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

6
FMLN Battle Tactics

OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS

The FMLN developed a number of unique offensive and defensive tactics. Between 1980 and December 1986, each front developed its own tactics, usually in response to army operations in that area. Some tactics, such as the massive use of mines, were common to all of the organizations. In December 1986, the FMLN high command held a meeting in which it unified its efforts in an attempt to develop the basis to precipitate what it called the Strategic Counter-Offensive. The Strategic Counter-Offensive was to be the definitive battle that would propel the FMLN to total military victory. The organizations that promoted these tactical changes and developments within the FMLN were the FPL and the ERP, as they were the groups with the most personnel and the greatest experience. The strategic military guidelines of the FMLN high command in this meeting became the model for tactics employed on all of the war fronts. As a result, the tactics of all of the guerrilla organizations became uniform across the country. In addition to preparations for the Strategic CounterOffensive, uniformity of tactics was due in part to the gradual loss of the most experienced combatants, the migration of masses, for various reasons, from the most conflictive zones, and the increasing capacity of the army to conduct airmobile operations. While guerrilla tactics in the beginning of the war differed from front to front and from organization to organization, the greater unity of the FMLN and other factors after 1986 produced a uniformity of guerrilla tactics that continued through the end of the war.

FMLN military tactics were subject to certain variables such as the cat-

-93-

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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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