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Sun Tzu and Clausewitz

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Andrew Lim

on 1 June 2014

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Transcript of Sun Tzu and Clausewitz

Sun Tzu and Clausewitz
Chapter #1: Detail Assessment and Planning

Chapter #2: Waging War
“In the operations of war, where there are in the field a thousand swift chariots, as many heavy chariots, and a hundred thousand mail-clad soldiers, with provisions enough to carry them a thousand li, the expenditure at home and at the front, including entertainment of guests, small items such as glue and paint, and sums spent on chariots and armor, will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day.
Such is the cost of raising an army of 100,000 men.

Explains how to
understand the economy of warfare
and how success requires winning decisive engagements quickly.
This section advises that
successful military campaigns require limiting the cost of competition and conflict.
Chapter #5: Forces
Discussion Questions:
Table of Contents
1. What is the Art of War?
2. Chapters 1-13
3. Conditions for Victory
4. Key Points in the Art of War
5. Legacy of Sun Tzu
6. Carl von Clausewitz
7. On War
8. Legacy of Clausewitz
9. Conclusion: A Quick Comparison

On War and Legacy
Chapter #3: Strategic Attack
What is the Art of War?
Chinese military treatise.
Written by Sun Tzu in the 6th century BC.
Military strategies & tactics of its time.
One of the oldest & most successful books on military strategy.
Influence on Eastern military thinking, business tactics, & beyond.
Was translated into the French & English.
Been applied to business & managerial strategies.

"winning without conflict.“
Its philosophy has several aspects:
Understanding strategic positions,
Collecting competitive information & recognizing opportunities,
Automatically selecting moves that minimize losses and avoid dangerous situations,
Instantly recognizing the specifics of situations and the responses they require,
Getting the most out of each move and securing advantages
Carl von Clausewitz
Chapter #4: Disposition of the Army
Chapter #6: Weaknesses and Strengths
Prussian Military Commander and Scholar
1780 -1831
Fought in Napoleonic Wars and participated in Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo.
Major Work: On War (Vom Kriege), a treatise on military tactics as well as military/political philosophy.
Distinguished military career
Began fighting against Napoleon’s forces with the Prussian army before their defeat in October 1806.
He was captured and held prisoner in France until 1808.
After returning to Prussia he worked at rebuilding and reforming the Prussian Army.
He later left Prussia and joined the Russian army in repelling Napoleon in 1812-1813 (Prussia was forced to support Napoleon during this time as a result of their previous defeat).
After Napoleon’s retreat from Russia, Clausewitz was influential in getting Prussia to switch sides in the conflict and eventually went on to participate in Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo.
Highly regarded strategist and tactician
On War also deals with philosophy of war and its relationship to politics
Lasting influence as a military and political philosopher

“The art of war is of vital importance to the State.”
Explores the five fundamental factors
(the Way, seasons, terrain, leadership and management) and seven elements that determine the outcomes of military engagements.
By thinking, assessing and comparing these points, a commander can
calculate his chances of victory
Habitual deviation from these calculations will ensure failure via improper action.
The text stresses that war is a very grave matter for the state and
must not be commenced without due consideration

“The good fighters of old first put themselves
beyond the possibility of defeat
, and then
waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy
Explains the importance of
defending existing positions until a commander is capable of advancing
from those positions in safety.
It teaches commanders the
importance of recognizing strategic opportunities, and teaches not to create opportunities for the enemy.
“A clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.”
Explains the use of creativity and timing in building an army's momentum.

19th Century
Popular in Europe for “modern” tactics
Supported Total War
Reaction against Enlightenment Theories
20th Century
Popular for “Modern” view of warfare
New understanding of On War
Supported “Limited” War

1. How has the context during each of the author's times contributed to their doctrines?
2. How relevant is their military tactics in the modern era today?
3. In what sense do these military doctrines play a role in other fields such as business?

“In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to
take the enemy’s country whole and intact;
to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them.”
Defines the
source of strength as unity
, not size, and discusses the five factors that are needed to succeed in any war.
In order of importance, these critical factors are:
Attack, Strategy, Alliances, Army and Cities.

"Whoever is
first in the field
and awaits the coming of the enemy will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted."
Explains how your
opportunities come from the openings in the environment
caused by the relative weakness of your enemy in a given area.

Chapter #7: Military Maneuvers
“Move only if there is a real advantage to be gained... when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”
Explains the
dangers of direct conflict
and how to win those confrontations when they are forced upon you.

Chapter #8: Variations and Adaptability
"The art of war teaches us to
rely not on the likelihood of the enemy's not coming
, but on
our own readiness
to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable."
Focuses on the
need for flexibility
in your responses.
It explains how to
respond to shifting circumstances successfully

Chapter #9: Movement and Development of Troops
"We come now to the question of
encamping the army
, and
observing signs of the enemy
. Pass quickly over mountains, and keep in the neighborhood of valleys."
Describes the different situations in
which an army finds itself as it moves through new enemy territories
, and how to respond to these situations.
Much of this section focuses on
evaluating the intentions of others
Chapter #10: Terrain
"We may distinguish
six kinds of terrain
, to wit: Accessible ground, entangling ground, temporizing ground, narrow passes, precipitous heights, positions at a great distance from the enemy."
Looks at the three general areas of resistance (distance, dangers and barriers) and the six types of ground positions that arise from them.
Each of these six field positions offer certain advantages and disadvantages.
Chapter #11: The Nine Battlegrounds
"The art of war recognizes nine varieties of ground:

(1) Dispersive ground; (2) facile ground; (3) contentious ground; (4) open ground; (5) ground of intersecting highways; (6) serious ground; (7) difficult ground; (8) hemmed-in ground; (9) desperate ground."
Describes the nine common situations (or stages) in a campaign
, from scattering to deadly, and the specific focus that a commander will need in order to successfully navigate them.
Chapter #12: Attacking with Fire
There are five ways of attacking with fire
. The first is to burn soldiers in their camp; the second is to burn stores; the third is to burn baggage trains; the fourth is to burn arsenals and magazines; the fifth is to hurl dropping fire amongst the enemy."
Explains the
general use of weapon
s and the specific use of the environment as a weapon.
This section examines the five targets for attack, the five types of environmental attack and the appropriate responses to such attacks.
Chapter #13: Intelligence and Espionage

"Thus, what enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is
Focuses on the importance of
developing good information sources
, and specifies the five types of intelligence sources and how to best manage each of them.
Key Points of the Art of War
1) Win All Without Fighting : Capturing Your Market without Destroying It
2) Avoid Strength, Attack Weakness: Striking Where the Competition is Vulnerable
3) Foreknowledge: Maximizing the Power of Business Intelligence
4) Speed and Preparation: Moving Swiftly to Overcome the Competition
5) Shaping the Opponent: Employing Strategy to Master the Competition
6) Character-based Leadership: Leading by Example
Conditions for Victory
Thus, there are five points in which victory may be predicted:
He who knows
when to fight and when not to fight will win
. (scheduling)
He who understands how to
handle both superior and inferior forces
will win. (system of play)
He whose
ranks are united in purpose
will win. (chemistry)
He who is
well prepared and lies in wait
for an
enemy who is not well prepared
will win. (practice)
He whose
generals are able and not interfered with by the sovereign
will win. (leadership)

“Fog of war”
– term describing ambiguity of information on the battlefield
– term used to describe constant resistance to every action taken in battle
(or Absolute/Total) War
He was more accepting of the newer idea of Total War, which began to develop after the French Revolution. In this type of conflict, combatants used “any means necessary” to achieve their goals.
“War is a continuation of state policy with the a mixture of other means.”

Mao Zedong credited his 1949 victory over Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang to The Art of War
Guerrilla Warfare
Western chess and Eastern Go
Calculation vs. Feeling/Instinct
Full transcript