Author Topic: The 14 Principles of ancient warfare  (Read 1720 times)


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The 14 Principles of ancient warfare
« on: July 10, 2016, 08:08:48 pm »
14 Principles Of Warfare

Principle # 1 - Confusion: Confuse the enemy so they do not know which way to turn and will not expect what you do next. When a person is confused they hesitate, wondering what will happen and what they should do. In war, hesitation can be fatal when it hands the enemy the initiative, giving them first strike or the choice of the next move. Hesitation by officers has a devastating amongst conscripts who assume that if officers are not sure what is going on then their doom is assured.

   "Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak." ― Sun Tzu
Principle # 2 - Demoralization: Drain them of their morale so they do not want to fight. Morale in warfare is a remarkably important thing. An impassioned small force can and has, many times, defeated a much larger force that has been carefully demoralized beforehand. Soldiers who lose the will to fight either fight poorly or throw down their weapons with relatively little encouragement. Commanders who are demoralized will likewise avoid battle and more readily sue for peace.

   "Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting." ― Sun Tzu

Principle # 3 - Disabling: Gain advantage by removing a key capability. Removing capability creates weakness, which can be taken advantage of in some way. Removing capability also removes threat and can result in them losing a strategic advantage. Blind them by taking out radar and other watching posts. Strike them deaf and dumb by taking out their communication posts and severing their communication lines, etc.

   "When strong, avoid them. If of high morale, depress them. Seem humble to fill them with conceit. If at ease, exhaust them. If united, separate them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise." ― Sun Tzu

Principle # 4 - Discipline: Instill strict discipline in your troops. Disciplined troops are efficient on the march and in camp. They are tidy and sharp in their actions and follow orders with alacrity. Disciplined troops can seem relaxed at times, but they know the importance of rest and recuperation (R&R) yet are always alert and can snap into full action at a moments notice. Discipline is particularly important in retreat, where a pursuing enemy can cause panic and consequent havoc. Like attacks it should be well-practiced.

   "Move swift as the Wind and closely-formed as the Wood. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain." ― Sun Tzu,

Principle # 5 - Division: Divide and conquer. Large, coordinated forces are difficult to defeat. When you separate the enemy into small units you can more easily defeat each one. Separation cuts them off from one another, making communication and coordination difficult. Units which are cut off cannot even call for help. Dividing them also makes supply difficult and some of their units may go hungry or have limited ammunition.

   "If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected." ― Sun Tzu

Principle # 6 - Distraction: Make them look away so you can act as you wish. The enemy looks where you want them to look, and away from things that you would rather that they did not see. Move troops along unexpected routes. Make a loud noise. Create explosions. Attack from a different direction. Make the area you want to hide uninteresting or unobtrusive. Move stealthily and at night. Use camouflage.

   "Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt." ― Sun Tzu

Principle # 7 - Fear: Invoke fear in our enemy. Create dread, horror, terror and any other form of fear such that they seek to avoid you and become weaker. One of the basic human fears is the fear of annihilation, which is naturally very prevalent if war. Fear in warfare is a most debilitating condition that leads to abject flight, paralysis and suing for peace. It can also lead to a nothing-to-lose all-out last stand, and so needs to be managed carefully. Sudden fear thus invokes the Fight-or-Flight response. More effective can be the cold, gnawing fear that erodes and saps the will to fight.

   "Be extremely subtle even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent s fate." ― Sun Tzu
Principle # 8 - Generosity: Be kind to them so they are kind in return. If you are generous towards you enemies then their experience of you may well be opposite to what they were told, where you may well have been portrayed as heartless barbarians. In the face of your kind concern, they will likely develop good feelings towards you, and in doing so will tell others on their side, spreading the word of your good name. As a result, they may fight with less vigor and will give in more easily, secure in the knowledge you will treat them fairly.

   "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer" ― Sun Tzu

Principle # 9 - Intelligence: The side that knows most wins. Intelligence about your opponents strategy, plans, weaponry, positions, troop movements and soon lets you make effective tactical and strategic decisions and avoid fatal decisions. Managing intelligence includes the supply of disinformation to the other side in order to trick them into making the wrong decisions.

   "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself,you will succumb in every battle" ― Sun Tzu

Principle # 10 - Overwhelm: Show and use far greater force than the enemy. If you have greater strength than the other person, then by simple application of that strength, you can overwhelm them, as an avalanche overwhelms a forest in its path. Strength can be held in several dimensions, so it is important to use your superiority directly against the opposing weakness. If you have more troops, engage them in hand-to-hand combat. If you have greater firepower, fire upon their artillery. If you have superior technology, use this to attack them with great accuracy from afar.

   "It is the rule in war, if our forces are ten to the enemy's one, to surround him; if five to one, to attack him; if twice as numerous, to divide our army into two." ― Sun Tzu

Principle # 11 - Provocation: Make them angry so they act impetuously. When a person is angry, they will seek to fight, and the more enraged they become, the greater will that desire for battle be. Also, and very importantly, annoyance is usually accompanied by a reduction in rational thinking as the burning desire for battle overwhelms logical considerations as to the wisdom of early conflict.

   "Convince your enemy that he will gain very little by attacking you; this will diminish his enthusiasm" ― Sun Tzu

Principle # 12 - Sacrifice: Do whatever it takes, including giving life. When your opponents show themselves ready to make sacrifices, it can be both bewildering and terrifying. Sacrifice in the form of giving up territory or other gains is confusing as the other side wonders why. Are you giving up from weakness or is it a ploy, perhaps a lure or to attack elsewhere? Sacrifice in terms of giving up life in exchange for military gains shows an ultimate determination that is both fearsome and demoralizing.

   "When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard." ― Sun Tzu

Principle # 13 - Seamlessness: Present no chink in your armor through which the enemy can attack. You are as strong as the weakest link in your defense system. The enemy will prod and probe your defenses to test their efficacy and to seek out the weak points and attack these with vigor. You are also as strong in advance as the weakest part of your attack.

   "In battle, there are not more than two methods of attack: the direct and the indirect; yet these two in combination give rise to an endless series of maneuvers." ― Sun Tzu

Principle # 14 - Speed: Be quicker than them. Be able to react fast. No matter how powerful you are, if you cannot land a punch or the other person gets in first, then you are doomed. Speed conquers might every time, not only allowing its wielder to avoid the attack of others but also to get in effective attacks and then get out again before the other person can respond. Speed also multiples the damage of an attack. Newton noted that force equals mass times acceleration. Speed also increases emotional shock, as the suddenness of your attack causes surprise and fear.

   "If quick, I survive. If not quick, I am lost. This is "death." ― Sun Tzu

"Seizing the enemy without fighting is the most skillful." ― Sun Tzu
« Last Edit: July 15, 2018, 09:04:46 pm by Blade~ »