GUERRILLA WARFARE

GUERILLA WARFARE

Guerillas (collage)


Guerilla War Encyclopedia

Because of my experience in the military, I came to understand the tenets of guerrilla warfare very well. Serving in the U.S. Army Special Forces, I learned plenty about insurgencies. It is the Special Forces who are tasked with conducting counterinsurgency: or counter-guerrilla operations. I served during the early 1980s during the Reagan build-up. Central America was beginning to simmer. But if I tell you about that, then I’d have to kill you. j/k.

 

SF Class A 1982

PADILLA 1982 


Some Special Forces Guerrilla Operations Manuals

 

U.S. Army Field Manual 100‐20, Low‐Intensity Conflict

Newest Version

 

 Marine Corps Institute

Marine Corps Version

These range in activities such as paramilitary operations, psychological warfare, economic warfare, terrorism etc. Guerrillas will use any tactic which they deem necessary. To the underdog guerrillas, every tactic is game. The edict “All is fair in love and war” seems apropos.

A PUNJI STAKE


Below is an article from a LIFE magazine article (October 17, 1969) which explains the tenets of guerrilla warfare in a magazine-style simplicity. The text is verbatim from that article that was published during the Vietnam War. Read the article in its entirety below.

LIFE Magazine  Oct 17-1969  2

Guerrilla units are the narrow cutting edge of a revolutionary mass movement involving, eventually, every man, woman and child within the expanding rebel zone.

 

PHASE ONE: The first and biggest task of the rebels is to secure the peasants’ loyalty and to transform them into a revolutionary force. It is a difficult and time-consuming project. Peasants are traditionally narrow, suspicious, conservative and politically passive – the least likely of people to respond to a crusading appeal. But in their pre-revolutionary state they also have deep hatreds. They may be oppressed by landlords and government officials, and subject to bureaucratic indifference. It is such hatreds which the rebels seek to bring into the open and convert to revolutionary purpose. Arriving secretly in a village, agitators organize underground meetings where villagers publicly recite their catalogue of injustices. Posters, newspapers and leaflets spread the revolutionary word. As the rebels become more confident and secure, lecturers address mass gatherings and theatrical troupes dramatize the brutalities of the ruling regime. But persuasion alone is never enough. “To put it bluntly,” Mao says, “it is necessary to bring about a brief reign of terror in every rural area.” But Mao emphasized that terror should be used with extreme caution, and always be carefully controlled. Terror demonstrates that the rebels mean business. More than passive obedience is demanded of the peasants, however, and other tactics must be employed.

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PHASE TWO: As soon as the guerrillas have won the villagers’ allegiance by persuasion, friendly or otherwise, the second phase of the struggle can begin: getting the villagers in turn to help the guerrillas. The rebels mobilize every village for total war. NOT A SOUL ESCAPES THE DRAFT. 

 NOT A SOUL ESCAPES THE DRAFT.

 

  NOT A SOUL ESCAPES THE DRAFT

 

NOT A SOUL ESCAPES THE DRAFT.

  NOT A SOUL ESCAPES THE DRAFT.

NOT A SOUL ESCAPES THE DRAFT.

jungle outpost

NOT A SOUL ESCAPES THE DRAFT. 

NOT A SOUL ESCAPES THE DRAFT.

NOT A SOUL ESCAPES THE DRAFT.

  

NOT A SOUL ESCAPES THE DRAFT.

NOT A SOUL ESCAPES THE DRAFT.

Children perform simple intelligent tasks, women carry out sabotage missions, cook, act as nurses, elderly people make homemade mines and grenades.


 

Six sisters of the front (part 3)

Six sisters of the front (part 1)


When orders arrive to gather together food for a rebel unit passing through the area, or to prepare an ambush site, the militia will take care of it. They may also repair bombed-out trails and collect information about unusual troop movements in their area. They furnish runners to carry messages through an intricate system of relay stations. Some villages become secret supply dumps; others are transformed into armed fortresses where a dozen men can tie down a battalion for several hours. In Vietnam, the guerillas built extensive underground installations, with storerooms, medical centers and stocks of food, ammunition and clothing. Villagers sometimes link several hamlets together with trenches and tunnels several hundred yards long, their entrances hidden in bamboo thickets or among tree roots and surrounded by minefields and bamboo-spike traps. The region thus controlled and mobilized by guerillas is known as the rebel “base area.”

Viet villagers 1

In Vietnam, repeated base area sweeps by tens of thousands of American troops found nothing but what appeared to be sullen civilians (as in the infamous case of  the Mylai massacre by U.S. troops under Lt. Calley), a scattering of unarmed young men who might or might not be guerrillas, and now and then, an arms cache. In the face of these evasive tactics, the government can try either to win over the people (as the U.S. tried with its Hearts and Minds programs), or to destroy them. However, with the modern equipment of the media, pictures of this destruction can greatly effect the sympathies of any viewers).

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PHASE THREE. With their base areas solidly organized, the guerrillas can now carry the war to the enemy. They will probably face a professional army many times their strength, backed by all the resources of modern technology. Their tactics are thus the tactics of the weak, aimed at neutralizing the enemy’s advantages and evening the odds. The rebels’ most pressing need is for arms, ammunition and equipment. These they may get from the enemy by lightning assaults on police stations or isolated military outposts. By constant harassment the rebels also attempt to undermine the morale of the government forces. Sniping, bomb attacks, mined roads and dynamited trains gradually take their toll. But the most popular and effective tactic of the guerrilla is the ambush. “A guerrilla fighter,” said Che Guevara, the late Cuban revolutionary, “prefers his enemy to be on the move, nervous, not knowing the ground, fearful of everything and without natural protection for defense.” 

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nva 3

Regular Training

vc flag

Viet Cong Flag 

nva

AK-47

Regular Equipment

nva 2

NVA North Vietnamese Regulars (Not VC guerrillas)

PHASE FOUR: During this final phase, the guerilla units may continue to harass the enemy in supporting operations. But the brunt of the fighting falls on conventional armies, recruited in part among the guerillas themselves and trained in the complexities of modern war. Within this enlarged scenario, foreign assistance is likely to become crucial. The elaborate hardware needed for a full-fledged army can seldom be captured from the enemy but must come from friendly sources abroad. The rebel armies try to throw government forces on the defensive and drive them to refuge in forts and earthworks where they can be destroyed piecemeal. If the government resorts to stern measures in order to keep its troops and their people in line, the rebels and their sympathizers may turn this to propaganda account, discrediting the government. As this final stage, an intense war-weariness is likely to creep over the established government as it finds itself sinking deeper and deeper into an apparently endless war. In the end, political pressures may prove more decisive than military victories and defeats. Without relaxing the pressure on the battlefield, the rebels pursue their growing psychological advantage with diplomatic offensives. Emissaries tour the world to win the recognition of foreign powers. Gradually their struggle may be transformed in the eyes of the world opinion from a subversive uprising to a legitimate struggle for freedom.

Why I Joined the VC 1

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM

  Why I Joined the VC 2

Why I Joined the VC 3

 

Why I Joined the VC 4

Why I Joined the VC 5

REALWORLDSOCIOLOGY.COM

*****

pete padilla 

4 Comments

  1. GUERILLA WAR

    Hello, just wanted to tell you, I loved this article.

    It was inspiring. Keep on posting!

    Reply
  2. M. Carbonaro

    Hello Dr Padilla, I thoroughly enjoy reading through your blog posts. I just wanted to write a little comment to support you and these fabulous blogs!

    Reply
  3. Sparky

    After perusing through this post, I can now appreciate what my dad had to endure during his tour of duty in Vietnam. After all these years, I was finally able to talk to him about what he saw and did in the jungle there. Thank you. More people should view this information.

    Reply
    1. Dr Padilla (Post author)

      Sparky: that’s the reason I posted this information. My uncle committed suicide because he said when he came home, he was spat upon. he told me about his experiences over there and how no one “back home” could truly understand what he experienced. He was rocked by what human beings can do to one another.

      Reply

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