11.15

Chapter: The Nine Situations 11.15
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Translation:

When there are narrow ways, use these to your advantage.

When you have now way out, then you must fight.

Note that fighting is the last thing you should do. It is better to maneuver and so win without losing lives.

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Commentary

The wedge is a classic tactic for breaking a defensive line. Like a nail penetrating a hard wood, a focused force can break through a strong defense. In physics, pressure is measured as force per unit area. This means a small force at a single point can still cause tremendous pressure. In war it is sometimes called ‘divide and conquer’.

A wedge from the side isolates the front-line troops from the rearguard, making each more vulnerable.

The wedge can also be used in business, for example in breaking up competitive alliances.