Guerrilla warfare has survived more than three decades and is still popular tactic in war. What is the secret behind Guerrilla Warfare? The purpose of this research is to identify the salient feature behind this war strategy and why it is still being upheld by various countries and people as a war strategy despite being an ancient method of combating an enemy. To achieve this purpose, there is need to trace the meaning, origin and features of Guerrilla warfare that made it popular. Guerrilla is derived from a Spanish word Guerra that means war.
Therefore, Guerrilla warfare means small war groups that use some tactics such as ambush to attack a large, immobile and formal army. It is a war of the people against unwanted regime. Guerrilla tactics have been successful over the years due to its methods of ambush that involves tactics, strategy and excellent organization. These methods of organizing armies are still being upheld by various countries and many other rebel groups all over the world Strategy In Guerrilla, strategy refers to an analysis of the objectives to be attained given the level of a military situation in a country and the general means of achieving the objectives.
Guerrilla warfare employs a three-phase Maoist model whereby, war is divided into three phase. Phase one involves use of propaganda by the population to attack various organs of the government or an aggressor. Second phase involves launching of increasing attacks on the government military forces and sensitive government institution. Phase three involves ultimate warfare that would result to seizing of cities, overthrowing the government and subsequently taking control of the government. Mao’s model proposed shifting between these phases depending on the prevailing circumstance and used differently depending on the country in use.
This strategy was employed during Vietnam War led by Vo Nguyen Giap who employed the propaganda of ‘Peoples war, peoples Army. ’ He tactfully switched between using this model of Guerrilla warfare and general uprising of the population to fight his war. However, it is important to note that Guerrilla strategy does not only encompass this Maoist strategy but also some other strategies. For instance, contemporary pattern of Guerrilla does not involve clear objective and a unified group but it incorporates ferocious ethnic strife or religious commitment with various small temporary groups working separately with no clear structure.
A case in point is the Jihadists warfare that has no specific goal of forming an alternative government but to achieve an ancient type of their religion. This takes the form of surprise bombing, genocidal raids and assassinations. Tactics Tactics refers to the planned convenient methods of accomplishing the strategic objectives and in one sense it complements strategy and other sense, it acts as specific rules within the strategy. Tactics employed by Guerrilla warfare has in most cases used to achieve a political objective. It is based on intelligence, mobility, trickery, disruption, flexibility, ambush and surveillance.
This has proved to be very successful against an unpopular foreign or local unwanted government as in the case for Cuban revolution that removed Batista from power. In employing the tactics, others are held constant during the war while others keep on being changed depending on the enemy’s strategy. This tactics involve surprised strong attack on haulage routes, military or police barracks, economic enterprises and targeted inhabitants. The attacks involve attacking in small groups using camouflage especially using the enemies’ weapons.
These kinds of tactics are meant to discourage the targeted group while the Guerrilla group keeps on advancing. Mobility is a fundamental tactic in Guerrilla, and it involves flexibility of the Guerrilla group. That is, a group avoids be encircled by the enemy. That is, groups are divided into smaller groups and form a circle around the target such that when one group is attacked, the other comes to their aid through a different route. Another fundamental tactic is the treatment of a seized enemy. No enemy seized under Guerrilla warfare is executed without allowing him to clear his name.
In addition, flexibility of Guerrilla fighter is also very important in that, when faced with a circumstance that was not anticipated the warrior is able to maneuver a way out of the enemies’ hand. A case in point is Viet Cong; a rebellious group formed out of a peasant population in South Vietnam that resisted and fought Vietnamese army and US army for a very long period of time. They employed both intelligence and mobility tactics where their groups were organized into smaller groups hence seizing them became quite difficult.
In situations where they were seized, little or no information were obtained since these groups were fed with little information about the whole operation. Organization Organization means the ways in which Guerrilla fighters are categorized for instance, the commandants, their assistants, role of women and the role of surrounding population. When Guerrilla warfare first crop up, there might be no significant organization within it but with time, organization becomes inevitable. Hence, any Guerrilla warfare must have a very strong political and military leader.
The leaders must be loyal, genuine, unyielding in their policies and firm on them. In addition, they should be learned in revolutionary methods, self confident and able to cope with counter propaganda. With a leader who posses the above qualities, a discipline force would be established that would be able to withstand the enemy’s line. A case in point is the Cuban revolutionary war that was well organized and saw the removal of Batista from power. Below is an organization structure proposed by Mao that was very instrumental in winning battles.
In conclusion, it can be asserted that the secret behind Guerrilla warfare is its tactics, strategy and organization style employed during combat. War is based on strategy and tactics of accomplishing these strategies. It can also be concluded that the reason for Guerrilla existence to the present century is due to its clearly defined objectives such as gaining political or economic power. Evidences of success of Guerrilla warfare include Vietnam War, Chinese revolution, Russia’s revolution, Cuban revolution and the French revolution.
The reader must thus understand that Guerrilla warfare is carried out for the interest of the majority and must have enough national manpower in accordance with law of historical development of Guerrilla for example the Red guerilla warfare in the Russian Revolution and the Abyssinians warfare against the Italians. The reader must also distinguish between general revolutionary wars from those of class type. In revolutionary war, the whole nation regardless of tribe, class or religious afflictions participate in the revolution and they always have the same agenda.
However, the class type of Guerrilla is a contemporary form of rebellion in which certain groups or class of people try to air out their grievances. They include groups such as Fatah and Hamas of Palestine. They have no broad objective that incorporates the whole nation. My recommendation is that any aggrieved party should use Guerrilla method if all other avenue of obtaining justice flops. Their course should be for the interest of the majority and not self centered intentions such as killing innocent individual as being done by terrorist in the contemporary world.
Bibliographies. Carter, A. Direct Action and Liberal Democracy. Rutledge, 1973. Loveman, B. , Thomas D. Guerrilla Warfare. Rowman & Littlefield, 2002 Luttwak,. E. Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace. Harvard University Press, 2001 Mao, Z. , Griffith S. On Guerrilla Warfare. University of Illinois Press, 2000 p 44. Richard L. Clutterbuck. Terrorism and Guerrilla Warfare: Forecasts and Remedies Routledge, 1990. 34- 54 Taber, R. War of the Flea: The Classic Study of Guerrilla Warfare. Potomac Books. 2002 p 5Sample Essay of Edusson.com