a fairly clear description from several commentators. They were wooden missile-proof structures on four wheels, propelled from within, covered over with raw hides, and used in sieges to convey parties of men to and from the walls, for the purpose of filling up the encircling moat with earth. Tu Mu adds that they are now called 木驢 “wooden donkeys.” Capt. Calthrop wrongly translates the term “battering-rams.” I follow Ts‘ao Kung in taking 具 as a verb, co-ordinate and synonymous with 修. Those commentators who regard 修 as an adjective equivalent to 長 “long,” make 具 presumably into a noun.
and the piling up of mounds over against the walls will take three months more.
The 距闉 (or 堙, in the modern text) were great mounds or ramparts of earth heaped up to the level of the enemy’s walls in order to discover the weak points in the defence, and also to destroy the 樓櫓 fortified turrets mentioned in the preceding note. Tu Yu quotes the Tso Chuan: 楚司馬子反乘堙而窺宋城也.
5. The general, unable to control his irritation, will launch his men to the assault like swarming ants,
Capt. Calthrop unaccountable omits this vivid simile, which, as Ts‘ao Kung says, is taken from the spectacle of an army of ants climbing a wall. The meaning is that the general, losing patience at the long delay, may make a premature attempt to storm the place before his engines of war are ready.
with the result that one-third of his men are slain, while the town still remains untaken. Such are the disastrous effects of a siege.
We are reminded of the terrible losses of the Japanese before Port Arthur, in the most recent siege which history has to record. The T‘ung Tien reads 不勝心之忿...則殺士卒...攻城之災. For 其忿 the Yü Lan has 心怒. Capt. Calthrop does not translate 而城不拔者, and mistranslates 此攻之災.
6. Therefore the skilful leader subdues the enemy's troops without any fighting; he captures their cities with-