6.17

Chapter: Weak Points and Strong 6.17
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Translation:

For should the enemy strengthen his van, he will weaken his rear; should he strengthen his rear, he will weaken his van; should he strengthen his left, he will weaken his right; should he strengthen his right, he will weaken his left. If he sends reinforcements everywhere, he will everywhere be weak.

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Commentary

The ‘van’ is the vanguard, the forces at the front.

To strengthen any one part requires taking troops from elsewhere, so weakening that source.

When forces are spread evenly, each point is equally weak or strong. If you have a force greater than this ‘average’ then you can penetrate any defense they have.

There is skill in knowing how to spread the concentration of troops, including allowing the enemy smaller wins in order that your larger force can achieve a greater victory.