Guerrilla Logistics, by Lt. Col Marco J. Caraccia
Leave it to a quartermaster officer to discuss the logistics of guerrilla groups as being a key to dealing with anti-guerrilla operations and even the possibility that the United States would be forced to enact such an approach in the future–as was the case during the Revolutionary war and colonial wars, it must be remembered. A savvy knowledge of logistics can certainly aid the understanding of how to win wars, because the author makes this short work a very clear discussion of the contrast between the low logistical needs of guerrilla groups and the comparably higher logistical needs of counter-insurgency forces of the kind that the United States or other major nations is most used to fighting. A firm understanding of the constraints of guerrilla movements as well as the way that they have popular support and that separating them from this support is difficult is a necessary aspect of contemporary war since few nations that the United States will be at war with are going to be willing to attack the United States in a conventional fashion because of the wide gulf of technology and capabilities present in most cases, except for a nation like China who would likely pursue an attritional strategy.
It is important for the military to recognize that our enemies are able to fight at lower cost and with greater flexibility than we are. It’s unsurprising that someone working in logistics would focus on such matters. This book is a short one at around 50 pages or so, and after a summary and introduction it contains three main body chapters. The bulk of the paper consists of a series of discussions about the logistics of various guerrilla and anti-guerrilla campaigns in the twentieth century as well as the American Revolution. The author draws insight from Yugoslavia and Greece during WWII, Lithuania’s rebellion against the Soviets after the war, and China, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Cuba in the period before 1960. In most of these cases the insurgent were successful except where overwhelming force was applied against them (as in Lithuania) or where the anti-guerrilla efforts were particularly strong, in Malaysia. After that there are two chapters that discuss America’s concepts of logistical support in favor of both guerrilla and anti-guerrilla efforts, demonstrating considerable insight into the ways in which supply and local knowledge and the favor of the ordinary people are of vital importance in such operations. If you have an interest in the subject, as I do, this is a work well worth consulting.