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U.S. Army Counterguerrilla Operations Manual

What may be the least likely course of action for a conventional force may be the most likely for the guerrilla force.

The guerrilla force also seeks to cut lines of communication and supply by interdicting supply columns, bridges, highways, and communications lines. It provides a general overview of US counterinsurgency strategy and the impact that strategy has on counterguerrilla operations.

Counterguerrilla operations in support of a conventional conflict such as the partisan operations that occurred behind German lines during World War II are discussed in Chapter 4. There are three requirements that must exist before 90- insurgency can occur.


In most cases, the one-third rule may be applied. The concepts discussed in this chapter are geared to counteerguerrilla needs of the tactical commander but can be used by the rear battle officer as well.

Techniques and tactics applied successfully in one situation may not be suitable if applied in the same manner in another situation. Unconventional warface forces that may conduct guerrilla warfare consist of special units trained specifically for guerrilla warfare and indigenous guerrilla forces sponsored by the main enemy force.

The material in this chapter is general and ooerations only to countering guerrilla activities in the rear areas of friendly forces engaged in conventional conflicts Figure The restrictions, limitations, and rules of engagement that the counterguerrilla force adheres to must be defined.

These may include specific limitations regarding the use of firepower and types of weapons, or they may be general regarding the relationship of the counterguerrilla force with the civilian population. A strong economic climate usually does not favor either force. If the guerrilla’s only source of resupply is external, then interdiction of his supply lines can decrease or halt operations as the guerrilla’s supplies are exhausted.


The guerrilla force also serves to cause commitment of friendly forces, best used in the close battle, to the rear battle.

The mere knowledge that the guerrilla exists within the rear area, even though undetected, may be enough. Offensive and defensive techniques are discussed in Chapter 3. The counterguerrilla force commander will be provided guidelines and directives on the current joint and combined procedures for establishing an effective rear defense.

For further information on rear area operations, see FM The commander must also consider that the effect of seasonal variations can either increase or decrease poerations ability to conduct operations.

This is the most recent available version of the Fj. There must be a leadership element that can direct the frustrations of a dissatisfied populace along the lines delineated by the overall insurgent strategy. Initially, these units may possess weapons and equipment equal to, or greater in ooerations than, US forces. Guerrilla operations in this case support the main effort of the enemy force by disrupting command, control, communications, and logistical operations of friendly forces.

FM Table of Contents

When US forces operate in captured enemy territory, then the sociological factors may favor the guerrilla force. Since the guerrilla force may have the capability to use NBC, the effect of weather on NBC and smoke is also addressed.

Conventional forces that may conduct guerrilla warfare include forces that have been cut off or that intentionally stay behind as their main force withdraws or retreats. The concept of resistance applies to an organized effort by some portion of the civil population of a country to resist, oppose, or overthrow the existing government.

The standard of living must be recognized as a contributing factor to the psychological climate within the area. Generally, the counterguerrilla force plans its operations to minimize damage to the economic structure of an area.


The greater the control the government has over the situation, the less likely are the chances for insurgent success The opposite is also true: If the command and support relationships are not clearly delineated in the initial order, then the commander must ensure that he receives that guidance prior to commencement of operations.

The counterguerrilla force identifies likely targets and takes measures to protect them. The counterguerrilla force, on the other hand, is usually not dependent on the economy for its logistics.

Since a major goal of participants in a conventional conflict is to gain control of territory through the use of regular armed forces, the forms of guerrilla activity change.

The guerrilla force remains a source of harassment as long as it operates in the rear area. Their level of training is usually high, and these counterguerriilla are skilled in weapons, demolitions, communications, medicine, operations, and the ability to improvise when needed.

They may also be skilled in and use overland and waterborne both surface and subsurface techniques to enter the area. Often, the guerrilla strikes in this manner rm gain the advantage of surprise. A cold climate usually favors the counterguerrilla force and hampers guerrilla operations since it increases the logistics required to support the guerrilla.

Forces he may have might include combat, combat support, and combat service support units. These counterguerrills units may enter a friendly area through the use of high altitude, low opening HALO operaitons high altitude, high opening HAHO ; or low level parachute techniques.

Depending on the composition of the guerrilla force, it may have aviation and fire support assets available to it. If they stay in the operational area for a prolonged period with no external resupply, then their level of efficiency decreases until US forces possess an equal capability.