PREPARATIONS FOR WAR – BOOK 2
When mobility of troops is difficult and the enemy is more familiar with the territory, the edge in the battle will go to the enemy. Attacks must be delivered with blinding speed and proper plans must be well thought out. If they are not, the enemy will detect the approach, giving him time to prepare his defenses. A lack of speed may be caused by not having been discriminate in selecting the correct fighting ground. An aware warlord knows that good ground is essential for the mobility of his troops. The place of fighting must be thoroughly researched before he can attack with authority. In this way he insures his victory, despite the unpredictability of fate.
A true understanding of the principles of war means that he does not need reinforcements to make the initial attack. If the attack is planned properly and the men are properly trained and prepared emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, the warlord will have investigated all possibilities.
Errors in judgment are not too rare and adequate force should be employed when attacking. This coupled with the speed of the attack comprises his action. If you determine that five hundred soldiers will do the job you must be sure to have a thousand. They must all travel together and understand the necessity of completing the maneuver in one thrust. They must have the heart to destroy the enemy. All provisions and supplies must be carried with the troops as they prepare to enter into battle. It is bad policy to have to call for supplies when involved with tactical maneuvers. Even worse is to discover that the supplies being requested are not available. This is poor planning and results in failure, unless Heaven is determined that you shall win the day.
It must also be realized that when the army is in the field, supplies are very expensive if they have to be locally procured. Peasants and usurers will charge as much as they can; that being the nature of peasants and usurers. An enlightened warlord knows that peasants do not really care who is in charge of the government; or for that matter who wins the conflict. They are only interested in providing for their families. It is a good idea to have them on your side and you should maintain their goodwill by giving them something extra. If they determine that you are weak in spirit or intent, they will take undue advantage and assist the very people you are attacking, whether they are in accord with them or not. If you are good to them, they will mind their own business. This does not mean that you are to trust them under any conditions. Regardless, when you subjugate them you don’t have to trust them-they will fear you.
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