Modern Insurgencies and Counter-Insurgencies: Guerrillas and Their Opponents since 1750

By Ian F. W. Beckett | Go to book overview

3

RESISTANCE AND THE PARTISAN

Events in Europe and in South-east Asia and the Pacific during the Second World War contributed to the development of guerrilla and counter-guerrilla warfare in a number of ways. On the one hand, resistance to the German occupation of much of Europe after the summer of 1940, and to the Japanese occupation of much of South-east Asia after December 1941, stimulated the revival of partisan and guerrilla warfare in some areas. Such resistance was not always successful in military terms, but it was highly significant in political terms, often shaping the character of post-war political development. In particular, it offered the example of the fusion of two potent ideologies in nationalism and communism. On the other hand, armies found new uses for irregular operations and developed a variety of specialist forces, many of which were to survive the war and prove readily adaptable in face of the new challenges posed by politically motivated insurgency

Wartime British special forces included both army and Royal Marine commandos; a plethora of seaborne raiding forces such as the Royal Marine Boom Patrol Detachment and the Royal Navy's Combined Assault Pilotage Parties, the Long Range Desert Group of Major Ralph Bagnold and the Special Air Service (SAS), originally created by Major David Stirling and Jock Lewes in mid-1941 as 'L' Detachment of a non-existent 'Special Air Service Brigade' to raid behind enemy lines in North Africa. Rather similarly the first of the US army's Ranger battalions was formed by Colonel William Darby in June 1942 and the 1st Special Service Force by Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Frederick in the same year.

In Burma, Orde Wingate formulated the concept of 'long-range penetration', the 77th Indian Infantry Brigade being established as a formation that could be supplied by air to operate in the jungle behind Japanese lines. In the event, this first 'Chindit' operation (the name being taken from the Burmese word for the stone lions characteristically found at the entrances of Buddhist temples) had only limited success in striking at the railway between Mandalay and Myitkyina. Wingate, however, caught the imagination of Churchill, and approval was given for a still more ambitious operation, using five brigades to assist the KMT advance on Myitkyina in March 1944. Immense difficulties

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Modern Insurgencies and Counter-Insurgencies: Guerrillas and Their Opponents since 1750
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • 1 - The Roots of Insurgency 1
  • 2 - The Roots of Counter-Insurgency 24
  • 3 - Resistance and the Partisan 55
  • 4 - Mao Tse-Tung and Revolutionary Warfare 70
  • Further Reading 85
  • 5 - Formative Experiences 86
  • Further Reading 118
  • 6 - 'Wars of National Liberation'? 121
  • Further Reading 148
  • 7 - The Transition to Urban Insurgency 151
  • 8 - Insurgency and the Superpowers 183
  • 9 - Forward to the Past 217
  • Index 253
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