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

2
FMLN Strategy

BACKGROUND

The general term for overall FMLN strategy was "Prolonged Popular War." This term, borrowed directly from Asian revolutionary thought, particularly Ho Chi Minh, did not have the same meaning to the FMLN as it did to the Vietnamese. Basically, the FMLN implemented its strategy of Prolonged Popular War with three different operational modes: guerrilla warfare, maneuver warfare, and attrition warfare. The FMLN was flexible with these three operational modes, and combined all of these elements on the five war fronts. Basic to all of these modes was the idea of nonlinear military tactics.

FMLN military strategy was a product of three major lines of thought on revolutionary process, corresponding to three of the factions of the FMLN. During the early 1970s, the guerrilla groups had experienced bitter internal arguments about which strategy to adopt. The result had been bloody feuding and intrigue that led to the splintering of the revolutionary groups and the creation of the five separate Salvadoran guerrilla factions. During this time, the operational mode of Prolonged Popular War consisted of violent mass action supported by urban terrorist cells. Each faction had its own variant of this theme. In 1980, the Cuban ultimatum of unity or no aid brought the five factions reluctantly back together. The resulting strategy of this unity was the product of the integration and compromise of the three major strategic lines of thought of the major FMLN factions.

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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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