April 28, 2014 at 4:32 pm #4171
As our understanding of potential conflict grows, we should look back in history for relevant lessons for the light infantry partisan. As a student, I have in the past, overlooked Che Guevara due to his sinister reputation during the war in Cuba and beyond. The are several aspects of his book, Guerrilla Warfare that are incredibly relevant to the American guerrilla facing enemies foreign or domestic.
Firstly, this is a must read for the armed American patriot. Cover to cover is the distilled lesson of the Cuban revolution, told from the tactical perspective. The Cuban guerrilla was outgunned and outnumbered. Those conditions will be mirrored in any American guerrilla war, regardless of oppressor.
Second, the patriot who understands the limitations of his position will also then understand his strengths and play to those. I am interested in discussing the current American situation and tactics that will be employed to safeguard rightful liberty. As our political environment becomes more restrictive, this discussion may not be possible on a future, highly regulated Internet. My goal here is to highlight possible hazard areas for the patriot to minimize losses in men and material and facilitate victory.
1) “The fundamental characteristic of the guerrilla band is mobility.” Reflect on how we are training and how we will achieve this. Most forum contributors are involved in some kind of PT program and that is good. Max V has spoken of this requirement many times. It may also require movement by vehicle to approach the objective. Che stresses the need to avoid encirclement at all costs. The need to use speed and stealth both before and after actions on the objective is paramount on a tactical level to avoid this. Consider how American surveillance programs seek to restrict, control and monitor free movement, especially in urban areas (unfavorable ground).
2) “The numerical inferiority of the guerrilla makes it necessary that attacks always be carried out by surprise.” This seems obvious at first. However, this concept requires a high level of OPSEC, more than most of us are accustomed to. This requirement will affect all phases of the planning and execution of a mission. No unencrypted comms; the use of messengers and relays to transfer information over larger distances; use of secure land-line networks all can be options. F2F. The importance of Small Unit Tactics (SUT) as we learn in the patrolling classes cannot be overemphasized. According to Che, the maximum size for guerrilla units at the early stage should be from 10-20 men. It would seem that larger units would often lead to discovery or betrayal and require a larger footprint than is appropriate for guerrilla units.
3) “The guerrilla must never forget the fact that it is the enemy that must serve as the source of supply.” I found Che most interesting in this regard. Your current stockpile will not last forever. All missions need to be scrubbed in terms of economy. You must always minimize expenditure of ammunition unless you will gain even more. I always chuckle at the alarm many express at the billions of rounds that DHS is buying. So what? You need that!
One thing we must consider is that we must not leave a fallen comrade with his arms and ammo. It must be retrieved for further use. “The duty of every guerrilla soldier whenever a companion falls is to recover immediately these extremely precious elements of the fight.” Consider that when planning a patrol. If the force is overly burdened with heavy loads how will we transport captured or recovered equipment? My fighting load at present has a 13 mag capacity, 390 rounds! Prior to embarking on a patrol I would give that a hard look to ensure there was adequate lift capacity to absorb additional burdens. It is not sufficient to say that “I’ll burn through that in 30 minutes!” I should hope not.
I’ll pause here. The possibility of a guerrilla conflict grows each day. Armed citizens would be wise to prepare for that eventuality. (CRM/CRCD/CP) Such a conflict imposes different considerations than conventional prepping that many have already embarked on. I agree we should have the ability to carry large amounts of ammo because our resupply is limited or our mission may involve establishing a cache for future operations. The lesson I took away here was that the guerrilla must list capture of arms and ammo as a matter of highest priority. He must not expend more than he can replace. He must use surprise to achieve the goals above. As a practical matter, I may have to reconsider my armor and ammo loads when contemplating those types of missions. Lighter is faster. The second most important thing to the guerrilla besides his weapon, according to Che, are his boots. Hit hard and withdraw as quickly as possible.
Please add to, or critique as required.
The only easy day was yesterdayApril 28, 2014 at 4:48 pm #4173AnonymousInactive
I like those points and agree w/ them.
To me this is at the core of the arguement I tried to make in a seperate thread on wearing armor.
That is that, that mobility is a center of gravity for us when fighting the the power of an organized militarized domestic/foreign enemy.
And so our TTPs and how we configure our kit must reflect that and as a result we may have to expect a new normal compared to what folks have grown accustmomed to wearing in other conflicts .
(Maybe drop Armor? Handgun? other nice to haves in order to have greater mobility for exfiling from ambushes? Guerillas are byforce minimalists )
It should even influnce how we train…
Back as an artilleryman I would train upper body a lot, especially shoulders combined with legs to feed those guns w/ 155.
In a guerilla role I will train a lot of legs and core for mobility, control and speed in difficult terrain and/or under load (plus of coruse cardio, which didnt matter so much in Mechanizd Arty)
For example Max’s Battle belt.. may not fit well into riding around in armored Humveess but its perfect for the hard fight we may find ourseleves in.
PS: I better get cranking on a battle belt set up myself (still running FLC)April 28, 2014 at 4:54 pm #4174
F, I was thinking of our conversation when I wrote this. The book is available on Kindle and it’s cheap. As Chuck said so well in his TTP piece, be flexible. The return on investment is what is important. The guerrilla or SHTF prepper has limited resources in many areas.
The only easy day was yesterdayApril 28, 2014 at 5:08 pm #4178
This is what I like about this forum: the willingness to find lessons regardless of the source. While Che was a murderous commie bastard, that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from him.
I agree especially that point 3 is critical. In fact, much of what a group of Gs would of necessity focus on is staying alive and building combat power. Using the enemy as a source of supply is nothing new, but something that is relatively new (for Americans at least) is that the militarization of law enforcement means that military grade equipment is now easier than ever to obtain. For example, (hypothetically speaking of course) a patrol car is an easy target for a small four man cell, but chances are, there’s a patrol rifle, ammo, body armor, even NVGs in that thing. Of course, you’ll only get away with something like that a couple of times before they start traveling in convoys, including MRAPs, but that sort of consolidation means they can’t cover as much area which gives the G more freedom of maneuver…April 28, 2014 at 7:27 pm #4185AnonymousInactive
I like Mao’s understanding of guerrilla warfare better, personally. Che was young, dumb and full of… Che held that the principle of guerrilla warfare was the creation of a popular movement through violence against an oppressor. The more battles you win, the more people will join your cause. [EDIT: Point ceded to D Close. Che does mention force preservation.]
One more thing I’d like to add is that guerrilla movements are political movements. Without political legitimacy, guerrilla movements fail. What’s the political movement, and who will represent the alternative for which the guerrillas are fighting?April 28, 2014 at 8:16 pm #4189
Sam C, from Guerrilla Warfare:
“At the outset, the essential task of the guerrilla fighter is to keep himself from being destroyed.”
“The fundamental principle is that no battle, combat, or skirmish is to be fought unless it will be won.”
“The guerrilla fighter is a social reformer, that he takes up arms responding to the angry protest of the people against their oppressors.”
“Guerrilla Warfare is used by the side which is supported by a majority but which possesses a much smaller number of arms for use in defense against oppression.”
“The guerrilla fighter needs the full help of the people of the area, this is an indispensable condition.”
“Naturally, it is not to be thought that all conditions for revolution are going to be created through the impulse given to them by guerrilla activity.”
“People must see clearly the futility of maintaining the fight for social goals within the framework of civil debate…an attitude of resistance finally crystallizes in an outbreak of fighting, provoked initially by the conduct of the authorities.”
Respectfully, Sam, in light of what Che actually wrote, I couldn’t disagree more. I also found Mao to be helpful though. We would be unwise to denigrate Che because of his reputation and not digest the lessons. No doubt a North American conflict would have its own, unique character as well.
Again, I have no affinity for the man, but he writes a hell of a book that will save lives if it is understood.
The only easy day was yesterdayApril 28, 2014 at 8:33 pm #4190Joe (G.W.N.S.)Moderator
We would be unwise to denigrate Che because of his reputation and not digest the lessons.
In many communities Che is not held in high regard, however it has nothing to do with his actions or conduct, it has to do with his reputation far exceeding his performance at Guerrilla Warfare (GW).
I haven’t read his book in over 20 years, I’ll have to add it to the bedside stack.April 28, 2014 at 8:38 pm #4191SethParticipant
I agree with Mr. Culper’s assessment.
I have high-functioning awesometism.April 28, 2014 at 9:41 pm #4195AnonymousInactive
It’s been a short while for me as well. Fair enough point on the first sentence. My bad. Last time I read it, I just remember seeing the differences between the two because I read them back to back. Che first, then Mao. Maybe that’s why Mao stuck with me.
I’m also not saying that we can learn nothing from Che.April 29, 2014 at 12:24 am #4198
Another quick read worth perusing is Carlos Marighella’s “mini-manual of the urban guerrilla.”
Nothing earth shattering, but a few nuggets of info.April 29, 2014 at 12:32 am #4199
Sam et al, I would tie this into Chuck’s post on TTPs. It isn’t clear yet whether the train goes over the cliff first, or a violent catalyst crystalizes the simmering unrest. Discussion such as this will help define the conflict. We must think on these things beforehand. I will eventually review Mao as well. The rate of crystallization will be determined, I believe by events outside of our control. Our role in the end may not be guerrilla warfare but rather as a stabilizing force, post collapse. I will be looking to you to help assess where we are at.
The only easy day was yesterdayApril 29, 2014 at 1:05 am #4200
Mervo! I wasn’t sure if anyone else had heard of him. Yes, interesting tidbits in there…if I remember, he seems to try to use Brazil’s city folk to jump start things. His urban guerrilla was a well rounded kind of guy. A big proponent of the automatic weapon in that environment, but also concerned with the logistics of such arms. I think the urban terrain is even more unfriendly these days to the G. Before this is all over, we may see some of his thoughts in action, possibly in a general WROL scenario where certain groups vie for power in the cities. His was a very Marxist-Leninist ideological class struggle, even more so than Che, from what I can tell (I am unsure and can only speak on these books on guerrilla war). I like his “sins of the urban guerrilla”: 1) inexperience, 2)boastfulness, 3) vanity, 4) exaggeration, 5) precipitous action, 6) attacking an angry enemy (wtf?), and 7) failure to plan
The only easy day was yesterdayApril 29, 2014 at 11:20 am #4210
I believe you can learn way more about guerrilla warfare reading Che’s diary than reading his “guerrilla warfare” book.
War is politics by other means, without a political party, a strong auxiliary network and population support there is no way a group of armed guys can change anything.April 29, 2014 at 1:17 pm #4223
I will read that. Thank you. Completely agree with your point.
The only easy day was yesterdayApril 29, 2014 at 1:50 pm #4225AnonymousInactive
I believe you can learn way more about guerrilla warfare reading Che’s diary than reading his “guerrilla warfare” book.
I need to go get that! :)April 29, 2014 at 5:42 pm #4242AnonymousInactive
Has anyone read Max Boot’s Invisible Armies? It’s all about guerrillas and guerrilla conflict. It’s a BIG book. Once I get done with Out of the Mountains, I’m going to start on it. Just wondering if anyone had feedback.April 29, 2014 at 5:55 pm #4244AnonymousInactive
Not yet.. but my reading list is getting bigger and bigger :)April 29, 2014 at 8:10 pm #4249Joe (G.W.N.S.)Moderator
Has anyone read Max Boot’s Invisible Armies? It’s all about guerrillas and guerrilla conflict. It’s a BIG book. Once I get done with Out of the Mountains, I’m going to start on it. Just wondering if anyone had feedback.
It’s about 5 books away on my list. How is “Out of the Mountains”? Worth the time?
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