Guerilla Warfare


Guerilla Warfare Essay, Research Paper

Guerrilla Warfare

The term guerrilla (Spanish, little war ) originated in the early 19th century during the Peninsular war when, after the defeat of Spain s regular forces, Spanish irregulars and civilians rose up against the French occupying forces. The practice of guerrilla warfare, however, dates from antiquity; for example, the Bible tells of the Israelite conquest of Canaan, led by Joshua, involving harassment and ambush of the enemy. Later Jewish resistance to foreign rule was expressed in the series of fierce guerrilla operations against the Romans in the 1st century AD; led by the Zealot sect, this revolt was climaxed by the seizure of Masada and the massacre of the Roman garrison there in AD66.

Lacking the numerical strength and weapons to oppose a regular army in the field, guerrillas avoid pitched battles. Instead, they operate from bases established in remote and inaccessible terrain, such as forests, mountains, and jungles, and depend on the support of the local inhabitants for recruits, food, shelter, and information. The guerrillas may also receive assistance in forms of arms, medical supplies, and military advisers from their own or allied regular armies.

The tactics of guerillas are those of harassment. Striking swiftly and unexpectedly, they raid enemy supply depots and installations, ambush patrols and supply convoys, and cut communication lines, hoping thereby to disrupt enemy activities and to capture equipment and supplies for their own use. Because of their mobility, the dispersal of their forces into small groups, and their ability to disappear among the civilian population, guerrillas are extremely difficult to capture.

Guerrilla warfare has figured prominently in the history of North and South America, from the slave revolts against the Portuguese and Dutch in Brazil in the 17th century to the ranger raids behind Union lines led by the Confederate solider John Singleton Mosby during the American Civil War. In early 19th century Latin America, guerrilla actions such as those led by the South American patriot Simon Bolivar and the Mexican revolutionary Miguel Hidalgo Costilla were instrumental in throwing off the Spanish yoke.

In its most general sense, guerrilla tactics involves the combination of methods used to carry out any action. Urban guerrillas wage guerrilla warfare and psychological warfare. There are five major components to guerrilla tactics: a.The specific nature of the situation; b.Designing the action to meet the specific nature of the situation; c.The objective; d.The type of action designed to meet the objective; and, e.The method for carrying out that action.

Urban guerrilla tactics embody the following features: (this is how one man refers to guerilla warfare in his country)a.They are aggressive and offensive in nature. Defense means death for us. Since our firepower, resources, and manpower cannot match that of the enemy, we cannot defend ourselves against an offensive or a coordinated attack made by the “guerrillas.” So our tactics must vary, and can never be permanent, and that is the reason we cannot defend a fixed base, nor remain in any one locale, waiting to repel the encirclement of reaction. b.It is through the tactics of attack and retreat that we preserve our forces; and, c.Tactics that enhance the development of the urban guerrilla are those that wear down, demoralize, and harass enemy forces. In this way tactics allow the urban guerrilla forces to survive and expand until the revolution can establish rural guerrilla warfare, which plays the decisive role in a revolutionary war.

In my opinion guerrilla warfare is essential for any country that is under political stress; in a country where the voices of the people are silenced, there has to be a group of rebels to lift an iron hand off the misfortunate and become heroes in doing so. However guerrilla warfare isn t all that good, it can send chaos in a country. It can affect that country s economy. Also many people can get killed. Most guerrillas in the modern world are referred to as terrorists; and that is how people are looking at it, terrorism.


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