chessThe rule is, not to besiege walled cities if it can possibly be avoided. The preparation of mantlets, movable shelters, and various implements of war, will take up three whole months; and the piling up of mounds over against the walls will take three months more.

The general, unable to control his irritation, will launch his men to the assault like swarming ants, with the result that one-third of his men are slain, while the town still remains untaken. Such are the disastrous effects of a siege.

Therefore the skillful leader subdues the enemy’s troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field.

With his forces intact he will dispute the mastery of the Empire, and thus, without losing a man, his triumph will be complete. This is the method of attacking by stratagem.

It is the rule in war, if our forces are ten to the enemy’s one, to surround him; if five to one, to attack him; if twice as numerous, to divide our army into two.

If equally matched, we can offer battle; if slightly inferior in numbers, we can avoid the enemy; if quite unequal in every way, we can flee from him.

Hence, though an obstinate fight may be made by a small force, in the end it must be captured by the larger force.

In chapter 3 of The Art of War, Sun-tzu outlines basic principles for waging war. I’m only going to comment on two of those principles. The first: Do not make it your priority in a firefight to engage a fortified location.

What does that mean? Well, if at all possible attacking a fortified structure, such as a flag base or garrisoned bunker, should be avoided. You might be asking yourself “What does Matt think we should do in a capture the flag game if we can’t attack the flag base?”….and I don’t blame you, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you take it at face value, but trust me. The best way to take out a bunker is to lure it’s occupants out and away from it before you engage them.

The second principle I’ll comment on: When to attack an enemy force. “It is the rule in war, if our forces are ten to the enemy’s one, to surround him; if five to one, to attack him; if twice as numerous, to divide our army into two.” So, here we have a few points to talk about. Obviously if you are 20 strong and you run into a force of 2 guys(or 10 to 1 if you want to keep ir REAL simple), you’re going to set a base of fire and send flankers to either side until you have surrounded them. It’s common sense. Also, if you’re 5 to 1….you’re pretty much going to attempt to do the same things and if you’re skilled, you’ll be successful MOST of the time. But, when we read divide our army into two just because we’re only 2 to 1, what are we supposed to think about that? Well, the thinking is(at least on my part), that if you have twice as many numbers you’ll be doubly affective if you split into two groups. This way you can engage with a pincer strategy or other attack pattern and hopefully be successful MOST of the time.

“If equally matched, we can offer battle; if slightly inferior in numbers, we can avoid the enemy; if quite unequal in every way, we can flee from him.” This pretty much is self explanatory. If you run into a force that is stronger than you are, for example you have 5 guys in your squad and you run into a force of 8-10 guys, your best option is to avoid them. If you have 2-3 guys in your squad and you run into 9 or 10 guys, your best option is to flee and regroup.

In some cases you may not have the option to tilt the odds in your favor by regrouping and you may only be down to having 2-3 guys left on your team that are still in the game. In that case, things are not looking good. Especially if you are playing against 2-3 times your numbers. The best thing to do would be to completely avoid enemy contact at all costs and set ambushes to eliminate as many as possible. You may even be able to accomplish your objective(capturing the flag) without ever having to engage the opfor by being sneaky.

In summary, these are just a few principles to remember when playing that may or may not apply to every game. Sun-Tzu outlined a solid strategy for winning battles, but his most stressed point throughout his work was to be flexible. You are expected to follow his principles but remain flexible in their execution. If you are able to this I believe that you will be a master paintball player.

  • Avoid attacking fortified structures
  • If your force is 10 to 1 surround the opfor
  • If 5 to 1 engage in a firefight
  • If 2 to 1 split your attack squad into two elements
  • If equal in numbers, engage cautiously
  • If outnumbered avoid the opfor
  • If drastically outnumbered keep away from the opfor at all costs
  • BE FLEXIBLE!

If you have any questions or comments please put them in the suggestion box.