Ammo.com: Asymmetrical Warfare and 4GW — Militia Groups

This article comes from the library/writings at Ammo.com, Asymmetrical Warfare and 4GW: How Militia Groups are America’s Domestic Viet Cong. It’s a bit of a longer article that goes into the different generations of warfare, asymmetrical warfare, and where the US militia fits in.

“It is interesting to hear certain kinds of people insist that the citizen cannot fight the government. This would have been news to the men of Lexington and Concord, as well as the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan. The citizen most certainly can fight the government, and usually wins when he tries. Organized national armies are useful primarily for fighting against other organized national armies. When they try to fight against the people, they find themselves at a very serious disadvantage. If you will just look around at the state of the world today, you will see that the guerillero has the upper hand. Irregulars usually defeat regulars, providing they have the will. Such fighting is horrible to contemplate, but will continue to dominate brute strength.”

Col. Jeff Cooper

When one discusses the real reason for the Second Amendment – the right of citizens to defend themselves against a potentially tyrannical government – inevitably someone points out the stark difference in firepower between a guerilla uprising in the United States and the United States government itself.

This is not a trivial observation. The U.S. government spends more on the military than the governments of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, United Kingdom, and Japan combined. Plus, the potential of a tyrannical government is arguably upon us – with the federal government spying on its own citizens, militarizing local police departments with equipment and tactics from the War on Terror, and repeatedly searching Americans, which desensitizes them to this invasive process.

There is much historical precedent, however, for guerilla uprisings defeating more powerful enemies. For instance, the Cold War saw both superpowers brought to their knees by rural farmers – for the Soviets, their adventure in Afghanistan against the Mujahideen, and for the United States, the Vietnam War against the Viet Cong.

In both cases, nuclear weapons could have been used against the guerilla uprising, but were not. Even assuming the use of nuclear weapons from the position of total desperation, it’s hard to imagine they would have made much of a difference in the final outcome of either conflict. Unlike the invading armies, the local resistance enjoyed both broad-based support as well as knowledge of the local terrain.

Asymmetrical Warfare and 4GW: America's Domestic Viet CongNow imagine such a scenario in the United States. You wouldn’t be the first person to do so. From Red Dawn to James Wesley, Rawles’ Patriots series, there is a relatively long-standing tradition of American survival literature about the hoi polloi resisting the tyranny of big government, either before or after a collapse.

For the purposes of this article, consider what a domestic American terrorist or freedom fighter (after all, the label is in the eye of the beholder) organization based on the militia movement would look like in open revolt against the United States government. In the spirit of levity, we’ll call them the “Hillbilly Viet Cong.” They would most likely find their largest numbers in Appalachia, but don’t discount their power in the American Redoubt, or the more sparsely populated areas of the American Southwest, including rural Texas.

Here we have tens of thousands of Americans armed to the teeth with combat experience, deep family ties to both the police and the military, extensive knowledge of the local geography, and, in many cases, survivalist training. Even where they are not trained, militant and active, they enjoy broad support among those who own a lot of guns and grow a lot of food.

On the other side, you have the unwieldy Baby Huey of the rump U.S. government’s military, with some snarky BuzzFeed editorials serving as propaganda.

Could the Hillbilly Viet Cong take down the USG? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s difficult to imagine that the USG could take them down.

Indeed, even with a number of nasty little toys on the side of the federal government, we live in an age of a technologically levelled playing field. This is true even when it comes to instruments of warfare. While the USG has nuclear weapons, it’s worth remembering that a pound of C4 strapped to a cheap and readily available commercial-grade drone is going to break a lot of dishes.

This sort of guerilla insurgency has a name: It’s called fourth-generational warfare (4GW), and you might be surprised to learn that you already live in this world.

What Are the First Three Generations of Warfare?

Asymmetrical Warfare and 4GW: America's Domestic Viet CongTo understand how 4GW is a new and improved form of war, we first need to explain what the first three generations of warfare were:

First-Generation Warfare

The first generation (1GW) is basically what you would have seen in the movie 300. The hallmarks of this generation of warfare are armies from two different state actors leveraging line-and-column tactics and wearing uniforms to distinguish between themselves.

This generation is not entirely without subterfuge. For example, counterfeit currency was used to devalue the money supply during the 1GW Napoleonic Wars. Other examples of 1GW conflicts include the English Civil War and the American Revolutionary War.

Second-Generation Warfare

The second generation (2GW) comes with the advent of rifling and breech-loaded weapons. As students of military history know, the invention of rifling was one of the reasons that the United States Civil War was so bloody. This meant that firearms that were once mostly for show after 100 feet or so, were now deadly weapons – and tactics did not immediately evolve.

But evolve they did. Many things we take for granted as being just part of warfare – such as camouflage, artillery, and reconnaissance – are defining features of 2GW. The American Civil War is probably the first 2GW conflict. Others include the First World War, the Spanish Civil War and, much more recently, the Iran-Iraq War. The United States military coined this phrase in 1989.

Third-Generation Warfare

This phase of warfare, also known a 3GW, is the late modern version of warfare, where speed and stealth play a much bigger role. Weapons and tactics alone are less important. Instead, military units seek to find ways to outmaneuver one another before – or even instead of – meeting on the battlefield.

The era of 3GW was initiated with the Blitzkrieg, which marked the decisive end to cavalry and replaced it with tank and helicopter warfare. Junior officers were given more leeway to give orders. The Second World War was the first 3GW conflict, with the Korean, Vietnam and both Iraq Wars becoming further examples of this style of fighting.

What Is Fourth-Generation Warfare?

Asymmetrical Warfare and 4GW: America's Domestic Viet CongThe most direct way of discussing 4GW is to say that it describes any war between a state actor and a non-state actor. This is also known as asymmetrical warfare, but it’s not the only difference between 4GW and other, earlier forms of conflict. Asymmetrical warfare does, to be sure, blur the lines between combatants and civilians. This is in part what made the Bush-era “war on terror” so difficult and complicated: The war was against a set of ideas rather than a nation or even an extra-national army.

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American Partisan: Logistics – Ammo in Guerrilla Groups

NC Scout at American Partisan writes about the importance of logistics in guerrilla conflicts in A Challenge of Logistics: Ammo in Guerrilla Groups.

Almost as predictable as the rising of the sun is the issues of keeping a guerrilla group supplied. In every historical account I’ve read and personal encounters training and patrolling with the Kurdish Peshmerga and even the Afghan Border Police (which is little more than a government sanctioned militia) the number one issue boils down to logistics. In all cases, its not even having a combat load of ammunition for a patrol- they barely have ammo to even train, much less sustain a firefight for long. Such is life. Today many are finding themselves in a similar situation. Ammo, for the most part, is short and expensive where you can find it. The guns don’t seem to be the problem- 5.56 and 9mm are the new 22 Long from the era of Obama. Taking that into account, how many here in the States actually have a realistic picture of how much equipment it’ll take to remain supplied for any amount of time?

I’ve always had a fascination with Cold War era conflicts- partly because I’ve known many who were involved in them and still look to the ones alive for advice, but also because there’s so many lessons that inherently go overlooked in terms of the realities and challenges a guerrilla force will face. Reality, always, is far different from one’s expectations and a far cry from the fantasies many espouse.

The Cuban Revolution is a great example. Early on, the primary challenge that the various factions faced was not finding motivated people but establishing a standard for arms and ammunition, followed very closely by a coherent training plan to evolve the motivated would-be guerrillas from randomly successful fighters against a far superior military force to a force to be feared using the Escambray mountain range as a natural base of operations.

Such is the interesting story of Frank Sturgis in Cuba. It was Sturgis, a WWII Marine Raider, who was largely responsible for first recognizing these needs then starting his own airlift to supply them with surplus WWII arms and ammunition. The M1 Carbine became a very popular arm for the tight jungle terrain and became the weapon of choice among many. It was light and fast, had decent stopping power within the relatively close distances jungle fighting entails (an opinion shared by Philippine Guerrillas a decade earlier) Sturgis used his lessons learned fighting in the Pacific in WWII to make the guerrilla band a force to be reckoned with, later being instrumental in the training of Assault Brigade 2506 that landed at the Bay of Pigs and then continuing to train the survivors until just before he died in the 1990s. And somewhere in that timeline he found himself breaking into Watergate. But the larger point to be made is that without outside support, the Cuban Revolution would have been crushed- a reality that forced them to work with outside sources that were often cagey at best.

Taking that lesson into account, there’s a few lessons that bear noting, and have repeated themselves over time. The first is having a standard weapon that is both easily supplied, repaired, and simple to teach others to use. Many times, several of us have probably heard the questions “why do you have more than one of those? You can only shoot one…” and while that last bit might be true, it neglects the reality of the need to arm others. We don’t exist in free space, and the notion of ‘I’m just going to bug out to my retreat and they’ll leave me alone!’ is a pipe dream. Further, the ability to arm others infers control and inherent authority. I armed you, you work for me. If there is no authority, there is no cohesion.

You need one standard of ammunition and magazines. Having a multitude of random specialty calibers or proprietary magazines for those weapons means that you’ve added a layer of complications to your logistics plan that will at best cause that weapon to be an expensive club later on down the road. Further, a guerrilla’s personal choice of weapon is more often dictated by what ammo he can source rather than what he would like. Last, and this is one that my personal experience mirrors, is that the so-called ‘battlefield pickup’ is not a reliable plan to resupply your group. That doesn’t mean it won’t be viable in some instances, but the reality of combat is that in fluid and volatile conditions, you don’t always have time to pick up weapons and supplies off your adversaries alone. Despite the popular internet tropes in survival circles, there won’t just be guns laying around everywhere. I’ve operated in two different warzones, and aside from a few inert shells here and there, I didn’t see any weapons laying around and not in the hands of people ready to use them.

Finding yourself as the potential leader of a guerrilla band, one of your principle challenges then becomes keeping a healthy stockpile of munitions to both accomplish your needs in combat while recognizing your training goals. It would be remiss to point out that ammo is currently experiencing a major shortage in the US from the very real looming threat of domestic instability. The two most common calibers in the US, 9mm and 5.56, are nearly non-existent and expensive where found. On the other hand, 7.62×39 can still be found with minimal price gouging. And while AK prices are higher than in years past, the weapon is still not extremely expensive to get into. The learning curve on the AK, at least from my own perspective, is far shorter to build a competent shooter, especially within its intended range and role.

Whatever the future holds, the reality is that no matter how much ammunition you have today, you really don’t have enough for a potential future. The world is changing rapidly and with it, the United States. Look at where we are today compared to just six months ago…let alone four years…and gasp- two decades. Let it be a sober reminder of the urgency of the times.

Global Security: Logistics for Low Intensity Conflict

US Army: Logistical Considerations for Low Intensity Conflict (PDF 1.1MB)

US Army: Guerrilla Logistics research thesis (PDF)

Forward Observer: Podcast on Low Intensity Conflict/Chetnik Guerrilla Warfare

In this podcast, intelligence analyst Sam Culper of Forward Observer talks about Chetnik guerrilla warfare and how he believes it may presage low intensity conflict developing in the USA.

One of the more interesting things I’ve been doing is reading histories of multi-sided conflicts.

On today’s Out Front with Samuel Culper radio show, I talk about the three-sided war between the Nazis, the Chetniks (a Serbian nationalist group), and Soviet-backed communist partisans in early 1940s Yugoslavia.

It was ugly.

The Chetniks waged guerrilla warfare on the Nazis and communists. The communists waged war against the Nazis and the Chetniks. And the Nazis attacked them back. It was a brutal time in history for the Serbs.

And my concern is that our low intensity conflict, when it does really heat up — maybe as soon as this fall — is going to lead to similar types of attacks on Americans from all walks of life.

What’s worse than a simple civil war is a protracted, multi-sided tribal conflict that doesn’t end.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpZqzgKdnbc

Brushbeater: A Modern Look at Guerrilla Radio Equipment

NC Scout at the Brushbeater blog has a brief article up looking at some FARC equipment – A Modern Look at Guerrilla Radio Equipment.

Watching a recent media piece on the FARC, I noticed a few shots of their radio equipment they were using to communicate between camps.

farc817.jpeg

Look familiar? Its a Yaesu 817 being run from a Sealed Lead Acid battery. Here’s a better shot:

FARC817_2

Interesting layout by one of their RTOs:

FARC817_3,jpeg.jpg

The old 817 appears to be very popular among the communist guerrilla group, and if I had to guess (based on their geography) they’re using VHF single sideband and HF NVIS to relay camp-to-camp through the mountains where they operate.

I imagine they’ve learned a lot in the communications department over a half century of civil war, and it looks like they’re keeping it simple, analog and robust.

MountainGuerrilla: Auxiliary Functions within Tribal Structure

This is an old post from John Mosby at the MountainGuerrilla blog. In Auxiliary Functions within the Tribal Structure, John lays out some of the important functions that can and should be performed by those members of your close-knit group who are too old, too young, or too infirm to help with more strenuous activities in the context of a resistance movement, should such fate ever befall you.

…By fulfilling those roles that the auxiliary has historically fulfilled in a resistance, that do not require the fitness or physical capabilities of the guerrilla force or underground, members of a tribe can still contribute worthwhile efforts to the security of their tribe, thus “earning their keep.”

An individual’s specific contribution to the efforts has—and will—depend largely on their socio-economic status, roles, and their occupation…a farmer or homesteader may “only” provide assistance by providing extra harvest to feed the guerrilla force or underground, or to sell on the local black or gray market, in order to help finance tribal operations. On the other hand, the farmer may end up providing barn space for a way-station on an evasion corridor, or for use as a guerrilla hospital.

Regardless of the specific role the auxiliary tribesman plays in the effort, it is critical to understand that the success of their efforts depends on their participation in such operations remains clandestine. The secret must not be kept only from rival organizations, but even from apparently friendly or supportive neighbors who do not enjoy the trust of being part of the closed circle—innangard—that is the tribe. Even other members of the tribe, outside the leadership, may not know exactly what the auxiliary offers the tribe. Keeping this information compartmentalized, even within the innangard, can reduce the chances that someone will inadvertently reveal it to someone that does not “need to know.”

Auxiliary Tasks

While there is really no task that the auxiliary might be able to perform, to support the tribe’s efforts, there are a number of roles the auxiliary has traditionally played that still offer a significant role for members of your tribe to contribute to your efforts of autonomy.

Security and Warning

One of the best efforts your auxiliary tribesmen can offer is the same that the elderly and young children, not ready to be warriors yet, have always provided a tribe. They can act as a physical security and warning system for the tribe. From simply standing watch during training exercises and meetings, to organizing and directing sympathizers into networks to observe, record, and report on the activities of other organizations—rival or not—in the area…

Click here to read the entire article at the Mountain Guerrilla blog.