11.20

Chapter: The Nine Situations 11.20
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Translation:

The following are the principles to be observed by an invading force: The further you penetrate into a country, the greater will be the solidarity of your troops, and thus the defenders will not prevail against you.

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Commentary

When soldiers are close to home, any who are thinking of deserting may do so. But further away, this is not likely to be a successful option.

Even if not considering desertion, troops keep a mental map of where they are and will naturally feel more isolated and fearful to some extent when further from home. The natural tendency at such times is to stick together as they are now clearly bound to a common fate of victory or likely capture or death.

Now the troops depend on you, their leader. They look to you a a savior who will lead them to victory and then back home again.