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Thread: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

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    Awaiting the Rapture Member rotorgun's Avatar
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    Default Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    Sun Tsu's Art of War has always been a fascinating treatise on the warfare as fought in ancient China. Many people are still unfamiliar with it though. The following site is a direct translation with copious notes to provoke thought. I surmised that it would make a great topic to discuss how various famous (or infamous) commanders, both past and present might fair when their performance is viewed in light of Sun Tsu's principles.

    http://suntzusaid.com/

    In order to guide or discussion let us concentrate on the Sun Tsu's factors of generalship in his work:

    1. Laying Plans
    2. Waging War
    3. Attack by Stratagem
    4. Tactical Dispositions
    5. Energy
    6. Weak Points and Strong
    7. Maneuvering
    8. Variation in Tactics
    9. The Army on the March
    10. Terrain
    11. The Nine Situations
    12. The Attack by Fire
    13. The Use of Spies


    Friends,

    Let any comments of a political nature be used to support a point of discussion, but let us refrain from the usual rancor of the backroom. Allow all to make their opinions known with respect for the opinions of others. I think we could all learn a great deal from such a discussion. If unfamiliar with the text, take some time to review it. I think that it won't be a waste of time. I only wish that more of our leaders would read and adhere to his ideas. Perhaps we would have fewer wars as a result.

    As an afterthought, here is the WIKI article about Sun Tsu to help serve as a further guide:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Tzu
    Last edited by rotorgun; 05-11-2009 at 02:19. Reason: Added another link for consideration
    Rotorgun
    ...the general must neither be so undecided that he entirely distrusts himself, nor so obstinate as not to think that anyone can have a better idea...for such a man...is bound to make many costly mistakes
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    Editing my posts due to poor typing and grammer is a way of life.

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    Awaiting the Rapture Member rotorgun's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    Shall we start with a look at Thutmose III, and his generalship at the Battle of Meggido?

    http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/megiddo.htm

    This should be a good starting point as it is the earliest known documented campaign in history AFAIK. Take a little time to review the campaign and we can compare Thutmose III to Sun Tzu's teachings. The following is a translation of the original Egyptian account:

    http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/...of_megiddo.htm
    Last edited by rotorgun; 05-11-2009 at 18:44. Reason: Added an the orginal Egyptian account link.
    Rotorgun
    ...the general must neither be so undecided that he entirely distrusts himself, nor so obstinate as not to think that anyone can have a better idea...for such a man...is bound to make many costly mistakes
    Onasander

    Editing my posts due to poor typing and grammer is a way of life.

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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    The strike through the Ardennes in 1940, the "Devil's Brigade" in Italy, Anse au Foulon...and the impassable to chariots road to Megiddo...there is always a striking advantage to be gained by moving through the terrain the opponent has declared impassable. This is the essence of Tzu's emphasis on deceptive movement -- and the "thunderclap" result it generates.
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    Awaiting the Rapture Member rotorgun's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tzu's Art of War

    Clearly Seamus, those are all outstanding examples of the employment of Sun Tzu's principles outlined in
    Chapter 6 of his work-Weak points and Strong. Noting the disposition of troops from the map provided in the http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/megiddo.htm link, one can see that Thutmose III used the route his opponents had left least guarded. He also made sure that a thorough reconnaissance of all three routes were accomplished. In this way he was able to attack at where his enemies were weakest.
    Appear at points which the enemy must hasten to defend; march swiftly to places where you are not expected-Chapter 6 verse 5.
    I would also rate him high in consideration of Chapter 1-Laying plans. The objective was important, Meggido being a vital fortress guarding the trade routes into and out of northern Palestine. He also organized his army, which was highly professional in comparison to the Canaanite coalition. He took good counsel from his generals and advisers before the campaign and thus brought a unified force to the field.
    The MORAL LAW causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger-Chapter 1, verse 5,6.
    Although not specifically mentioned, it is highly probable that he employed a good spy network, for he was well informed of his enemy.
    Knowledge of the enemy's dispositions can only be obtained from other men-Chapter 13, verse 6.
    Once he achieved his surprise he planned his arriving at dusk.
    HEAVEN signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons-Chapter 1, verse 7.
    He then rested his army as best he could. On the following day he arrayed them as if on parade to instill awe in his opponents forces.
    When a warlike prince attacks a powerful state, his generalship shows itself in preventing the concentration of the enemy's forces. He overawes his opponents, and their allies are prevented from joining against him-Chapter 11, verse 54.
    .

    The only area I can think he might have come up short was in discipline.
    If a general shows confidence in his men but always insists on his orders being obeyed, the gain will be mutual-Chapter 9, verse 45.
    During the battle, when the Canaanite army was retreating, his army was distracted by the collection of booty. This gave time for the defending charioteers, the cream of the enemies' force to escape into the fortress, depriving him of a quick way of overcoming the city's defenses, ie. no troops-no defense. Perhaps the battle orders were not clear, or his chain of command let him down. Perhaps the urge was too much for the lowly draftees, who might have seen a way to make a spectacular gain for their families back home. Whatever the reason, it almost cost him the campaign. It was good that he had planned on a long siege.

    PS: What means the reference about Anse au Foulon...?
    Last edited by rotorgun; 05-12-2009 at 05:41. Reason: A question for Seamus.
    Rotorgun
    ...the general must neither be so undecided that he entirely distrusts himself, nor so obstinate as not to think that anyone can have a better idea...for such a man...is bound to make many costly mistakes
    Onasander

    Editing my posts due to poor typing and grammer is a way of life.

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    Senior Member Senior Member Yeti Sports 1.5 Champion, Snowboard Slalom Champion, Monkey Jump Champion, Mosquito Kill Champion Csargo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anse-au-Foulon

    There was a show on one of the history channels the other day. I only caught the last 10-15 minutes of it though. It was using the battle of Gettysburg to show some of Sun Tsu's points. I don't really have anything else to add to the discussion but will continue to follow it.
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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    A fun read because it's so old, was pretty dissapointed with it, oh really mr Tsu good thinking.

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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony View Post
    A fun read because it's so old, was pretty dissapointed with it, oh really mr Tsu good thinking.
    It is a very short book which was slightly disapointing, but the information in it is still relevant in the modern day, I'm thinking about reading it a second time.
    Last edited by lenin96; 05-12-2009 at 13:19.
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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    All fashion if you ask me, bible for would be generals.

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    Tree Killer Senior Member Beirut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    I have a lovely hard cover edition sitting on my shelf.

    It's even signed by the authour.
    Unto each good man a good dog

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    Kanto Kanrei Member Marshal Murat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    There was a show on one of the history channels the other day. I only caught the last 10-15 minutes of it though. It was using the battle of Gettysburg to show some of Sun Tsu's points.
    I saw part of that as well. I think they really mis-represented the lesson of the battle, but I didn't watch all of it so I can't comment all that much.
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    Awaiting the Rapture Member rotorgun's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    There was a show on one of the history channels the other day. I only caught the last 10-15 minutes of it though. It was using the battle of Gettysburg to show some of Sun Tsu's points. I don't really have anything else to add to the discussion but will continue to follow it.
    -Ichigo

    I watched the whole thing, which inspired me to start this thread. The program basically broke down three famous historical campaigns-the Vietnam Conflict, the Normandy invasion, and the Gettysburg campaign, and compared the conduct of the commanders of each with the teachings of Sun Tzu. It was enlightening, although I didn't agree with all of the conclusions drawn. I thought it might be an interesting intellectual opportunity to look at some of the famous commanders throughout history as Sun Tsu might have.

    Thanks for the information about Anse-au-Foulon.

    A fun read because it's so old, was pretty dissappointed with it, oh really mr Tsu good thinking.
    -Fragony

    True Frag, as it may seem obvious to our enlightened 21st century minds, reared on the doctrine of Von Clauswitz and Guderian. Yet I wonder why so many academy educated generals seem to fail to grasp such seemingly simple concepts as are outlined in his texts. It's as if they have gotten so far from the basics that they continue to make such elementary blunders. Sun Tsu's principles may, at first glance seem quaint, but some reflection upon them reveals a man who understood the elements of warfare intimately. Not only that, but he applied them successfully time and again.

    Perhaps if our late Commander and Chief, not to mention his staff, had read and applied them, my country would not have become involved in such a prolonged war. A war such as Sun Tsu warns about.

    There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.
    -Chapter 2, verse 6.
    Rotorgun
    ...the general must neither be so undecided that he entirely distrusts himself, nor so obstinate as not to think that anyone can have a better idea...for such a man...is bound to make many costly mistakes
    Onasander

    Editing my posts due to poor typing and grammer is a way of life.

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    Zoodling Millipede Member Ariovistus Maximus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    Quote Originally Posted by rotorgun View Post
    -Ichigo

    True Frag, as it may seem obvious to our enlightened 21st century minds, reared on the doctrine of Von Clauswitz and Guderian. Yet I wonder why so many academy educated generals seem to fail to grasp such seemingly simple concepts as are outlined in his texts. It's as if they have gotten so far from the basics that they continue to make such elementary blunders. Sun Tsu's principles may, at first glance seem quaint, but some reflection upon them reveals a man who understood the elements of warfare intimately. Not only that, but he applied them successfully time and again.

    Perhaps if our late Commander and Chief, not to mention his staff, had read and applied them, my country would not have become involved in such a prolonged war. A war such as Sun Tsu warns about.

    -Chapter 2, verse 6.
    Very true. In a time before mobility-centric warfare like we have today, Sun Tzu was looking well ahead of his time. And keep in mind that Clauswitz, Guderian, and Co. formulated their strategies with Sun Tzu's principles in mind; standing on his shoulders, if you will.

    As to our late Commander in Chief, there is somewhat of a difference. There are certainly no well-ordered columns of blue guys fighting well-ordered columns of red guys. Even if they apply Sun Tzu's principles, and for instance use them to make rapid gains in territory, all that will do is give them more to deal with behind them. How do you respond to an enemy that is a soldier in the morning and goes back to being a civilian in the evening?

    Not to mention that some of Sun Tzu's methods would be frowned upon these days. The bit about how he drilled the emperor's concubines into a regiment, and executed the head concubine for thinking it was a joke? Also, other methods of ensuring submission such as razing cities and violently suppressing revolts (executions etc.) are not really an option either, thanks to our messed-up society's idea of the 'rules of war'

    Not that I'm saying that we should kill people indiscriminately; that is equally disgusting. But there is definitely a balance, and we don't got it right now. I mean, its war for crying out loud. Personally, I'm going to kill a guy regardless of the rules if I have a good reason to think he's got a bead on me. Good grief, we can't even pitch water in a guy's face. How the Taliban must be laughing... (not to start a backroom topic but the mere fact that demonstrators offer to waterboard you so you know how terrible it is, just proves that its relatively harmless. No permanent effects, unlike amputation and mutilation)

    The problem is that the people making the rules nowdays are reporters and politicians who sit around in cushy offices, take two showers a day, and feel like the world will end if supper is half an hour late. They have no concept whatever of warfare except for novels and legends that romantisize the art of killing people. Not that I have personal experience myself; but you get the idea.

    Anyways, I'm not disagreeing with you on that point; or trying to start flame wars or anything. it's just that there is a difference.

    Definitely, more application of Sun Tzu would not hurt though.

    And as rotorgun said, with respect to other people's views. But I figured since I'm respecting everyone else's views I might as well put some of mine out there, what? :)
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    Awaiting the Rapture Member rotorgun's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    Quote Originally Posted by Ariovistus Maximus View Post
    Very true. In a time before mobility-centric warfare like we have today, Sun Tzu was looking well ahead of his time. And keep in mind that Clauswitz, Guderian, and Co. formulated their strategies with Sun Tzu's principles in mind; standing on his shoulders, if you will.

    As to our late Commander in Chief, there is somewhat of a difference. There are certainly no well-ordered columns of blue guys fighting well-ordered columns of red guys. Even if they apply Sun Tzu's principles, and for instance use them to make rapid gains in territory, all that will do is give them more to deal with behind them. How do you respond to an enemy that is a soldier in the morning and goes back to being a civilian in the evening?

    Not to mention that some of Sun Tzu's methods would be frowned upon these days. The bit about how he drilled the emperor's concubines into a regiment, and executed the head concubine for thinking it was a joke? Also, other methods of ensuring submission such as razing cities and violently suppressing revolts (executions etc.) are not really an option either, thanks to our messed-up society's idea of the 'rules of war'

    Not that I'm saying that we should kill people indiscriminately; that is equally disgusting. But there is definitely a balance, and we don't got it right now. I mean, its war for crying out loud. Personally, I'm going to kill a guy regardless of the rules if I have a good reason to think he's got a bead on me. Good grief, we can't even pitch water in a guy's face. How the Taliban must be laughing... (not to start a backroom topic but the mere fact that demonstrators offer to waterboard you so you know how terrible it is, just proves that its relatively harmless. No permanent effects, unlike amputation and mutilation)

    The problem is that the people making the rules nowdays are reporters and politicians who sit around in cushy offices, take two showers a day, and feel like the world will end if supper is half an hour late. They have no concept whatever of warfare except for novels and legends that romantisize the art of killing people. Not that I have personal experience myself; but you get the idea.

    Anyways, I'm not disagreeing with you on that point; or trying to start flame wars or anything. it's just that there is a difference.

    Definitely, more application of Sun Tzu would not hurt though.

    And as rotorgun said, with respect to other people's views. But I figured since I'm respecting everyone else's views I might as well put some of mine out there, what? :)
    No need to worry Maximus, for that is what I was hoping by staring this thread. As for my response to fighting such an elusive enemy as the Taliban or the Insurgency in Iraq, I say that Sun Tzu would probably find a way to either neutralize their efficiency, or negotiate to end such a wasteful form of warfare.

    Sun Tsu said...
    Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.(Chapter 3, Verse 18
    It is clear that Iraq's regular armies could be defeated. It was the war that the Pentagon planned for. What was not taken into account was the will of the insurgency to resist, and how best to go about administering and ruling a country with such a divisive feeling towards, not only the coalition, but against each other. It is reminiscent of what was happening inside Jerusalem between the various political/religious factions within, while the Roman armies were besieging the city without. It was these tensions that were in part responsible for the revolt which led to the Roman response to crush the insurgency. That is the main difference. The Romans were committed to victory regardless of the price in human suffering. Sun Tsu would have not advised such a venture unless he could be certain of the support of the political leadership and their ability to rally the people. In this type of warfare, it is essential to understand the brutality required to win.

    Who else would be a good commander to discuss? Come on fellow Monastery enthusiasts! Surely this can't be that boring a thread topic.
    Last edited by rotorgun; 05-17-2009 at 08:23.
    Rotorgun
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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    Frederique the Great of Prussia, the father of progressive warfare, his strategy's inspired german generals when they were perfecting blitz-tactics.

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    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    Quote Originally Posted by rotorgun View Post
    No need to worry Maximus, for that is what I was hoping by staring this thread. As for my response to fighting such an elusive enemy as the Taliban or the Insurgency in Iraq, I say that Sun Tzu would probably find a way to either neutralize their efficiency, or negotiate to end such a wasteful form of warfare.
    Sun Zi inspired Mao's ideas on guerrilla warfare, which is commonly recognised as one of the best texts on the subject in the 20th century, so perhaps he might have been able to think up a counter as well. I feel that, with the absence of a strong organised enemy, he'd have fun with spies instead. Imagine that, a war where one doesn't have to maintain an expensive standing army to ward off other standing armies. He'd be overjoyed.

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    Awaiting the Rapture Member rotorgun's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    Quote Originally Posted by Pannonian View Post
    Sun Zi inspired Mao's ideas on guerrilla warfare, which is commonly recognized as one of the best texts on the subject in the 20th century, so perhaps he might have been able to think up a counter as well. I feel that, with the absence of a strong organized enemy, he'd have fun with spies instead. Imagine that, a war where one doesn't have to maintain an expensive standing army to ward off other standing armies. He'd be overjoyed.
    Good point Pan. I was thinking along those lines myself last night, but was too tired to elaborate coherently on the matter. I think you're right about the use of spies against an insurgency, Perhaps instead of torturing captives and keeping them locked up in brutal prisons, instead they could have been treated well as Sun Tsu advocates. More information would probably have been gained, and some of the insurgents might have been turned into double agents.

    The enemy's spies who have come to spy on us must be sought out, tempted with bribes, led away and comfortably housed. Thus they will become converted spies and available for our service. It is through the information brought by the converted spy that we are able to acquire and employ local and inward spies.-Sun Tzu(Chapter 13, verses 21-22)
    Rotorgun
    ...the general must neither be so undecided that he entirely distrusts himself, nor so obstinate as not to think that anyone can have a better idea...for such a man...is bound to make many costly mistakes
    Onasander

    Editing my posts due to poor typing and grammer is a way of life.

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    Kanto Kanrei Member Marshal Murat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    I think you're right about the use of spies against an insurgency, Perhaps instead of torturing captives and keeping them locked up in brutal prisons, instead they could have been treated well as Sun Tsu advocates. More information would probably have been gained, and some of the insurgents might have been turned into double agents.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sun-Tzu
    While heeding the profit of my counsel, avail yourself also of any helpful circumstances over and beyond the ordinary rules.
    According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one's plans. Book 1, 16-17
    Maybe they evaluated the relative costs and benefits of trying to do so and figured it be easier to incarcerate some prisoners and ward off those intelligent enough to avoid such a fate. It's not cherries and daisies trying to get an agent to

    1. Confess
    2. Turn against his organization
    3. Be re-admitted amongst his friends and then be given some classified information that could be useful or pass along information to misinform his companions.
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    Awaiting the Rapture Member rotorgun's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    Quote Originally Posted by Marshal Murat View Post
    Maybe they evaluated the relative costs and benefits of trying to do so and figured it be easier to incarcerate some prisoners and ward off those intelligent enough to avoid such a fate. It's not cherries and daisies trying to get an agent to

    1. Confess
    2. Turn against his organization
    3. Be re-admitted amongst his friends and then be given some classified information that could be useful or pass along information to misinform his companions.
    Very true. That is why Sun Tsu claimed:

    Spies cannot be usefully employed without a certain intuitive sagacity. They cannot be properly managed without benevolence and straightforwardness. Without subtle ingenuity of mind, one cannot make certain of the truth of their reports. Be subtle! be subtle! and use your spies for every kind of business.-Sun Tsu(Chapter 13, verses 15-18)
    As you say, it is not easy, but the effort of the work garners rich rewards in useful information to be used against ones foe. Perhaps it would be better to use different types of agents such as:

    Having LOCAL SPIES means employing the services of the inhabitants of a district.

    Tu Mu says: "In the enemy's country, win people over by kind treatment, and use them as spies."

    Having INWARD SPIES, making use of officials of the enemy.
    -Sun Tsu(Chapter 13, verses 9-10
    It is this type of counter insurgency which the coalition has had the most success with. It takes time yes, but is better than wasting the lives of your soldiers in useless "search and destroy" or "slash and burn" missions. These do nothing but harden the population against you, winning more converts over to the enemy. This is true of all conflicts of this nature, the American Revolutionary War, Vietnam Conflict, War of Algerian Independence from France, Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan, and Iraqi revolt against British rule to name but a few.
    Rotorgun
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    Awaiting the Rapture Member rotorgun's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony View Post
    Frederique the Great of Prussia, the father of progressive warfare, his strategy's inspired german generals when they were perfecting blitz-tactics.
    Here is an excellent source for looking at what Frederick had to say about war. He was a kind of Sun Tsu of the 18th Century. Good choice Frag!

    http://sonshi.com/frederickthegreat1-23.html
    Rotorgun
    ...the general must neither be so undecided that he entirely distrusts himself, nor so obstinate as not to think that anyone can have a better idea...for such a man...is bound to make many costly mistakes
    Onasander

    Editing my posts due to poor typing and grammer is a way of life.

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    Bopa Member Incongruous's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    Although I don't think he ver wrote a treatise on the conduct of war, Marlborough's Blenheim campaign is something to hold in awe, the man perfected the idea of striking hard and fast at a point where the enemy is least expecting it, far ahead of his time.
    Last edited by Incongruous; 05-18-2009 at 10:19.

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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    Interesting example of executing Sun Tzu ideas can be polish-turkish campaign 1620. 4 times smaller polish army (with Dniepr Cossacks) was able to hold Turks due to more agressive behavior, forcing Turks to fight on area without food supplies, good combination of defence and attack, infantry and cavarly and of course due to knowledge about weather. If we add here well counterspying and very good raid on enemy's backs, we will be having good exemplification art of war.
    Into campaing soldiers skill were quite similar (both sides remarks high morale amount enemies) so decided only leaders skills.
    John Thomas Gross - liar who want put on Poles responsibility for impassivity of American Jews during holocaust

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    Zoodling Millipede Member Ariovistus Maximus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    Quote Originally Posted by rotorgun View Post
    No need to worry Maximus, for that is what I was hoping by staring this thread. As for my response to fighting such an elusive enemy as the Taliban or the Insurgency in Iraq, I say that Sun Tzu would probably find a way to either neutralize their efficiency, or negotiate to end such a wasteful form of warfare.

    It is clear that Iraq's regular armies could be defeated. It was the war that the Pentagon planned for. What was not taken into account was the will of the insurgency to resist, and how best to go about administering and ruling a country with such a divisive feeling towards, not only the coalition, but against each other. It is reminiscent of what was happening inside Jerusalem between the various political/religious factions within, while the Roman armies were besieging the city without. It was these tensions that were in part responsible for the revolt which led to the Roman response to crush the insurgency. That is the main difference. The Romans were committed to victory regardless of the price in human suffering. Sun Tsu would have not advised such a venture unless he could be certain of the support of the political leadership and their ability to rally the people. In this type of warfare, it is essential to understand the brutality required to win.

    Who else would be a good commander to discuss? Come on fellow Monastery enthusiasts! Surely this can't be that boring a thread topic.

    Hi rotorgun just rediscovered the forums are ALIVE!!!

    Excellent point! The problem is that we don't respond accordingly. How would be best to do that? Infiltration rather than occupation? Hmmmm.

    So what would you guys say to people who discount Frederick's genious? Some people go as far as saying that he just bashed his men into the enemy over and over until he won, which was due to superior training.

    I don't subscribe to that (although I don't have much knowledge of Frederick). What do you guys think?

    Also, how much did Frederick's brilliant victories really help Prussia in the end? He certainly kept it together longer, but it was so weak...
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    Member Centurion1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    Couldn't it be construed however that because Fredrick provided that expert training for his men he was planning ahead. planning as Sun Tzu said is one of the most important traits for a general. And Fredrick fought in a style of warfare that mostly called for bashing there was not as much strategy involved in say WW2. So much of the strategy would lie not in the actual battles but how the supplying and preparation was handled

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    Awaiting the Rapture Member rotorgun's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    Quote Originally Posted by KrooK View Post
    Interesting example of executing Sun Tzu ideas can be polish-turkish campaign 1620. 4 times smaller polish army (with Dniepr Cossacks) was able to hold Turks due to more agressive behavior, forcing Turks to fight on area without food supplies, good combination of defence and attack, infantry and cavarly and of course due to knowledge about weather. If we add here well counterspying and very good raid on enemy's backs, we will be having good exemplification art of war.
    Into campaing soldiers skill were quite similar (both sides remarks high morale amount enemies) so decided only leaders skills.
    An excellent example Krook. I'll have to give that campaign a look. Sun Tsu would have been proud of such a victory. Do you have a good source for the campaign? Who were the commanders? In what particular way did the successful general(s) apply the principals you mention? Fascinating!
    Rotorgun
    ...the general must neither be so undecided that he entirely distrusts himself, nor so obstinate as not to think that anyone can have a better idea...for such a man...is bound to make many costly mistakes
    Onasander

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    Kanto Kanrei Member Marshal Murat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    "Nietzsche is dead" - God

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    Have you just been dumped?

    I ask because it's usually something like that which causes outbursts like this, needless to say I dissagree completely.

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    Awaiting the Rapture Member rotorgun's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    Thanks Marshal Murat for the link. From what I gather, the Polish led Commonwealth forces under the Polish King were able to entice the much larger Ottoman force into a type of warfare that favored thier likely heavier armor and armaments. The Ottomans, other than having some provender for a siege, seemed unprepared with a proper seige artillery to break the defenders with a direct assault. The fact that the Commonwealth force outlasted them implies that a sort of scorched earth strategy may have been used to deny the Ottomans provisions once theirs began to run out.

    I liked the use of the elastic defense in depth related in the article, reminiscent of the hedgehog defenses of WWII in the western desert. Gaps in the defenses enough to provide the use of cavalry was a brilliant inspiration. This allowed the Cossacks to make use of their aggresiveness and penchant for raiding, while allowing the Polish artillery to be protected by infantry while they in turn protected the whole by fire zones. All in all, a very modern approach for a general of the 1600s.

    What tenets of Sun Tsu do you think apply guys?
    Rotorgun
    ...the general must neither be so undecided that he entirely distrusts himself, nor so obstinate as not to think that anyone can have a better idea...for such a man...is bound to make many costly mistakes
    Onasander

    Editing my posts due to poor typing and grammer is a way of life.

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    Member Member KrooK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    Arcticle is relative good but not deeply. I will try to find good enlish source. Normally I'm using polish - but of course made on both polish and turkish chronicles. Here I will clarify situation that occured before battle itself.
    1. Moldavia was not turkish protectorate - since XV century or ever earlier it was polish - turkish protectorate (with small breaks). Generally there were unwritter rule that one side chooses leader of Moldova but that leader must respect second side. If leader made any problems to any side, that side was allowed to give him a lesson.
    2. Not only Turkey had problem with raids - Cossacks raided Turkey, Tatars Poland.
    3. I made mistake - Chocim was into 1621. I can explain myself because for me both these campaigns are part of one big conflict. Actually I personally think that whole that was was to stop Poland from taking part into 30 years war (that war into 1620 - 1621 was on such level, intervention of polish full army would be decisive).
    4. Cecora was terrible defeat for Poland. Death of soldiers was bad thing but worst was death of Żółkiewski - winner of Kluszyn. Poles lost mostly due to cowards amount magnat units.
    5. According to my sources during battle of Chocim (final part of campaign) Turks had about 200.000 army at the battlefield. We have to add big corpses located at the Black Sea Coast (because part of Cossack army did not fight at Chocim camp but raided seas blocking communication and support for Turks, liberating POWs from Cecora (over 1000 prisoners were liberated) and generally forcing Turks to use their best janissaries to protect their back. In addition polish propaganda told that Don Cossacks are going to help Dniepr Cossacks (they send some men but not too much). However even that news forced Turks to protect their backs.
    6. Great example of using Sun Tzu ideas were choosing place to fight. Camp at Chocim was very good place to defend but could have been perfect place to attack any army that tried to attack Poland without capturing camp. It was clear that Turks will have to attack it and Poles had some time to prepare themselves. Cossacks were a bit late so their fortifications were much worse.
    7. Battle of Chocim is example of defensive battle however Poland was side that attacked first. Polish hetman Chodkiewicz ordered Cossacks to raid at Moldavia and destroy as much food supplies as they can and bring rest to polish - cossacks camp. Another orders were destroying bridges, roads and stopping Turks as long as they can. Many Cossacks died but they managed to held whole army long enough (one of these small battles was like Thermopilae - 200 Cossacks on 2 days stopped whole Turkish army). This decision had only pros - Poles and Cossacks had food, had time to prepare themselves and finish deployment (last part of polish army arrived day before Turks and Cossacks had to break Turkish front guard to join Poles). Same time Turks had to go through country without food and good roads (some Turks came from Syria). And of course they lost half of summer.
    8. Not all polish army was in Chocim camp. Behind main forces smaller fast units were ordered to break Tatar attacks, organise food supply and make as much mess as they could do. Due to that for a long time main forces had time to prepare. We have to add that far behind area of fight another polish army concentrated itself - much worse but they would be last line of defence.
    9. No one is questioning that polish commanders were much better. Chodkiewicz as hetman was undefeated, but not only leader is important. He had good officers - some of them served unders him from 20 years. All of them were experienced into war into Russia and most of them into fight with Tatars. Turks had bad commander and most of middle rank leaders. Of course some of them were good, Poles had some luck here - all of them became killed during assaults.

    All in all - Turks had to attack into place Poles want, into situation Poles want and into way Poles want. This was for me Sun Tzu idea - force enemy to go where you want.
    More info about battle itself soon.
    John Thomas Gross - liar who want put on Poles responsibility for impassivity of American Jews during holocaust

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    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    Quote Originally Posted by KrooK View Post
    Interesting example of executing Sun Tzu ideas can be polish-turkish campaign 1620. 4 times smaller polish army (with Dniepr Cossacks) was able to hold Turks due to more agressive behavior, forcing Turks to fight on area without food supplies, good combination of defence and attack, infantry and cavarly and of course due to knowledge about weather. If we add here well counterspying and very good raid on enemy's backs, we will be having good exemplification art of war.
    Into campaing soldiers skill were quite similar (both sides remarks high morale amount enemies) so decided only leaders skills.
    Another example, perhaps even more illustrative of Sun Zi's ideas, is the Battle of Guandu. The victorious general at Guandu, Cao Cao, in later life compiled Sun Zi's Bing Fa as we now have it, and added the first still-available commentary on the text.

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    Awaiting the Rapture Member rotorgun's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discussion of Sun Tsu's Art of War

    All in all - Turks had to attack into place Poles want, into situation Poles want and into way Poles want. This was for me Sun Tzu idea - force enemy to go where you want.
    More info about battle itself soon.
    (Krook)

    Thank you Krook. That was a very interesting analysis of the Polish/Commonwealth campaign against the Turkish army in 1620-21. We appreciate your efforts to translate from Polish to English in doing so. You are spot on in your summation as well.

    Another example, perhaps even more illustrative of Sun Zi's ideas, is the Battle of Guandu. The victorious general at Guandu, Cao Cao, in later life compiled Sun Zi's Bing Fa as we now have it, and added the first still-available commentary on the text.
    (Pannonian)

    Appreciate the addition to our discussion Pan. It is indeed an apt example of one general ignoring the good counsel of his adviser, while his opponent applied many of Sun Tsu's ideas. What British general said "Never interrupt your opponent when he is making a mistake"? I can't remember. Hence my signature quote.
    Rotorgun
    ...the general must neither be so undecided that he entirely distrusts himself, nor so obstinate as not to think that anyone can have a better idea...for such a man...is bound to make many costly mistakes
    Onasander

    Editing my posts due to poor typing and grammer is a way of life.

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