Page:Sun Tzu on The art of war.djvu/211

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155

  1. 火發上風無攻下風
  2. 晝風久夜風止
  3. 凡軍必知有五火之變以數守之


small, and a general feeling of nervousness pervaded the ranks; so Huang-fu Sung called his officers together and said: ‘In war, there are various indirect methods of attack, and numbers do not count for everything. [The commentator here quotes Sun Tzŭ, V. §§ 5, 6 and 10.] Now the rebels have pitched their camp in the midst of thick grass (依草結營), which will easily burn when the wind blows. If we set fire to it at night, they will be thrown into a panic, and we can make a sortie and attack them on all sides at once, thus emulating the achievement of T‘ien Tan.’ [See p. 90.] That same evening, a strong breeze sprang up; so Huang-fu Sung instructed his soldiers to bind reeds together into torches and mount guard on the city walls, after which he sent out a band of daring men, who stealthily made their way through the lines and started the fire with loud shouts and yells. Simultaneously, a glare of light shot up from the city-walls, and Huang-fu Sung, sounding his drums, led a rapid charge, which threw the rebels into confusion and put them to headlong flight.” [Hou Han Shu, ch. 71, f. 2 r°.]


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

Chang Yü, following Tu Yu, says: 燒之必退退而逆擊之必死戰則不便也 “When you make a fire, the enemy will retreat away from it; if you oppose his retreat and attack him then, he will fight desperately, which will not conduce to your success.” A rather more obvious explanation is given by Tu Mu: “If the wind is in the east, begin burning to the east of the enemy, and follow up the attack yourself from that side. If you start the fire on the east side, and then attack from the west, you will suffer in the same way as your enemy.”

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

Cf. Lao Tzŭ’s saying: 飄風不終朝 “A violent wind does not last the space of a morning.” (Tao Tê Ching, chap. 23.) Mei Yao-ch‘ên and Wang Hsi say: “A day breeze dies down at nightfall, and a night breeze at daybreak. This is what happens as a general rule.” The phenomenon observed may be correct enough, but how this sense is to be obtained is not apparent.

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.