Conditions under which Guerrilla Warfare takes place:
Guerilla Warfare exists when you find people who are too weak to resist occupation yet are too strong to be defeated when occupied. In order to mobilize guerilla campaigns from peoples with loose social organizations there must be a threat to their way of life and a common ideology (often religious) to unify resistance. (Lambert, Lecture at US Command and General Staff College, 1988)
Mao Zedong had a slightly different take on the progression of revolution, and he admitted to taking his model in large part from the success of the American Revolution (1775-1781)
- Political work: Working among the peasantry to win them over, and build a base from which to operate.
- Guerrilla warfare: This is where the insurgents fight the state, but in harassing actions or against communications and logistics. The objective is not to win territory, but to weaken the enemy while consolidating one’s own power.
- Conventional war: Once the enemy is weak enough, and the insurgent has enough control to fight large-scale battles, the insurgent must take control of the ground.
The guerrilla struggle in Chechnya against first the Soviet union and their successors, the Russian Federation provides insightful and interesting examples of success. That guerrilla struggle was met with exceptionally harsh responses on the part of the Russians, but it’s still ongoing with no end in sight. The War has been broken up into different phases by historians: First Chechen War 1994-96, Second Chechen War 1999-2000, and “continued unrest” – not an official war. Between April 2009 (when the anti-terrorist operation in Chechnya was officially ended) and April 2010, 97 servicemen have been killed on the territory of Chechnya; at the same time, government forces there have killed 189 persons claimed to be militants or their collaborators. The Russians only claim that there is a “war” when the direct control of the City of Grozny is contested.
|Lizzie van Zyl – died in the
Bloemfontein concentration camp.
“Every one of these children who died as a result of the halving of their rations, thereby exerting pressure onto their family still on the battle-field, was purposefully murdered. The system of half rations stands exposed, stark and unashamedly as a cold-blooded deed of state policy employed with the purpose of ensuring the surrender of men whom we were not able to defeat on the field.” – W. T. Stead, British Journalist
The term Hybrid War has been knocked around for some time. It is used to define conflicts that combine elements of conventional forces in war with guerrilla forces. The American Revolution was an example of a hybrid war where both the British and the American Revolutionaries used regular forces and partisan forces (militia) in an attempt to reach their goals. The Americans, aided by the French after 1777, won the war by not losing the war.
T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) helped to define what a guerrilla war is.
“…suppose they [the Arabs] were an influence, a thing invulnerable, intangible, without front or back, drifting about like a gas? Armies were like plants, immobile as a whole, firm-rooted, and nourished through long stems to the head. The Arabs might be a vapour, blowing where they listed. It seemed that a regular soldier might be helpless without a target. He would own the ground he sat on, and what he could poke his rifle at.
Conventional forces can only be effective if they occupy every square mile of ground. You need a lot of conventional forces – with a supply chain – to control ground. As soon as they left the ground, it reverted to rebel ownership.