Now the army likes heights and abhors low areas, esteems the sunny and disdains the shady. It nourishes life and occupies the substantial. An army that avoids the hundred illnesses is said to be certain of victory.
You must quickly get away from deadly configurations of terrain. Do not approach them. When we keep them at distance, the enemy is forced to approach them. When we face them, the enemy is compelled to have them at their rear.
If an enemy in close proximity remains quiet, they are relying on their tactical occupation of ravines. If while far off they challenge you to battle, they want you to advance because they occupy easy terrain to their advantage.
One who speaks deferentially but increases his preparations will advance. One who speaks belligerently and advances hastily will retreat. One who seeks peace without setting any prior conditions is executing strategem.
When they see potential gain but do not know whether to advance, they are tired.
If the enemy cries out at night, they are afraid. If the army is turbulent, the general lacks severity. If their flags and pennants move about, they are in chaos. If the officers are angry, they are exhausted.
One whose troops repeatedly congregates in small groups here and there, whispering together, has lost the masses. One who frequently grants rewards is in deep distress. One who frequently imposes punishments is in great difficulty. One who is at first excessively brutal and then fears the masses is the pinnacle of stupidity.
One who has emissaries come forth with offerings wants to rest for a while.
The army does not esteem the number of troops being more numerous for it only means one cannot aggresively advance. It is sufficient for you to muster your own strength, analyse the enemy, and take them. Only someone who lacks strategic planning and slights an enemy will inevitably be captured by others.
If you impose punishments on the troops before they have become attached, they will not be submissive. If they are not submissive, they will be difficult to employ. If you do not impose punishments after the troops have become attached, they cannot be used.
Thus if you command them with the civil and unify them through the martial, this is what is referred to as being certain to take them.
If orders are consistently implemented to instruct the people, then the people will submit. If orders are not consistently implemented to instruct the people, then the people will not sumbit. One whose orders are consistently carried out has established a mutual relationship with the people.