The term Guerrilla war (small war in Spanish) was first used during the Peninsular war during the Napoleonic wars. Here it referred to the Spanish peoples war of liberation against the French using irregular troops and hit and run tactics in the mountains of Spain. Since then it has come to mean any war being fought by irregular (if not civilian) troops using hit and run tactics fighting their own or an invading government. Of course such irregular wars existed long before the Peninsular war and several can be seen in the campaigns of the Romans and Alexander the Great. The end of the Second World War brought an upsurge in Guerrilla Warfare, Mao Tse Tung had shown that a Guerrilla army could succeed in taking control of a country against regular opposition, and his theories soon to be copied and added to by other Communist revolutions such as Che Guevara would inspire an generation of Guerrillas. With the Colonial powers weak after World War 2 many saw their chance to take power, some were successful, as with the Viet Cong in the Vietnam War, others met stiffer opposition such as the communist guerrillas defeated by the British in Malaya what was to become known as the War of the Running Dogs. Guerrilla Warfare continues in many countries today although the phrase guerrilla is gradually being replaced by the term insurgent, and its combating has become a subject stream military strategy under the term COIN (Counterinsurgency).
How to cite this article:
Dugdale-Pointon, T. (8 November 2000), Guerrilla Warfare, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/concepts_guerilla.html
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