The Art of War (Sun)/Section X

Translated from the Chinese by Lionel Giles, M.A. (1910)

X. 地形篇

  1. 孫子曰地形有通者有挂者有支者有隘者有險者有遠者

X. Terrain

1. Sun Tzu said: We may distinguish six kinds of terrain, to wit: (1) Accessible ground;

(2) entangling ground;

(3) temporizing ground;

(4) narrow passes;

(5) precipitous heights;

(6) positions at a great distance from the enemy.

  1. 我可以往彼可以來曰通
  2. 通形者先居高陽利糧道以戰則利
2. Ground which can be freely traversed by both sides is called accessible. 3. With regard to ground of this nature, be before the enemy in occupying the raised and sunny spots, and carefully guard your line of supplies. Then you will be able to fight with advantage.

  1. 可以往難以返曰挂
  2. 挂形者敵無備出而勝之敵若有備出而不勝難以返不利
  3. 我出而不利彼出而不利曰支
  4. 支形者敵雖利我我無出也引而去令敵半出而擊之利
4. Ground which can be abandoned but is hard to re-occupy is called entangling.

5. From a position of this sort, if the enemy is unprepared, you may sally forth and defeat him. But if the enemy is prepared for your coming, and you fail to defeat him, then, return being impossible, disaster will ensue.

6. When the position is such that neither side will gain by making the first move, it is called temporizing ground.

7. In a position of this sort, even though the enemy should offer us an attractive bait, it will be advisable not to stir forth, but rather to retreat, thus enticing the enemy in his turn; then, when part of his army has come out, we may deliver our attack with advantage.

  1. 隘形者我先居之必盈之以待敵
  2. 若敵先居之盈而勿從不盈而從之
  3. 險形者我先居之必居高陽以待敵
8. With regard to narrow passes, if you can occupy them first, let them be strongly garrisoned and await the advent of the enemy.

9. Should the army forestall you in occupying a pass, do not go after him if the pass is fully garrisoned, but only if it is weakly garrisoned.

10. With regard to precipitous heights, if you are beforehand with your adversary, you should occupy the raised and sunny spots, and there wait for him to come up.

  1. 若敵先居之引而去之勿從也
  2. 遠形者勢均難以挑戰戰而不利
  3. 凡此六者地之道也將之至任不可不察也
11. If the enemy has occupied them before you, do not follow him, but retreat and try to entice him away.

12. If you are situated at a great distance from the enemy, and the strength of the two armies is equal, it is not easy to provoke a battle, and fighting will be to your disadvantage.

13. These six are the principles connected with Earth. The general who has attained a responsible post must be careful to study them.

  1. 故兵有走者有弛者有陷者有崩者有亂者有北者凡此六者非天之災將之過也
  2. 夫勢均以一擊十曰走
  3. 卒强吏弱曰弛吏强卒弱曰陷
Now an army is exposed to six several calamities, not arising from natural causes, but from faults for which the general is responsible. These are: (1) Flight; (2) insubordination; (3) collapse; (4) ruin; (5) disorganization; (6) rout.

15. Other conditions being equal, if one force is hurled against another ten times its size, the result will be the flight of the former.

16. When the common soldiers are too strong and their officers too weak, the result is insubordination. When the officers are too strong and the common soldiers too weak, the result is collapse.

  1. 大吏怒而不服遇敵懟而自戰將不知其能曰崩
17. When the higher officers are angry and insubordinate, and on meeting the enemy give battle on their own account from a feeling of resentment, before the commander-in-chief can tell whether or not he is in a position to fight, the result is ruin.

  1. 將弱不嚴教道不明吏卒無常陳兵縱橫曰亂
  2. 將不能料敵以少合衆以弱擊强兵無選鋒曰北
18. When the general is weak and without authority; when his orders are not clear and distinct; when there are no fixed duties assigned to officers and men, and the ranks are formed in a slovenly haphazard manner, the result is utter disorganization. 19. When a general, unable to estimate the enemy's strength, allows an inferior force to engage a larger one, or hurls a weak detachment against a powerful one, and neglects to place picked soldiers in the front rank, the result must be rout.

  1. 凡此六者敗之道也將之至任不可不察也
  2. 夫地形者兵之助也料敵制勝計險阨遠近上將之道也
20. These are six ways of courting defeat, which must be carefully noted by the general who has attained a responsible post. 21. The natural formation of the country is the soldier's best ally; but a power of estimating the adversary, of controlling the forces of victory, and of shrewdly calculating difficulties, dangers and distances, constitutes the test of a great general.

  1. 知此而用戰者必勝不知此而用戰者必敗
  2. 故戰道必勝主曰無戰必戰可也戰道不勝主曰必戰無戰可也
22. He who knows these things, and in fighting puts his knowledge into practice, will win his battles. He who knows them not, nor practices them, will surely be defeated. 23. If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight, even though the ruler forbid it; if fighting will not result in victory, then you must not fight even at the ruler's bidding.

  1. 故進不求名退不避罪唯民是保而利合於主國之寶也
  2. 視卒如嬰兒故可與之赴深谿視卒如愛子故可與之俱死
24. The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom. 25. Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look upon them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.

  1. 厚而不能使愛而不能令亂而不能治譬如驕子不可用也
  2. 知吾卒之可以擊而不知敵之不可擊勝之半也
26. If, however, you are indulgent, but unable to make your authority felt; kind-hearted, but unable to enforce your commands; and incapable, moreover, of quelling disorder: then your soldiers must be likened to spoilt children; they are useless for any practical purpose. 27. If we know that our own men are in a condition to attack, but are unaware that the enemy is not open to attack, we have gone only halfway towards victory.

  1. 知敵之可擊而不知吾卒之不可擊勝之半也
  2. 知敵之可擊知吾卒之可以擊而不知地形之不可以戰勝之半也
  3. 故知兵者動而不迷舉而不窮
  4. 故曰知彼知己勝乃不殆知地知天勝乃可全
28. If we know that the enemy is open to attack, but are unaware that our own men are not in a condition to attack, we have gone only halfway towards victory.

29. If we know that the enemy is open to attack, and also know that our men are in a condition to attack, but are unaware that the nature of the ground makes fighting impracticable, we have still gone only halfway towards victory.

30. Hence the experienced soldier, once in motion, is never bewildered; once he has broken camp, he is never at a loss.

31. Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete.