What Does It Take To Fight A Revolution? Part II Partisan Politics
By: Tom Chatham
When all else fails to prevent the rise of tyranny and the abuse of freedom, good men of continence must take those actions that in peaceful times seem drastic and ill advised. The maintenance of freedom is an ongoing struggle between those who believe in God given rights and those who believe in government supremacy. It is only natural that a country that slowly turns its back on God and embraces immoral activities, will eventually see the government as the grantor of social values and freedoms. It is the moral decay of a society more than anything else that signals its impending demise and only those that rise above the depravity will be able to defeat these forces. Those without moral values must ask themselves what they are willing to die for while good men already know.
To be effective in defending values that they hold dear, a partisan resistance must have resources to draw on. A populace can be controlled by restriction of water, food, movement, communications and financial controls or any combination of these systems in a developed country. It is the role of the partisan to become as self sufficient in these areas as possible in order to conduct an effective campaign. The less government restrictions affect the population, the less control they will have over them and the less likely the population will succumb to government orders. Access to resources is the governments biggest concern when it comes to control and that is why they will secure those items very quickly when they wish to implement full control over the population.
When it becomes evident to most of the population that the government wishes total control, it will be difficult to acquire those resources in sufficient quantities to be effective in the future, therefore, supplies and production capabilities must be organized prior to government action. Resources needed to wage a prolonged fight can be broken down into several categories.
Personnel – Partison personnel would need to live in the area of operations to better blend in and for knowledge of the area. They would be averse to government interference in their daily lives and would be willing to make sacrifices to improve their living conditions.
Secure area – Partison fighters must have secure areas to resupply and perform training and operational planning from. It must provide safe conditions for medical treatment and recovery of personnel.
Weapons – There must be an initial stock of weapons and ammunition to conduct operations with. The equipment to reload and reproduce ammo and repair weapons is essential for prolonged operations that may take months or years to complete. The creation of weapons and munitions from locally available materials may become a necessity.
Equipment – Individual field gear specific to the fighting environment would be required by each fighter. Specialty equipment such as night vision, telescopic sights, body armor and enhanced listening devices would be beneficial.
Food – A locally available supply of food and water would be vital to partisan forces in the event the transportation and delivery of those items is controlled by hostile forces. The placement of small scattered gardens and caches of food hidden throughout an area would insure some food is available at all times. The placement of root crops in small clearings in wooded areas would go unnoticed by most people. The availability of small diversified farms within the affected area would be a primary source of products that hostile forces would have difficulty accounting for. This would also make farms a primary target for these forces.
Medical Resources – The potential for medical supplies being cut off nessitates the local production of medicines and supplies. An initial stockpile of medical equipment and supplies would be very beneficial to a partisan group. The availability of qualified medical personnel is also a need in a prolonged situation. These individuals would be a target of hostile forces and subject to surveillance.
Communications – The ability to communicate with other partisans to assemble and conduct coordinated operations is critical to effective operations. The use of several types of communication systems would provide redundancy depending on the atmosphere you are operating in. Shortwave radios, short range hand held units and message drop points would be beneficial if standard communication abilities are prevented or monitored.
Transportation – The ability to move swiftly around the battlespace allows you to shape the battle and insure a positive outcome. Automobiles are the most accessible transportation but motorcycles, four wheelers, bicycles and horses allow you to move where most vehicles cannot go. In a fight with mechanized forces, you must be able to go where their vehicles cannot, thus removing some of their abilities and tactical advantages.
Clothing – The ability to fight will in some cases require the proper clothing to protect the fighter from the elements. The acquisition beforehand or the local production capability later, will enable partisans to continue operations year round for the duration of hostilities.
Energy supply – Energy is required for many operations in a conflict. It is needed for heat, to cook food or sterilize equipment. It is needed to power transportation and produce electricity for equipment and lighting. The more technology that an army uses, the more energy it will require, therefore, a partisan army will want to keep technology needs to a minimum so that localized energy production is possible. The use of solar panels and wood gas units to produce the power needed will give the partisans a distinct advantage over an army that needs to transport large amounts of energy that can be disrupted.
Local support – For partisan fighters to be successful a large percentage of the population must be either sympathetic to the cause or indifferent. This is what allows partisan fighters ease of movement and safe areas to operate in. The lack of support in an area will present a difficult situation for partisans to live and operate in without being identified and captured.
Good moral judgment – During times of combat, the anger and disassociation experienced by fighters can devolve into wanton acts of rape, murder and looting, causing sentiments among the local population to turn against the fighters. Only fighters that maintain good moral standards will have the backing of the community and the wherewithal to endure the physical and environmental difficulties that will be experienced.
When government forces decide to control an area or a population, they must have unfettered access to resources of their own to conduct these operations. A small partisan force has no chance of defeating a well equipped army head on, therefore they must employ gorilla tactics utilizing asymmetrical warfare. The larger the fighting force, the more logistics they must have on a continuous basis and the disruption of these logistics is one of the keys to defeating them.
The use of partisan forces over the largest area possible will force the enemy to deploy a disproportionate amount of troops to secure the area. The disruption of supplies becomes easier as the battlespace becomes larger. Disruption of critical supplies and selected harassment of forces can have a demoralizing effect on personnel that will create problems with conduct and effectiveness of units. In the case of demoralizing troops, asymmetrical warfare can take time to be effective but can have devastating effects.
In other areas, asymmetrical warfare can have rapid results such as disrupting water, electricity, food, munitions or liquid fuels to combat forces or local populations. The destruction of critical infrastructure that is difficult to quickly restore can be detrimental to heavily mechanized forces that depend on heavy weapons to maintain a tactical advantage.
Trees that block roadways, the destruction of roadbeds or the destruction of primary bridges can hamper the movement of heavy equipment. The destruction of power transmission towers, transformer sub-stations and fuel delivery systems to power plants can disrupt power transmission to large areas. The contamination of water or bulk food with poisons or substances that are not easily removed can prevent operations of forces in an area and possibly disable enemy personnel. Sniper activity can force units to move as larger elements than normal tying up resources and decreasing the area of coverage. The addition of substances to liquid fuels can damage equipment and prevent deployment of those assets. Booby traps and IEDs in selected areas can hamper travel or even close that artery to use. The lessons from Vietnam and Afghanistan should not be lost on partisan fighters.
A campaign fought by partisan fighters is the last act of defiance when the civil population becomes subject to government intrusions into their lives. Historically, when the situation devolves to these types of actions, the acts of violence against the civil population has already begun by government or hostile forces providing justification for self preservation by individuals. When an overwhelming force is misused by those in power, the only option is to dissolve that force in the most expedient way possible returning the ultimate power to the people.