China’s Sun Tzu says if the orders are unclear, it is the fault of the commanding general.
General Lee told one of his generals to “Attack when you think it is practical.” That general decides it isn’t practical and does nothing.
At the Battle Gettysburg, Lee did not give clear orders.
Robert E. Lee made a tactical mistake when he did not follow Sun Tzu’s rule to “Move only when you see an advantage and there is something to gain. Only fight if a position is critical.”
Sun Tzu says, “When the enemy occupies high ground, do not confront him. If he attacks downhill. do not oppose him.” Robert E. Lee didn’t listen and decides to attack the Union positions on the high ground.
General Longstreet disagrees. He does not want to attack the high ground. Instead, he wants to go around the Union Army toward the North’s capital, Washington D.C.
Sun Tzu says, “There are some armies that should not be fought and some ground that should not be contested.”
After two days of horrible losses, Robert E. Lee orders what’s left of his army to attack uphill a third time. General Longstreet urges Lee not to do this. Lee ignores him.
Sun Tzu says you must behave like the snake. When your enemy attacks, you must be flexible.
Throughout the invasion of Normandy, France, Sun Tzu’s rules of war guide the Allies to victory. The Allies used deception, foreknowledge, and a superior command structure that motivated the army to fight as one.
Sun Tzu says, “The winning army realizes the conditions for victory first then fights. The losing army fights first then seeks victory.”
More than two thousand years before the Battle of Normandy, the battle between the kingdoms of Wu and Chu raged on.
Even with a smaller army, Sun Tzu is not worried. He has split his army. While the Chu army is surrounding his smaller force, the main part of his army is moving toward the unprotected Chu capital.
The Chu commander turns from the smaller Wu force under Sun Tzu’s command and rushes back to save the capital.
Sun Tzu says, “No nation has ever benefitted from prolonged war.” The American Civil War is Sun Tzu’s nightmare scenario. Possibly the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the same since so many of Sun Tzu’s rules of war have been ignored.
Sun Tzu says, “Those skilled in war bring the enemy to the field of battle. They are not brought by him.” This will happen to General Robert E. Lee in 1863.
Sun Tzu says, “It is essential to seek out enemy agents who have come to spy against you and bribe them to serve you.” In The Art of War, double agents are the most important spies.
That is what the Allies did in World War II before the Normandy Invasion of France. No one used double agents better than the British did.
Britain turned almost every spy Germany sent during the war. These double agents made the Germans believed the invasion would take place at Pas de Calais and not Normandy.
Sun Tzu says, “The way a wise general can achieve greatness beyond ordinary men is through foreknowledge.” The allies had foreknowledge because they broke the German code and knew what the Germans were thinking and planning.
Sun Tzu would have praised the allied preparation for the invasion and the use of deception but he would have condemned the actual assault.
Sun Tzu says, “When a falcon’s strike breaks the body of its prey, it is because of timing. When torrential water tosses boulders, it is because of momentum.”
Sun Tzu believes that the best attack can be ruined if momentum is lost, and he would have predicted the cost of lives during the Normandy invasion more than two-thousand years before it took place.