your online library and language lab
Contents > Author > Sun Tzu > The Art of War 12 544 BC- unknown
Previous Next

Sun Tzu
The Art of War 12
printer friendly version
CHAPTER XII
THE ATTACK BY FIRE


1. Sun Tzu said: There are five ways of attacking
with fire. The first is to burn soldiers in their camp;
the second is to burn stores; the third is to burn
baggage trains; the fourth is to burn arsenals and magazines;
the fifth is to hurl dropping fire amongst the enemy.

2. In order to carry out an attack, we must have means available.
The material for raising fire should always be kept in readiness.

3. There is a proper season for making attacks with fire,
and special days for starting a conflagration.

4. The proper season is when the weather is very dry;
the special days are those when the moon is in the
constellations of the Sieve, the Wall, the Wing
or the Cross-bar; for these four are all days of rising wind.

5. In attacking with fire, one should be prepared
to meet five possible developments:

6. (1) When fire breaks out inside to enemy's camp,
respond at once with an attack from without.

7. (2) If there is an outbreak of fire, but the enemy's
soldiers remain quiet, bide your time and do not attack.

8. (3) When the force of the flames has reached its height,
follow it up with an attack, if that is practicable;
if not, stay where you are.

9. (4) If it is possible to make an assault with fire
from without, do not wait for it to break out within,
but deliver your attack at a favorable moment.

10. (5) When you start a fire, be to windward of it.
Do not attack from the leeward.

11. A wind that rises in the daytime lasts long,
but a night breeze soon falls.

12. In every army, the five developments connected with
fire must be known, the movements of the stars calculated,
and a watch kept for the proper days.

13. Hence those who use fire as an aid to the attack show
intelligence; those who use water as an aid to the attack
gain an accession of strength.

14. By means of water, an enemy may be intercepted,
but not robbed of all his belongings.

15. Unhappy is the fate of one who tries to win his battles and
succeed in his attacks without cultivating the spirit of enterprise;
for the result is waste of time and general stagnation.

16. Hence the saying: The enlightened ruler lays his plans
well ahead; the good general cultivates his resources.

17. Move not unless you see an advantage; use not
your troops unless there is something to be gained;
fight not unless the position is critical.

18. No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his
own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique.

19. If it is to your advantage, make a forward move;
if not, stay where you are.

20. Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may
be succeeded by content.

21. But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come
again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.

22. Hence the enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general
full of caution. This is the way to keep a country at peace and
an army intact.
 

Previous Next

17911011 visitors
· 8908 texts · 2350 recordings · 957 authors · 194 readers

· Home · Index · Audio Clips · Links · Feedback · About Us · Contact Us ·


Copyright © RepeatAfterUs.com. All Rights Reserved.



Warning: Unknown: Your script possibly relies on a session side-effect which existed until PHP 4.2.3. Please be advised that the session extension does not consider global variables as a source of data, unless register_globals is enabled. You can disable this functionality and this warning by setting session.bug_compat_42 or session.bug_compat_warn to off, respectively in Unknown on line 0