9. The Army on the March

34

When an army feeds its horses with grain and kills its cattle for food,

In the ordinary course of things, the men would be fed on grain and the horses chiefly on grass.

and when the men do not hang their cooking-pots over the camp fires, showing that they will not return to their tents, you may know that they are determined to fight to the death.

I may quote here the illustrative passage from the HOU HAN SHU, ch. 71, given in abbreviated form by the P`EI WEN YUN FU: "The rebel Wang Kuo of Liang was besieging the town of Ch`en-ts`ang, and Huang-fu Sung, who was in supreme command, and Tung Cho were sent out against him. The latter pressed for hasty measures, but Sung turned a deaf ear to his counsel. At last the rebels were utterly worn out, and began to throw down their weapons of their own accord. Sung was not advancing to the attack, but Cho said: 'It is a principle of war not to pursue desperate men and not to press a retreating host.' Sung answered: 'That does not apply here. What I am about to attack is a jaded army, not a retreating host; with disciplined troops I am falling on a disorganized multitude, not a band of desperate men.' Thereupon he advances to the attack unsupported by his colleague, and routed the enemy, Wang Kuo being slain."

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