes the officers to
4) When ignorant of command problems, to share in
the exercise of responsibilities. This engenders
doubts in the minds of the officers.
5) If one, ignorant of military matters, is sent to
participate in the administration of the army, then
in every movement there will be disagreement and
mutual frustration and the army will be hamstrung.
6) One who is confused in purpose cannot respond
to his enemy. A confused army leads to another's
7) To put a reign on an able general while asking him
to suppress and enemy is like tying up a hound and
expecting him to chase hares.
8) Now, in war there may be one hundred changes in
each step. When one sees he can, he advances;
when he sees that things are difficult, he retires.
To say that a general must await the orders of the
sovereign at such times, is like informing a superior
that you wish to put out a fire. Before the order arrives
the ashes are cold.
9) The general's qualities of wisdom, sincerity, humanity,
courage and strictness enable him to command.
10) If wise, a commander is able to recognize changing
circumstances and to act expediently.
11) If sincere, his men will have no doubt of his discipline
12) If humane, he loves mankind, sympathizes with others
and appreciates their industry and toil.
13) If courageous, he gains victory by seizing opportunity
14) If strict, his troops are disciplined and well ordered.
15) There is not general who has not heard of these five
matters. Those who master them, win; those who
do not are defeated.
16) The general must be first in the toils and fatigue of
the army. He waits until his men have water, food
and shelter before taking these things for himself.
17) Such a general treats his men as his own beloved
sons and they will die with him.
18) Generally, management of many is the same as
management of few. It is a matter of organization.
19) To manage a host, one must assign responsibilities
to the general and his commanders and establish
the strengths of ranks and files.
20) A pair and a trio make five, which is a squad; two
squads make a section; four sections a platoon;
four platoons a company; four companies a
battalion; two to five battalions, a brigade; and
three brigades, a division.
21) Heart is that by which the general gains mastery.
Bravery, cowardice, order and confusion are qualities
dominated by the heart.
22) When the general is morally weak, inconsistent and
not strict in discipline the army is in disorder.
23) When the administration and orders are inconsistent,
the men's spirits are low and the officers angry.
24) If troops are punished before their loyalty is secured,
they will be disobedient. If troops are loyal, but
punishments are not enforced, you cannot employ
25) If the officers first treat the men violently and later are
fearful of them, the limit of indiscipline has been
26) When troops are strong and officers weak, the army
27) When troops flee, are insubordinate, distressed,
collapse in disorder or are routed, it is the fault
of the general.