A time existed when the methods the Guerrilla warrior uses were looked down upon. Accusations of dishonorable and cowardice behavior would be spat upon those who employed what might be called shadow tactics. Here’s the truth (as has become more and more apparent among the military). All is fair in war. The only dishonor is to yourself and/or your family or group, and it only exists when you have failed to do everything in your power to effect survival. The real cowards lay dead for all to see, because their pride wouldn’t let them run away.
Until 1962, the American military avoided openly having units trained specifically in the art and science of Guerrilla warfare. This was not because they didn’t realize the need for this training. The pride of the American people wouldn’t have accepted the seemingly immoral tactics that would be taught to the soldiers of these units, at least not openly. Then, President Kennedy took a giant step forward. Recognizing the urgent need for unconventional warfare tactics, he announced the expenditure of funds to create highly trained guerrilla type units. The Navy SEALs were created for exactly this purpose. Over time, the pride of the American people was shifted to support SEAL-type combat. Now, guerrilla tactics are not only acceptable but are held in high regard as military and warfare standards.
Guerrilla tactics are not just for warfare. The principles of these tactics can be used for all aspects of survival. The application of this method makes the smaller and outnumbered seem larger and more well equipped and the frightened seem like ferocious lions. Furthermore, it turns the opposition’s strengths into advantages for you. Some of the most important general principles are outlined below.
“Always be on the side of the people and the people will win your war for you.” – Anonymous Guerrilla Quote
If you don’t have the numbers to win the battle, win the people and let them help you win. Networking is a fundamental concept to guerrilla tactics. Most anything can be achieved when like-minded people work towards a common goal. The more people you communicate with, the more opportunities will present themselves. Information, especially in this day and age, is a most valuable asset. Find the right information and use it as a tool to hammer down the walls of fear and scarcity.
Here is a good representation of how networking and negotiation can provide important survival tools. Through a fellow prepper in my area, I got connected with a guy who was apprenticing as a blacksmith. The apprentice was looking for some materials for different practice projects. As it happened, I knew where I could find just such material. I spent a day gathering, and after all was said and done I brought him 40 or so railroad spikes and some truck leaf springs. That deal got me two free knives and a tomahawk handmade by the smithing apprentice. Later, I was able to negotiate a deal for him with a third party that bought a dozen of his high quality knives. He made some extra money and got his name out, and I got three free knives, which I in turn traded for other items I needed. This created multiple beneficial outcomes. I added supplies to my preps and a resource in the apprentice, and as it turns out, I widened my survival circle by adding a member that has a specific skill.
For understanding the fundamentals of networking and negotiation, here are some resources to get you started. Books like How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie or How to Argue and Win Every Time by Gerry Spence are excellent. Also, studying Neuro-Linguistic Programming(NLP) can help you manage your powers of persuasion.
There are generally two ways to address any given situation: 1) Straight ahead like a charging bull, raging towards glory, and 2) Quiet observation mixed with quick and cunning strategic moves, attacking the problem while it is small or by narrowing the odds against success. The latter is the guerrilla method, employed by those whom the odds are heavily against. So, handle problems while they are still small, and don’t let what you don’t have impede your ability to reach a particular goal.
You can apply this to any area of your survival strategy. Buying food preps can be as little as one extra can of corn at the next shopping trip, or as much as a bucket of dehydrated survival food every week. It’s more important to make consistent forward progress than to keep staring at the finish line wondering if you’ll ever get there. Also, divide tasks, plans, and goals into manageable sections. The idea is not to get overwhelmed. If you see your goals in plain writing that are broken down into small, achievable stepping stones, you will be more aptly able to attack large scale plans, and by the time you are ready to complete your final goal, you’ll realize that you already have. This also boosts morale among a group or family. Keep a steady pace of constant forward progress.
Using the divide and conquer technique against an enemy force makes the opposition’s numbers an advantage for you. Rather than facing your enemy’s body of fighters man for man, segregate units of their force from the larger group and attack the weak links. If the number of the opposing army’s soldiers are vast, the leaders have less awareness of them, making them vulnerable to quiet attacks. It may go completely unnoticed, as enemy numbers dwindle slowly and consistently. This also applies to other aspects of survival and prepping. When faced with a big overall picture, divide it like a grid. Each section of the grid is like a piece of the overall “big picture”. First, take out the easy stuff and get it out of the way. Then, prioritize what is left by starting with the nearest, easier to accomplish task. Do not totally lose awareness of the rest. Just kind of put it on the back burner.
The vast majority of survival is psychological. Having the mental capacity to cope with stress, keep others calm, rule your actions with logic, and take charge when everyone else is lost in panic or shock is an ability that sets one aside from the crowd and keeps you alive while others may die, losing their minds. This method is not only used to combat the fears inside a restless mind, allowing you to be brave when you normally would not. It is also used to thwart an opposing force, either preemptively or in answer to an attack.
Understanding the use of psychological warfare, as both a reinforcement tool for yourself and as a combative tool against an enemy, is critical to Guerrilla tactics. Being able to break the will of the opposition or to wear them down through exhaustive volleys of madness and misdirection is a skill that some may not have the stomach for. It, nonetheless, serves as an extremely effective method against larger forces and is often a deciding factor in victory.
An excellent example of psychological warfare is illustrated in the Waco siege of 1993. The agents and soldiers involved in the siege against David Koresh and the Branch Davidians were well versed in using psychological terror tactics to wear down, demoralize, and conquer the group hunkered down in the compound.
This leads me to another aspect of psychological warfare– intimidation and fear. It is important to note that intimidation tactics and command presence authoritative conduct are extremely effective forms of psychological attack. Painting your face or wearing a mask depicting a frightening look will trigger an emotional response in the subject you are attacking or interrogating. Comparatively, acting larger than life to an enemy imposes a feeling of insecurity into their subconscious. Having the people of a particular locale form a legend about you or your group inspires fear in the opposing force as well.
Command presence authoritative conduct is what police and agents are taught as a manner of carrying ones self when subduing a suspect. The reason that so many cops sound the same when making an arrest is because by presenting themselves as “in the role of authority”, the individual they are dealing with is less likely to resist, or at least there will be hesitation in the person’s mind and therefore actions. Does it work 100% of the time? No, but it does more often than not, so the one taking command presence has the psychological advantage. Pay attention to how traditional drill sergeants speak and act when hazing a new group during basic training. Keep in mind that you don’t want to use this behavior when trying to influence or get help from “friendlies”.
Being able to move quickly and quietly over a given terrain gives you the advantage. Having your own sniper in place to cover your movement and act as a counter sniper means you understand guerrilla warfare. The ability to move silently through an enemy camp or through an unknown area will keep you and your group from being noticed by unsavory characters who might wish to do you harm in a WROL scenario. That means traveling light and learning how to live off the land with minimal equipment. Similarly, not being bogged down with worry can help you in any survival situation.
Of course it is quite obvious how the practice of stealth can help in all areas of survival. Whether it be in actual practice to hunt or conversely avoid a subject, or in hiding your preps from nosy neighbors you cannot trust, or in keeping your family safe during a home intrusion, stealth is a skill that benefits all arenas of survival. This is true unless of course you are trying to be rescued, in which case you should be as big, loud, and obnoxious as possible!