One Hundred Unorthodox Strategies: Battle And Tactics Of Chinese Warfare

One Hundred Unorthodox Strategies: Battle And Tactics Of Chinese Warfare

Ralph D. Sawyer

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0813328616

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


One Hundred Unorthodox Strategies was compiled in the fifteenth century, during the Ming Dynasty, as a handbook of tactics based on Chinese military classics. Translated into English for the first time, this unique work draws on over two thousand years of experience in warfare to present a distillation of one hundred key strategic principles. Originally prepared as a text for students aspiring to high political positions in Confucian China, One Hundred Unorthodox Strategies is a compendium of Oriental strategies concisely stated and each individually illustrated with a description of battle from Chinese history. These historical examples shed new light on the often enigmatic formulations of the ancient strategists on subjects such as Strategic Power, Defense, Vacuity, Spirit, and Victory. Acclaimed translator and Chinese military specialist Ralph Sawyer adds his own thoughtful commentary, deepening the reader’s understanding of the intricacies of Chinese strategic thought.

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officials—they are violent, perverse, inhumane, and evil. They overthrow the laws and make a chaos of the punishments. Neither the upper nor lower ranks have awakened to this state of affairs. It is time for their state to perish. 86 The Human Tactical Discussion In warfare, what is generally referred to as the “human” means that one relies solely upon men and dismisses prodigies and omens. When the army is moving forth on campaign, if owls congregate about the command flag, or if a

Ts’ao then moved the city’s population to the west, but Yuan Shao pursued them. When the army and people reached the south bank at Yen ford, Ts’ao Ts’ao established a holding force within wooden palisades on the southern slopes and then ordered his cavalrymen to remove their saddles and release their horses. At this time their baggage train from Pai-ma was just arriving and Ts’ao Ts’ao’s generals accordingly thought that, as the enemy’s cavalry were numerous, it would be best to return to the

it, “P’ang Chüan will die beneath this tree.” Then he ordered ten thousand skilled crossbowmen to wait in ambush on both sides, instructing them, “At dusk, when you see a fire, arise and shoot together.” In the evening P‘ang Chüan indeed arrived beneath the debarked tree. He saw the white trunk with the writing, struck a flint, and lit a torch. He had not finished reading the message when ten thousand crossbowmen fired en masse. Wei’s army fell into chaos and mutual disorder. P’ang Chüan knew

circular or flanking thrusts. Instead of frontal assaults, they would follow indirect routes to stage behind-the-lines forays, particularly after the enemy has been manipulated and misled, resulting in voids and vacuities. Their definition is of course dependent upon normal expectation within a particular battlefield context, as well as the enemy’s actual anticipations, and therefore they are mutually defining, mutually transforming, and circular in essence, as Sun Pin’s summary of the entire

river, cutting off Ho’s provisions and support. His men were terrified by their predicament. General Ho then segmented his troops to forage and plunder in order to supply their requirements. Meanwhile, as he feared Hou Ch’i would learn that their provisions were scarce, he raised a number of earthen mounds within the encampment and covered them over with a layer of grain. He then summoned some people from the nearby villages, pretending to ask them about local conditions, and afterward sent them

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