Strategy and tactics of guerrilla warfare


Guerrilla forces from North Vietnam’s Vietcong movement cross a river in 1966 during the Vietnam War

“The main strategy and tactics of guerrilla warfare tend to involve the use of a small attacking, mobile force against a large, unwieldy force. The guerrilla force is largely or entirely organized in small units that are dependent on the support of the local population. Tactically, the guerrilla army makes the repetitive attacks far from the opponent’s center of gravity with a view to keeping its own casualties to a minimum and imposing a constant debilitating strain on the enemy. This may provoke the enemy into a brutal, excessively destructive response which will both anger their own supporters and increase support for the guerrillas, ultimately compelling the enemy to withdraw. An insurgency, or what Mao Zedong referred to as a war of revolutionary nature, guerrilla warfare can be conceived of as part of a continuum. On the low end are small-scale raids, ambushes and attacks. In ancient times these actions were often associated with smaller tribal policies fighting a larger empire, as in the struggle of Rome against the Spanish tribes for over a century. In the modern era they continue with the operations of insurgent, revolutionary and terrorist groups. The upper end is composed of a fully integrated political-military strategy, comprising both large and small units, engaging in constantly shifting mobile warfare, both on the low-end ‘guerrilla’ scale, and that of large, mobile formations with modern arms. The latter phase came to fullest expression in the operations of Mao Zedong in China and Vo Nguyen Giap in Vietnam. In between are a large variety of situations – from the wars waged against Israel by Palestinian irregulars in the contemporary era, to Spanish and Portuguese irregulars operating with the conventional units of British General Wellington, during the Peninsular War against Napoleon.  Modern insurgencies and other types of warfare may include guerrilla warfare as part of an integrated process, complete with sophisticated doctrine, organization, specialist skills and propaganda capabilities. Guerrillas can operate as small, scattered bands of raiders, but they can also work side by side with regular forces, or combine for far ranging mobile operations in squad, platoon or battalion sizes, or even form conventional units. Based on their level of sophistication and organization, they can shift between all these modes as the situation demands. Successful guerrilla warfare is flexible, not static. In China, the Maoist Theory of People’s War divides warfare into three phases. …”
Wikipedia
YouTube: Vietnam War Documentary: Inside the Viet Cong – Tactics, Weapons, Tunnels, Uniform

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Books, Che, Cronkite, Cuban Revolution, Mao, NVA, Viet Cong and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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