Cutting the Enemy’s Line of Supply: The Rise of the Tactic and Its Use in Early Chinese Warfare

in Journal of Chinese Military History
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Abstract

As the logistical distance between a field army and its domestic base increased from being measured in days to weeks or even months during the Warring States period, how to maintain the continual provisioning of armies on campaigns of long duration conducted in faraway places became a crucial issue. On the other hand, a new tactic which capitalized on the fragility of the enemy’s supply lines arose subsequently, and became an option to break stalemates and to undermine the enemy’s will and ability to fight before a frontal assault. This study, by tracing four documented cases, aims to analyze the preconditions that gave rise to the tactic of cutting the enemy’s supply line, and through these to examine certain features in the development of early Chinese warfare.

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