If you were in charge of waging a war against guerrillas

Jan 2010
1,316
#51
Abhishek - you're lacking a little imagination yourself. An average guerrilla war is not an existential struggle but one for political control of a limited territory. Neither side is usually prepared to fight to the bitter end (last man and bullet) although the guerrilla's are often more invested in the outcome and hence prepared to go further (at least if those they are fighting against have power over a much larger area and are not also natives of the disputed region). I never meant to imply hearts and minds wins a guerrilla war by itself but it is an essential part of the toolkit, because if the counterinsurgency forces follow the advice of many on this board (nukes, napalm, extermination and other means of doling out of indiscriminate death) they will alienate the entire population they are trying to control, incur diplomatic opprobrium and probably worse (active military support for the insurgents from outside parties) and lose domestic support for the conflict. The correct response is a combination of a military one solely against those that are active on the guerrilla side combined with sincere efforts to address the basic causes of the political grievance to the extent reasonable and possible. The more immorally and indiscriminately the action against the guerrillas is conducted the more likely it is to lose and this is the reason why terrorist groups from the IRA to ISIS have tried to provoke overreaction by those they're fighting against. Bleeding hearts don't come into it.
 
Jun 2015
1,252
Scotland
#52
You could take the Ghengis Khan approach. Any sign of resistance is met with total ruthlessness. Any area resisting is depopulated. All adult males are killed and any women or children left alive are sold. Do this a couple of times and the message gets out, stifling any thought of armed resistance.
 
Apr 2012
1,683
India
#53
Abhishek - you're lacking a little imagination yourself. An average guerrilla war is not an existential struggle but one for political control of a limited territory. Neither side is usually prepared to fight to the bitter end (last man and bullet) although the guerrilla's are often more invested in the outcome and hence prepared to go further (at least if those they are fighting against have power over a much larger area and are not also natives of the disputed region). I never meant to imply hearts and minds wins a guerrilla war by itself but it is an essential part of the toolkit, because if the counterinsurgency forces follow the advice of many on this board (nukes, napalm, extermination and other means of doling out of indiscriminate death) they will alienate the entire population they are trying to control, incur diplomatic opprobrium and probably worse (active military support for the insurgents from outside parties) and lose domestic support for the conflict. The correct response is a combination of a military one solely against those that are active on the guerrilla side combined with sincere efforts to address the basic causes of the political grievance to the extent reasonable and possible. The more immorally and indiscriminately the action against the guerrillas is conducted the more likely it is to lose and this is the reason why terrorist groups from the IRA to ISIS have tried to provoke overreaction by those they're fighting against. Bleeding hearts don't come into it.
Paulinus Sir, I am not lacking in imagination. When you imagine an average guerrilla, you imagine IRA which was honourable enough to warn civilians when it planted bombs. When I imagine a guerrilla, I imagine IS fighting in street, with murder and rape of infidels being a norm. Thus I could envision a scenario in which giving quarter to enemy would not only bad in military sense, but is immoral too.

And Guerrilla war does not mean that the side fighting it is militarily weak. Even a side with abundance in men could opt to fight guerrilla warfare, if it is at an disadvantage in heavy weaponry: Airforce, Artillery, and Tanks. After all, if your enemy has only 1000 men but 20 Tanks, and you have 50,000 men but no tank or anti-tank missiles, it would be better to take out those 1000 men one by one in street/guerrilla warfare rather than risk open battle against armored force.
 
Jan 2010
1,316
#54
Paulinus Sir, I am not lacking in imagination. When you imagine an average guerrilla, you imagine IRA which was honourable enough to warn civilians when it planted bombs. When I imagine a guerrilla, I imagine IS fighting in street, with murder and rape of infidels being a norm. Thus I could envision a scenario in which giving quarter to enemy would not only bad in military sense, but is immoral too.
I mentioned IS in my post so I don't know why you suggest I'm only imagining IRA, nor do I follow why you are apparently only imagining the OP refers to IS when there are and have been many guerrilla movements and only very few have been as extreme as IS. Given the evident reluctance of the leading powers to put troops on the ground against IS it is also apparent that the only chance of defeating them is to win the support of those that are - and that's not likely to happen if completely indiscriminate killing is being used against IS supporters and others alike. It also takes a lot of diplomacy and efforts to win hearts and minds.
 

GogLais

Ad Honorem
Sep 2013
5,043
Wirral
#56
you imagine IRA which was honourable enough to warn civilians when it planted bombs.
I've no wish to start up The Troubles debate but I can't let this go unchallenged. Many civilians were killed by IRA bombs and even if warnings are given it doesn't always mean that action can be taken in time or that they aren't believed to be hoaxes.
 
Likes: Kevinmeath
Aug 2014
525
Northumberland
#57
Steal or photocopy all the order books and invoices of all the weapon manufacturers, plus delivery locations and dates.
You then have names,dates, bank details, totals of weapons to be delivered and when...then set a trap.It doesnt matter if any of the info is false as you intercept the weapons on-route, sending empty containers or broken/booby-trapped weapons.Then kill/capture the gurillas if they turn up.
Hack the bank accounts from the info you get from the orders/invoices.
Lastly, use double agents or infiltrators to give you all the info you need until you can use it to play off dufferent factions within their organisation whilst feeding duff info to your agents.If they get caught or change sides you know they have by as you have given each one different duff info that only they would know.:D
 
Mar 2014
8,881
Canterbury
#58
Total ruthlessness is coming up time and time again. It is not a strategy to defeat guerrillas. You can only implement it if you're already able to win the conflict as you are.

Now whether a complete control is needed for a genocidal war or not depends upon the type of war one is fighting and end goals of occupier.If you want land and resources but have no sympathy with population and have people to populate a desolate area, actually shelling or bombing insurgency prone areas to dust thus killing native population or forcing them to move out would be a sound strategy. In this case you do not need to have won control of ground
You don't need complete control, but you do need a lot to implement a genocidal strategy. Your soldiers or bombs need to physically get to their intented targets. To do that, they already have to be capable of clearing guerrillas out the way first.
 
Last edited:
Jun 2015
1,252
Scotland
#59
I've no wish to start up The Troubles debate but I can't let this go unchallenged. Many civilians were killed by IRA bombs and even if warnings are given it doesn't always mean that action can be taken in time or that they aren't believed to be hoaxes.
Please don't. Ive had that debate and ran away. It was like having a debate on Evolution with a creationist:zany:.