About military power and war
You might not need your army for three years. But you must train them everyday.
Mostly from ‘the Art of War’.
You don’t need to use your army every day. They can stay on the training ground for a long time, even three years, but you can’t skip preparing and sharpening your soldiers for a single day.
by [Filip Andrejevic ](https://unsplash.com/@fandrejevic ?utm_source=zmzlois_on_medium)on Unsplash
Warfare is one of the biggest matters of a country. It’s closely related to the lives and death of the citizens and the nation; people in power need to give it uttermost care.
So you need to analyse it from 5 angles to understand the real circumstances of the enemy and your own to predict the winning possibility.
- The first is the political alignment between the emperor and the citizens. If the emperor has alignment with the citizens, the citizen can live through difficulties, thus they won’t be afraid of danger and death.
- The second is climate. Sun, rain, coldness, hotness, and seasonal shifting patterns must be taken into account of consideration.
- The third is landscape. The travelling mileage, steepness and flatness of the landscape, and narrowness of the battlefield.
- The fourth is personnel. It is to consider whether the generals are astute, brave, credible, integrity, empathetic and disciplinary.
- The fifth is management inside the army. How to split the responsibility of each person and how to manage the logistic of supply, etc.
On top of all the trickery applied to win in a war, the most important one is being discrete.
Winning a war is all about deceptions. You need to show your inability to the enemy even when you can; show the enemy you won’t be deploying this strategy even when you are using it; let the enemy think you are far apart when you are getting close or vice versa.
If the enemy is greedy then use benefits to lure them in before killing them; if the enemy is chaotic then grab the chance to kill them immediately; if the enemy is strong then defend them carefully; if they are too powerful you should avoid them; if the enemy is impulsive then harass them until they lose rational; if the enemy is cautious then play it safe and dumb until they become arrogant; if the enemy is internally harmonious then alienate them.
Attack them when they are unprepared and strike them unprecedently.
War is costly so play it quick.
Normally once you start a war, you will need thousands of lorries, thousands of cargo, more than 100k soldiers, transport food through thousands of miles, costs for information transactions, materials to repair weapons and lorries — — it will cost you tons of bullions. It’s only when these are ready, your army can depart.
So when it comes to war, you must ensure you have enough cash reserve regardless of winning or losing. Hence once your army attack you need to make sure they win immediately; otherwise, long battles contuse your soldiers' confidence, and they won’t have enough strength to strike.
When you prolong the battle, it damages your country’s cash reserve. Once you are weak on economic power, other countries would attack you; even your most intellectual think tank can’t reverse the situation.
‘Win by play it fast but lack of plan’ exists, but there is no ‘win by play it long with a good plan’. Long-time warfare has never benefited a country. If you don’t understand the damage of a long war, you won’t understand the benefit of winning quick.
People who are excellent at deploying the army won’t recruit soldiers multiple times, nor meandering transportation of supplies. They take every other supply from their home country but take care of the food supply close to the battlefield.
All the supplies will be satisfied in this way.
What does it mean to defeat your enemy to make yourself stronger?
If you want your soldiers to kill, provoke them; if you want them to rob, reward them.
Incentivise the soldiers who obtained the enemy’s assets first and replace the flag on their assets to make them yours; take great care of the captives and use them as your soldier while they are scared of being killed by you.
Winning by attacking is secondary. Winning by not getting involved in the war but letting them surrender to you is the best.
Making your enemy’s whole country surrender is the №1 strategy. The secondary strategy is to attack them and then surrender.
The principle of the best winning strategy is DON’T touch the weapon.
The best general won’t win by fight but by yielding, won’t conquer a city by besieging, won’t destroy the enemy’s country by playing it long. The primary goal is to win the war by not touching the weapon but letting the enemy surrender and making sure none of their soldiers got killed, and bank notes got diminished.
How you deploy your army depends on how much military power you have got.
If you have 10 times more military power than your enemy then besiege and annihilate; if you have 5 times more than your enemy then attack them aggressively; if you have 1 times more then annihilate by segregation; if you have the same then defend them; if you have less than your enemy then get rid of them; if you are far less then you enemy, try to avoid facing them upfront.
A small troop is more likely to be captivated if they fight with stubbornness.
An emperor can harm the army in three ways:
- Ordered to march when he didn’t understand that it was not the time to attack.
- Ordered to retrieve when he doesn’t understand it is best not to fall back.
- Intervene the army’s internal management when he doesn’t understand how it should be managed and confuses the soldiers.
- Get involved in directing the army when he doesn’t understand the undercurrent of political power and concerns the sergeants.
If soldiers and generals are confused and concerned, it is the worst time for a country. You’d lose the war by disrupting your army.
You can predict winning, but you can’t demand a win.
In the past, people who were good at directing a war would make themselves undefeatable first, and then wait until a good time appeared to attack the army — when they were weak, chaotic or poor.
To be undefeatable, the key is to make sufficient conditions for themselves — — well-trained armies, abundant bullions and a full supply of metals and food; to defeat the enemy, is to wait for good timing and observe the enemy’s weakness.
Therefore people who are good at war can make themselves undefeatable but not necessarily defeat the enemy. This is not something that can be predicted. The right time may never come. It takes some luck.
You can defend yourself when you are undefeatable; once your enemy is weak, you can attack. A good defence is relying on yourself and knowing you have satisfactory power; a good strike is focusing on the weakness of the enemy so once you strike you must win.
People who are good at defence hide deep under the ground so the enemy has nowhere to observe them; people who are excellent at attacking can use their army as if they appear in the sky and the enemy would be caught off guard.
It’s only if you know both of these two steps then you can protect yourself while ensuring the win.