Guerilla warfare as complement to conventional warfare

Oct 2011
76
Croatia
#1
I have noticed that a lot of people (that I have talked to) consider conventional warfare and guerilla warfare to be essentially separate if not opposed, as in "or/else" situation. But looking at matters historically, this is far from true:
1) Roman Empire used essentially guerilla warfare as either primary way of war or else complement to conventional warfare since Atilla the Hun and Strategikon of Emperor Maurice. It was often coupled to war of maneuver, using light cavalry and infantry to avoid confrontations with enemy army in open field and instead launching attacks against enemy supply lines, or even enemy territory. When enemy did attack in force, guerilla tactics would be used to demoralize and weaken the enemy before the open-field confrontation, or even to avoid the confrontation alltogether. You may find this interesting.
2) Soviet Union after Axis invasion had strong guerilla forces behind the enemy lines, and often used air resupply to help said forces out. I do not think there was any significant coordination, however.
3) During the Vietnam War, North Vietnam used Viet Cong to tie down significant numbers of South Vietnamese and US troops. This was effective especially since it didn't need to fear the US invasion.

Any more examples, or comments on the above?
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,243
Lago Maggiore, Italy
#3
Personally I don't see why guerrilla warfare is not "conventional".

We are living in the 21st century and probably we should leave the XIX century conceptions about warfare. When they developed mass armies they expected wars to be fought by organized regular armies with soldiers wearing uniforms and well deployed on a battlefield.

Already the Americans [while they were setting themselves free from the English domination] did simply what was not only licit, but obvious. To face the British forces in open field was a suicide, so they had an easy alternative ... guerrilla. And what we would call "terrorism" today.
 
Likes: Talbot Vilna
Oct 2013
13,528
Europix
#4
Any more examples
Yougoslavia's partisans. It was practically/almost conventional army fighting a guerilla until August/September 1944, when it "took it into open".

Armies fighting what we call today guerilla was extremely common in the Balkans, Central and Eastern Europe. Small entities, facing empires able to raise huge professional armies ... guerilla was the first choice.

I never made a survey, but I would say that Ottomans had more difficult in their conquest of Balkans with guerilla warfare than with "conventional" warfare.
 
Likes: Picard

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,243
Lago Maggiore, Italy
#6
And we would miscall it, if we would call it terrorism.

Guerilla and terrorism are two different things.
Sure. Technically [making things simple] the main difference stays between partisans and terrorists: partisans attack military and administrative targets connected with an occupying power, terrorists attack civilian targets without any direct connection with a conflict in progress [they say "you're a Western, so you're an enemy!" Well ...].
 
Oct 2013
13,528
Europix
#7
Sure. Technically [making things simple] the main difference stays between partisans and terrorists: partisans attack military and administrative targets connected with an occupying power, terrorists attack civilian targets without any direct connection with a conflict in progress [they say "you're a Western, so you're an enemy!" Well ...].
It isn't just technically, IMO.

Guerilla and terrorism aren't mutually exclusive, as they are two "ways", two "techniques".

You can fight a regime through guerilla and as a terrorist or not as a terrorist, as You can be a terrorist without fighting a guerilla.
 
Aug 2014
4,043
Australia
#8
And we would miscall it, if we would call it terrorism.

Guerilla and terrorism are two different things.
Not really. It is just semantics. If you are on the side that is dishing it out, you call them "freedom fighters". If you are on the receiving side, you call them "terrorists".

guerillia simply means "little war". It was coined during the Spanish resistance to Napoleon's occupation. The French considered the Spanish insurgents to be terrorists and with good reason. They committed many atrocities.
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,843
Sydney
#9
As a military strategy it make plenty of sense
the occupier has to leave plenty of his troops behind to control his lines of supply /communication
 
Oct 2013
13,528
Europix
#10
Not really. It is just semantics. If you are on the side that is dishing it out, you call them "freedom fighters". If you are on the receiving side, you call them "terrorists".

guerillia simply means "little war". It was coined during the Spanish resistance to Napoleon's occupation. The French considered the Spanish insurgents to be terrorists and with good reason. They committed many atrocities.
Even if we remain to the initial Spanish meaning (guerrilla=little war), it's not the same thing. Terrorism doesn't mean little war.
 

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