If you were in charge of waging a war against guerrillas


Forum Staff
Oct 2011
Italy, Lago Maggiore
To wage a war against a guerrilla is totally wrong, tactically and strategically.

Don't wage a war against a guerrilla. Period.

Send commandos of mercenary killers [may be hired from local Mafia] to kill the leaders of the guerrilla. This is the best thing to do.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
It depends on how bound your hands are by the "Rules of War"

If these don't concern you then the order of "10 dead civilians" for every soldier wounded by the guerrillas and 100 dead civilians for every soldier killed, will lead to a dramatic drop in attacks especially if you target areas where you know a large number of Guerrilla are from.

Knowing that their entire family could be wiped out if they attack anyone will stop such attacks.

If you are however bound by the rules of law, then cut off their supplies stop the guns, ammunition and bombs reaching them. Even better if you can start supplying them with materials yourself. Guns that jam and backfire, explosives that detonate prematurely, make them doubt their own materials.
The retaliation method you describe was used to extremely poor effect by Germany in WW2. Unsurprisingly, Germany's greatest counter partisan successes were using intelligence driven operations targeting specific cells and individuals
Roll them up, investigate prisoners while exploiting paperwork and other evidence captured, use actionable information to find new targets to capture/kill before they even know the first cell was destroyed. Doing this, it's not unheard of to destroy multiple cells in a single night, effectively gutting a local guerrilla organization of its most valuable cadre.
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Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
The British showed a way of dealing with counter insurgency in the Malayan Emergency. The Briggs plan focusing on resettlement, communication, small-scale/cross-border movement and more importantly the ability to deal with the local populace via hearts and minds. It wont always work but if the opportunity is there, secure the local populace, and take away the ablity for the guerillas to hide away among the populace and secure co-operation from local populace, cutting away their base of operations and reasons for fighting.

That is more effective than conventional operations or burning them out, which could effectively produce more hate and future problems.

That is also what Suchet did in Spain, during the Napoleonic wars, so that the local populace didn't resist him as much as other marshals, and also what Campbell did in his term as governor of Georgia during the American Revolutionary wars. They both treated the local populaces well, resulting in less insurgency against them.
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Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
So I would pose this question: If a battle of Falluja is being fought between streets of New york, London, or Paris between natives and Islamists (who have become majority due to uncontrolled migration) and government faces a threat of losing control of these cities or even whole provinces, would you suggest that government observe all rules of war and treat these insurgents with kid gloves while your opponent is not observing any?
First, considering that was a battle in a war-of-choice started on the basis of a pack of lies, it should not have been fought then and there.

Secondly, considering how while the invasion itself was a resounding success, the following occupation phase was the most egregious example of bungled clueless idiocy that battle for that reason as well should never have been fought like it was.
Jul 2018
Remove the reason why there is guerrilla.
Make them an offer they can't refuse.
Hit a few carefully selected targets.
Oct 2018
Its the most brutal kind of warfare.
If you are not bound by rules of war then the most brutal sort of reprisals work best in the short term like killing entire families if one of them is found to support the guerilla.
In long terms such brutal measures wont be sustainable but in the short term it works.

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
The only way to win is to get the local population on your side. You need them to think of the guerillas as the bad guys rather than you.
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Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
War is not an exact science. What is working in A.. maybe it is wrong in B... what is working in A today... maybe it is wrong in A in the next war... or it was wrong in A in the past war...

So... any measure is good or wrong.... it is going to depend on circumstances, social, cultural relationships, what´s played in the war...the mentality etc etc etc..

So... What was working in Malaysia... maybe (personaly I think for sure) would have been wrong in Indochine or in Vietnam...What worked in La Vendée, Egypt, Naples, Tirol or Bavaria... didn´t work in Spain.

The best? not to have to fight a War against Guerrilla.
Aug 2012
So, you have a problem with a guerilla army. They're launching sporadic raids and in all likelihood being harboured and supported by the civilian population.
The answer on how to deal with them depends solely on how much you actually need that civilian population. Have you invaded the land for its natural resources? Its geographical importance? If so, the continued existence of the civilians is immaterial.
Chemical weapons can kill huge numbers of people in seconds. Good for reprisal attacks and to dissuade other townships from collaborating with the rebels.

But you also have to mingle honey with vinegar. What are the religious views of the populace? How can you use their iconography to legitimise your own rule? Are there any priests you can purchase to instruct the people to support you? Are there any ethnic tensions? Could you benefit from incorporating one ethnic group into your army and allowing them to subjugate their enemies? Are they economically disadvantaged? Judicious displays of generosity can be useful.

You essentially have to slowly connect your culture with theirs, and slowly consume it, so any guerillas will lose the sense of identity they are fighting for. A slow trickle of colonists is also helpful, as they will breed and slowly supplant the native language with their own tongue if you give them better property rights and employment opportunities than the locals.
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