1. Sun Tzu said: 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
2. In order to carry out an attack, we must have means available.
The material for raising fire should always be kept in
3. There is a proper season for making attacks with fire, and
special days for starting a conflagration.
4. The proper season is when the weather is very dry; the special
days are those when the moon is in the constellations of the Sieve,
the Wall, the Wing or the Cross-bar; for these four are all days of
5. In attacking with fire, one should be prepared to meet five
6. (1) When fire breaks out inside to enemy's camp, respond at once
with an attack from without.
7. (2) If there is an outbreak of fire, but the enemy's soldiers
remain quiet, bide your time and do not attack.
8. (3) When the force of the flames has reached its height, follow
it up with an attack, if that is practicable; if not, stay where
9. (4) If it is possible to make an assault with fire from without,
do not wait for it to break out within, but deliver your attack at
a favorable moment.
10. (5) When you start a fire, be to windward of it. Do not attack
from the leeward.
11. A wind that rises in the daytime lasts long, but a night breeze
12. In every army, the five developments connected with fire must
be known, the movements of the stars calculated, and a watch kept
for the proper days.
13. Hence those who use fire as an aid to the attack show
intelligence; those who use water as an aid to the attack gain an
accession of strength.
14. By means of water, an enemy may be intercepted, but not robbed
of all his belongings.
15. Unhappy is the fate of one who tries to win his battles and
succeed in his attacks without cultivating the spirit of
enterprise; for the result is waste of time and general
16. Hence the saying: The enlightened ruler lays his plans well
ahead; the good general cultivates his resources.
17. Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops
unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the
position is critical.
18. No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his
own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of
19. If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay
where you are.
20. Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded
21. But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again
into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.
22. Hence the enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general
full of caution. This is the way to keep a country at peace and an