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Even though Sun Tzu’s ART QF WAR was written about 500 BC, it is still sort of a bible in both the Chinese and Russian military studies.

In Chapter 3 Sun Tzu discussed ATTACK by STRATAGEM. In it he says “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 profitable . . . .  Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting”.

“To fight and conquer” can be thought or as tactics. “Breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting” is strategy.

Later Sun Tzu puts the art or war in a nutshell “··· the general is skillful in attack when his opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense when his opponent does not know what to attack.” Applying skill in attack and defense is the art of tactics. But to cause the enemy not to know what be should attack nor what he should defend is the art or strategy.

“Numerical weakness comes from having to prepare against possible attacks, numerical strength from compelling the enemy to make these preparations against us”. From this Sun Tzu described his strategy as that of Pitting one against ten and his tactics as that of pitting ten against one.

It is a mistake to think of strategy as the art of surprise. SUrprise is an emotion and it might prove to be a disadvantage. Strategy is more productively thought of as the art of causing an enemy to be unprepared. As such, all strategy must be based on deception. Sun Tzu puts it in this manner “All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer. but what none can see is the strategy out of which yictory is eyolyed.”

Of all weapons the submarine has the best qualities to engender deception. Its design and use should make the most profit of that virtue.

Frank c. Lynch, Jr.

Naval Submarine League

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