|Basic Tactics (1937)
by , translated by Foreign Language Press, Peking
|The source from which this work was transcribed comes from the Marxists Internet Archive.|
- 1 Introductory Remarks
- 2 Tactics
- 2.1 Precautions When on the March
- 2.2 Precautions During Halts
- 2.3 We Must Not Attack Strong Positions
- 2.4 Do Not Fight Hard Battles
- 2.5 We Must Not Fight if the Situation of the Enemy is Not Clear
- 2.6 We Must Organize the Masses and Unite with Them
- 2.7 Using the Masses to Make a Surprise Attack and Break a Blockade
- 2.8 Surprise Attacks on Isolated Units
- 2.9 Using the Popular Masses to Harry the Enemy
- 2.10 Circling Around to Get Away from the Enemy
- 2.11 Getting Out of Difficult Situations
- 2.12 “Cause an Uproar in the East, Strike in the West”
- 2.13 Concealed Attacks from Ambush
- 2.14 Ambushing the Enemy in the Course of His March
- 2.15 Making a Strong Defense by Emptying the Countryside
- 2.16 Meeting a Superior Enemy
- 2.17 Dealing with a Weak Enemy
- 2.18 Arousing the Masses
- 3 The Aim of the War
- 4 Organization
- 5 Tasks
- 6 Operations
- 7 Surprise Attacks
- 7.1 Points That Should be Carefully Considered Regarding Our Tasks Before a Surprise Attack
- 7.2 Points for Attention Before Setting Out
- 7.3 Points for Attention While on the Move
- 7.4 Measures to be Taken if the Enemy is Encountered While on the March
- 7.5 Disposition of Troops During a Surprise Attack
- 7.6 The Success of a Surprise Attack
- 7.7 Dispositions Following the Success of a Surprise Attack
- 7.8 Dispositions Following the Defeat of a Surprise Attack
- 8 Espionage
- 9 Ambushes
- 10 Surprise Attacks on the Enemy’s Foraging Units
- 11 Surprise Attacks on the Enemy’s Transport Units
- 12 The Correspondence Network of a Guerrilla Unit and the Destructions of Communications Facilities in the Rear
- 12.1 The Object of the Network
- 12.2 Means for Maintaining Relations
- 12.3 Methods for Transmitting Reports
- 12.4 Signals for Communications
- 12.5 Dispositions Regarding Routes of Communication in the Rear
- 12.6 Points for Attention in Destroying Routes of Communication
- 12.7 Precautions When Beginning the Destruction of Routes of Communication
- 12.8 Methods of Destroying Works on the Ground
- 13 Regular Hiding Places and Precautions to be Taken When We Halt
- 13.1 Marshaling Our Troops
- 13.2 The Choice of a Spot
- 13.3 The Question of Provisions
- 13.4 Changing One’s Halting Place
- 13.5 Occupying a Halting Place
- 13.6 The Degree of Precautions
- 13.7 Preparations
- 13.8 When There is Anxiety About a Surprise Attack by the Enemy
- 13.9 Dispositions in Case of an Enemy Surprise Attack
- 14 Training
- 15 Political Work
- 15.1 The Aim of the Political Work of a Guerrilla Unit
- 15.2 The Main Content of Political Work
- 15.3 Discussions in Small Groups
- 15.4 Methods
- 15.5 Carrying Out Political Work
- 15.6 Types of Political Work
- 15.7 Political Work in Time of Battle
- 15.8 Political Work After the Battle Has Begun
- 15.9 Political Work Following a Battle
- 15.10 Work Pertaining to Clubs and Amusement Rooms
How the Popular Masses Carry Out Military Action
How is it that the bare-handed masses, banded together in ill-armed military units without guns or bullets, are able to charge the enemy, kill the enemy, and resolutely carry out effective action in the war? This is a very widespread and very reasonable query. But if we know the function of the weapons used by an army and the aim of an army’s action, we can then understand how our popular masses, although bare-handed, still have weapons and can engage in action to subdue the enemy.
The principal function of an army’s weapons is simply to kill the enemy, and an army’s final aim is simply to reduce or destroy the enemy’s fighting strength. Well, in our daily life, is there any object that cannot be used to kill the enemy or any type of action that cannot reduce or destroy his fighting strength? For example, a kitchen knife, a wooden cudgel, an axe, a hoe, a wooden stool, or a stone can all be used to kill people. Such actions as cutting electric lines, destroying bridges, starting rumors, spreading poison, or cutting off supplies can everywhere inconvenience the enemy or reduce his fighting strength. All these are methods we may be unwilling to utilize or unable to employ. If we really want to kill and exterminate the enemy, there are weapons for us everywhere and work for us to be doing at all times, in order to ensure effective united action by the army and the people.
Points of Special Attention
After this, we must pay special attention to the present war on the national level, which has become cruel beyond our imagination and has also lasted a long time. We must not, because we are undergoing the suffering of a war more cruel than any seen in the past, immediately capitulate; nor must we, under the influence of a long war, suddenly lose our endurance and give way to lassitude. We must inspire ourselves with the most resolute spirit of unyielding struggle, with the most burning patriotic sentiments, and with the will to endurance, and carry out a protracted struggle against the enemy. We must know that, although the circumstances and the duration of the war are cruel and protracted, this is nothing compared to what would happen if the war were lost; if our country were destroyed and the whole of our people reduced to a position of irretrievable ruin, the suffering would be even more cruel and would never come to an end. Therefore, however cruel the war may be, we must absolutely and firmly endure until the last five minutes of a struggle. This is especially the case with our present enemy, who finds his advantage in a rapid decision in the war, whereas our advantage is to be found in the strategy of a protracted war.
We Must Not Fear the Enemy
When we see the enemy, simply because he has a weapon in his hands, we must not be frightened to death like a rat who sees a cat. We must not be afraid of approaching him or infiltrating into his midst in order to carry out sabotage. We are men; our enemies are also men; we are all men, so what should we fear? The fact that he has weapons? We can find a way to seize his weapons. All we are afraid of is getting killed by the enemy. But when we undergo the oppression of the enemy to such a point as this, how can any one still fear death? And if we do not fear death, then what is there to fear about the enemy? So when we see the enemy, whether he is many or few, we must act as though he is bread that can satisfy our hunger, and immediately swallow him.
Definition of Guerrilla Warfare
When it is not advantageous for our main land army to meet the enemy in large-scale engagements and we, therefore, “send” out commando units or guerrilla units, which employ the tactics of avoiding strength and striking at weakness, of flitting about and having no fixed position, and of subduing the enemy according to circumstances, and when we do not oppose the enemy according to the ordinary rules of tactics, this is called employing guerrilla tactics.
At a time when our country’s national defense preparations are not completed, and when our weapons are inferior to the excellent equipment with which the enemy has provided himself, we must observe the following principles whenever we wish to wage a battle with the enemy:
Precautions When on the March
When we are on the march, we must send plainclothes units armed with pistols ahead of our vanguard, behind our rear guard, and to the side of our lateral defenses, in order to spy out the situation and to forestall unexpected attacks by the enemy, or superfluous clashes.
Precautions During Halts
When we encamp, if there is a presumption that the enemy may be near, we should send every day a guerrilla company—or at least a platoon—toward the enemy’s defenses to carry out reconnaissance at a distance (from 20 to 30 li) or to join up with the local forces and carry out propaganda among the masses, in order to inspire them to resist the enemy. If this unit discovers the enemy, it should, on the one hand, resist him and, on the other hand, report to us so that we can prepare to meet the foe or to retreat without being drawn into an unnecessary battle.
We Must Not Attack Strong Positions
If the enemy guards his position firmly or defends a strong strategic point, then, unless we have special guarantees of success, we must not attack him. If we attack him, we will waste considerable time, and our losses in killed and wounded will certainly be many times those of the enemy. Moreover, in guerrilla warfare, our artillery is not strong: if we recklessly attack a strong position, it will be very difficult to take it rapidly, at one stroke, and meanwhile, it will be easy for the enemy to gather his forces from all sides and surround us. On this point, the army and the people must be absolutely firm of purpose and cannot act recklessly in a disorderly fashion because of a moment’s anger.
Do Not Fight Hard Battles
If we do not have a 100 per cent guarantee of victory, we should not fight a battle, for it is not worthwhile to kill 1,000 of the enemy and lose 800 killed among ourselves. Especially in guerrilla warfare such as we are waging, it is difficult to replace men, horses, and ammunition; if we fight a battle and lose many men, and horses, and much ammunition, this must be considered a defeat for us.
We Must Not Fight if the Situation of the Enemy is Not Clear
When we are encamped in a certain place and suddenly discover the enemy but are not informed regarding his numbers or where he is coming from, we must absolutely not fight, but must resolutely retreat several tens of li. It is only if we are right up against the enemy that we should send covering units, for, if the enemy comes to attack us, it is certainly because his forces are superior or he has a plan, and we must under no circumstances fall into his trap. If the enemy is in force, it is obviously advantageous to retreat. If his numbers are small and we retreat, nothing more than a little extra fatigue is involved, and there will always be time to return and attack him again later.
We Must Organize the Masses and Unite with Them
Modern warfare is not a matter in which armies alone can determine victory or defeat. Especially in guerrilla combat, we must rely on the force of the popular masses, for it is only thus that we can have a guarantee of success. The support of the masses offers us great advantages as regards transport, assistance to the wounded, intelligence, disruption of the enemy’s position, etc. At the same time, the enemy can be put into an isolated position, thus further increasing our advantages. If, by misfortune, we are defeated, it will also be possible to escape or to find concealment. Consequently, we must not lightly give battle in places where the masses are not organized and linked to us.
Using the Masses to Make a Surprise Attack and Break a Blockade
When the enemy surrounds us and blockades us, we should rouse the popular masses and cut the enemy’s communications in all directions, so that he does not know that our army is already near him. Then, we should take advantage of a dark night or of the light of dawn to attack and disperse him.
Surprise Attacks on Isolated Units
When we have reconnoitered the enemy’s position and have kept our men at a distance of several li and when he has unquestionably relaxed his precautions, then we advance rapidly with light equipment, before dawn when the enemy does not expect us, and exterminate him.
Using the Popular Masses to Harry the Enemy
On the basis of a decision by the main force of the army, in time of battle, we send out part of our forces, divided into several units—the smallest element being a platoon—to lead the local militia, police, volunteer army, or other popular masses of the peasantry and the workers. These groups use a great variety of flags, occupy mountaintops or villages and market towns, use brass gongs, spears, rudimentary cannon, swords and spikes, trumpets, etc. They scatter all over the landscape and yell, thus distracting the enemy’s eyes and ears. Or, both night and day, on all sides, they shoot off isolated shots to cause panic among the enemy soldiers and fatigue their spirit. Then, afterward, our army appears in full strength when the enemy does not expect it and disperses him by a flank attack.
Circling Around to Get Away from the Enemy
When we are faced with a large enemy force and do not have sufficient strength to meet its attack, we use the method of circling around. We hasten to a place where there are no enemy troops, and we use mountain trails so that the enemy cannot catch up with us. At the same time, along the way, we utilize the popular masses, getting them to carry on reconnaissance work in the front and the rear, so that we are not attacked by the enemy from either direction.
Getting Out of Difficult Situations
Presume that in the rear there is a pursuing army and in the front an obstacle, or that the pursuing army is too strong for us. As a plan to get us out of such a difficult situation, we can send part of our forces 4 or 5 li off, to lure the enemy up a big road, while our main force follows a side road and escapes the enemy. Or we can make a detour around to the enemy’s rear and attack him there by surprise. Or we can use the local militia and the police to go along another route, leaving some objects, making footprints in the road, sticking up notices, etc., so as to induce the enemy to follow them. Then, our main force suddenly rushes out from a side road, striking at the enemy from the front and the rear, encircles him on all sides, and annihilates him.
“Cause an Uproar in the East, Strike in the West”
When the army wants to attack a certain place, it does not advance there directly but makes a detour by some other place and then changes its course in the midst of its march, in order to attack and disperse the enemy. “The thunderclap leaves no time to cover one’s ears.”
Concealed Attacks from Ambush
When the enemy is pursuing us in great haste we select a a spot for an ambush and wait until he arrives. Thus, we can capture the enemy all at one stroke.
Ambushing the Enemy in the Course of His March
When we learn from reconnaissance that the enemy plans to advance from a certain point, we choose a spot where his path is narrow and passes through confusing mountainous terrain and send a part of our troops—or a group of sharpshooters—to lie hidden on the mountains bordering his path, or in the forest, to wait until his main force is passing through. Then we throw rocks down on his men from the mountains and rake them with bullets, or shoot from ambush at their commanding officers mounted on horseback.
Making a Strong Defense by Emptying the Countryside
When our spies have informed us that the enemy is about to arrive, and if our force is not sufficient to give battle, we should then carry out the stratagem of “making a strong defense by emptying the countryside.” We hide the food, stores, fuel, grain, pots and other utensils, etc., in order to cut off the enemy’s food supply. Moreover, as regards the popular masses of the area in question, with the exception of old men, women, and children, who are left behind to provide reconnaissance information, we lead all able-bodied men to hiding places. Thus, the enemy has no one to serve as porters, guides, and scouts. At the same time, we send a few men to the enemy’s rear communication lines, to cut off his supplies, capture his couriers, and cut or sabotage his communications facilities.
Meeting a Superior Enemy
When the enemy advances, we retreat. If the enemy’s forces were weaker than ours, he would not dare advance and attack us. So, when he advances toward us, we can conclude that the enemy is certainly coming with superior force and is acting according to plan and with preparation. It is, therefore, appropriate for us to evade his vanguard, by withdrawing beforehand. If we meet with the enemy in the course of our march and either do not have clear information regarding him or know that his army is stronger than ours, we should, without the slightest hesitation, carry out a precautionary withdrawal.
As to the place to which we should withdraw, it is not appropriate to go long distances along the main roads, so that the enemy follows us to the end. We should move about sinuously in the nearby area, winding around in circles. If the enemy appears ahead of us, we should circle around to his rear; if the enemy is on the mountains, we should descend into the valleys; if the enemy is in the middle, we should retreat on the two sides; if the enemy is on the left bank of the river, we should retreat on the right bank; if the enemy is on the right bank, we should retreat on the left bank.
Moreover, in withdrawing, when we come to a crossroads, we can deliberately leave some objects in the branch of the road we do not take or send a small fraction of our men and horses that way, in order to leave some tracks or write symbols. Or we can write some distinguishing marks on the road we do take to indicate that it is closed. Thus, we induce the enemy to direct his pursuit and attack in the wrong direction.
At such times, it is best to evacuate the popular masses and such armed forces as the militia, police, volunteer army, etc., by various routes in all directions, in order to confuse the enemy’s eyes and ears. We can leave behind part of our men, who bury their uniforms and weapons and disguise themselves as merchants, street vendors, etc. They spread rumors or pretend to be obliging in order to spy out information regarding the enemy’s numbers, his plans, the location and routine of his camps, and the precautions he is taking. If the enemy questions them about the direction in which we have withdrawn and the strength of our force, they should talk incoherently, pointing to the east and saying the west, pointing to the south and saying the north, replacing big by small and small by big, talking at random and creating rumors. They wait until our army is about to attack, and then they dig up their uniforms and put them on, take out their weapons, and attack the enemy from his midst, thus completely routing him and leaving him with nowhere to turn.
When the enemy retreats, we pursue. When the enemy army retreats, it is appropriate to take advantage of the situation to advance. On such an occasion, the enemy’s military situation must have undergone a change, otherwise he would not have retreated, and he is certainly not prepared to join battle against us with any resolution. If we take advantage of the situation and make a covering attack on his rear, the enemy’s covering units will certainly not be resolved to fight, and in the context of the enemy’s over-all plan it will be difficult for his forward units to return and join in the fray. In rough mountainous terrain, where the paths are narrow and rivers and streams intertwined so that there are many bridges, even if the enemy’s forward forces were to turn back, this move would require much time. So, by the time he turns back, his rear will already have been annihilated and he will already have been disarmed.
At this time, the organizations of the popular masses, should devise methods for destroying the bridges on the route over which the enemy is retreating, or cutting the wires of his communications system. Or, best of all, they should wait until the bulk of the enemy’s army have retreated and, taking advantage of the protection afforded by our guards and army, block the enemy’s path of retreat, so that, although his forces may want to turn back, they cannot do it, and, although they yearn for help, they cannot obtain it.
But, at such a time, the most important task of the popular masses is to spy out the direction in which the enemy is withdrawing, in order to ascertain whether or not there may be an ambush or a feigned retreat intended to encircle us from two sides, and report to us immediately so that our army can pluck up courage and pursue the enemy or devise a method of evading him.
When the enemy halts, we harass him. When the enemy is newly arrived in our territory, is not familiar with the terrain, does not understand the local dialect, and is unable to gain any information from the scouts he sent out, it is as though he had entered a distant and inaccessible land. At such a time, we should increase our harassment—shooting off guns everywhere, to make him ill at ease day and night, so exercising a great influence on both his mind and body under such circumstances, I fear that any army, however overbearing, will begin to waver and will become weary. We need only await the time when his spirits are wavering and his body weary, and then, if our armies rush in all together, we can certainly exterminate him completely.
Dealing with a Weak Enemy
Fighting as we are for the existence of our nation and the achievement of the aims of guerrilla warfare—which are to destroy the enemy and to stir up the courage of the popular masses—when we are faced with a weak enemy, naturally we should unite with the popular masses of the place in question to surround him and exterminate him at one stroke.
Arousing the Masses
There are always a good many among the popular masses who forget the great cause for the sake of petty advantage. Frequently having received great favors from the enemy, they act contrarily to conscience and aid the forces of evil. For this reason, before the arrival of the enemy in a given place, we must do our utmost to whip up the spirits of the popular masses, to rouse their will to resist and to endow them with an unshakable resolve to fight to the end, without seeking advantage, without compromise or surrender. We must induce them to follow our orders sincerely and to cooperate with our army to resist the enemy. At the same time, we should also organize “resist-the-enemy associations”, “associations for national salvation”, and other types of professional bodies to facilitate the transmission of orders and the evacuation of villages in time of necessity and to clean out traitors and prevent their utilization by the enemy.
The Aim of the War
The ultimate aim of guerrilla warfare is certainly to disarm the enemy, to destroy his fighting strength, to get back the territories he has occupied and to save our brethren whom he is trampling under foot! But when, because of objective circumstances and other factors of various kinds, it is impossible to attain this goal, it sometimes happens that the areas unaffected by the fighting are controlled by the enemy in all tranquility. This should not be. Because of this possibility, we must think up methods for inflicting economic and political damage in these areas and destroying communication facilities, so that, although the enemy has occupied our territory, it is of no use to him and he decides to withdraw on his own initiative.
In guerrilla warfare, we must observe the principle “To gain territory is no cause for joy, and to lose territory is no cause for sorrow.” To lose territory or cities is of no importance. The important thing is to think up methods for destroying the enemy. If the enemy’s effective strength is undiminished, even if we take cities, we will be unable to hold them. Conversely, when our own forces are insufficient, if we give up the cities, we still have hope of regaining them. It is altogether improper to defend cities to the utmost, for this merely leads to sacrificing our own effective strength.
Opportunities for Organization
When we are devoting ourselves to warfare in an open region, it is the sparsely populated areas, with a low cultural level, where communications are difficult and facilities for transmitting correspondence are inadequate, that are advantageous.
Narrow mountainous regions, rising and falling terrain, or areas in the vicinity of narrow roads—all of which are inconvenient for the movement of large bodies of troops—are also advantageous.
Opportunities also exist:
When the people in the enemy’s rear are in sympathy with our army.
When the enemy is well-armed, and his troops numerous and courageous, so that we have to evade direct clashes.
When the enemy has penetrated deeply into our territory and we are preparing everywhere to carry out measures of harassment and obstruction against him.
Dense forests or reedy marshes, in the depths of which we can disappear, are most advantageous for this purpose, especially in the late summer and autumn, when we find ourselves behind a curtain of green.
Forms of Organization
The action of a guerrilla unit takes one of the following forms:
- We send out a large cavalry unit from our main force, together with mounted artillery, or cavalry accompanied by a platoon or more armed with light automatic weapons. They penetrate as rapidly as possible into the enemy’s rear, destroy there all his communications links, and carry out the thorough and complete destruction of all his storehouses of food, grain for his horses, and ammunition. Moreover, they send out a small group of their forces to destroy all places of military significance in the enemy’s rear. Once these forays have been carried out, the group fights its way out in another direction and rejoins the main force.
- We send out cavalry or a special task group of infantry. Their strength should be from a platoon to a few companies. They should penetrate as deeply as possible into the enemy’s rear and, moving rapidly and unpredictably, should carry the battle from one place to another. When there is no alternative, or when the enemy is not expected to arrive before a certain time, they can also dwell temporarily in secret where they are. As required by the exigencies of the situation, they can employ either all or a part of their forces. They return when the time comes that they can no longer stay in the enemy’s rear, or when the task entrusted to them is completed, or because the enemy has already discovered our traces and our intentions, and has taken effective measures of defense.
- In the enemy’s rear, we choose some young, strong, and courageous elements among the local population and organize some small groups who will accept the leadership of the experienced and trained persons we send out or of experienced persons whom we have trained previously in the place in question. The secret activity of these small groups involves moving from their own area to another one, changing their uniforms, unit numbers, and external appearance, and using every method so as to cover their tracks to the utmost.
- Or we seek volunteers from our army and provide them with high-quality light weapons, in order to form them into special guerrilla units under the leadership of such officers as have benefited from experience and study.
- Guerrilla units can be classified according to their nature. Those formed of selected volunteers are called special guerrilla units. Those organized generally from a part of our army are called basic guerrilla units. Those organized from the local population are called local guerrilla units. When basic and local guerrilla units engage in combined actions, they are subject to the unified command of the commander of the base unit.
- As for the choice of the members of a guerrilla unit, the members of a basic guerrilla unit should be taken from among those soldiers who are healthy, firm of purpose, patient, courageous, and quick-witted. Moreover, the soldiers themselves should be willing to join the group in question. In the case of the independent actions carried out by these men in the course of guerrilla operations, there is generally no way to verify whether or not their tasks are executed in accordance with orders, and frequently they act beyond the knowledge of the responsible commander. For this reason, the choice and training of members of guerrilla units should have as its central theme “faithfully carrying out one’s task.”
- The choice and the nomination of the commander of a guerrilla task group or small group requires even greater forethought and reflection. The capacity of the commanders for faithful and courageous action, their military knowledge—especially their knowledge of guerrilla tactics—their possession of a lively intelligence and the ability to adapt rapidly to changing circumstances, their loyalty, and their daring are indispensable conditions for carrying out plans and completing our tasks.
Number of Troops
The number of men belonging to a guerrilla unit is determined by the tasks, but it commonly ranges from five or ten men to something over a thousand. However, the maximum strength of such a unit may not exceed one regiment. If the number of soldiers is too large, the movements of our forces will be encumbered, there will be greater difficulties regarding food supply, and it will be difficult to conceal the troops by the use of false uniforms. Because of these problems, our plans may be discovered or revealed before they have been carried out. Moreover, replenishing our supplies of ammunition will be a problem. Furthermore, we will often have difficulties because of poor roads, with the result that not only will all our plans prove merely illusory, but also we will often fall into difficulties to no good purpose in going and returning.
The great superiority of a small guerrilla unit lies in its remarkable mobility. With very little expenditure of time and effort, one can get food, and it is also easy to find a place to rest, for one does not need much in the way of rations or a place of shelter to camp. Still less is one held up by bad roads, and supplies of ammunition and medicine are also easy to replenish. If we do not succeed in our operation, we can retreat in good order.
Types of Soldiers
As for the type of soldiers employed in guerrilla units, cavalry, engineers, and highly mobile infantry troops are excellent. Cavalry is entrusted with the task of creating disorder on the enemy’s flanks, and also, when we are pursuing the enemy, with that of maintaining pressure on his rear guard and creating confusion on his flanks and in his rear. Moreover, at all times, cavalry is the guerrilla unit’s only instrument for transmitting correspondence and for reconnoitering. Hence, the cavalry is indispensable to any guerrilla unit. Engineers are used for destroying communications in the enemy’s rear (such as railroads, telephone and telegraph lines, bridges, etc.). As for the highly mobile infantry units, they are useful to startle the enemy and produce in him a feeling of insecurity night and day.
Apart from the rifles of the infantry and the cavalry, light machine guns, hand grenades, etc., guerrilla units should also be supplied with pistols and submachine guns.
To the extent that the terrain permits it, one can also add heavy machine guns, mortars, and small cannons.
Men and Baggage
Convenience of movement and agility being the characteristics of a guerrilla unit, the baggage train, cases of equipment and ammunition, etc., should all be kept as simple as possible for the sake of convenience. The combatant and noncombatant members of the unit should all be organized as most appropriate for guerrilla warfare, and all other persons who are not indispensable should be kept to the strict minimum.
- The officers and men in each guerrilla squad should not exceed 8; each platoon should not exceed 26; and each company should not exceed 100.
- When automatic weapons are somewhat more numerous, the number of men can be still further reduced, and guerrilla units composed of 5 or 6 men can be sent out repeatedly, in order to achieve the greatest results in terms of harassing the enemy or securing intelligence.
- Each commanding officer of a unit should have only one orderly at most. Apart from this according to the complexity of the tasks, two or three officers should share the services of one orderly. Even more attention should be accorded to not abusing this rule by unnecessarily increasing the number of couriers as a substitute for orderlies and to seeing that an unnecessarily large number of men are not sent to carry out a given task, thereby reducing the fighting strength of one’s own unit. Hence, when one sends out couriers, one must reflect carefully on whether they can accomplish their task or not.
- It is preferable that each mass unit should not carry bundles of food. When the dry rations carried separately by each soldier are exhausted, one should take advantage of opportunities to borrow the pots and pans of the population so as to prepare supplementary rations. If it is necessary to carry bundles, each unit should not carry more than two.
- Bundles of writing materials should not be carried in excess of needs. Normally, two bundles per regiment, one per battalion, and one per company are permissible. The weight of each bundle should not exceed 40 kilograms.
- Each officer and soldier should carry his own bedding, knapsack, etc. Bearers should not be engaged to transport these items. This rule should be firmly established in advance.
Objects to be Carried
A guerrilla unit preferably should have the following things:
- Equipment and explosives for destroying railroads, telephone and telegraph lines, arsenals, etc.
- Medicines. Those needed in case of emergencies should be carried according to the season, but dressings, etc., should be provided on a permanent basis.
- A compass, and maps of the area in which the guerrilla unit operates.
- Light radio equipment, which is especially important in order to be able to report at all times on the situation of the enemy and to listen in on the enemy’s reports.
- A certain quantity of gold coins, to provide for unexpected needs and for buying food.
Whether or not the military discipline of a guerrilla unit is good influences the reputation of our whole army and its ability to secure the sympathy and support of the popular masses. Only strict discipline can assure the complete victory of all our independent actions. Consequently, our attitude toward those persons who violate military discipline, harm the people’s interest, and do not resolutely execute the orders of their superiors, should consist in punishing them severely without the slightest regard for politeness. The application of military discipline in a partisan unit does not aim exclusively at punishment. Rather, it aims at strengthening the political instruction of the officers and men and raising their level of political consciousness, thereby indirectly eliminating a large number of actions contrary to military discipline and causing the officers and soldiers to understand the psychology of the masses, so that at appropriate times they can unite effectively with the common people.
- Each guerrilla task group and small group should have a political director, and in the headquarters of the guerrilla unit there should be a political training department, for directing the political work of officers and soldiers and dealing with the human problems of all the political instructors.
- Each mess unit of a guerrilla should establish a special commissioner in order to guard against the infiltration and activity of reactionary elements and to encourage those soldiers without clear ideological consciousness who are wavering in their purposes.
- In order to prevent desertion by the soldiers, a committee against desertion, as well as “groups of ten,” should be organized in each guerrilla unit. The groups of ten and the committee against desertion are negative methods for preventing desertion. Their organization and work should be carried out roughly as follows:
- In order to prevent desertion, every guerrilla unit should establish a desertion committee and every mess unit should organize a group of ten.
- The committee against desertion should be composed of from seven to nine people, one of them being the chairman and the others members. It should be composed of lower-level cadres who can endure difficulties and whose thinking is friary, as well as heads of the groups of ten. The groups of ten are composed of ten men in all, one of these being the head and the others members. They are made up of faithful and reliable soldiers.
- The over-all activity of the groups of ten is subordinated to the committee against desertion. As regards military matters, it is subordinated to the commander of the unit and to the committee against desertion. In other work, it is subordinated to the political training department. Both groups of ten and committees against desertion must accept the guidance of their commanding officer.
- The work of the group of ten should take account of all the actions and talk of the officers and soldiers, especially of “camp idlers” and such. Unstable elements should be secretly watched, even if they are members of the group of ten or their friends.
- Meetings should be held once a week to review the work and to report to the commanding officer and the committee against desertion regarding the situation in general at all times. After each extreme difficulty or when our army has suffered a slight defeat and is staying in its base camp, special attention should be paid to unfavourable attitudes that may develop among the soldiers and to conversations that may endanger the morale of the soldiers.
- The work of the committee against desertion consists above all in reviewing the work of the groups of ten and in admonishing and guiding them at the appropriate times. The committee may also call conferences of the heads of all the groups of ten, or plenary conferences of all the members of the groups, to discuss the progress of the work as a whole.
The soldiers’ life is rather like living in the desert, and every day the men undergo the fatigue of political study and training in the art of combat. This may easily engender feelings of disgust and opposition. In order to provide entertainment for the army and to compensate for a dull life, one should establish in a guerrilla unit clubs or amusement rooms. (For details of the organization and activities of such clubs, see the account in Chap. XV, 10.)
Special Forms of Military Organization
- In order to make up for insufficient supplies of ammunition and poor marksmanship, every company should have from three to nine sharpshooters, to be employed exclusively for shooting from ambush at long distances or for shooting at special targets (enemy officers, machine-gunners or artillery-men, couriers, etc.)
- The commander of each task group and a small group should choose particularly sharp-eyed couriers to serve as observers. Normally, a task group commander should have two of these, and a small group commander one. These men serve exclusively to remedy the insufficiency of battlefield observation.
- Each task group and small group of a guerrilla unit should have two nurses, who devote themselves exclusively to emergency care of sick officers and men and to instruction in hygiene.
- In order to obtain reliable information regarding the enemy’s disposition, so as to be able to oppose him without losing any opportunities, all guerrilla units should establish groups of scouts. Normally, it will be sufficient if each unit has one platoon, each task group has one squad, and each small group a smaller element. A network of local scouts should also be established by the group of scouts wherever they go, or by scouts concealed in advance.
The principal object of the action of a guerrilla unit lies in dealing the enemy the strongest possible blows to his morale, and in creating disorder and agitation in his rear, in drawing off his principal forces to the flanks or to the rear, in stopping or slowing down his operations, and ultimately in dissipating his fighting strength so that the enemy’s units are crushed one by one and he is precipitated into a situation where, even by rapid and deceptive actions, he can neither advance nor retreat.
- Destroy railroads and highways within the area of action, as well as important structures along the roads. Telephone lines and telegraph systems are especially important.
- Destroy the enemy’s principal or secondary supply depots.
- Destroy the enemy’s storehouses of food and military equipment.
- Strike in the enemy’s rear, at his baggage train, or at his mounted and unmounted couriers, as well as at his mounted scouts, etc. Also seize the provisions and ammunition that the enemy is bringing up from the rear to the front.
- Strike at the enemy’s independent task groups and at the inhabited areas that he had not yet solidly occupied.
- Mobilize and organize the popular masses everywhere and aid them in their own self-defense.
- Destroy airfields and military depots of the air force in the enemy’s rear.
- The first principle lies in careful and secret preparation, and in rapid and sudden attack. Fierce wind and heavy rain offer a favourable occasion for a guerrilla attack, as do thick fog, the darkness of night, or circumstances in which it is possible to strike at an exhausted enemy.
- The operations of a guerrilla unit should consist in offensive warfare. Whether its numbers be great or small, such a unit can nonetheless appear where it is not expected and, in its attacks, take advantage of the enemy’s lack of preparation. But when there are indications that the situation is unfavourable, or when there is no certainly of victory, it is appropriate to withdraw rapidly, so as not to suffer damaging losses. If the attack originally planned by the guerrilla unit fails to give an advantageous result, and, the enemy goes over to the offensive, a guerrilla unit should withdraw quickly. Only when the enemy pursues us, and it is impossible to evade his attacks, can we fight a defensive action and then gradually withdraw.
The Use of Tactics
- The redoubtable force of a guerrilla unit definitely does not depend exclusively on its own numerical strength, but on its use of sudden attacks and ambushes, so as to “cause an uproar in the east and strike in the west,” appearing now here and now there, using false banners and making empty demonstrations, propagating rumors about one’s own strength, etc., in order to shatter the enemy’s morale and create in him a boundless terror. In addition, we must pay attention to such principles as: “The enemy advances, we retreat, the enemy retreats, we advance, the enemy halts, we harass him,” camouflaged attacks, etc.
- A really excellent stratagem for bringing the enemy to his destruction lies in mobilizing the popular masses, in making a strong defense by emptying the countryside, in luring the enemy to penetrate our lines deeply, in cutting his communications, in placing him in a position where he has difficulties with his food supply, where his men are weary and the terrain is unfavourable and then launching an attack.
- By such tactics as sudden attacks, ambushes, making a strong defense by emptying the countryside, etc., a guerrilla unit should make every effort to avoid positional warfare, and all frontal engagements. Before the local guerrilla units have received regular military training, they should not be launched against the enemy in a regular and prolonged battle. For this reason, when local guerrilla units are first formed, they should be used only in conjunction with actions by basic or special guerrilla units. It is only after a certain period that they can act independently.
- If we strike at the point where the enemy feels the greatest difficulties, in order to draw his main force to come to the relief of the position, then, afterward, we send our main force somewhere else, either to attack other isolated and weak forces of the enemy or to attack his reinforcements on the march.
Advantageous and Disadvantageous Terrain
- Because open terrain affords very little good cover, it is slightly disadvantageous for us when guerrilla units operate there. Covered, mountainous, or broken terrain are advantageous for us.
- A guerrilla unit should be thoroughly familiar with the terrain in its region of action and should think frequently about the ways in which it can appear from a place where the enemy army does not expect it, following secret and hidden routes such as valleys, forests, or narrow winding paths, so as to approach close to the enemy army and take advantage of a situation in which the enemy, persuaded he is quite secure, has taken no measure of defence whatsoever. Then, following the principle that the “thunderclap leaves no time to cover one’s ears,” the unit can strike sudden blows and then vanish into hiding without a trace, thus reducing the enemy to a level where he does not feel secure whether he is withdrawing or advancing, attacking or defending, moving or remaining still, sitting or lying down.
- Relatively large villages, market towns, and places where there is a reasonably large amount of grain and other movable property are frequently the objects of enemy attack and harassment. A guerrilla unit should regularly spy out the enemy’s traces, and prepare an ambush so as to attack him when he is the midst of his march.
- A guerrilla unit should use every method, within its area of action, to prevent the enemy’s small units from entering, and his main force from concealing itself there. In case of necessity, a guerrilla unit should also strike to unmask the military strength, disposition, and plans of the enemy operating outside its area of action.
A guerrilla must consider the seasons (winter, summer, or autumn are suitable for operations), with reference to the strength of our forces and those of the enemy, and especially with reference to the weapons of war; it must also be thoroughly familiar with the organization of the enemy’s rear. Whether or not each season is favourable to us is also determined with reference to the terrain.
The peculiar quality of the operations of a guerrilla unit lies entirely in taking the enemy by surprise. Consequently, we must take every possible measure to preserve military secrecy, as described in detail below:
- The commander of the unit should explain to his subordinates their tasks and the plan for the operation only just before the action begins, or while they are advancing. In case of necessity, he should explain the whole plan only by stages, so that others learn about each stage only when required.
- The best method for the transmission of orders in a guerrilla unit is by oral explanations from the commander to his subordinates. It is necessary to limit written orders insofar as possible, in order to avoid leakage of military secrets.
- One should not discuss the whole of one’s actions and plans with guides or the local population. This is the case even with regard to local populations favourable to us; it is even more necessary to forbid such talk when we are about to attack a certain place.
- We should send out faithful and reliable scouts in advance to observe the point where we are going to camp or to line in ambush along important roads in the enemy’s rear, in order to cut off his information.
- When we advance, our rear guard should take full responsibility for obliterating and removing all secret signals and road signs. We should also advance by circuitous route, so that the enemy does not know the direction of our advance.
- Fixed code names should be used in place of all unit designations, and the use of the real names of units should be strictly prohibited.
- Except in case of necessity, all documents should be burned immediately after they have been read.
- Apart from the methods already enumerated, the true plans of a guerrilla unit can also be obscured in certain cases by using the local population for the deliberate propagation of false information about the operations of the guerrilla unit, in order to deceive the enemy.
Arrangements and Preparations for Movement
In order that our movements may be rapid, apart from doing our utmost to simplify all our organization, we should at all times maintain excellent preparations for action (investigation and intelligence regarding the front, care of sick soldiers, preparation for guides, preferably employing local peasants whose sympathies lie with the guerrillas, or other reliable persons), and we should also preferably carry three days’ dry rations. If this is done, then when we want to move, we move, and when we want to stop, we stop, and there is no need for special arrangements.
The Conditions for Victory
- A condition for the victory of a guerrilla unit is that the officers and soldiers have an absolutely courageous and resolute spirit. They must also be filled with a spirit of action in common, and be thoroughly alert and resolved to carry out their own tasks. Apart from this, they must have healthy bodies and be able to endure boundless hardships, be good at the use of their weapons, etc.
- A guerrilla unit should not lose heart in difficult times, nor should it cease its activity if it encounters difficult circumstances. As regards their confidence in ultimate victory, their confidence in the success of their cause, and especially their hatred of our national enemy, such circumstances should only strengthen their purpose to advance courageously in spite of all obstacles.
If a small guerrilla unit, because its numbers are insufficient, cannot carry out a task assigned to it, it can unite temporarily with a few other guerrilla units, in order to fulfill its task.
Guerrilla operations are best carried out under cover of night.
Points That Should be Carefully Considered Regarding Our Tasks Before a Surprise Attack
When a guerrilla unit has finished concentrating for an attack, and when plans for scouts, courier service, etc., have all been satisfactorily completed, and one is preparing a surprise attack on a certain inhabited place, the commander of the guerrilla unit must first form a clear idea about each of the following points.
- What is the strength of the military forces defending the given inhabited place? How are they deployed? How are they armed? What is their fighting capacity? How many scouts to sound a warning have they sent out?
- Is there any other enemy nearby? If there is, how far away is he? Can he quickly come to the aid of the defending forces? Can we imagine how he would come to aid them? From what direction would he come?
- What sort of roads are there that could be followed by the guerrillas and by the enemy? What hidden roads are there in the vicinity of the place we intend to attack by surprise? What route will we take to get to the place we are attacking? The preceding three points are not only things we should know in view of carrying out a surprise attack; we must also not fail to consider them with reference to our withdrawal after the attack.
- As for fixing the time of a surprise attack, it is best to carry it out at night, under the cover of darkness, even if the attack should fail, it can still inspire panic in the enemy. But we can attack at night only if we are thoroughly familiar with the terrain, and have clearly understood the enemy’s dispositions or have extremely good guides. Otherwise, we should choose instead to carry out such surprise attacks at daybreak. If a surprise attack is to be directed against a supply depot, it should be carried out in the dead of night, for the men, horses, and military equipment in such a depot will be on the move again very early, at daybreak.
- Can the population of the given inhabited place aid the enemy or not? How can we prevent the opposition from bringing trouble on itself in this way?
While we should think through our plans at length, we should avoid overly subtle plans.
Points for Attention Before Setting Out
- Before setting out, a guerrilla unit should complete all its preparations for the march (see below). Moreover, it should consider taking stretchers for transporting wounded soldiers.
- The method for a surprise attack on the enemy should be thoroughly understood beforehand not only by the commander of the unit and the commanders of each task group, but also by all the members of each independent task group. The best mode of transmitting this information is through oral explanations by the commander and his staff. Written orders of all kinds should be held to a minimum, in order to avoid having their contents divulged by loss or mistake.
- Prior to setting out, all officers at every level should appoint a replacement, in order, on the one hand to express their resolution to sacrifice themselves and, on the other hand, to avoid the risk that, if they are wounded or killed, the action of the guerrilla unit may fail to attain its objective because of them, thus influencing the whole situation.
Points for Attention While on the Move
- We must make the greatest efforts to conceal the movements of a guerrilla unit and to prevent discovery by the enemy. Consequently, while advancing, we must leave the highroads and avoid large villages, and choose out-of-the-way places or even places where there are no roads at all, advancing along narrow winding trails. But we should keep away from miry roads, so as to avoid fatigue.
- When advancing, we should not proceed for a long time on the same road, for this makes it easy for the enemy to discover our tracks. From the standpoint of keeping our movements secret, it is also generally appropriate to move by night, even when we are advancing a long distance.
- When we are advancing, for the sake of concealing ourselves, we should hold the number of people we send out for reconnaissance to the very lowest level. In general, it will be sufficient to send just a few scouts along the road, but we must have very good guides.
- If we are not absolutely certain that there are no enemy spies coming to observe us, it is best to divide our forces into small groups, which advance separately in different directions and then concentrate at a point which has been secretly designated.
- When a guerrilla unit is on the move, it should be constantly prepared for a meeting with the enemy. For this reason, the commanding officer of a guerrilla unit generally advances, accompanied by his staff, just behind the scouts, behind the elite soldiers, or ahead of the staff of the unit (the staff is entrusted to the leadership of the second in command). Thus, it is easy to obtain a clear picture of the situation, and decisions can be taken very rapidly. If the commander sees that it is possible to advance, he advances; if he becomes aware of difficulties, he withdraws. All that is required is for two or three officers to hold a discussion, and then the decision can be made. Thus, we avoid sending orders back and forth, with the consequent wasting of opportunities, and we diminish command from the rear, and its attendant evil of taking action not in keeping with the circumstances.
- Apart from the scouts sent out along the road, the soldiers of the guerrilla unit should not load their rifles, so as to avoid accidental discharges during the march and discovery by the enemy.
Measures to be Taken if the Enemy is Encountered While on the March
- Under no circumstances should a guerrilla unit provoke a pointless battle before it has reached its objective. Even though a guerrilla unit may encounter the enemy in the course of its march, it should devise a way for getting around him—if necessary, departing from the original plan. If there is no way of avoiding battle, we should emerge from ambush, after rapid preparations, so as to appear where the enemy does not expect us and annihilate him by a surprise attack. At the same time, when we are carrying out such a maneuver, we should pay attention to whether the enemy halts or advances, and send out scouts to reconnoiter from all directions. If the enemy is not prepared for battle or if, although he is in some strength, he is not on the alert, we should charge him immediately. Otherwise, we should remain in hiding and quietly wait for an opportunity.
- When, in the course of our march, we encounter enemy outposts or scouts, we should avoid being seen by them and circle past them in strict silence. But if we encounter a situation in which we judge there is an opportunity to be grasped, we should act rapidly and capture them without firing a shot.
Disposition of Troops During a Surprise Attack
When a guerrilla unit carries out a surprise attack, the disposition of its troops should be more or less as follows:
- We should launch a fierce attack by our main force on the point in the enemy’s disposition where it hurts the most—a really swift and resolute sudden blow. We should also send another force around to carry out energetic action on the enemy’s flanks and in his rear, in order to confuse his judgement, and prevent him from fathoming where our main force is located.
- We should attack one point in the enemy’s disposition with all our might, but we should also carry out feigned deployments in other places and make an empty demonstration with a few scattered soldiers, so as to confuse the enemy’s eyes and ears, and disperse his forces.
- If we can determine beforehand the enemy’s line of retreat, then we should, within the limits of what is possible, send a part of our forces to intercept him. If the enemy has his heavy artillery and logistic supply installed outside the village, then we should designate a special small group to seize them.
- If the guerrilla unit is numerically strong, it should be divided into several columns and should carry out the attack from two, three, or several directions, attempting to cut off the enemy’s retreat. But we should consider the matter thoroughly, so as to avoid causing confusion in our own ranks, which might result in erroneously taking our own troops for those of the enemy. Because of this possibility, it is necessary, in advance of the action, to agree on signals.
- In the case of a surprise attack on the enemy, if there is a reason to fear that enemy reinforcements may arrive from a certain direction, we should send a small body of troops in advance on the action to the route where the reinforcements may arrive, so as to obstruct their advance, or report this peril to the main force.
- At the time of a surprise attack, the choice of the point on which the brunt of the attack will fall, and the geographical distribution of our forces (in general, two-thirds of our men are used for the principal direction of attack, and only one-third for the auxiliary directions of attack) must absolutely be such as to prevent the enemy forces from spreading out or receiving reinforcements and to make it possible for us to smash them one by one.
- The various task groups making up a guerrilla unit should divide their forces within a very short distance of the point where the attack is to be made, and from there make a separate but coordinated advance. The best place for this is the point from which the charge will be made. In this way, we can avoid such misfortunes as losing our way, or the premature division of our forces, and we can also guard against the danger of surprise attacks by the enemy. For the farther apart are the various independent columns or groups, the more likely they are to be separated by the terrain, and the more difficult it will be to expect them all to strike at the same moment.
The Success of a Surprise Attack
In general, we charge the enemy when he is not prepared, in circumstances where he is frightened and flustered. If we really want to strike when the enemy is not expecting us and attain success, the following points should be attended to:
- We must act rapidly and secretly and not allow our plans to be revealed prematurely.
- We must strike at a time when the enemy’s warning system is not very alert.
- We must make an empty display, and attack in several places at once, so that the enemy’s reaction is confused, his forces are frightened and hamper on another, and he cannot use all his strength to resist us stubbornly.
- In carrying out the surprise attack, we must attack at the appointed hours; there must be no noise; no shots must be fired; there must be no battle cries. We must make every soldier understand the use of the arms employed in a surprise attack, which are the bayonet and the hand grenade. We must not return fire simply because we hear the gunfire of the enemy. It is only when we have an opportunity to take advantage of the situation to attack the enemy that we should launch our attack, with our vanguard well supported by our rear guard, choosing frontal, flanking, or direct blows.
Dispositions Following the Success of a Surprise Attack
- As soon as the tasks of a surprise attack have been carried out, a guerrilla unit should rapidly withdraw. Before withdrawing, it is best to go a few li in a false direction, and then afterward turn and go in our true direction, so that the enemy will be unable to discover our tracks, and will not be able to follow us.
- It is not appropriate for a guerrilla unit to take along prisoners, or to acquire large amounts of booty, which hinder our movement. It is best to require the prisoners first to hand over their weapons, and then to disperse them or to execute them. As for booty, it should be dispatched by the local government, or by the population.
- During the battle, three officers and men out of every company should be given the exclusive task of picking up and gathering together abandoned rifles and ammunition. After a victorious battle, we should devote all our efforts to collecting everything on the battlefield, and we can also call upon the population of nearby areas to gather such things together, so that not the smallest rifle is left behind.
Dispositions Following the Defeat of a Surprise Attack
If a surprise attack is defeated, we should rapidly withdraw to the place of assembly designated in advance. The usual assembly point is in the place where we encamped the previous night. If our forces are sufficient, we can leave a reserve unit along the designated withdrawal route, to look out for prisoners and wounded men.
Points for Attention When Carrying Out Espionage
- All reports on the situation should be transmitted without loss of time to one’s superiors or to friendly armies.
- The reports which we collect absolutely must be in full detail. All sloppy and negligent reports must be severely prohibited.
- The scope of espionage is not limited merely to the situation of the enemy; spies should also pay attention to the terrain. We should be informed of all aspects of the terrain that are disadvantageous to us, especially those aspects favourable to the enemy, such as narrow roads, river crossings, circuitous routes for avoiding these river crossings and narrow roads, etc.
- We should expend every effort to obtain complete and detailed information regarding all matters having any relation to our guerrilla unit; our efforts should never cease until we understand the situation thoroughly.
- We should pay attention to the sentiments of the people toward ourselves and the enemy. Are the people actively aiding us? How is their positive attitude manifested?
Methods of Espionage
Apart from sending out courageous and intelligent individuals (i.e., spies) to carry out espionage on every hand, a guerrilla unit must unite closely with the popular masses of the place in question. Moreover, in strategically important places, we use reliable local inhabitants or those among the people who sympathize with the guerrilla unit (for example, we can make use of feudal relationships and find a relative, or someone belonging to the family of a person who has been executed by the enemy; we can also employ those among the people who hate the enemy, etc.). We give these people a relatively good salary, establish a secret espionage network, as well as a system of sentries, so that we can transmit information with facility.
Espionage Regarding the Number of the Enemy’s Troops, His Tactical Skill, and His Armament
- Where are so and so many enemy infantrymen, cavalrymen, artillery-men, and other units to be found? How many armored cars and trains, tanks and air planes does the enemy have? And where are they?
- What kind of defensive works does the enemy have in his front, in his rear, and around his cities and other places? What kind of forces are defending?
- Where are the enemy’s encampments and arsenals?
- What about the enemy’s reserves and flanking troops? Where are they?
- How is the morale of the enemy soldiers? Are they prepared to fight or not? What are their relations with the people and with their own officers?
- What about the enemy army’s supplies of military equipment, bedding and clothes, food, and other items?
Espionage Regarding the Terrain
- First of all, we must pay attention to the important roads within this area, as well as their direction, their width, their type of surface, whether or not they are muddy, etc., and whether or not they are suitable for use by all types of forces.
- Are there any forests or not? If there are, we must pay attention to the kinds of trees, and to their area.
- We must consider rivers, their width and depth, their rate of flow, the slope and type of soil of the banks. Are there bridges, ferries, or other means for crossing the river? If there are bridges, will they bear up under artillery, the baggage train, and other types of unit?
- Are there any marshes? Where? What is their area? Can they be crossed or not? If so, we must note what kinds of troops can get through them.
Types of Ambush
When we emerge suddenly from hiding, and strike a sudden blow at the enemy who is just passing by, this is called an ambush. The sole habitual tactic of a guerrilla unit is the ambush. By means of an ambush it is extremely easy to obtain a good result, and as a general rule they are always advantageous. Such action is divided into the following types:
- Ambush by luring the enemy. This occurs when our troops, so to speak, prostrate themselves and hold out both arms, enticing the enemy to penetrate deeply. It is carried out by first placing our main force in ambush along the two sides of the road, or in a hiding place on one side, and then attacking the enemy with a small force. This force then feigns defeat and withdraws, luring the enemy deep into our lines, after which the main force rushes out from one side or both sides and carries out a surprise attack.
- Waiting ambushes. These are very similar to ambushes by luring the enemy, but it is not necessary for a part of our forces to feign defeat. Instead, we establish an observation post on some height, to observe the movements of the enemy army, and when his main force has reached the appropriate point, we rush out and attack him by surprise.
Spots for Carrying Out Ambushes, and Objectives to be Attacked
Ambushes can be carried out against a variety of objectives such as isolated enemy soldiers, couriers, whole mobile units, logistic convoys, transport columns, trains, etc. Further details are given below.
- When ambushing the enemy’s cavalry or infantry, we should choose a spot where they cannot use their weapons and where it is not easy for them to manifest their full strength.
- Ambushes against logistic convoys or transport columns should be carried out in the midst of a forest or in the countryside.
- Ambushes of small enemy units, or whole mobile units or motorized transport columns are most valuable. But we must first understand their plans, the direction in which they are advancing, and the time it will take them to pass. We must also reflect in detail on the location for the ambush and carefully seek out a place likely to contribute to a favourable result. At the same time, we must carefully select in advance the route for our own withdrawal.
- When a guerrilla unit carries out an ambush against a railroad train, our forces can be split into three parts. The first part should take up battle positions near the railroad, to guard against resistance from the train. The second part should take up a position on the two sides of the train, and shoot into the carriage. The third part has the task of charging and boarding the train to make a search, unloading the cargo, taking charge of weapons, etc.
The Terrain in Ambushes
The point at which an ambush is carried out must have the following features:
- It must have good cover, in order to prevent our being observed by the enemy and, at the same time, permit us to observe the enemy.
- It must permit us to employ our maximum fire power.
- It must allow us to leap out rapidly at one bound from ambush and come to grips with the enemy. Hence, between the point where we lie in ambush and the enemy, there should be a dense forest, a damp depression, a narrow road, or some other intervening ground.
The Distance from which an Ambush Should be Carried Out
If the guerrilla unit which carries out a surprise attack is in sufficient strength so that it wants to come to grips with the enemy at one bound, then it should stage its ambush near the side of the road. If, on the other hand, the enemy is in considerable strength, and our plan is merely to harass him and cause confusion, then we should remain in a place some distance from the road.
Important Tricks for an Ambush
- An ambush can most advantageously be carried out in silence. Whether by day or night, loud talking should be absolutely forbidden, as should patrolling along the front.
- Remaining a long time in ambush can easily lead to discovery of our plans and an increase in the danger. Because of remaining too long in ambush, the state of tension of our men is gradually weakened, and they can no longer maintain their vigilance. Hence, one can easily be discovered by the enemy. A point that especially merits attention is that, if we have already been discovered by the enemy, we should immediately either launch our attack or withdraw.
Surprise Attacks on the Enemy’s Foraging Units
Occasions for Surprise Attacks
A charge against the enemy’s foraging units should be carried out under the following circumstances:
- It can be executed when the enemy unit is nearing a village.
- We can wait until the enemy enters a village and has scattered in all directions to forage from door to door, and then carry it out.
- We can wait until the enemy has finished foraging and is returning loaded with booty, and then attack by surprise from ambush.
- Which of the above types of attack is most appropriate should be determined with reference to the circumstances, by the persons who are responsible for the guerrilla unit. They should carefully evaluate all the factors and make arrangements adapted to circumstances.
Surprise Attacks in a Village
It is most advantageous to attack the enemy’s foraging units in a village. At such a time the greater part of the enemy’s foraging unit is scattered all over the place, and it is not easy for them to gather together quickly. But, in carrying out this type of surprise attack we must steal by the enemy’s warning outposts or capture his sentinels without the slightest sound; only then can we make our attack.
Surprise Attacks Outside a Village
If the force carrying out a surprise attack is especially weak, it must wait until the foraging is completed and until the foraging column has reached a place favourable to a surprise attack—such as when it is passing through a forest, across a bridge, or along a narrow road—before attacking.
The Objectives of the Surprise Attack
When a guerrilla unit has attacked and dispersed the enemy unit covering a foraging operation, it can reckon only that it has completed part of its attack. It must also destroy or capture all of their wagons. Consequently, the guerrilla unit should first engage the enemy covering unit in combat and then attack the logistic convey with its main force and capture it.
Points to which the Guerrilla Unit Should Pay Attention
It is easy to obtain the assistance of the local population when attacking one of the enemy’s foraging units. Hence, within the limits of what is possible, part of the property seized should be given to the popular masses, to heighten their courage.
Surprise Attacks on the Enemy’s Transport Units
An attack on a transport column is one of the most advantageous forms of action for a guerrilla unit, since we can obtain in this manner the weapons, food, and supplies we need.
Sudden Surprise Attacks
With such attacks, we can frighten the enemy out of his wits, and precipitate him into a state of complete confusion. The coolies of the transport units are, in large part, timid peasants forcibly impressed. Moreover, the size of the covering force is limited, and it is generally spread out over a very long distance. If we overturn one of the wagons, we can make all the wagons behind it stop too.
Methods of Attack
The guerrilla unit must not forget that its task is not to defeat the enemy, but to capture the enemy’s wagons. Consequently, we should detail only a part of our forces to do battle with the enemy’s covering unit. The rest of our men should be ordered to plunder, pursue, and demolish the materials he is transporting. Hence, whenever we carry out such a surprise attack, we should do our best to contrive matters so as to open fire rapidly against the transport unit and cause them to stop, in order to increase their confusion and fear.
In order to stop the whole transport column, it is only necessary to shoot at the front part of it, because, under conditions of mass anxiety and bewilderment, when the wagons in front stop, they will interfere with one another, fall over on the side of the road, and bring about a situation of extreme confusion. If there are a large number of transport wagons, and if, because the front of the column is under fire, the wagons at the rear endeavour to turn around and escape, the guerrilla unit should send out a small number of riflemen to shoot furiously from cover at the tail end of the column, so that it does not dare turn around.
If the unit carrying out the surprise attack is in an inferior position, and the covering unit is taking active precautionary measures, the guerrilla unit should exhaust the enemy by incessant false alarms, and then when the transport column is passing through a forest or valley or along a narrow road in some other type of terrain, where the enemy’s logistic convoy cannot easily turn around, the attack should be swiftly carried out.
It is not often advantageous to carry out a surprise attack on a baggage train in a village, for the covering unit and the logistic convoy can easily make use of the houses and other cover, and offer strong resistance.
If the covering unit has already been dispersed by our attack, the resistance of the transport unit has also been overcome, and enemy reinforcements cannot arrive in time, the guerrilla unit can then destroy the wagons and the goods they are carrying or destroy completely whatever the guerrillas cannot carry away or have no use for.
The Correspondence Network of a Guerrilla Unit and the Destructions of Communications Facilities in the Rear
The Object of the Network
So that they may be able to call upon one another for aid and receive information at all times regarding the situation of the enemy, guerrilla units should do their utmost to maintain the closest and most solid relations with the local population for the exchange of correspondence.
Means for Maintaining Relations
In order to set up such a correspondence network, we should, in addition to utilizing the telephone in the greatest possible measure, employ all means at hand. These include runners, messengers on horseback, messengers on bicycles, secret couriers posted in advance for transmitting information, as well as transmittal by sentries, and even signals and pre-established signs, etc.
Methods for Transmitting Reports
- A network for important correspondence should be set up. Reports of an urgent character can best be transmitted by messengers on horseback. When this is impossible, we should send out reliable individuals particularly good at going on foot. It is also possible to arrange in advance for the transmittal of secret letters. There are times, too, when we must send out several men, each of them taking a different route, to make certain that the report in question will reach its destination. (This method should be limited to the most important reports.)
- As for ordinary reports that are not particularly important, they are commonly transmitted by runners or messengers on bicycles. There are times when one can also use faithful individuals from among the local population who are thoroughly familiar with the routes to carry such reports.
Signals for Communications
For the sake of convenience in guiding each guerrilla group or unit by day or by night, in its actions in mountainous terrain or in forests, the commander of a guerrilla unit should establish in advance a certain number of basic signals and signs (such as signal fires at night, smoke signals by day, coloured pennants, semaphore signaling by flags, paper signals, whistles, bugle calls, etc.).
Dispositions Regarding Routes of Communication in the Rear
Should we or should we not destroy the routes of communication in the enemy’s rear? We must reflect in detail about this problem. If we conclude that, in the future, our own army will not need to use these roads, or will not be able to utilize them, then we can destroy them.
Points for Attention in Destroying Routes of Communication
If we want to destroy routes of communication, we must be thoroughly familiar with the terrain. It is only then that, moving rapidly and elusively, we appear suddenly and quickly withdraw. In eliminating the enemy’s sentries, we must not fire a shot, in order not to alert them and give them a chance to flee.
Precautions When Beginning the Destruction of Routes of Communication
When we begin the destruction of routes of communication, we must first send out a detachment to the place where the presence of the enemy has been reported, in order to keep an eye on the enemy’s patrols and his small detachments, so that they cannot quickly and secretly get close to the point where our own unit is at work. If, while beginning work, we are discovered by the enemy, we should shoot at him to keep him from coming nearer.
Methods of Destroying Works on the Ground
- Railroads should be destroyed at the points where they are most difficult to repair, such as at curves, at points where the railway is hidden from view, where the enemy’s precautions are lax, where we can work under cover, or where we can destroy a large length of track. When destroying the rails, we should bend them, or hollow out the ground beneath them. In low-lying places we should dig ditches. As for tunnels, we should obstruct them.
- Railroad ties, wooden bridges, telegraph and telephone poles, etc., should be burned up. Wires should be carried away or dropped into the water.
- Signals switches, semaphores, railroad carriages, etc., located in the stations should be destroyed, preferably by blowing them up with explosives.
- In destroying cobblestone roads, highways, bridges, and other constructions, we must in all cases choose a method of destruction appropriate to the nature of the construction.
Regular Hiding Places and Precautions to be Taken When We Halt
Marshaling Our Troops
The problem is not merely one of resting and marshaling our troops. We require a place that can also be used for conserving ammunition and food and for receiving and looking after wounded and sick soldiers. Hence, the place in question commonly serves also as a supporting point in time of battle. As soon as we are the objects of the enemy’s pursuit and attack, we withdraw there, and secretly hide, so as to await an opportunity to act or to begin resisting the enemy again.
The Choice of a Spot
- A hiding place where we can rest for a long time may conveniently be found deep in the forest, in a thatched hut near a marsh, in a cave under the ground or in a mountainside, on a lonely farm, or in a small and secluded hamlet. Because of the sympathy it enjoys a small guerrilla unit normally has no difficulty at all in finding a regular hiding place.
- A guerrilla unit must absolutely maintain the strictest secrecy regarding the hiding places it has selected. Even one’s closest friends and relatives must not be informed if they have no connection with the guerrilla unit in question. If our original hiding place has been discovered by the enemy, then, in general, we should not wait for the enemy to come and attack us but must quickly remove elsewhere.
- Sometimes such hiding places also serve as storehouses for military equipment, powder, and provisions, and also for receiving wounded and sick soldiers. More often, a separate secret location in the vicinity of the hiding place is selected for each type of storehouse because there are people continually going in and out of a hiding place and it can very easily be discovered by the enemy.
- The more individuals there are among the people who support the guerrillas, so that the guerrilla unit can also maintain a communications network among the people, the easier it is for the guerrilla unit to find a hiding place. There are times when, in order to evade the enemy’s pursuit and attack, and find a good place to hide, a given guerrilla unit must be split up, each of its members being obliged to find a way to hide himself in one of the houses of the local population. In such circumstances, the local population is the only hope of salvation of the members of the guerrilla unit.
The Question of Provisions
In places where the local population is hostile to the guerrillas, there is no alternative to foraging backed by force, but one should send reliable people from among the detachment, in order to guard against pillaging.
When the guerrilla unit does not fear discovery, it can send out a special small unit to forage for food, to collect contributions of food, or to demand food supplies from the local authorities.
Changing One’s Halting Place
The best method by which a guerrilla unit can maintain its own security is through the agility of its action. In case of necessity, the unit can make a habit of changing its halting place every night (if, during the day, it has been in village A, at twilight it moves to village B).
Occupying a Halting Place
When a guerrilla unit encamps, the arrangement of its forces should be determined entirely by the nature of its action, but it should not occupy a large village that its own forces are insufficient to hold. If a guerrilla unit cannot do otherwise, and finds itself in such a place, it should occupy only a few collective dwellings situated apart and convenient for defense. The best thing is to be located in a village where one can keep a lookout in all directions, especially on the road along which the enemy might come. We must absolutely not disperse the members of the unit to stay in different houses, acting, for the sake of the individual convenience, in a way of which the enemy could take advantage. In order to keep the enemy from knowing where we are staying, the best method is to enter the village only late at night. Moreover, we should look about carefully and all sides of the village and not allow anyone at all to come out.
The Degree of Precautions
In order to avoid excessive fatigue to the members of a guerrilla unit, and to assure them of a real rest, it is not necessary to send out large numbers of scouts to sound a warning. It suffices to arrange for military outposts and concealed scouts in all adjoining places and along all roads (those which the enemy must take, or those related to us). We should also send out spies to places from 2 to 4 li away. This distance will be sufficient.
Whether or not the enemy attacks us, we must always fix an assembly point at a distance of from 10 to 16 li, for use in case of withdrawal. Moreover, the roads leading to the assembly point should be designated and marked in advance (but there must be at least two roads giving access to such a place).
When a guerrilla unit is staying in a place, all its members, whether they be officers or soldiers, must at all times take measures to prepare for battle. Especially after twilight, every officer and soldier must gather together the arms and other equipment he carries with him, and arrange them in the proper order, so that it will be convenient, in case there is an alarm in the dark, for him to go out quickly and meet the attack.
When There is Anxiety About a Surprise Attack by the Enemy
- If the guerrilla unit itself is especially alert, if its intelligence network is organized with exceptional discretion, and if the people of the area are in sympathy with us, so that they regularly report all movements to us, then it is extremely difficult for the enemy to mount sudden surprise attacks. But whatever the circumstances may be, we must always exercise due caution.
- In order to prevent the enemy relying on a hostile population from coming and making a surprise attack on us, we must take special precautionary measures. Thus by methods of intimidation we warn the local population, we arrest and detain people. But at the same time, the unit must exercise caution and be prepared.
- If there is an alarm, we should assemble the whole unit in a building that has been prepared for defense. We should dispatch to this building advance sentries and observers as required. The entrance to the building should be closed by movable obstacles, and we should establish in advance signals for the defense. Weapons and other equipment should be properly prepared and placed within reach of each man.
- When circumstances are extremely critical, part of a friendly unit should take over responsibility for the security of our position and the place in which our army is staying, as well as for sending out spies far and wide to add to the warning system. They report constantly to the guerrilla task group on the situation of nearby enemy forces.
- When we use artificial obstacles to block the roads, we must make provision for communication with our first line and reserves, as well as with the local population and our correspondence network.
- In case of necessity, the roads within villages can be completely blocked off, or we can leave a way through. Whenever possible, each guerrilla task group should have a prepared position.
Dispositions in Case of an Enemy Surprise Attack
- When we discover that the enemy is moving toward us, if we find out from reconnaissance that he is not in strength, we should annihilate him with one sudden blow. If the enemy forces are several times more numerous than ours, we should rapidly withdraw. But while we are withdrawing we should give the enemy a false impression of the direction in which we are moving, so as to conceal our actual route of withdrawal.
- If the enemy attacks us by surprise and we do not succeed in evading him, we should exploit in full measure the advantages of a village for defensive action, resist him firmly, and then later take advantage of an opportunity to withdraw.
- If we have already lost a village, we should reply by a counterattack or counterblows in order to take it back quickly and save our captured comrades, or those comrades who are clinging to a position and defending it stubbornly to the death. If our action is rapid, we can always attain such objectives, because after a victory the enemy is often in great confusion and lax in his precautions.
- The best occasion for carrying out such counterblows, or such a counteroffensive, is just after the victory of the enemy’s surprise attack. The sacrifices of a charge under such circumstances are less than those from running away, or from stopping and giving battle in unfavourable terrain following the enemy’s attack.
The Scope of Training
Training is not limited to the military arts; we must also pay attention to political training, to the literacy movement, to training in hygiene, etc. Consequently, when a guerrilla unit is engaged in drill, literacy training should represent an appropriate part of the whole, and can be given in all places and at all times.
For the purpose of achieving a full and satisfactory result from all the kinds of training carried out in a guerrilla unit, we must increase the will to study on their own initiative among the officers and soldiers. Apart from the political aspect, and in addition to increasing political consciousness, we must also promote amusements for the army, mitigate a painful and tedious existence, assist the people in their own self-defense, and cause the armed force of the popular masses to unite closely with us.
Training in All Subjects
The consequence of training in all subjects, though it is difficult to reduce it to uniformity, is, as regards methods in general, to proceed from the superficial to the profound, first the broad and then the rigorous, from the simple and easy to the complex and difficult, first the partial and then the universal. In all fields, one must demonstrate one’s theories by concrete experience, so as to strengthen the students’ confidence.
Cultivating the People’s Capacity for Self-Defense
The most pressing and most important task of a guerrilla unit is to carry out guerrilla attacks without ceasing in the places occupied by the enemy, to seize and kill all traitors and reactionaries, and to protect the popular masses. At the same time, a guerrilla unit must investigate the concrete offenses of the enemy and use every possible method to discover and smash his tricks and plots. Therefore:
- It is advantageous to make known our good government, to make great efforts to unite with the popular masses, and to support the forces of the popular masses. Such actions can also be carried out on the territory of the enemy. We should also use every possible method and devote all our strength to encourage the people to imitate our own actions, stimulate them to fight the enemy actively, and guide their combat.
- Our action in supporting the people’s capacity for self-defense should be of long duration, and not ephemeral. We must do the best we can to let people know that, at all times, a guerrilla unit struggles and sacrifices itself for the popular masses and, even in the case of the most dangerous crisis, will absolutely not harm the popular masses. If the local population meets with a defeat in its first military action, after we have drawn it into the war, its spirit of struggle will necessarily be dissipated to some extent. When the masses falter in this way, we must devise a way to rouse their enthusiasm and to bring their spirit of struggle to a high level once more.
- A guerrilla unit constitutes the most conscious and advanced segment of the people. Hence, they should first unite those among the popular masses who are dissatisfied with the enemy and who accept the leadership of those we send among them. We must also aid the people to establish plans, to get arms, and to establish liaison and mutual assistance with mass organizations in neighboring villages and even in other cities that are victims of the enemy’s oppression. But, in carrying out all such work, we must maintain the strictest secrecy.
Training in Hygiene
- In order to strengthen its own fighting capacity, every mess unit should designate one or two soldiers as nurses, to treat the ailments of the officers and soldiers when they arise and also to explain the rudiments of hygiene, as well as to assist, direct, supervise, and encourage all matters of hygiene in the unit.
- Replenishing stocks of medicines is an extremely difficult matter in a guerrilla unit. Hence we should, in accordance with the seasons, etc., prepare certain medicines especially for emergency care, and other normally indispensable medicines. As regards wounded and seriously ill members of the unit, when there is no alternative, they are entrusted to fellow soldiers with some slight medical knowledge or to local inhabitants sympathetic to us.
Military training all relates to the enemy army. Its purpose is to create greater skill than that of the enemy in each specialized art.
- Subjects. The items requiring particular attention are dispersing, assembling, marksmanship, maneuvering an army, mountain climbing, construction of military works, night fighting, mountain fighting, fighting on narrow roads, espionage and security measures, searches, liaison, and other such actions.
- Methods. In carrying out military instruction, particular attention should be paid to all methods of teaching and explanation, which should be more or less as described below:
- For theoretical instruction one can employ the method of giving suggestions and the method of questions and answers. All methods of teaching that adopt the style of speechmaking and injecting [ideas into the students’ heads] should be eliminated in so far as possible.
- When explaining actions, we should pay attention to linking our talks with the living reality, so that it will be easy for the soldiers to understand us.
- We should devote more time to concrete demonstrations of actions and less time to talking about empty theories. Consequently, the greatest effort should be made to diminish the duration and number of classroom sessions and the numbers of practical exercises should be increased.
- All explanations in the classroom should in so far as possible correspond to the exercises outside.
- All demonstrations of actions should be carefully prepared in advance before they are executed. All negligent and perfunctory behaviour—doing things any old way—must absolutely be eliminated.
- With respect to all activities, we should devise a way to incite the officers and soldiers to carry out a competition, in order to increase the spirit of initiative and the positive attitude they manifest in their work, and to speed up the work.
- Increase applied training, diminish training according to a fixed pattern, and correct the erroneous idea that training according to a fixed pattern is useful in maintaining military discipline.
- The plan of training should be suited to the circumstances, time, and place in which it is to be carried out. The training plan must absolutely not be rigid; we must seize every occasion and strive to give training adapted to the circumstances. This is done more or less as indicated below:
- We utilize the time when the army is on the march to carry on direction finding, recognizing differences in terrain, estimating distances, reconnaissance action, and designating objectives and the utilization of terrain.
- When we are in camp, we utilize preparations for security measures in order to carry out exercises in all kinds of observation and precautions, beginning with the role of advanced sentries. We also provide training in construction of military works.
- We utilize the opportunity provided for a battle, and before setting out or before the fighting begins, we explain, on the basis of the tasks we have been ordered to perform, such forms of action as ambushes, surprise attacks, main attacks, and supporting attacks, etc.
- We utilize the opportunity, when we are awaiting the moment for action, to explain in practical terms how we resist the charges of the enemy, as well as shooting and other such military actions.
- We utilize post-battle exposition and criticism (such exposition and criticism should be based on a minute investigation of the facts, carried out beforehand) to point out the strength and weaknesses in our actions during the battle and what was appropriate and inappropriate in the individual commands, thus giving a concrete lesson to all officers and men.
- We utilize the time offered by morning and evening roll calls to give various kinds of talks.
- We utilize the occasion offered by the recreation period to put on games, dances, and modern-style plays, having military significance, thus imperceptibly increasing the officers’ and soldiers’ desire to correct themselves, and increasing their willingness to follow good examples.
- We utilize each occasion of reward and punishment to carry out thorough propaganda among the officers and soldiers, in order to increase the soldiers’ sense of achievement and their shame in doing evil, and thus, little by little, fostering a good military discipline.
In order to assure that all the independent actions of a guerrilla unit attain complete victory, apart from reinforcing military training, the most important thing is that we must make certain that the officers and soldiers have a high level of “political consciousness” and of “devotion” to their own cause. Political training is the only method by which this objective can be attained. Its content is described in detail later on.
The Literacy Movement
In order to increase the cultural level of the officers and soldiers, so that they may more easily absorb all kinds of training, each mess unit must carry out literacy training. The methods are as follows:
- The “A” class includes all those who know about fifty characters.
- The “B” class includes those who know above twenty characters.
- The “C” class includes those who know no characters at all.
- The teachers of the various classes consist of those in the unit with a relatively high cultural level.
- When we halt, there should be an hour each day devoted to the study of characters. When we are on the march, we can carry out such instruction either while moving or during rest periods. In such training, the important thing is regularity rather than speed. In general, if the soldiers learn two words a day, it is excellent.
The Aim of the Political Work of a Guerrilla Unit
This aim lies in strengthening and raising to a higher level the fighting capacity of each member of the unit. The fighting capacity of a guerrilla unit is not determined exclusively by military arts, but depends above all on political consciousness, political influence, setting in motion the broad popular masses, disintegrating the enemy army, and inducing the broad popular masses to accept our leadership. All the plans of a guerrilla unit, whether they be political, military, or of any other nature, are all directed towards this single end.
The Main Content of Political Work
We must carry out political instruction directed toward the resurrection of our people (stimulate the soldiers’ national consciousness, their patriotism, and their love for the people and for the masses) and see to it that every officer and soldier in a guerrilla unit understands not only the national tasks for which he is responsible but also the necessity of fighting in defense of our state.
We must also pay attention to supporting the leaders, to maintaining the solidarity of the unit with real sincerity, to carrying out to the end the orders of one’s superiors, and to maintaining an iron military discipline. We must see to it that the multitude of the soldiers are of a single mind and endowed with the resolve and the will to save our country together.
Apart from strengthening its own fighting capacity, a guerrilla unit must also carry out propaganda among the masses regarding the plots of the invaders and of the enemy.
Discussions in Small Groups
These are excellent activities to unite our walls, to strengthen confidence, and to proclaim our doctrine.
- We collect the view of all the comrades, in order to avoid feelings of alienation and to achieve the effect of gathering together ideas and obtaining greater advantage.
- By the cadres, we increase their capacity for work and give them more practice in techniques for holding meetings and in methods of speaking. We will also be able to solve problems more quickly, investigate the past, and transform the future.
- We can thus verify the fellowship existing among the members of the unit, and draw new comrades into the party.
- This method is convenient for training, and makes it possible to understand completely each comrade’s circumstances, capacity, and knowledge.
- According to their character, these activities can be divided into discussion meetings, review meetings, and criticism meetings.
Before the meeting we must prepare for it. These preparations consist in informing the members of the group, establishing the essential subject matter of the discussion, and, at the same time, reporting to the next higher echelon.
- As regards the number of participants, from three to five represents the optimum.
- One should not be bound by any rigid pattern. Discussion meetings can be held at all times and in all places.
- As for the time limit, it is not desirable that the meetings should last too long. One hour is the maximum permissible.
- It is appropriate to hold one meeting a week. The order of procedure consists in a report by the chairman, discussion of the report by the participants, and a conclusion entrusted to the leader of the group. The record of the meeting should indicate in detail the name of the chairman, the subjects of discussion, the number of those present and absent, and the place where the meeting was held.
- Not more than two problems at most should be discussed. The discussion should have as its starting point the individual problems of the participants.
- As for the manner of speaking, it is appropriate that the remarks of the participants should deal with essentials and be simple and clear. They should be systematic and not repetitive. They should be persuasive in content and presented in a friendly and agreeable manner. In answering questions, one should avoid any hint of mockery and pay attention to what the others say. At the same time, one should arrive at a decision concerning the topic discussed.
- As regards the leader of the group, his report should be simple. He should not give a long and repetitive presentation but seize the occasion to induce the participants to speak.
- The conclusion should follow the inductive method. It should include a criticism of the whole of the discussions. If there are dissident conclusions, they may also be expressed.
Carrying Out Political Work
One should not merely rely on a few political workers. The best thing is to be able to attract and train conscious elements, or interested officers and soldiers, to participate in the work and to train the whole personnel of the unit so that they can all carry on effective political work.
Types of Political Work
In broad terms, political work can be divided into three categories according to whether it is carried out in ordinary times, during battle, or after a battle. As for propaganda destined to encourage the troops, the various aspects are as indicated below:
- Political work in ordinary times. We intensify political training in order to raise the level of political consciousness, create unity in thought, word, and deed, maintain an iron military discipline, and unite closely with the popular masses. The methods are roughly as follows:
- We must really put into practice the principles of not disturbing or harming the people (such as “Pay fairly for what you buy,” “Speak politely,” “Return everything you borrow,” and “Pay for anything you damage.”)
- At all times and in all places, aid the popular masses and help them to solve their difficulties (for example, help the popular masses to gather the harvest or to cultivate their land and send our army doctors to prevent epidemics or treat the people’s ailments, or to enquire after people who have suffered difficulties and devise methods to aid them), maintain the unity of the army and the people, and encourage the spirit of sharing both good fortune and adversity together.
- Chat frequently with the popular masses and let them know about our military discipline and our affection for them, and also learn in detail about the hunger and suffering among the people.
- Frequently hold joint entertainment sessions for the soldiers and the people, so as to smooth over any feelings of alienation between the army and the people and increase the affection of the army and the people for one another.
- Resolving any feelings of alienation between the lower and higher ranks of officers and soldiers. The methods employed are roughly as follows:
- Persons engaged in political training, apart from sharing the good fortune and adversity of the soldiers, should also frequently chat with the soldiers, carefully investigate all their deep grieves and report their problems at all times to their superior officers, and devise methods for improving the situations.
- As regards all the opinions of higher and lower ranks, we should take our stand on a position of pure rational knowledge, convince them by an attitude of sincere entreaty, and explain things to them. We must make absolutely certain that higher and lower ranks unite solidly as one man, and we must strengthen their capacity to unite.
- With respect to soldiers who violate discipline, we should use educational methods to persuade them. All corporal punishment and insults must absolutely be reduced.
- We should frequently hold meetings at which officers and soldiers can enjoy themselves together, in order to heighten the affection between officers and soldiers.
- Augmenting the officers’ and soldiers’ hatred of the enemy, and increasing their resolve to fight to the death to kill the enemy. Increasing the common hatred of the enemy is an important factor in strengthening the soldiers’ morale. Consequently, a guerrilla unit should pay particular attention to all the atrocities of the enemy, and to all the instances in which he massacres our army or our people, and carry out propaganda generally among the army regarding these atrocities, so as to heighten the courage of the officers and soldiers to fight to the death and harden their resolve to fight the enemy to the death, since either we or they must perish.
- Strengthening confidence in the inevitable victory of our war against the enemy. The methods are more or less as follows:
- We must frequently avail ourselves of the tales of the glorious feats of arms in our past, in order to carry out propaganda among our officers and soldiers and inspire them.
- We put forward examples of the enemy’s defects (such as difficulties, collapses, and other problems that he has recently encountered), in order to demonstrate that in the end the enemy must be defeated.
- We must put forward examples of our own strong points (such as the support of the popular masses, transmission of information, familiarity with the terrain) and the present victorious circumstances, in order to demonstrate that we must ultimately triumph.
- By exposing the clever tricks habitually used by the enemy, we make known the points to which our army should pay particular attention, in order to prevent the emergence of a mentality of fearing or underestimating the enemy.
After we have suffered an attack, we sink for a time into a situation characterized by difficulties and painful effort, and as a consequence we underestimate ourselves, exaggerate the enemy’s strength, and lose our confidence in victory.
Political Work in Time of Battle
Political work before we set out is carried on as described below.
- The commander in chief of the unit first calls a meeting of the cadres. He explains in what respects the existing political situation is favorable to us, as well as the conditions of victory and the significance of the battle. He also explains the methods and points for attention in attaining our goal, but without infringing military secrecy.
- On the basis of the meeting of the cadres, the political training section immediately calls meetings of political workers at all levels, at which the essential points and the methods of propaganda are explained and concrete tasks are assigned.
- The various groups immediately call meetings of all the officers and soldiers, at which, in addition to reporting on the current political situation and the guarantees of our victory, conditions for competition are also put forward. (“He who is lightly wounded should not leave the firing line, he who is seriously wounded should not cry out in pain”; “Let us see who can hand in the most weapons”; or “Let us see who can take the most prisoners.”) At the same time, tasks are distributed to all political workers and activists (supervision, leadership, or propaganda).
- Political workers should be sent to the local population to gather them together, call meetings, and give talks, inspiring them to participate in the battle or to join the ranks of the porters or the transport units. As regards the organizations of the popular masses, we should guide them in methods of calling meetings, of fighting, and of preparing mobilization.
- After the battle has begun, the most important political training workers should be sent to inspire the units responsible for the main attack or for particularly important actions. The less important political training workers should be sent to inspire the less important fighting units.
- Propaganda units and groups of singers and dancers (all composed of lively and lovable boys in uniform and attractive clothing) should be sent in advance to positions along the side of the roads where the army will advance, to give short talks, sing, dance, or shout slogans, so as to inspire the maximum of courage in the officers and soldiers.
Political Work After the Battle Has Begun
- After the battle has begun, we should pay attention to calling out slogans to the soldiers of the other side, so as to dissipate their morale. This is one of the forms taken by our work of sabotage.
- When the situation on the battlefield enters the stage of an encounter at close range or from positions arrayed opposite one another, we devise a method for holding a joint meeting with the soldiers of the opposite side and take advantage of this opportunity to give them food, in order to gladden their hearts. After this, we carry on more propaganda work, which must be prepared in advance.
- After the battle has begun, we must assuredly carry out propaganda directed towards those outside our army. It is even more important to inspire those within our army. The methods for this work are diverse and are determined primarily by what is adapted to the circumstances. For example:
- On the attack:
- When we suffer a surprise attack by the enemy while advancing to attack, we should give an explanation such as the following: “Comrades! Airplanes cannot decide a battle. We must seize this opportunity, advance rapidly, and quickly come to grips with the enemy on the ground. Charge the enemy with your bayonets!”
- When firing begins, we should encourage the soldiers in the following terms: “Comrades! Don’t shoot at random, shoot only when you have taken careful aim. We must try to kill an enemy with every bullet.”
- When we are near the enemy and are about to charge, the method for inspiring the soldiers is as follows: “Comrades! The time to dispose of the enemy has come. We shall pay no attention to sacrifice, we shall summon up our courage, defeat the enemy and annihilate him. Let our victory inspire the whole army! Forward quickly! Charge!”
- When the first charge is repelled and we charge a second time, we should encourage the soldiers as follows: “Comrades! We are an invincible iron army, we are a mighty unit victorious in every battle, we are absolutely resolved to destroy this enemy and preserve our glorious reputation.”
- When officers are wounded or killed in battle, we should exhort the troops as follows: “Comrades! Our officers (So-and-so) and (So-and-so) have already sacrificed themselves gloriously. Let us tread in their bloody footsteps, complete their task, and annihilate the enemy before us. Let us go and avenge them!”
- If the enemy shows signs of wavering, we should exhort the soldiers as follows: “Comrades! The enemy is wavering. Charge quickly and capture his commander in chief alive!”
- When we pursue the enemy, we should exhort the soldiers as follows: “Comrades! The enemy has retreated. Pursue him quickly! Charge and smash the enemy’s holding units, finish off his main force, annihilate his whole force. Let us see who can hand in the most arms, and who can take the most prisoners. To win a battle and not to pursue the enemy is a great pity.”
- On the defence:
- When the order has been received, we should carry out propaganda as follows: “Comrades! The enemy has arrived. This is the best opportunity to annihilate the enemy. Make skillful use of natural obstacles, and shoot with sang-froid. The more of the enemy we kill and wound, the easier it will be for our main attack to progress and obtain results.”
- When the enemy charges, we should exhort the troops as follows: “Comrades! The enemy is about to charge. Fix your bayonets, and prepare your hand grenades. Let us summon up our awe-inspiring reputation, preserve the glory we have already won, and annihilate the enemy in front of our position.”
- When we are surrounded by the enemy, we should exhort the soldiers as follows: “Comrades! We are an ever-victorious unit. We are a courageous and invincible iron army. We will wage a bloody battle to the end for our people and our country, shed our last drop of blood, hold onto our rifles to the death, and die rather than surrender. To hand over one’s rifle is suicide, to surrender is the supreme shame. Let us smash their lines at one point and break through.”
- At the time of the counterattack or when the order to go over to the offensive is received: “Comrades! We are counterattacking. Let us take away the enemy’s rifles, let us capture the enemy officers, let us see who is most courageous!”
- Propaganda when we retreat: “Comrades! Let us keep our movements secret and baffle the enemy in his calculations. Let us open wide our arms and lure the enemy to penetrate deep. Do not break ranks, do not fall behind, do not waver, do not succumb to panic, do not fear sacrifice, execute resolutely to the end the orders of your superiors. Final victory will be ours!”
- When we cover the withdrawal of our forces, the methods for exhorting them are similar to those indicated above.
- On the attack:
Political Work Following a Battle
After the battle has been concluded, political work continues.
In order to avoid the appearance of attitudes of slighting the enemy or fearing the enemy, we should pay attention to the following points.
- We should correctly point out the causes of victory and defeat. We must not become puffed up because of a small victory; still less can we lose our confidence in victory because of a small setback.
- We must establish the attitude that should be adopted henceforth, or the points requiring attention.
We should collect materials and anecdotes concerning our victory, as well as the names of units, individual officers, and soldiers who have fought courageously. We should then use these materials to compose propaganda outlines, songs, dances, old- and new-style plays, etc.
We should print large numbers of victory announcements and slogans and stick them up everywhere. At the same time, we should organize a roving propaganda unit, which spreads out toward areas established in advance, to carry out propaganda and to call the popular masses together and hold meetings to celebrate the victory.
When meetings are held to celebrate the victory, one should pay attention to the following points:
- Report on the significance of the victory, and the tasks now before us, as well as the concrete methods to be employed to carry out these tasks.
- Report on units that have fought courageously, as well as individual officers and soldiers. As for officers and soldiers wounded or killed, one can select the most valuable among them and report about them.
- Put on new versions of classic plays, as well as songs and dances.
While the reports indicated under a and b above are being delivered, or the play is being put on, the units participating in such a meeting should shout out slogans in accompaniment. We should also bring up the methods for providing pensions to the members of the families of the soldiers killed in battle.
Moreover, we should bring together the prisoners and booty in the sight of the masses, thus further increasing the courage and the spirit of struggle of our soldiers and of the people.
At meetings to celebrate the victory, all organizations should also launch a consolation movement. The main points for attention in this respect are:
- As regards material consolation, the important thing is not the quantity, but the significance; it is not the elegance and refinement of the items given, but their utility. Such things as straw sandals, face towels, pigs, sheep, chickens, and ducks are all suitable for this purpose.
- In case there is a lack of goods for material consolation, consolation in the form of honors should be used. For example, one can make flags for presentation, or compose songs in memory of the fallen, or issue an order of the day in their praise.
- Following a small victory, there should be no large-scale consolation. Consolation should be carried out only if we can devise means for doing it in a place near the battlefield.
We should praise examples of combined operations, autonomous actions, and the resolute application of orders. Thus:
- When there are those who, in the course of a fierce battle, have achieved victory by combined operations, autonomous action, and the resolute execution of orders, the maximum effort should be made to publicize the fact and to praise them. Those who have the misfortune to be defeated in similar circumstances should also be praised.
- When there is punishment for those who, in order to preserve their own forces, fail to advance, or fail to carry out their tasks energetically, thus bringing about the defeat of another unit of our army, the case should also be the object of large-scale propaganda within the unit. In this way we give a lesson to the officers and soldiers of the whole unit, or of other units, and make them afraid to commit similar offenses.
Work Pertaining to Clubs and Amusement Rooms
By virtue of the fact that it compensates for a painful and tedious existence in the army, this is also a way of preventing desertion. The essentials regarding the organization and work of clubs are dealt with below.
Rules Regarding Organization
- In order to promote entertainment in the army, compensate for a tedious existence, increase interest in our work, and inspire a taste for study, each mess unit within a guerrilla unit should organize an amusement room. This should be divided into a military section, a guerrilla section, and a physical culture section. Each officer and soldier in the mess unit should choose one of these sections, in accordance with his own nature; he can, if he wishes, participate in two or three of the sections.
- One person from among the company commanders or the particularly energetic and capable platoon commanders should be chosen to be responsible for the amusement room. Each of the three sections should have a section head, chosen at a meeting of the members of the section, for a period of six months with the possibility of being chosen to succeed himself.
- Each week there should be one meeting of the section heads and one meeting of the members of each section. A meeting of the leaders should be held once a month. It is called separately by the chairman of the section heads.
- In its work, the amusement room should follow the guidance of the club of the next higher echelon. It is also subject to the supervision and guidance of the commanding officer of the unit. In military affairs, it is absolutely subordinate the commanding officer of the unit.
- In order to guide and unify the work of the various amusement rooms, a guerrilla battalion should establish a club. This club should have a chairman and a secretary who are responsible for all its activities.
- The club should be attached to the political training section, because the work of the amusement rooms constitutes a kind of political training. If there is no political training section, the club is directly subordinated to the commanding officer.
- The work of the club consists in guiding and promoting the work of the various amusement rooms. Consequently, each week there should be a meeting of the responsible heads of the various amusement rooms, and each month we should call a meeting of all the officers and soldiers or a meeting of the army and the people together.
All the work of both the clubs and amusement rooms should have as its principle not to interfere with military administration, military training, or military action.
The Essentials of the Work of Clubs and Amusement Rooms
- The work of the military section consists in furthering a spirit of independent study among the officers and soldiers, in discussion of military questions, or in the mutual rectification of the actions of the members in order to remedy the lacks and insufficiencies of military training. Its content is as indicated below.
- Bayonet section (practice, taking a hypothetical enemy dummy as the object).
- Grenade section (throwing a wooden hand grenade at a target).
- Guerrilla section.
- Taking aim from a fixed support.
- Checking one’s aim.
- Carriage while shooting.
- Investigations when setting out.
- Utilization of obstacles.
- Shooting at various types of objectives in the field.
- Physical culture section. The work of this section lies in strengthening the bodies of the officers and soldiers. It can also remedy insufficiencies in military training. Its content is as follows:
- Ball playing (basketball, football, volleyball, tennis, baseball, etc.)
- Track and field sports (high jump, broad jump, races, obstacle course).
- Boxing and swordplay.
- Entertainment section. The work of this section consists in providing amusement for the members of the army, in compensating for a tedious existence, and in increasing the soldiers’ interest in their work and their taste for study.
- Joke section. This section can carry on its activities at any time at all, but attention should be paid to the following points:
- When jokes are told, we must make them easy to understand. We can take materials from joke books and such, but they should not be too obscene.
- When telling stories, we should devote much time to stories about the abundant exploits and great enterprises of the ancients, and to their excellent words and admirable conduct, in order to achieve an inspirational effect.
- When reporting on the news, we should devote attention to our own victories and to the atrocities of the enemy.
- Theatrical section. This section utilizes rest periods, both in the evenings and during the day, to put on all sorts of new-style plays, traditional operas, comedy teams, storytellers with drums, etc.—performances that have political content and are at the same time amusing, in order to improve morale.
- Song and dance section. In accordance with the circumstances in which the unit finds itself and the nature of the tasks, this section composes all sorts of songs in order to stimulate the interest of the officers and soldiers in singing songs, or it puts on dances in costume, assuming various comical attitudes, in order to make the onlookers laugh until they hold their sides.
- Music section. This is divided into violin, harmonica, guitar and other groups, which can accompany the plays and dances.
- The methods of work of all sections should be adapted to the time and circumstances. They should be employed in a lively manner, and on no account in a wooden fashion.
- The work of all sections should be subject to strict control and supervision. We should also use methods of competition to induce all the officers and soldiers to make spontaneous efforts.
- All kinds of songs and old and new plays, etc.
- For the benefit of the work, all groups and sections should have specialized talents.
- The officers and soldiers who participate in these performances should be excused from their other duties.
- Joke section. This section can carry on its activities at any time at all, but attention should be paid to the following points:
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