Strategy and Tactics of the Salvadoran FMLN Guerrillas: Last Battle of the Cold War, Blueprint for Future Conflicts

By José Angel Moroni Bracamonte; David E. Spencer | Go to book overview

1
Background to the Insurgent Movement in El Salvador

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE FIVE FACTIONS

The story of the guerrilla forces of El Salvador begins in 1932, when the Communist organizer and agitator, Farabundo Marti, led an uprising of the Indian peasants of western El Salvador. The military, under Maximiliano Hernandez, crushed the revolt in a matter of days. The speed, efficiency, and ruthlessness of the counter-revolt earned this event the nickname of "La Matanza," or The Massacre. While the military is commonly accused of having indiscriminately massacred thirty thousand peasants, Thomas Anderson, the most prominent scholar on the subject, puts the number of dead at somewhere between two thousand and ten thousand. 1 Farabundo Marti and his cohorts were captured, tried, and condemned to death for treason and conspiracy. Their sentences were carried out by hanging. Farabundo Marti now became the figurehead and martyr of the Salvadoran revolutionary movement. While the Communist party continued to survive in El Salvador, it maintained a very low profile, flourishing mostly among radical university students and some radical priests.

The dynamics that led to the civil war in the decade of the 1980s began to develop in 1969. In July of that year, El Salvador and Honduras went to war over the abuse of Salvadoran immigrants in Honduras. In a hundred-hour war, the Salvadoran army soundly beat the Honduran army on the ground, while the Honduran air force gained domination of the skies. However, despite the victory, the net result of the war was that (1) El Salvador was condemned by the Organization of American States for attacking Honduras and slapped with an arms embargo; (2) the Central

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Strategy and Tactics of the Salvadoran FMLN Guerrillas: Last Battle of the Cold War, Blueprint for Future Conflicts
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Acronyms ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • 1 - Background to the Insurgent Movement in El Salvador 1
  • Notes 10
  • 2 - FMLN Strategy 13
  • Notes 39
  • 3 - General Organization of the Insurgent Movement in El Salvador 43
  • 4 - Force Categories of the FMLN 53
  • Notes 71
  • 5 - Special Select Forces (FES) 73
  • Notes 92
  • 6 - FMLN Battle Tactics 93
  • Notes 113
  • 7 - Urban Combat Tactics 115
  • Notes 137
  • 8 - Defensive Guerrilla Tactics 139
  • Notes 172
  • 9 - Guerrilla Logistics/Support/ Sanctuary 175
  • Notes 186
  • Bibliography 187
  • Index 193
  • About the Authors *
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