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Can a guerilla/insurgent force defeat a conventional army?

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Re: Can a guerilla/insurgent force defeat a conventional arm

Postby SwordBrethren » Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:19 pm

Also a major factor will be time, the nation/government opposing the insurgency must be willing to endure 20-30 years of casualties and attacks, outlast the insurgency, contain the insurgency, and wait until the socio-political conditions that gave rise to the insurgency are no longer a factor.

In other words, the ability to endure, is a major factor.

The British basically adopted that outlook in Northern Ireland, they suffered a large number of casualties, but they kept civilian casualties to a minimum and they outlasted the IRA.
Revelation 18:
Und ich hörte eine andere Stimme vom Himmel, die sprach: Gehet aus von ihr, mein Volk, daß ihr nicht teilhaftig werdet ihrer Sünden, auf daß ihr nicht empfanget etwas von ihren Plagen!

Denn ihre Sünden reichen bis in den Himmel, und Gott denkt an ihren Frevel.


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Re: Can a guerilla/insurgent force defeat a conventional arm

Postby MikeTheAdamite » Sun Jul 13, 2014 1:49 pm

I agree BUT Are you sure the IRA are gone?

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014 ... es-britain
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Re: Can a guerilla/insurgent force defeat a conventional arm

Postby SwordBrethren » Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:32 pm

MikeTheAdamite wrote:I agree BUT Are you sure the IRA are gone?

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014 ... es-britain



The IRA today is largely a joke, they are not a credible threat to the British Army or to the Royal Ulster Constabulary [or whatever it is called today].
Revelation 18:
Und ich hörte eine andere Stimme vom Himmel, die sprach: Gehet aus von ihr, mein Volk, daß ihr nicht teilhaftig werdet ihrer Sünden, auf daß ihr nicht empfanget etwas von ihren Plagen!

Denn ihre Sünden reichen bis in den Himmel, und Gott denkt an ihren Frevel.


Judentum ist Verbrechertum!

Heute ist Deutschland die größte Weltmacht! - Der Führer 30 Januar 1940
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Re: Can a guerilla/insurgent force defeat a conventional arm

Postby MikeTheAdamite » Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:23 am

Your probably right,if they were still a credible threat we would have seen a bomb or two go off here on the mainland in recent years but there hasn't been since 2001 if I'm correct!
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Re: Can a guerilla/insurgent force defeat a conventional arm

Postby EendragMaakMag » Sun Jul 20, 2014 4:47 am

SwordBrethren wrote:
EendragMaakMag wrote:@Nayto
Yes they didn't win the war, but they did strike a blow so hard that the empire would decline to what it is today. Although, considering that an entire generation was wiped out in the most inhumane way possible, they should have kept fighting until they wiped them out. Then again, if your wife and daughters were raped and then starved to death in tents located in some of the climatically extreme places in SA, your house, your farm, in essence your entire livelihood and all your belongings were burnt to ashes, what would be the point of fighting? It just wasn't worth it. Also, you're absolutely right - I've ALWAYS said that the Boer people's greatest weakness(and whites in general) is that they are too softhearted. But they didn't like the war and repeatedly tried to avoid the war until they had no choice. Which it seems is another weakness - They were always fighting defensively and almost never pursued the enemy beyond their borders. Yes I read that about the jews in the Boer army too. But rather that than being led by jews :roll:

@SwordBrethren
You're absolutely right. What I should have said was: With the proper mindset, guerrilla/insurgency tactics can definitely defeat a conventional force. What I was trying to point out is that even though the Boers didn't win the war, their tactics were definitely able to break the brits if they had made better choices. Perhaps a better example would be the SADF during the Border/Angolan war(which was basically our Vietnam and Middle east conflict). Although, keep in mind that in this instance the SADF were the conventional force and SWAPO/Mkontho we siswe(MK)/APLA and the other terrorist factions were the guerrilla force. At first, they tried beating the commies with a conventional approach. They weren't very successful and even the generals of that time admit that. However, once they went back to what we know(in other words, being BETTER guerrillas) with units like 32 Battalion and most importantly Koevoet(both being among the most effective military/para-military units in modern warfare history), they totally annihilated the enemy. All because of a change in mindset aligned with guerrilla tactics. And by mindset I mean they killed everything that resembled an enemy or aided the enemy in any way.




I have read about a dozen books on the wars in Rhodesia, Southwest Africa, and Angola, and combining what I took away from those books with what I have read about Vietnam and other insurgencies, I believe a key to putting down any guerilla movement is cooperation from the locals and the use of "pseudo-guerilla" forces to repeatedly ambush genuine guerillas. Pseudo-guerillas function best when they are former guerillas who have switched sides and are fighting for you, but you can also use White men who apply black paint to look black from a distance. The cooperation from the locals comes in a number of forms, mainly denying recruits and supplies to the guerillas. Beyond that, you will need to arm and organize the locals into village defense militias so that they are armed and ready to stop the guerillas from simply taking recruits and/or supplies. The use of pseudo-guerillas will keep the real/genuine guerillas on their toes at all times, they will never be sure if the group of men approaching them, men who appear to be guerillas, are genuine comrades about to embrace them or pseudo-guerillas about to open fire.

The Portuguese never had 500,000 men to detail a platoon sized garrison to every small village in Angola and the USA never had 3,000,000 men to garrison every village in South Vietnam, thus preparing/training/arming the locals to defend their own villages is crucial.

Most guerilla movements gain recruits via force, they threaten to destroy the village unless a certain number of young men are provided for fighting or to at least help carry/haul supplies. A huge percentage of the guerillas in Southwest Africa and Angola did not want to be there, many of them were coerced with threats against themselves, threats against their families, and many had been tricked by the KGB and then dropped into Angola.

East German advisers serving with MPLA in Angola found that they had no stomach for fighting and that they would break ranks and run as soon as they began to receive incoming shells or mortar rounds. One East German officer also remarked that they were savages who were more interested in getting drunk and raping women than in fighting the South Africans and that it was virtually impossible to find guerillas willing to carry heavy equipment such as the belt-fed machine guns, the tripod, the mortar, the mortar baseplate, and that they would drop the equipment and scatter as soon as they began to receive South African indirect/artillery fire. If I recall properly one East German officer wrote that the Angolan blacks were animals unfit to be involved in the spread of communism.


You are absolutely right. The use of the local population to fight an insurgency is vital for a number of reasons. Besides all the factors you have listed above, it also serves as your intelligence network which in my opinion is the foundation of an insurgency/counter-insurgency operation. That is also why "mak terrs"(tame terrorists) were so useful - they provided a wealth of intelligence and could easily blend back in to the local population to continue their work. Furthermore, using the local population decreases ownfor losses as well. However I wouldn't arm local militias. This could backfire and provide the insurgent force opportunity to arm themselves. Also an easy victory over untrained local militias could also encourage the guerrilla force to be more bold. In this situation I believe brutal punishment is better than prevention for a number of reasons.

I have read of the same sentiment among most advisers in Africa at that time. No wonder the "African liberation movement" was the greatest failure in guerrilla warfare history.

I'm going to disagree with you on the endurance argument in that I believe that prolonging any conflict is a bad idea no matter what the reason. If one leaves even a small insurgent force to become larger, better trained, better armed and most importantly more organized, one risks the insurgency to effectively attack important targets in a well coordinated manner that would make endurance impossible. I believe swift, brutal action is the better option.

See I think we might have different ideas about what a guerrilla ought to be. If anyone thinks I'm talking about the riffraff that was in Africa and now in the mideast...you are mistaken. When I say an insurgency force I'm talking about a "kommando" unit like the Boers had and like Koevoet. Small, highly organized, well trained, well informed, highly mobile units that operate independently to brutally punish the enemy and achieve the objective.
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Re: Can a guerilla/insurgent force defeat a conventional arm

Postby SwordBrethren » Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:17 am

EendragMaakMag wrote:
SwordBrethren wrote:
EendragMaakMag wrote:@Nayto
Yes they didn't win the war, but they did strike a blow so hard that the empire would decline to what it is today. Although, considering that an entire generation was wiped out in the most inhumane way possible, they should have kept fighting until they wiped them out. Then again, if your wife and daughters were raped and then starved to death in tents located in some of the climatically extreme places in SA, your house, your farm, in essence your entire livelihood and all your belongings were burnt to ashes, what would be the point of fighting? It just wasn't worth it. Also, you're absolutely right - I've ALWAYS said that the Boer people's greatest weakness(and whites in general) is that they are too softhearted. But they didn't like the war and repeatedly tried to avoid the war until they had no choice. Which it seems is another weakness - They were always fighting defensively and almost never pursued the enemy beyond their borders. Yes I read that about the jews in the Boer army too. But rather that than being led by jews :roll:

@SwordBrethren
You're absolutely right. What I should have said was: With the proper mindset, guerrilla/insurgency tactics can definitely defeat a conventional force. What I was trying to point out is that even though the Boers didn't win the war, their tactics were definitely able to break the brits if they had made better choices. Perhaps a better example would be the SADF during the Border/Angolan war(which was basically our Vietnam and Middle east conflict). Although, keep in mind that in this instance the SADF were the conventional force and SWAPO/Mkontho we siswe(MK)/APLA and the other terrorist factions were the guerrilla force. At first, they tried beating the commies with a conventional approach. They weren't very successful and even the generals of that time admit that. However, once they went back to what we know(in other words, being BETTER guerrillas) with units like 32 Battalion and most importantly Koevoet(both being among the most effective military/para-military units in modern warfare history), they totally annihilated the enemy. All because of a change in mindset aligned with guerrilla tactics. And by mindset I mean they killed everything that resembled an enemy or aided the enemy in any way.




I have read about a dozen books on the wars in Rhodesia, Southwest Africa, and Angola, and combining what I took away from those books with what I have read about Vietnam and other insurgencies, I believe a key to putting down any guerilla movement is cooperation from the locals and the use of "pseudo-guerilla" forces to repeatedly ambush genuine guerillas. Pseudo-guerillas function best when they are former guerillas who have switched sides and are fighting for you, but you can also use White men who apply black paint to look black from a distance. The cooperation from the locals comes in a number of forms, mainly denying recruits and supplies to the guerillas. Beyond that, you will need to arm and organize the locals into village defense militias so that they are armed and ready to stop the guerillas from simply taking recruits and/or supplies. The use of pseudo-guerillas will keep the real/genuine guerillas on their toes at all times, they will never be sure if the group of men approaching them, men who appear to be guerillas, are genuine comrades about to embrace them or pseudo-guerillas about to open fire.

The Portuguese never had 500,000 men to detail a platoon sized garrison to every small village in Angola and the USA never had 3,000,000 men to garrison every village in South Vietnam, thus preparing/training/arming the locals to defend their own villages is crucial.

Most guerilla movements gain recruits via force, they threaten to destroy the village unless a certain number of young men are provided for fighting or to at least help carry/haul supplies. A huge percentage of the guerillas in Southwest Africa and Angola did not want to be there, many of them were coerced with threats against themselves, threats against their families, and many had been tricked by the KGB and then dropped into Angola.

East German advisers serving with MPLA in Angola found that they had no stomach for fighting and that they would break ranks and run as soon as they began to receive incoming shells or mortar rounds. One East German officer also remarked that they were savages who were more interested in getting drunk and raping women than in fighting the South Africans and that it was virtually impossible to find guerillas willing to carry heavy equipment such as the belt-fed machine guns, the tripod, the mortar, the mortar baseplate, and that they would drop the equipment and scatter as soon as they began to receive South African indirect/artillery fire. If I recall properly one East German officer wrote that the Angolan blacks were animals unfit to be involved in the spread of communism.


You are absolutely right. The use of the local population to fight an insurgency is vital for a number of reasons. Besides all the factors you have listed above, it also serves as your intelligence network which in my opinion is the foundation of an insurgency/counter-insurgency operation. That is also why "mak terrs"(tame terrorists) were so useful - they provided a wealth of intelligence and could easily blend back in to the local population to continue their work. Furthermore, using the local population decreases ownfor losses as well. However I wouldn't arm local militias. This could backfire and provide the insurgent force opportunity to arm themselves. Also an easy victory over untrained local militias could also encourage the guerrilla force to be more bold. In this situation I believe brutal punishment is better than prevention for a number of reasons.

I have read of the same sentiment among most advisers in Africa at that time. No wonder the "African liberation movement" was the greatest failure in guerrilla warfare history.

I'm going to disagree with you on the endurance argument in that I believe that prolonging any conflict is a bad idea no matter what the reason. If one leaves even a small insurgent force to become larger, better trained, better armed and most importantly more organized, one risks the insurgency to effectively attack important targets in a well coordinated manner that would make endurance impossible. I believe swift, brutal action is the better option.

See I think we might have different ideas about what a guerrilla ought to be. If anyone thinks I'm talking about the riffraff that was in Africa and now in the mideast...you are mistaken. When I say an insurgency force I'm talking about a "kommando" unit like the Boers had and like Koevoet. Small, highly organized, well trained, well informed, highly mobile units that operate independently to brutally punish the enemy and achieve the objective.



SWAPO took 30 years to take over "Namibia" and only succeeded for reasons that were primarily political. At no time did SWAPO possess the capability to militarily conquer Namibia. Koevoet was successful in just about every military operation and SWAPO was largely on the ropes. If things had gone on for another 5-10 years, I think SWAPO would have dissolved or collapsed.

Swift action against a guerilla movement is only preferable if it can be undertaken without aggravating/alienating the population and causing further uprisings. An example- if dealing with rural based guerillas it is easier to use artillery and air power against their main bases of operation, with minimal risk of impacting non-guerillas. If you are dealing with urban guerillas you cannot reasonably expect to be able to declare entire city blocks to be "free fire" zones.

Guerilla movements need to be confronted and contained/opposed militarily, but this must be done primarily by specialized units. While this is going on the conditions that have given rise to the insurgency need to be addressed politically and socially or else fresh guerillas will continue to replace the ones that are being killed/wounded/captured and the insurgency will continue indefinitely.
Revelation 18:
Und ich hörte eine andere Stimme vom Himmel, die sprach: Gehet aus von ihr, mein Volk, daß ihr nicht teilhaftig werdet ihrer Sünden, auf daß ihr nicht empfanget etwas von ihren Plagen!

Denn ihre Sünden reichen bis in den Himmel, und Gott denkt an ihren Frevel.


Judentum ist Verbrechertum!

Heute ist Deutschland die größte Weltmacht! - Der Führer 30 Januar 1940
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Re: Can a guerilla/insurgent force defeat a conventional arm

Postby NicoChristian » Sun Jul 20, 2014 12:31 pm

One thing I would like to add is that unless one is actually in the warzone, it's hard to draw correct conclusions. Watching a war from the sidelines one can only rely on reports and more often than not propaganda. That said the combatants can be tunnel-visioned because they only see fighting on the ground. It's very hard to find out the truth about foreign conflicts. One way or another the victory will depend on the media as a clear victory cannot be declared against an insurgency.
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Re: Can a guerilla/insurgent force defeat a conventional arm

Postby MIkeZealous » Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:58 pm

As a Ex Infantry Soldier in the British Army for many years, and having served in the Iraq war,Op telic 2 & 5 (2003/05) and fighting the Iraq insurgents/mahdi army etc.

First of all you have to do your intel on the enemy,do not underestimate the enemy,respect the enemy.Then find out their strengths and weaknes's,weapons,munitions,their command structure,their terrain,their customs ,culture,history etc.As the saying goes:- fail to prepare,prepare to fail!- One advantage a home grown underarmed,undermanned insurency has, is the fact they are are fighting for the land they live on,live in,and for thousands of years their people have lived there and developed their own unique Identity,culture,heritage.They also want to protect their families,livelyhoods,their religion in somecase.Some insurgencies and their peoples also have moral family codes,honours etc.They are also more willing to sacrifice their lives,than we are.Believe me,all those things are huge advantages when fighting an occupying force on your own soil,who has huge manpower and arms.The insurgents have something to defend and fight,die for,a occupying force does not.

Next the term "defeating a conventional army" has many interpretations. You could argure the "insurgents,mahdi army" in Iraq defeated us British in Basra,as we withdrew from the region,with the enemy unbeaten,I have no doubt the British Govt where in talks with the Iraq authorities.mahdi army officials,where a cease fire was arranged,so our forces could leave peacefully.I say this,as on the final day,there was a huge convoy of vehicles and troops that left Basra completely untouched,no attacks on vehicles,equipment,troops,along the long long route out.Which is very extrodinary considering the amount of day in,day out fighting for many years,We were sitting ducks that day. So one could argure the Iraqi Insurgency defeated us and gave us a peacefull route out.

So in my opinion,yes a insurgent force can deafeat a coventional Army,abeit on a technicality,after all we did not defeat the insurgents,mahdi army.

As far as the ira are concerned,I served in NI on Op Banner a few times in the 1990,s. They too lacked weapons,numbers.What they used to counter our strengths,was Bombs,Booby traps.snipers and of course bombing/killing innocent men,women children to try to force the govt to remove troops,and negotiate.I had more respect for Iraqi insurgents,than the ira,as they came out to fight you,up close and personal,as the ira used hiding, dirty tricks,tactics.The ira never had suicide bombers either.There is today still a ira terrorist organistaion called the real ira,who still commit atrocities and had a few foiled here on the uk mainland.
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Re: Can a guerilla/insurgent force defeat a conventional arm

Postby Rogue » Sat Oct 11, 2014 11:45 pm

MIkeZealous wrote:As far as the ira are concerned,I served in NI on Op Banner a few times in the 1990,s. They too lacked weapons,numbers.What they used to counter our strengths,was Bombs,Booby traps.snipers and of course bombing/killing innocent men,women children to try to force the govt to remove troops,and negotiate.



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Re: Can a guerilla/insurgent force defeat a conventional arm

Postby NicoChristian » Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:35 pm

Current situation, Iraq, ISIS. It seems the coalition have utterly failed in Iraq. ISIS have all but taken over the country and the Americans are unwilling and/or unable to re-enter Iraq. I would say each insurgency is different and whilst some are easily defeated others can become large and powerful like ISIS.
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