Guerrilla Warfare - A Primer for Nationstates Players

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Guerrilla Warfare - A Primer for Nationstates Players

Postby Allanea » Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:13 pm

Guerrilla Warfare - a Primer for Nationstates Players

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Guerrilla warfare is a fascinating subject. It has been the subject of a variety of works of fiction and science-fiction - Red Dawn. Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, Defiance, the Rebels and Falling Skies science fiction TV series, and any number of other shows, films, and books. There is also a great variety of computer games featuring some manner of guerrilla warfare - Half Life being the most famous, but Red Faction being among them.

Unfortunately, the majority of these portrayals have given people - and especially roleplayers and gamers - a very distorted view of guerrilla warfare. Guerrilla warfare is portrayed, typically speaking, as a heroic struggle, in which ordinary individuals (much like the player of the video game or the audience of the film) are portrayed squaring off against mighty war machines and ruthless professional soldiers. Quite frequently, they are shown winning. If the perspective of the soldiers is shown - as in Full Metal Jacket - they are shown as being engaged in a hopeless, senseless cycle of violence, against an enemy they cannot hope to defeat.

This portrayal has several reasons to it. For one, viewers are more likely to empathize with civilians than with professional soldiers. Scenes in which ordinary farmers or high-school seniors torch tanks and beat government soldiers in sniper duels appeal to the viewer - hey, I bet I could do that too!. Further, the United States (Hollywood works primarily for a US audience) has had a negative experience with guerrilla warfare - having experienced tragic failures in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

While this portrayal is not completely untrue - insurgencies and popular uprisings are very hard to deal with for any government - as we’ll explore, they are also very hard for the guerrillas. While the reverse myth - that guerrillas cannot hope to defeat government forces because government forces have bombers and tanks - is also misguided, guerrillas do labor under serious disadvantages.

In a well-managed military, soldiers have superior training, logistics, and weaponry to the guerrillas. They often have elaborate intelligence of the guerrillas’ movements, and can engage the resistance fighters with weapons from beyond the area of the fighting itself (that’s to say, they can fire artillery and theater ballistic missiles and guided missiles at any guerrilla force from areas it cannot reach). This means that, in the majority of battles and encounters, the guerrillas will likely lose and take far more casualties than the government’s soldiers. (Sometimes 7-10 dead for every government soldier killed).

However, fortunately for every nation with a guerrilla movement, despite losing many battles, guerrillas do win many wars. The issue of resolving modern insurgencies - especially when laboring under the additional restraints that you do not want to engage in outright genocide - is one that even the most advanced nations have not fully solved yet. (France and Israel have done somewhat better than the US - but only somewhat). The strategies and tactics followed by successful guerrillas are outlined here.

The Stages of Insurgency


One of the key theorists of revolutionary warfare was Mao Zedong. To some extent, his view of guerrilla warfare was colored by his belief in Marxist-Leninist historiography - he saw guerrilla warfare as revolutionary war, in which guerrilla leaders and organizers are similar to Lenin’s perception of the ‘vanguard party’ - a select core of people with a high level of both military training and political understanding of their cause, whose task was to engage the mass of the people (originally - the proletariat and the peasant class) and organize them for the revolutionary struggle.

With this in mind, Mao conceived the concept of the three-stage insurgency, a concept that is taught to both aspiring partisans and counterinsurgency planners all over the world. This concept can be found in US counterinsurgency manuals and Communist propaganda.

An organized insurgency movement exists in three stages.

The first stage of insurgency is the organization stage. At this point, the guerrilla leadership creates its first organization cells, stockpiles illegal weapons, and begins to produce its propaganda. (This can be done on the Internet, via underground printing houses or via pirate radio, or in some cases via legitimate channels, when the guerrilla movement has a legal ‘peaceful’ wing). Propaganda can also be spread via social networks, which can be a useful tool for both fundraising and recruitment (several of the factions of the Syrian Civil War recruit via Facebook, as did the pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine early on in the conflict). Typically, this is done in areas where the enemy’s control over law and order is not complete.

In general terms, guerrilla movements cannot be successful - in fact, they are completely stillborn - in areas where there is an efficient system of law and order. Not even the most libertarian governments approve of organized armed groups that are clearly intended for their overthrow. (Because people are not good at keeping secrets, if you have a large armed group, at least some of them are probably revealing its secrets, and some are probably police agents - most US militia groups, for instance, have FBI informants in their ranks.)

Therefore, guerrilla movements typically start in places beyond the government's reach - in out-of-the-way areas of the country, in favelas and slums where there is no regular police presence and the residents don’t like working with the police, or in areas where police presence has been disrupted - either by war or by an ongoing civil conflict within the country. Quite often, if a country has been invaded and conquered recently, the occupying government might not have complete police presence throughout the country. Another important option - that we will cover later in more detail - is the possibility that the previous government might have prepared for guerrilla warfare before the invasion, leaving behind stockpiles of weaponry and trained individuals to pose as the core of the new resistance movement. Pavel Sudoplatov, the father of Soviet Special Operations, and one of Stalin’s favorite assassins, was a supporter of this option. It was also carried out by NATO during the Cold War, and is still practiced by some European countries.

The second stage of insurgency has been codified as the process of guerrilla warfare itself. It is this stage we are mostly familiar with from films, games, and novels. This is often conflated with terrorism, as many of the tactics used are the same tactics used by groups like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the IRA - and in fact terrorist movements can be conflated with guerrilla movements from a purely military perspective.

The guerrillas use tactics that allow the minimal use of military skill (which guerrillas often possess in short supply) and a reduced reliance of heavy weapons to harass and destabilize their opponent. Assassinations of government officials and military officers, raids, hit-and-run attacks are commonly used by guerrillas, as are ambushes of military and civilian convoys. For more ruthless guerrilla movements, terrorist attacks on civilian populations associated with the enemy (either the occupying government or any enemy factions) are a possible strategy too. (The Viet Cong favored executions of schoolteachers aligned with the South Vietnamese government, Al-Qaeda in Iraq carried out terrorist attacks against Iraqis standing in line to vote for the new government, and of course Hamas is famous for its bus bombings).

The purpose of these tactics is to destabilize the enemy’s hold on the territory it governed and to reduce its legitimacy. Guerrillas and terrorists hope that, by carrying out attacks within territory controlled by the enemy, they will reduce the enemy government’s legitimacy by showing that it is unable to prevent violent attack.

Simultaneously with this, the rebellion or insurgency must begin building its own government structures in those areas where the rebels dominate. This has both a propaganda value - in that it adds legitimacy to the guerrillas themselves, showing the local population that they can build roads, provide schooling and legal services (Depending on what services people normally expect from the government in the area) as well as the enemy can - and a military value, as it allows the rebels to better control the resources of the country, raise taxes and even conscript the local population into their ranks just like a regular government does.

Which brings us to...

The Third Stage of Insurgency: By this point, the insurgency controls large areas of the country in the same way as a regular government does. It can now operate a real military - with armored vehicles, regiments, divisions, even aircraft. At this point it is not distinguishable from a military force, and can commence conventional operations against the enemy, often aided by whatever foreign allies the rebel movement has. While the guerrilla movement might continue guerrilla operations in those parts of the country it doesn’t fully control, these are now auxiliary to the main effort - that is to say, they exist to weaken and distract the enemy government forces from their conflict with the ‘insurgency’ - which has now turned itself from ‘random peasants with AK-74s’ to ‘The First Tank Army’ and is bearing down on the national capital with clanking tracks.

It’s important to note, however, that understanding of guerrilla warfare has grown more sophisticated since the age of Mao Zedong. Mao Zedong’s system is viewed today as a somewhat simplified portrayal, which is mostly relevant to the most well-organized and well-planned guerrilla movements, wherein the movement has a single group of leaders that are deliberately planning a progression through the three stages. A country in upheaval, or a country that’s been recently invaded, might have two, three, or more factions that exist on different stages of this planning, might be entirely leaderless (consisting of small groups of local rebels or even criminal organizations turned rebels for whatever reason) and unwilling to cooperate with each other. Early fighting in the Ukrainian Civil War featured the Russian Orthodox Army, Brigade ‘Ghost’ (which refused to follow orders from LPR leadership), the Cossack Black Hundred, Bezler and Strelkov as separate commanders, and of course Russian agents who were as bewildered by all this as everyone else. The Civil War in Syria features literally over a hundred different groups and organizations.

Guerrillas and Conventional Militaries


As Don Quixote had protested with his lance against gunpowder, so the guerrillas protested against Napoleon, only with different success.

Karl Marx, The Revolutionary War in Spain

The advent of the Industrial Revolution has made industrial not only peacetime production, but also war itself. This is not merely in the sense - envisioned often by readers of popular accounts of warfare - that shells, tanks, and other weaponry are now produced en masse in factories - but also that military establishments now function like industrial ones. A combined arms unit is essentially a factory, or on a larger scale, a military is essentially a state-operated megacorporation, but one that produces violence and death on a grand scale. Rather than rely on talented swordsmen and riders, it has created a reliable system of training workers - infantrymen, artillerists, and sailors - within a few months in a basic training camp. The principles of separation of labor, specialization, and mass-education work come into action in the 1st Infantry Division in the same way as they do at IBM or General Motors (corrected, of course, for the particularities of military action).

For this reason, the soldier of a reasonably well-functioning military possesses several advantages over the guerrilla. He is better armed - not in the sense necessarily that he has a bigger gun, as a soldier’s rifle isn’t much different from a guerrilla’s rifle, but in the sense he can often call on bigger guns - his infantry squad has an infantry fighting vehicle, and he has a radio that he can use to call on aid from even more powerful weapons. He is not necessarily a better marksman (marksmanship is easy to learn), but unlike most insurgents, he has the advantage of having been able to train, full-time, for several months of his life or even more. (Many guerrillas are not full-time fighters, needing to also make time for farming, or working at whatever jobs they have), This makes it easier for him to work together with fellow troops in combat, often makes him better disciplined and more physically fit. Most importantly, the soldier is part of a well-organized system - just as a factory worker doesn’t need to worry running out of parts on the production line, the soldier can rely on a comparatively steady supply of ammunition and food, medical care in a professional well-furnished hospital, and information from other units. Military vehicles are often equipped with optics and sensors that make it easier for the troops to spot the guerrillas and cooperate with aviation, UAVs, and satellites that make it possible for them to track the rebels’ activities.

That said, soldiers and guerrillas aren’t always enemies. Conventional militaries often assist and support guerrilla forces. As we covered, many countries have stockpiles of weaponry to be used, during the invasion, by organized military units that will form the core of a future resistance. Switzerland, Norway, and Estonia all have such plans. The Soviet Union had such provisions before the World War but dismantled them in 1939, much to the chagrin of Sudoplatov and other experts in the field. In wartime, the conventional military (or a foreign government) might deploy Special Forces troops to help train and command resistance movements or send them weapons and supplies. Every major military force in the world has provisions for aiding foreign guerrillas if need be, which range from sending in a small amount of SF troops and supplies to deploying small army units to aid them in combat.

During the Vietnam War, the Viet Cong had the support of the government of North Vietnam, the Chinese, and the Soviet military, which extended to having Soviet and NVA troops directly fight in the South). The Russians deployed several Battalion Tactical Groups to fight in the Ukrainian conflict, and of course Israel supported the SLA in the First Lebanon War.

But let us return to the confrontation that is the main topic of this informative - the guerrilla, and his conflict with the enemy government. The guerrilla is , as we covered, less-well-armed, less-trained, and less-supplied than the soldier. He might have, at the worst, a hunting rifle from his grandpa’s closet, and at best an RPG or a Kalashnikov and a couple of grenades. Then, how can he hope to win?

If a conventional military can be seen as operating under the principles of industrial production, equally it can be said that guerrillas are pre-industrial, or perhaps post-industrial, about their operation. An industrial production facility, like a factory, increases productivity an order of magnitude. Five thousand soldiers organized as a regiment have more effective firepower at their disposal than five thousand farmers even if the farmers also have rifles and rocket launchers. However, this comes with certain vulnerabilities that guerrillas are capable of exploiting if they play their cards right.

The primary disadvantage that the soldier faces is that the high level of specialization in his work means he depends on what would - in economic parlance - be referred to as ‘services’ from other soldiers. The infantryman relies on the truck driver to bring him ammunition and food and on the cook to cook it. The truck driver isn’t as good a fighter as the infantryman. The artillerist is good at operating his artillery gun, but he can’t command the gun battery, and he isn’t any good at flying a helicopter or protecting the artillery gun if guerrillas emerge right next to the battery.

The guerrillas are comparatively non-specialized and their labor is primarily expendable. If villager Ho or Potapov are killed in combat with the Imperialist Invader, they can be replaced (as long as the guerrilla movement is still working well) by farm worker Liu or coal miner Smirnov. New AKs can be made in a machine shop. As such, the first element of guerrilla strategy is obvious - begin to engage those people on whom the enemy’s toughest soldiers actually depend on to fight. Rather than fight against the enemy’s infantrymen in their fortified bases, attack truck drivers or field hospitals or division command centers.

A second important element of guerrilla strategy is to try and carry out attacks that minimize the enemy’s advantage. The Viet Cong, for example, favored a tactic known as ‘holding the enemy by their belts’. They figured out that if they attacked American troops at close range, the Americans would have problems calling for artillery and air support, since they risked killing their own men (at the time, artillery could not be safely aimed at targets within several hundred meters of one’s own troops if the troops were not in shelter. Later progress reduced this number to approximately 150 meters). The Afghan Mujahedin favored ambushes of Soviet supply columns in narrow mountain roads, where the Soviet troops had limited options for maneuver. Landmines and bombs are favored by insurgents around the world because they don’t really require you to be on-site to fight the enemy. Snipers are favored by insurgents around the world, partly because sniping revolves around the ability to be a good marksman (which many people have) and camouflage yourself well in the terrain (which can be learned reasonably quickly - IDF sniper training is four weeks long). Countries that have a large quantity of experienced hunters can easily convert these into snipers.

A third element of guerrilla strategy is to take the fight to enemy officials - police, provincial governors and bureaucrats are obvious targets. Shooting these people will often demoralize the enemy (just how good is this government if they can’t protect the Deputy Gauleiter?!), inspire any hidden supporters the guerrillas have (Glorious People’s Resistance Movement Kills Deputy Gauleiter, Avenging Our Suffering!), and make it harder for the government to function. As we covered before, it’s also possible to just kill random civilians - but this has the downside of making people hate you. Suicide bombings are a viable form of attack against any target - suicide bombers are hard to detect unless they’re entering a building with metal detectors or similar equipment, and the notion that the enemy is willing to die just to kill you scares many people. However it’s worth noting that many of the movements that use suicide bombers IRL are totally incompetent, and thus their suicide bombers suck. (Al-Qaeda had an atrocious rate of loss of 50% of their suicide bombers before them arriving on-target). It’s often because movements willing to use their men as living bombs don’t value the lives of their men much (though not always) and thus they’re not likely to be good much at anything.

The important thing in all these tactics is that you want to avoid a fight as such (you will lose the fight. You want to shoot or explode some group of enemy soldiers or officials and then run away, avoiding the necessity of a stand-up fight with people who have more guns than you do and are better at using them. Even if you are engaged in such a fight - running away is almost always a good option.

The fourth, and final, element of guerrilla combat - as Ho Chi Minh pointed out - is propaganda. A well-organized guerrilla movement need to be engaging in three types of propaganda simultaneously. The first of these is propaganda aimed at the population, in which of course you try to make your cause sound just, your movement to sound righteous and cool, and to entice everyone to support you. This is extremely important to all resistance groups. The North Vietnamese even sent out armed groups called Armed Propaganda Teams for outreach to locals. These had both rifles and accordions, grenades and guitars, and both explained Communist ideology to the masses and carried out executions of local officials as shows of strength. Propaganda is also produced aimed at enemy soldiers (trying to entice them to defect, or surrender, or at least to downgrade their morale), as well at the enemy’s population. This is the most important element - all guerrilla action must be planned with the consideration of morale on the enemy’s home front. The Tet Offensive was most famously planned by Ho Chi Minh with the primary goal of shaking American morale, and it worked. There are any number of incidents of governments who had the upper hand in terms of military forces and the sheer weight of troops, guns, and bombers, giving up a struggle with a force of determined insurgents simply because the public at home no longer support their effort.

Guerrillas and Diplomacy


An important element of guerrilla strategy is diplomacy. There are very few incidents wherein guerrilla movements have been successful without support from outside forces. In other words, a guerrilla movement needs a foreign government to ship it weapons, help it train and command its troops, and provide refuge for its leaders and commanders. For the Viet Cong, this role was played by North Vietnam, China, and the USSR. For the Belarus Partisans - by the Soviets. The various factions of the Afghan Mujahedin were aided by Pakistan, the Saudis, the USA and China (it’s probable that the infamous story of Osama bin Ladin personally being a CIA agent is not true). The anti-Soviet resistance groups in Latvia, Estonia, and Ukraine had little meaningful support from outside the Iron Curtain, and they perished. Another possible support is diplomatic support - they might impose sanctions on your enemies or condemn them.

If your guerrilla movement doesn’t have foreign supporters, representatives of the movement need to travel outside the country to negotiate for support. In return, they might offer the friendship of the government they intend to establish, to point out that their cause is right (in terms of what the other governments believe is ‘right’. In NS there’s a plethora of radical governments of all stripes you can get support from), or to offer favorable trade deals. Perhaps you just share a common enemy.

Of course, this sort of negotiation must be carried out in secret. The people you negotiate with must make certain your negotiators are representatives of the actual movement they claim to represent. There are any number of stories in history where people claimed to represent a guerrilla movement and were simply scam artists - the US government had been scammed out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by enterprising Afghani claiming to represent the Taliban. On the other hand, your people need some proof the government you negotiate with will negotiate with you - and not arrest the negotiators as terrorists as they’ll have every right to.

To support you, the foreign government will need to see that your guerrilla movement is being successful. Nobody likes throwing away millions of dollars on a two-bit gang of bandits that loses all the equipment and then gets shot (although it does sometimes happen - governments do make mistakes. In general, if your guerrilla movement is showing its chops and doing semi-good job against the enemy, it’s likely it’ll find someone who has in its interest to support it - every nation has its enemies. (The downside is that in an environment like Syria, with over a hundred groups involved, it’s sometimes hard to know whom to ship the weapons to!).

Finally, another aspect to consider is the eventual negotiations with the enemy. Many nations will come out with a slogan like ‘we do not negotiate with terrorists’, but that’s of course a lie. Everyone negotiates with terrorists if the terrorists can’t easily be beaten - so if your guerrilla movement is strong enough, they’ll eventually have to negotiate with you - either to trade hostages you’ve captured for your men that they’ve taken prisoner, for peace agreements, etc.

The Soviet Union negotiated with the mujahedin to trade Soviet troops that got captured for Afghani prisoners. The US negotiated with the Taliban and with Iran. Israel negotiated with Hamas and Hezbollah. Everyone negotiates if they have to. If you do everything right the enemy will negotiate with you. Perhaps they’ll even negotiate their surrender.

Tactics of Guerrilla Warfare


In the war against the infidel we do not lack Mujahids willing to give their souls up on the path of Allah. We have no shortage of Islamic youth willing to join us. Our problem is our commanders, their ability to plan operations where the enemy suffers a forceful blow, while the losses of the Mujahideen are minimized. Our commanders are almost proud that their groups have many who are wounded or martyred. They do not ask themselves whose fault it is. We will all have to answer before Allah. - Emir Khattab, 2001 manual for Chechen insurgents.

As might be already apparent, life as a guerrilla is horrible. Guerrillas often live, work, and sleep in abysmal conditions (even moreso than regular soldiers). A ‘terrorist base’ or a ‘guerrilla compound’ might be as meager as a cave dug hastily in the woods or a couple of hammocks strung between a few trees. Guerrillas can sometimes be forced to fight against overwhelming odds - they might want to avoid fights with the enemy, but that doesn’t always work out! - against enemy that possesses mindboggling levels of firepower. If they are injured, they might be treated not by real doctors, but by other guerrillas with only the most limited knowledge of medicine and the most improvised tools. If they go to a real hospital, they’re very likely to get arrested.

Under this relentless hammer of adversity, guerrilla tactical planning is born. It is designed to maximize the effectiveness of guerrilla fighters and to minimize the advantages of conventional soldiers. This chapter covers these guerrilla tactics.

Guerrilas can be divided into what are referred to by the IDF’s counterinsurgency doctrine as ‘part-time guerrillas’ - people who have a day job and who sometimes aid the guerrilla movement to carry out an attack. A farmer might have a light mortar hidden in his truck he might use to pop off a few shots at the nearby military base and hide it again after use. More likely, he will be providing information to the guerrilla movement or helping rebels hide weapons and even individuals. For every guerrilla who dedicates himself full-time to the armed struggle there’s a few people who only sometimes participate in it, a larger body of people who are not willing to fight, but are willing to assist guerrillas with information, goods, and donations, and even larger body of people who support the cause in general terms.

By their nature, guerrillas in the early stages of the insurgency are forced to operate in small groups (typically no larger than 100-150 men). The weaker the military force in the area, the larger the groups of guerrillas can afford to be. During the Chechen wars, the separatists sometimes massed groups of thousands of men. In Ukraine, the pro-Russian separatists had 30,000 men under the banner at the late stages of fighting, supported by Russian troops - a point at which it’s arguable that they entered a sort of ‘third stage’ of their effort. In the second stage of the insurgency, however, groups of 100-150 men are more typical.

As is obvious from previous chapters of this informative, guerrillas have no use for armored vehicles, tanks, and airplanes. Where these are sometimes captured by guerrillas, they’re usually abandoned as they run out of fuel and ammunition if any serious confrontation with a government force is at hand. This is because most guerrilla forces are unable to reliably resupply these vehicles and are unable to mass them in amounts capable of confronting a government force. (If they can, you are in the third stage of the insurgency - close this browser tab and move on to reading about mechanized combat). There are some exceptions to this rule (Hezbollah used tanks in the Second Lebanon War in a limited fashion), but this is the general rule.

The weapons of guerrillas are, in the majority of cases, light weaponry, ranging from hunting rifles and pistols and homemade firearms to mortars, MANPADs, and guided missiles. Light artillery and small AA guns (the ZU-23 autocannon is favored by insurgents from Afghanistan to Central Africa) is also sometimes used . The upper limit can probably be defined as can you tow it behind a truck?.

The armed group (often given a flashy-sounding name, it’s always nice to call your group a Mobile Reconnaissance Assault Battalion or The Lions of Allah or something like that) will have agents among the local population. Some of these individuals will be local cops or officials that the group will have bribed, others will be working for the group out of support for the cause. They will provide assistance of various kinds. (It’s also possible to force people to work for you - all the recruitment methods used by drug gangs work here.) They can help you hide weapons, injured troops, etc. (Remember those stories about the French family hiding an injured Allied pilot in their attic? Like that). Most importantly, they will provide information about the enemy’s troops, movements, etc.

With this knowledge, guerrillas can anticipate enemy action. They can approach close to areas where enemy soldiers work, live, and move around, or enter villages and cities to assassinate local officials. For this purpose they can be dressed as local citizens, police officers, or construction workers. The simplest guerrilla action is sabotage - cutting cables, damaging roads and railroad equipment. This can be done by the fighters themselves or their willing assistants in the population. If the guerrillas can bribe someone who works at a train station, for instance, they may damage the engines or brakes on a government train. Very little persuasion is needed to talk some fourteen-year-olds to ‘take this package and carry it to the mayor’s house’ or ‘cut the tires on the police car’ or do any number of things for you, particularly if the locals are already persuaded to think the guerrillas are heroic defenders of the populace.

Beyond assassinations and sabotage, there are actual guerrilla attacks. The most common form of guerrilla attacks is the ambush. In insurgency parlance, the ambush refers to a very specific form of activity. Military vehicles are at their most vulnerable when they’re moving on a road or being moved by train. Trucks - which are of course the main means by which the military moves supplies - are extremely vulnerable in general. As such, guerrillas in every country love ambushing military vehicles as they travel along the road in convoys.

The principle of operation in ambushes is to hide near a road - behind the cover of a forest, or poised as civilian workers, or hiding in civilian buildings near the road. Digging concealed trench positions is fully possible. (There exists a variety of arrangements for the positions of ambushing troops. Follow to the reading list to learn more!) This is best done in an area where getting off the road is not an option for some reason (perhaps it is in a swamp, a forest, a city, or a mountain pass). The principle is then simple - the guerrillas will first disable the first and the rearmost vehicle - either with remote-controlled landmines, weapons fire, guided missile, a tree dropped across the road, anything works.. When this is done, the enemy is stuck - they can not maneuver around the vehicles. Then they will open fire with all their weapons, seeking to destroy as many vehicles and kill as many government troops as possible while the enemy is still confused by the shock of the attack, and then retreat. It’s best to avoid getting into an extended battle with the government’s troops, but sometimes it does happen - the tactic government troops will use in such a situation is to attack fiercely into the ambushing forces, seeking to tie them down in a battle.

Another important form of guerrilla attacks is the raid - a hit-and-run attack on an enemy base or camp. For this, guerrillas must first extensively study the enemy fortification. Their agents can observe it, they can send fighters to look at it by some contrivance, or they can even use drones - today drones are cheap and even two-bit terrorist groups have them. They must plan in advance how they will approach the enemy camp (avoiding any minefields, for instance), what they plan to disable, what they will attack, and - very importantly - how they will run away. A pitch-perfect example of this is seen in the movie Red Dawn, when the Wolverines attack the Soviet concentration camp/military camp. Obviously it is an idealized rendition of the events, but I invite you to actually watch the relevant scene.

In this scene, Colonel Tanner has clearly procured elaborate intelligence of the Soviet compound (down to the storage locations of the Soviet planes and every machinegun bunker). He plans the operation in detail, issues the instructions to the Wolverines, and then attacks rapidly and decisively. The Wolverines who are responsible for blowing up the Soviet jets clearly know in advance they mean to do this and they carry explosives explicitly for this purpose. Then they rapidly free the prisoners and run like hell. This is exactly what a guerrilla needs to be doing in such an operation - have elaborate intelligence, plan everything in detail, have knowledge of the most expensive equipment you want to destroy, carry out everything as rapidly as possible and run like hell to avoid a prolonged fight.

This is the best way to damage expensive military equipment (this is how the Taliban once took out several Harrier jets) and put the fear of your deity of choice into your enemies.

Another form of guerrilla activity is, of course, a variety of harassment attacks. Guerrillas can use sniper rifles (or even an ordinary assault rifle with a scope), RPGs, guided missiles or mortars to attack enemy camps. This is simple - fire a shot or two with your weapon of choice and run fast. Again, avoiding an actual fight is clearly the key point here.

A word needs to be said here about the issue of weapons used by guerrillas. Pistols and rifles and machine guns are obvious, and easy to procure (And even make - there’s nothing about an assault rifle or a submachine gun that cannot be made in a machine shop. Modern CNC machines allow you to just download parts plans from the Internet and start working within the hour.)

Less obvious are heavier weapons - mortars, ATGMs, MANPADs, and RPGs.


A mortar is easy to learn to use, can be hidden easily or carried in a truck and can be used to attack the enemy from several kilometers away and can be made from a sewage pipe if needed. This makes mortars often the only artillery guerrillas have. They can strike from as many as nine or ten kilometers away, and are favored by all factions. If your group is advanced it can have a Grad-P or a similar weapon - a single tube that fires the same kind of rockets a Grad MLRS does. At later stages, one can even get towed MLRS units that can be hidden away under a truck’s tarp. If you are a full-scale third-stage insurgency of course you can have real artillery, but that’s outside our scope. Today, in the age of drones, a small quadcopter can be used to spot fire for the mortar - that is, to check where the shots are landing - and thus vastly increase its effectiveness.

Because guerrillas don’t have tanks, their main anti-vehicle weapons are ATGMs - anti-tank guided missiles. These are easy to train with and easy to use. Older types, like the Sagger missile, are fairly primitive and even at the best of times have a 50% hit rate (And will miss if the gunner gets distracted). Modern ATGMs have either laser guidance, or simply belong to fire-and-forget types - meaning that once the missile ‘remembers’ the target’s heat signature and is fired, the gunner can run away. As we have established, running away is very important. Now, these are imperfect weapons - they can be stopped by reactive armor, electronic warfare, or shot down by active defense. But they are rather good. They will blow up tanks, trucks, parked helicopters, even, in some cases, actually flying helicopters. The ATGM is your friend.

Another important weapon in the guerrilla’s arsenal is the RPG or LAW or any other such contraption. The most famous and popular is the RPG-7 - one of the most perfect man-portable rocket weapons ever designed by man. The RPG-7 is simply put a small tube into which relatively light (2-4 kilograms) rockets can be rapidly loaded. These can be fired with relative precision out to 200-300 meters, or if one doesn’t care for precision, out to two kilometers. Other common weapons are the RPG-18, LAW, AT-14, and other similar contraptions, all of which basically look like a tube. You point this tube at your enemy and push a button, firing a rocket. These have a variety of uses, being useful against infantry, snipers, vehicles, even in a pinch, tanks (if one finds a weak spot). Because the training needed is most minimal, and the rockets are comparably powerful, they essentially give your regular insurgent the firepower of a small cannon. Chechen terrorists were very fond of forming groups of several RPG gunners and having them fire their rockets all at once at Russian convoys, to devastating effect. (Read back on the ambush section!). Another trick is to shoot the RPGs at landed helicopters (obviously, to devastating effect), or at flying helicopters ( you can hit the helicopter when it’s trying to land or take off. Even if you don’t hit, RPG-7 rockets are set to detonate at 2 kilometers, so they can at least scare the pilots into thinking they’re being shot at with MANPADs, or perhaps hit them with shrapnel).

(An important point is that it’s best not to stand behind the gunner as he fires off most of these rockets, nor to fire them from small rooms. The exhaust flame can maim or kill. It’s also notable that the RPG-7 is associated with a psychological phenomenon sometimes known as RPG fever - a situation where the gunner, especially one with little training becomes so excited by the sound produced by the RPG and its devastating effect that he fires shot after shot from one location - sometimes leading to him being shot and killed. It’s preferable to move away after firing one, at worst two shots).

MANPADs are very important to the guerrilla. While it’s hard to get your hands on one (the easiest way is to get them from your foreign ally if you have any), the MANPAD fires a homing missile (similar to the fire-and-forget ATGM) that will detonate near a fighter jet or a cargo plane or (most commonly) a helicopter. Typically MANPADs come with a small rubber bulb containing liquid nitrogen. When the bulb is attached to the MANPAD and crushed, the nitrogen cools the warhead’s seeker to the point it is capable of locking on to the heat signature of a plane. Once locked on, the MANPAD is fired.

Again, cinema and public portrayals of guerrilla warfare have made the MANPAD out to be a superweapon. Partly the Soviet-Afghan War, where the CIA and Pakistani government supplied the Afghans with Stinger and Strela missiles is to blame. In reality, helicopters are capable of outmaneuvering MANPADs or distracting them with infra-red flares. Some aircraft carry complex electronic warfare suites to blind MANPADs, and of course not even being directly hit by a MANPAD guarantees the destruction of the aircraft. The majority of helicopters hit by MANPAD in the Soviet-Afghan War returned to base safely, and the majority of MANPADs fired did not hit - and anti-MANPAD equipment and tactics have improved vastly since.

From this we segue neatly to the issue of helicopters in general. The helicopters are a big enemy of the guerrilla. They can rapidly deliver special forces teams to fight guerrillas, they can rapidly medevac enemy troops, and of course, they can deliver timely and destructive fire support for the enemy. (Even cargo helicopters can carry rocket pods and machine guns). As such, it’s always desirable to shoot at helicopters if there’s the slightest chance of hitting them - even if you have just a rifle. Machine gun fire is the number one enemy of helicopters in counterinsurgency conflicts. If it is possible to post concealed ambush teams near the bases where the helicopters land, attacking them on takeoff and landing is extremely lethal to them (and to everyone onboard - being on a helicopter as it crashes is really unpleasant). If possible, mortar attacks and RPG attacks on helicopters on the ground are very useful too. In general, attacks on enemy aircraft on the ground should be attempted wherever possible, as aircraft are made of thin metal sheets (Excepting a few armored CAS aircraft, and even then the armor only covers part of the aircraft). Their main defense is that when they’re in the air, they’re hard to hit.

Finally, a major item that must be covered in this manual is the issue of fortifications. While in the public mind they’re associated with militaries, in the real world they’re constantly used by guerrillas. A simple fighting position can be dug in a half an hour, and camouflaged easily with grass. The Chechens built elaborate forest hideaways in which they were beyond the reach of the Russian government’s artillery, the Bielsky Brothers hid from the Nazis in dugouts with grass growing on the roof, and of course the Viet Cong had elaborate tunnel networks in which the Americans’ firepower counted for nothing, wherein American Tunnel Rats were reduced to fighting with pistols and knives, clenching their flashlights in their teeth. In urban environments, cinderblocks and sandbags can turn an apartment into a fortress. Digging equipment can be commandeered from the local population if needed.

Bombs, Mines, and IEDs.

IEDs and an anti-tank landmine seized by coalition forces in Baghdad

As we established in previous sections, it’s generally best for guerrillas to avoid fighting conventional militaries as much as possible. An obvious solution to this problem requires its own section as it is very much favored by groups around the world, and especially associated with Middle Eastern groups of all persuasions. The simplest method of killing the enemy and not actually fighting him is leaving a bomb or a landmine. (A common word for homemade bombs is IED - Improvised Explosive Device. Sadly that’s just a cool-sounding way to say ‘homemade bomb’).

Guerrillas will - in any environment where there are actual guerrillas - always have an ample access to bombs and explosives. Explosives can be made from household materials and chemical fertilizers, stolen from military bases or procured from the criminal underworld or from whatever foreign sponsors one has. Even bombs and shells that are dropped by the enemy and fail to explode can be repurposed (if one is daring enough). An aviation bomb that fails to explode can supply enough high explosives to furnish a hundred terrorist attacks.

The harder to make are fuzes. A simple landmine can be made from a hand-grenade (or rather, any explosive to which a hand-grenade fuze is attached) by tying the grenade to something and then tying a string to its pin so that passing enemy soldiers will tear out the pin and cause the grenade to explode. More advanced guerrillas can of course make complex fuzes from household electronics and even cheap cellphones, and thus carry off attacks of any complexity. Obviously an explosive can be hidden in a bag, a piece of furniture, or if large enough in a car trunk to carry out a terrorist attack or an assassination. (Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Da’esh in Syria were both fond of placing a large amount of explosives in a car with a suicide driver).

The really useful weapon is, however, the landmine. While of course guerrillas can establish minefields, they’re of little use to them (minefields are used by conventional militaries to restrain or slow down enemy movements so you can engage the enemy in a protracted fight - in case you haven’t read the previous 7,000 words, a protracted fight is what you don’t want as a guerrilla). Expending vast piles of mines to hand-plant a minefield the enemy will probably avoid is not very useful. Planting mines where enemy soldiers are likely to pass (for example, on the approaches to your camp, or on the approaches to their camp) is very useful, because it will get enemy soldiers actually killed.

Bounding mines with tripwires can be planted nearly anywhere. Sometimes, guerrillas manage to steal the complex sensors that power modern minefields (NVU-P footstep sensors, for instance) and repurpose them, or make their own vibration sensors. (The simplest vibration sensor can be made out of a few pieces of flat spring - it is a 1943 technology). A tripwire can be rigged to explode when it is cut, or placed high enough to be torn by passing trucks, causing bounding mines to shower anyone riding in the trucks in shrapnel.

[A bounding mine is a landmine that is propelled upwards from the ground by a small explosion, and then detonates in the air, carrying enough shrapnel to literally kill every exposed man in 30-35 meters and sometimes injure a few people beyond that.]

Anti-vehicle landmines can be placed on roads either on their own (obviously, to blow up random vehicles) or with remote control. They can be of course used as part of an ambush. (Conceivably, a rebel group might use landmines to blow up vehicles and initiate the ambush, and have bounding mines planted off the side of the road to kill off troops trying to assault the ambushers.) If your guerrillas have rich foreign friends, then ask them for anti-helicopter mines. These are a form of landmine that detects aircraft passing under 150 meters (for example, landing or taking off) and set off a self-forging penetrator (a piece of metal forged by the explosion into a drop of hot, molten brass) aimed at the aircraft.

When factory-made landmines are not available, it’s easy to make them by converting any existing explosive to have a tripwire or remote-control fuze. Old artillery shells, supplies of household fertilizer, and even the RPG rockets we covered in previous chapters can become landmines. (The Chechen separatists would have an RPG or an RPO thermobaric launcher aimed at a section of road they wanted to shoot at, and had it triggered by a fighter who held wires linked to a detonator from 200 meters away, obviously one can hook up an RPG-18 or an AT-4 to a tripwire with little effort).

Finally an important issue is sabotage. Explosives can be used to damage any elements of infrastructure (electric wires, cellphone towers, bridges, dams and tunnels) and even military vehicles if you can somehow sneak explosives into the enemy compound. Divers - if the guerrillas have any - can sneak explosives up to enemy cargo ships. During the Vietnam War, the Soviets provided the Vietnamese with floating mines that were designed to float gently downstream until they impacted with US boats, bridges, and other equipment. Obviously this wasn’t very reliable, but the takeaway is that you can make an explosive which floats - and have your divers steer it gently to target.

An important type of sabotage is blowing up trains. Note I said trains and not rails. Blowing up rails is a waste of explosives - modern armies can replace a section of rail in literally under 20 minutes. As rails are often patrolled by counterinsurgency forces, it’s also possibly a waste of men. Unless you’re blowing up a rail bridge or a tunnel or some other key piece of equipment, this is very unlikely to delay the enemy trains meaningfully. On the other hand, blowing up a small explosive under a train in motion is likely to derail the train. Then you’ll do a lot of damage to the track, plus have lots of damaged railcars blocking the rails. Rescue efforts and removal of the damaged railcars can take days and cause cascading traffic issues up and down the track.

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[part 2]

Postby Allanea » Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:14 pm



While, generally speaking, there is no bright dividing line between guerrilla fighting and terrorism, still, it’s necessary to address in broad terms the concept of terrorism as it is commonly understood - deliberate attacks on the civilian population aligned with one’s enemy. This is generally a fairly simple process - attacking unarmed, defenseless people is easier in many ways than attacking soldiers. However, a few points should be made for the clarification of this issue.

Terrorist activities come in two major stripes. One - associated, for example, with the 19th Century People’s Freedom Movement in Russia, early 20th Century Anarchist terrorists, as well as - on the other side - various right-wing movements in the era, revolved around violent attacks on specific individuals associated with the ruling regime. In Russia, the People’s Freedom Party assassinated Alexander II, and attempted an assassination of Alexander III. Anarchist activists in Russia assassinated Stolypin, in the US, they killed President William McKinley, in Portugal - King Carlos I, in Greece - King George I. Zionist assassins of various factions killed Lord Moyne, Secretary of State for the Colonies, Count Bernadotte, and others.

More famously, assassination was used as a tactic by anti-Nazi resistance during the Second World War. Resistance fighters - sometimes working with the guidance and assistance of allied commandos - methodically took out Nazi officials. Among the most famous is the assassination of Reinhardt Heydrich by Czech resistance fighters trained by Britain’s Special Operations Executive, who threw an anti-tank mine converted into a sort of giant grenade into his car. Another famous assassination was the killing of Wilhelm Kube, a senior Nazi official in Belarus, by partisans who set a British-made magnetic anti-tank mine into his bed, equipped with a timer.

That said, guerrilla assassinations are not limited to senior leaders. Killings of farm owners (typically by Communist guerrillas), religious leaders (by members of religious or anti-religious groups), journalists (by a broad variety of factions). are not uncommon, as are killings of police officers (again, practiced by everyone - police, being armed, uniformed officials, are effectively viewed as officers). It is difficult to come up with some tactical guide for this form of action - an assassination is, simply put, the same in terms of technology as a criminal murder. All the broad variety of ways in which criminals murder people are of course applicable here.

The purpose of these tactics is double - one, to disrupt the activities of the enemy government by killing individuals who are key to its operation, and two, to demonstrate that the enemy government is incapable of providing its core function of protection. Ruthless and evil governments - like the Nazis - are capable of responding to assassinations with reprisals, perhaps by announcing they will execute ‘ten villagers for every police officer killed’. Even less ruthless ones might retaliate with reprisals in the form of, for example, air strikes on suspected guerrilla compounds and just ‘accept’ that these air strikes will lead to civilian casualties. Sometimes, governments retaliate by imposing curfews on the local population - partly as a show of force, partly to be able to better prevent future attacks, and partly out of a desire to punish the locals.

Another important feature of early terrorism was carrying out violent crimes to finance the cause - armed robbery and extortion were practiced not just by the ‘bad guys’ of history (like Stalin) but also by ‘good guys’, like the Jews who planned and carried out the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Guerrilla movements often start out doing as well, but eventually move on to simply organizing some form of ‘taxation’ of the population. Drug dealing, trafficking, even slavery are practiced by various groups (though obviously not all). In Afghanistan, the Mujahedin seized control of Lazurite mines to finance their operations. Chechen terrorists relied on human trafficking, oil refineries, large-scale banking scams, and - unusually - diverting money from the Russian government's own funding of Chechnya (for several years after Chechnya’s declaration of independence, the Russian government refused to recognize what happened - and thus continued sending Chechnya its share of the Russian budget). The Islamic State has its own oil fields.

Finally, there is terrorism as it is most commonly known in the public mind - brutal, non-selective attacks on civilians, either as hostage-taking attacks or simply bombings and shootings of innocent civilians. These are heinous and terribly hard to prevent. As we have covered, explosives and firearms are easy to make. If the resistance cell escapes detection by the enemy government (perhaps by maintaining secrecy or by hiding their weapons in an area out of the reach of police) it’s fairly easy to sneak a small quantity of guns or explosives into most places. (Again, I am not making here a claim about the ability of gun restrictions to reduce crime - but merely about the ability of determined, well-organized guerrilla fighters to procure weapons, particularly in a country where rule of law is already compromised to some extent, and an armed resistance movement already exists.)

Many various tactics have been tried by terrorists. Two essential varieties of terrorist targeting strategies exist - either attempting to carry out attacks against those targets that would allow them the largest amount of media attention (though these attacks might be harder to carry out), or carrying out attacks on targets of opportunity (though these might have less of a media payoff). At one end of the spectrum, one has the 9/11 attacks and the Oklahoma City bombing, on the other - simple knife attacks in the streets.

The most common targets for terrorist attacks are places where people congregate in large quantities. During the 1990s, Hamas and several other terrorist groups perfected the art of the bus bombing. A terrorist would get on a bus, wearing a suicide belt, or leave a bomb in the bus’ passenger compartment. (The suicide belt was the most ‘popular’). In Iraq, terrorists targeted queues at government offices (for example, at polling places during elections). Night clubs are often targeted by religious-minded terrorists, partly because night clubs are often associated with moral depravity, and partly because they are - again - places where lots of people congregate. Other obvious targets are schools (though in some countries, schools have armed security), theaters, etc.

Finally, an important point to consider is symbolism. A socialist rebel group might target farm owners or bankers (or banks themselves), a racist or nationalist organization might target churches or leading members of the ethnic group they hate. Animal liberation groups often target restaurants or laboratories - not because the suffering of animals in laboratories is meaningfully worse than that in factory farms, but because of the greater media impact of attacks on laboratories.

The point of all terrorism is to degrade the public’s belief that the enemy government is capable of providing for their safety. Because the provision of security is one of the core functions of the government, this - terrorists hope - will degrade the enemy government’s legitimacy. If people fear afraid in their daily lives - terrorists hope - they will bow down to their demands. This is not always true - sometimes, the public might support punitive measures and brutal military responses against the terrorists and the population that is associated with them, leading to the guerrillas’ defeat.

A final issue to consider is the strategy of suicide bombing and suicide terrorism in general. While modern suicide bombing is associated primarily with radical Islamist groups, it had been used all over the world. The most famous suicide terrorist was Ignaty Grinevitsky, the man who threw the bomb killing Alexander II - who died also of his wounds. Suicide bombing is intended to have a psychological effect on the enemy, who is supposed to be intimidated by the fact that the guerrillas are willing to sacrifice their lives to kill them.

Suicide bombers - like all guerrillas - are often recruited most successfully in socially disadvantaged groups who feel that they are oppressed by the enemy government. This doesn’t believe every individual suicide bomber must be poor and uneducated - economic and social problems create a lush environment for radicalism, but it doesn’t mean that every person who empathizes with radicals is himself poor. In fact, studies suggest that the more educated a suicide terrorist is, the more casualties he will inflict when he finally blows himself up. On the other hand, terrorist organizations often guarantee to the families of suicide bombers a degree of financial support after the death of the bomber - encouraging people living in extreme poverty to give up their lives for their cause.

There is no single set group of demographic attributes that lead people to become suicide bombers (though it appears that, in most societies and religions, most bombers are young males). The use of suicide bombers appears primarily in societies and belief systems that have a strong authoritarian belief system, and particularly if the culture includes a strong belief in the trope that shortages of weaponry or military power can be overcome by sheer bravery or force of will. Individuals who believe that they or people around themselves are not sufficiently brave are also often lead to become suicide bombers, to demonstrate their own worth. Many terrorist groups also recruit adolescents, who trend more to a romantic mindset and suicidal ideation, as suicide bombers.

(This applies not only to true suicide bombing, but to all missions where the terrorist is most likely to be killed).

An important economics caveat must be that as a country’s economy declines, the ‘quality’ of suicide bombings - that is to say, the lethality of attacks - increases, as more and more people with college degrees are available to become bombers (as they lose their jobs and end up in extreme poverty). People with BA and MA degrees make better living bombs than people without an education.

[align=center]Guerrillas and Peaceful Resistance


[align=justify]It’s often imagined that guerrilla fighting is an alternative to peaceful resistance. The thought process goes, either you fight the enemy with hand-grenades, or you resist them peacefully. In reality, every major terrorist organization maintains some manner of presence in the legal world. Some of these forms of principal resistance are crude, others more elaborate and long-term. The peaceful elements of a long-term guerrilla movement encompass everything from villagers blocking roads in the path of the enemy tanks to intellectuals working out elements of a future national culture.

The simplest form of peaceful resistance is the refusal of the local population to comply and assist the enemy government. To some extent this can be quelled by brutal violence - but not all governments are willing or capable of committing this violence, and violence may sometimes enrage, rather than intimidate, the population. The simplest form of peaceful resistance is citizens refusing to provide information to the authorities - which is, for obvious reasons, very helpful to the guerrillas. Another item, somewhat more overt in scope, is peaceful or semi-peaceful protests against the enemy government. These protests may sometimes erupt into riot (a few rocks can be thrown at enemy tanks), but importantly they should not be allowed to grow to an extent that would justify widespread use of physical force by a sensible military.

In reality, of course, these protests will be coordinated by sympathizers of the guerrilla movement. Their job will include all the things that safety marshals do at peaceful political events - organize the event, make sure it does not grow too violent - as well as photograph and record the event. Video footage of the enemy government’s soldiers beating down peaceful protesters or small children who threw rocks at them (yes, putting your children at risk in this way benefits your cause) will be very useful to your cause. Chechen separatists were famous for organizing protests where villagers would block roads (sometimes lying down on the pavement) just as Russian infantry needed to drive through to urgent missions, sometimes delaying military operations for hours. Similarly, separatists in Eastern Ukraine had orchestrated protests by the local population that blocked and restrained the movement of tanks and IFVs that were headed for Slaviansk and Donetsk, an action that culminated in the seizure of several armored vehicles by the crowds.

Acts of vandalism are technically violent, but can be organized among people unwilling to actually fight for their worldview. Spray-painting the movement’s logo might sound mild, but it can be a powerful message - ask people who live in gang-controlled areas how intimidated they feel by gang tags on the walls. Cutting the tires on police vehicles might be more useful, and so might be damaging CCTV cameras - and at higher levels the vandalism transitions, essentially, into sabotage. Animal liberation groups and radical environmentalists often engage in vandalism as their chief activist tactic.

Another important element is working jointly with labor unions. While of course formally there should be no connection between the nation’s labor unions and the guerrillas, strikes and boycotts can be organized to disrupt the functioning of railroads, the unloading of military cargoes, and the boycotts of businesses known to work with the enemy government. The guerrilla movement should work also with peace movements and human rights organizations (or any group willing to market itself as such) to organize divestment efforts - get consumers and investors around the globe to stop buying products produced by companies connected to the enemy government.

A guerrilla movement can be connected to a range of charities - some operating abroad, raising money to aid the population of the home country (either genuinely to aid the population, or use aiding the population as a thin pretense to fundraise for weapons and gear for the guerrilla fighters), others operating domestically to create schools, hospitals, and other organizations that help the local population. These should not be explicitly tied to the guerrilla movement (or of course the enemy government would shut them down), but at the same time they should be aligned in some sense with the cause in the public mind. If the movement is a nationalistic one, they should promote the national culture, if it is a religious one - perhaps preach a less-radical version of the rebels’ religion. The enemy government will be forced to either censor the groups’ - thus, shutting more and more people out of the legitimate discourse field - or tolerate them. Both actions, of course, have their risks.

If at all possible, the guerrilla movement should have a ‘political wing’, a group that is legally ‘peaceful’ and associated with the movement’s cause, but not openly tied with the armed resistance. Ireland’s Sinn Fein, Israel’s Islamic Movement, and any number of other movements of this kind have operated on the edge between legal and illegal action. In some cases, these groups can be legally organized as political parties and stand in local elections. In the event of a political resolution to the struggle, these groups can form intermediaries between the enemy government and the guerrilla movement.

Should a resistance war last for years, its support network will, finally, require intellectuals. A nationalist movement, for instance, requires linguists to write dictionaries of the national language, historians to create a national historical narrative and ideology. A religious movement would require priests and theologians. For the propaganda effort itself, writers and musicians, journalists and photographers would be needed. It would be these people, in the long run, who would shape the face of the nation that will emerge - if it emerges at all - from the crucible of guerrilla war.

[align=center]Reading List[/size]


Red Dawn (1984) - provides an idealized, but fairly sensible, depiction of guerrilla activities.
Defiance A rarely acknowledge classic on the struggle of Jewish partisans. Unlike Red Dawn this is a reasonably gritty film, demonstrating also some of the ethical issues faced by the Jewish partisans.
The Wind That Shakes the Barley - a film about the Irish resistance against British rule


”Rolling Hot”, - by David Drake, a Sci-Fi take on the Vietnam War.


Battlefield Vietnam - a critically-acclaimed documentary series on the Vietnam War.
Jihad: Afghanistan’s Holy War - a US-made documentary about Afghani resistance to the Soviets.
Afghan : the Soviet Experience - another documentary about the Afghan War, this time about the Soviet perspective on the events.
One Day with Givi, a pro-Russian separatist fighting in Ukraine in the second battle for Donetsk airport


The Revolutionary War in Spain, by Karl Marx
Total Resistance: A Guerrilla Manual for Everyone is a guerrilla warfare manual published to prepare the citizens of Switzerland for a potential Warsaw Pact invasion. Free copies of the book are easy to find online.
Partisan’s Companion: Deadly Techniques of Soviet Freedom Fighters During WW2
Special Forces Unconventional Warfare Training Manual, discusses guerrilla warfare and the role of Special Forces in aiding and assisting guerrilas.
Last edited by Allanea on Sun Dec 04, 2016 1:43 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby The State of Monavia » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:05 am

C’est magnifique! I cannot praise this guide enough for all that it offers in terms of clearing up common misconceptions and clarifying what it actually means to wage guerilla warfare in NS or any other environment. I personally believe that a large portion of the inaccurate perceptions and perspectives that NS players entertain tend to stem from their youth (the “average” NS player is a relatively young fellow) and their consumption of popular culture that is produced by individuals who fail to “do their homework” regarding these topics. I have made a point of forwarding the URL of this thread to someone who I think will appreciate it and hope to read more documents like this one in the future.

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Postby Allanea » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:29 am

The State of Monavia wrote:C’est magnifique! I cannot praise this guide enough for all that it offers in terms of clearing up common misconceptions and clarifying what it actually means to wage guerilla warfare in NS or any other environment. I personally believe that a large portion of the inaccurate perceptions and perspectives that NS players entertain tend to stem from their youth (the “average” NS player is a relatively young fellow) and their consumption of popular culture that is produced by individuals who fail to “do their homework” regarding these topics. I have made a point of forwarding the URL of this thread to someone who I think will appreciate it and hope to read more documents like this one in the future.

I've written three previous informatives, Allanea's Friendly Guide to Modern Infantry, Allanea's Handy Guide to Urban Combat for NS players, How to Develop A Military Doctrine For Your Nation.

You might want to read Questers' Basic Primer to Naval Warfare, Lamoni's guide to military radio procedure.

I'm sure there are other good guides but these are the ones I know.

I am currently doing research for a fifth guide, A Primer to Military Incompetence.

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Postby The Macabees » Fri Jun 17, 2016 7:12 am

This is a really awesome guide Allanea!

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Postby Wanderjar » Fri Jun 17, 2016 8:19 am

Really well done brother
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Postby New Aeyariss » Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:24 pm

Good one, I have to say. I think I can also show here my guide.
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Postby Rhodevus » Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:56 pm

This is an incredible guide with information I am most definitely going to use in the future. Another great guide, thank you!
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Postby Minroz » Wed Oct 12, 2016 5:31 am

Tag. I need this when I want my charas to go guerrilla.

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