The following is this writer’s rendition of the Second Chapter of Sun Tze’s Art of War. This Chapter is called “Waging War”. This series of articles began here. The Commentary by this writer is another article found here, and his comments will posted very soon.
1. The logistics of war are as follows: where there are in the field one thousand swift chariots, one thousand heavy chariots, and one hundred thousand mail-clad soldiers, with provisions enough to carry them a thousand li, 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. Only then can one hundred thousand troops be maintained.
2. When you engage in actual fighting, a protracted battle will blunt weapons and dampen your troops’ ardor. If you lay siege to a walled city, you will exhaust your funds.
3. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the nation's resources will not suffice.
4. Now, when your weapons are blunted, your ardor dampened, your strength exhausted and your treasury exhausted, rival chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then not even the wisest advisor will be able to help you avert the consequences that must ensue.
5. Thus, though we have heard of military campaigns that were clumsy but swift, cleverness has never been seen associated military campaigns that were skilled but protracted.
6. There is no instance of a nation having benefited from prolonged warfare.
7. Therefore, only if one is fully cognizant of the dangers inherent in waging war, one can fully know the profitable way of carrying it on.
8. The skillful soldier does not raise troops twice, neither are his supply-wagons loaded with provisions three times.
9. Bring war equipment with you from home, but take provisions from the enemy. Thus the army will have food enough for its needs.
10. A nation can be impoverished by the army when it has to supply the army at great distances. Supplying an army at a distance causes the people to be impoverished.
11. On the other hand, the proximity of an army causes prices to go up; and high prices cause the people's wealth to be exhausted.
12. When their substance is drained away, the peasantry will be afflicted by increased taxes.
13. 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
14. government expenses for broken chariots, worn-out horses, breast-plates and helmets, bows and arrows, spears and shields, protective mantles, draft-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 your own, and likewise a single picul of his fodder is equivalent to twenty from your own.
16. Now in order to kill the enemy, your troops must be roused to anger; that there may be advantage from defeating the enemy, and taking the enemy's wealth is a matter of reward.
17. Therefore in chariot fighting, when ten or more chariots have been taken, those should be rewarded who took the first. Your own flags should be substituted for those of the enemy, and the chariots mingled and used in conjunction with yours. The captured soldiers should be treated well.
18. This is called, using the conquered foe to increase your own strength.
19. In war, then, let your great object be victory, not protracted campaigns.
20. Thus it may be known that the General who understands warfare is the guardian of people's lives, on whom it depends whether the nation shall be in peace or in danger.