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 To those more versed that I in military history - Miscellaneous Debris – Archive

To those more versed that I in military history

בקטגוריות: Uncategorized

25 Jul 2006

Has an army ever managed to defeat a terrorist/guerilla organization through outright warfare?
If so, what were the (documented/reported) civilian casualties?

8 תגובות על To those more versed that I in military history



25 בJuly, 2006 בשעה 04:16

Uh, yeah.

US forces Vs. the Viet Cong.
It lasted, what? 10-15 years? And re-defined the concept of winning a war. While they were at it they brought on the Beat culture.
You do the math.



25 בJuly, 2006 בשעה 11:32

Bad example

In our reality, the Viet Cong defeated the US forces.
Also, the Beats were in the Fifties; do not confuse them with the Hippies – that’s grandma’s job.



26 בJuly, 2006 בשעה 16:23

To quote Lewis Black from the Today Show:

When joking about people reenacting battles from the Vietnam War in Virginia (“adding another item to the list of bad things to happen in the back woods of Virginia”), comedian Lewis Black said that the answer to the age-old question – do we get to win this time? – is “Yes… If you win the coin-flip at the car lot.”



25 בJuly, 2006 בשעה 06:27

That’s a complicated subject because of the murky definition of ‘winning’ in these cases, but I’m going to say “outright warfare alone? Almost never”. Nevertheless guerilla organizations have been “defeated” by combinations of military actions and political ones.

It really comes down to what you want and what you’re willing to give up. Is acquiescing to a Palestinian state (see Camp David accords) and peaceful cooexistence winning? Some would say yes, some would say no, on both sides.

It is nearly impossible to eradicate such groups. The key is to make them want to stop fighting.



25 בJuly, 2006 בשעה 07:25


The Boer Wars. The Boers relied on guerrila tactics (they gave us the word “commando”), and have managed to give the British some very embarrassing blows.

The Brits found a solution, though. They uprooted most of the Boer civilians, and put them in concentration camps (first use of that term), where at least a third of them perished from lack of food and disease. Seeing their loved ones held as hostages, the Boers reluctantly surrendered.

And when they got their independence in 1948, they became rabidly anti-British. Small wonder.



25 בJuly, 2006 בשעה 22:32

Wikipedia, duh.

Wikipedia lists atleast three (including the Boer Wars), and also lists a few more under the heading Tactics. So their list is:

Irish Civil War (1920´s)
South African Wars (1880´s)
Malayan Emergency (Malay rebels vs. the British military, contemporary with Vietnam)
The Philippine-American War (1910´s)



26 בJuly, 2006 בשעה 12:09

Re: Wikipedia, duh.

Don’t know much about the other conflicts, but the one in the Philippines ended when the Americans offered political concessions, i.e. independence in a couple of decades. By the 1930s, the Philipines had free elections, a president, and an army. I don’t think that Papa McArthur would have gotten much, without these concessions.



7 בAugust, 2006 בשעה 12:11

organization- yes, country- no.

Since, with all modesty, I guess this question was more or less directed to me (Eyal ;]) I would take a moment to make distinction:
guerilla warfare is one thing and guerilla/terror organization is another. The Viet-Cong, for instance is a guerilla organization that was wiped out almost completley in 1969. Then who won the war? NORTH Vietnam, a soverign state that engaged in guerilla warfare.

As for the answer, guerilla organizations that was uactively supported by a soverign country or were actually proxy fighter of that country gained much more success then those without aid or support of a state, or they lost such aid. as for the latter, one can say their chances of success or ridiculously slim to non. From the Karen in Burma (Mynmar on todays maps), through Frelimo in West Sahara, CT in Malasya, to even the ETA in spain or Brigada Rossa in Italy- all lost completly or losing badly. one would even mrntion that the great Che Guevarra himself died in a failed guerrilla organization attack in Bolivia.
There are few successes, but very few. The new form of foreign aid is that of private citizens, like the Irish population of the USA was supporting the IRA in hundreds of million of dollars a year.

In any case, the certain thing to say is that the civilian casualties are always the highest in this form of war.

Eyal Mandelbaum

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פעם היה לי לייבג'ורנל. עכשיו הוא כאן, מגובה.