had got wind of his movements. A crushing defeat followed for the Ch‘in forces, who were obliged to raise the siege of O-yü in all haste and retreat across the border. [See 史記, chap. 81.]
5. Manœuvring with an army is advantageous; with an undisciplined multitude, most dangerous.
I here adopt the reading of the T‘ung Tien, Chêng Yu-hsien and the T‘u Shu, where 衆 appears to supply the exact nuance required in order to make sense. The standard text, on the other hand, in which 軍 is repeated, seems somewhat pointless. The commentators take it to mean that manoeuvres may be profitable, or they may be dangerous: it all depends on the ability of the general. Capt. Calthrop translates 衆爭 “the wrangles of a multitude”!
6. If you set a fully equipped army in march in order to snatch an advantage, the chances are that you will be too late.
The original text has 故 instead of 舉; but a verb is needed to balance 委.
On the other hand, to detach a flying column for the purpose involves the sacrifice of its baggage and stores.
委軍 is evidently unintelligible to the Chinese commentators, who paraphrase the sentence as though it began with 棄輜. Absolute tautology in the apodosis can then only be avoided by drawing an impossibly fine distinction between 棄 and 捐. I submit my own rendering without much enthusiasm, being convinced that there is some deep-seated corruption in the text. On the whole, it is clear that Sun Tzŭ does not approve of a lengthy march being undertaken without supplies. Cf. infra, § 11.
7. Thus, if you order your men to roll up their buff-coats,
卷甲 does not mean “to discard one’s armour,” as Capt. Calthrop translates, but implies on the contrary that it is to be carried with you. Chang Yü says: 猶悉甲也 “This means, in full panoply.”