[3.12] Therefore, a smaller army that is inflexible will be captured by a larger one.
[3.13] A general is the safeguard of the nation. When this support is in place, the nation will be strong. When this support is not in place, the nation will not be strong.
[3.14] There are three ways the ruler can bring difficulty to the army*: (1) To order an advance when not realizing the army is in no position to advance, or to order a withdrawal when not realizing the army is in no position to withdraw. This is called entangling the army.
[3.15] (2) By [the ruler's] not knowing the army's matters, and administering the army the same as administering civil matters, the officers and troops will be confused.
[3.16] (3) By [the ruler's] not knowing the army's calculations, and taking command of the army, the officers and troops will be hesitant.
[3.17] When the army is confused and hesitant, the neighboring rulers will take advantage. This is called a confused and hesitant army leading another to victory.
[3.18] Therefore, there are five factors* of knowing who will win: (1) One who knows when he can fight, and when he cannot fight, will be victorious;
[3.19] (2) One who knows how to use both large and small forces will be victorious;*
[3.20] (3) One who knows how to unite upper and lower ranks in purpose will be victorious;
[3.21] (4) One who is prepared and waits for the unprepared will be victorious;
[3.22] (5) One whose general is able and is not interfered [with] by the ruler will be victorious. These five factors are the way to know who will win.
[3.23] Therefore I say: One who knows the enemy and knows himself* will not be in danger in a hundred battles.
[3.24] One who does not know the enemy but knows himself will sometimes win, sometimes lose. One who does not know the enemy and does not know himself will be in danger in every battle.
3.14 the ruler can bring difficulty to the army. The manual speaks here of a general's superior, the ruler, and the ways that ruler can interfere with/disrupt a general's plans or command.
3.19 One who knows how to use both large and small forces. If a general knows how to organize and communicate well with each and every soldier, the general can win even with a small force.
3.23 knows himself. Knowing oneself entails sublimating one's selfish appetites and emotions to the larger, goal of victory with minimal loss of life and property on both sides.