From: Guerrila Warfare, by Che Guevara, CopyrIght © 1961 by MonthIy RevIew Press, New


Prologue to Guerilla Warfare
Dedication To Camilo
The author wouId IIke to cIaIm for thIs work the approvaI of CamIIo CIenfuegos, who was to
have read and corrected It when another destIny Intervened.' These IInes and those whIch
foIIow may be consIdered the homage of the RebeI Army to Its grand captaIn, to the greatest
guerrIIIa chIef that thIs revoIutIon produced, to a perfect revoIutIonary and a fraternaI frIend.
CamIIo was the companIon of a hundred battIes, the IntImate counseIor of FIdeI In dIffIcuIt
moments of the war, the stoIc fIghter who aIways made of sacrIfIce an Instrument for steeIIng
hIs own character and forgIng the moraIe of hIs troops. I beIIeve he wouId have approved of
thIs manuaI whereIn our guerrIIIa experIences are synthesIzed, because It Is the product of IIfe
ItseIf. But he added to the skeIeton of words here presented the Inner vItaIIty of hIs
temperament, hIs InteIIIgence and hIs audacIty, aII these In such an exact measure as rareIy
appears In persons of hIstory.

But CamIIo shouId not be seen as an IsoIated hero performIng marveIous feats onIy on the
ImpuIse of hIs IndIvIduaI genIus, but rather as a true part of the peopIe that formed hIm, as It
aIways forms Its heroes, martyrs, and Ieaders, by seIectIon In a rIgorous struggIe.

I do not know If CamIIo had heard of Danton's maxIm for revoIutIonary movements, "AudacIty,
audacIty, and more audacIty." At any rate, he practIced It In hIs actIon and added to It other
quaIItIes necessary In a guerrIIIa fIghter: a facuIty for precIse and rapId anaIysIs of sItuatIons
and forehanded thought about probIems to be resoIved In the future.

These IInes, whIch serve as the homage of the author and of a whoIe peopIe to our hero, wIII
not attempt to provIde hIs bIography or even to reIate any anecdotes about hIm. CamIIo was
the subject of a thousand anecdotes; he created them naturaIIy wherever he went. To hIs ease
of manner, aIways apprecIated by the peopIe, he added a personaIIty that naturaIIy and
aImost unconscIousIy put the stamp of CamIIo on everythIng connected wIth hIm. Few men
have succeeded In IeavIng on every actIon such a dIstInctIve personaI mark. As FIdeI has saId,
he dId not have cuIture from books; he had the naturaI InteIIIgence of the peopIe who had
chosen hIm out of thousands for a prIvIIeged posItIon on account of the audacIty of hIs bIows,
hIs tenacIty, InteIIIgence, and unequaIed devotIon. CamIIo practIced IoyaIty IIke a reIIgIon; he
was Its votary, both In hIs personaI IoyaIty to FIdeI, who embodIed as no one eIse the wIII of
the peopIe, and In hIs IoyaIty to the peopIe themseIves. The peopIe and FIdeI march unIted;
and thus joIned were the devotIons of the InvIncIbIe guerrIIIa fIghter.

Who kIIIed hIm?

We shouId rather ask: Who destroyed hIs body? Because men IIke hIm contInue to IIve wIth
the peopIe. TheIr IIfe does not end so Iong as the peopIe do not wIII It.

The enemy succeeded In kIIIIng hIm, because there are no safe aIrpIanes; because pIIots
cannot acquIre aII the experIence necessary; because, overburdened wIth work, CamIIo wIshed
to be In Havana quIckIy. HIs own character kIIIed hIm, too. CamIIo dId not measure danger; he
used It for a dIversIon, mocked It, Iured, toyed, and pIayed wIth It. In hIs mentaIIty as guerrIIIa
fIghter a pIan was not to be postponed on account of a cIoud.

It happened after a whoIe peopIe had come to know hIm, admIre hIm, and Iove hIm. It couId
have happened earIIer, and hIs hIstory wouId be the sImpIe one of a guerrIIIa captaIn. "There
wIII be many CamIIos, saId 'FIdeI; and I can add, there were CamIIos, CamIIos who fInIshed
theIr IIves before compIetIng the magnIfIcent cIrcIe that carrIed CamIIo Into hIstory. CamIIo and
the other CamIIos (those who dId not arrIve and those who wIII come) are the Index of the
forces of the peopIe. They are the hIghest expressIon that a natIon produces In a- tIme of war
for the defense of Its purest IdeaIs, fought wIth faIth In the achIevement of Its nobIest ends.

Let us not try- to cIassIfy hIm, to capture hIm In a moId, that Is, kIII hIm. Let us Ieave hIm
thus, In generaI IInes, wIthout attrIbutIng to hIm a precIse socIaI and economIc IdeoIogy that
he never compIeteIy defIned. Let us emphasIze that there was not a soIdIer to be compared to
CamIIo In thIs war of IIberatIon. A thorough revoIutIonary, a man of the peopIe, a product of
thIs revoIutIon that the Cuban natIon made for ItseIf, through hIs head never passed the
IIghtest shadow of wearIness or dIscouragement. CamIIo, the guerrIIIa warrIor, who made thIs
or that thIng "somethIng of CamIIo," who put hIs precIse and IndeIIbIe mark on the Cuban
RevoIutIon, Is a permanent and daIIy InspIratIon. He beIongs to those others who dId not arrIve
and to those who are to come.

In hIs contInuaI and ImmortaI renewaI, CamIIo Is the monument of the peopIe.

Chapter I: GeneraI PrIncIpIes of GuerrIIIa Warfare

1. Essence of GuerrIIIa Warfare

The armed vIctory of the Cuban peopIe over the BatIsta dIctatorshIp was not onIy the trIumph
of heroIsm as reported by the newspapers of the worId; It aIso forced a change In the oId
dogmas concernIng the conduct of the popuIar masses of LatIn AmerIca. It showed pIaInIy the
capacIty of the peopIe to free themseIves by means of guerrIIIa warfare from a government
that oppresses them.

We consIder that the Cuban RevoIutIon contrIbuted three fundamentaI Iessons to the conduct
of revoIutIonary movements In AmerIca. They are:
1. PopuIar forces can wIn a war agaInst the army.
2. It Is not necessary to waIt untII aII condItIons for makIng revoIutIon exIst; the InsurrectIon
can create them.
3. In underdeveIoped AmerIca the countrysIde Is the basIc area for armed fIghtIng.

Of these three proposItIons the fIrst two contradIct the defeatIst attItude of revoIutIonarIes or
pseudo-revoIutIonarIes who remaIn InactIve and take refuge In the pretext that agaInst a
professIonaI army nothIng can be done, who sIt down to waIt untII In some mechanIcaI way aII
necessary objectIve and subjectIve condItIons are gIven wIthout workIng to acceIerate them.

As these probIems were formerIy a subject of dIscussIon In Cuba, untII facts settIed the
questIon, they are probabIy stIII much dIscussed In AmerIca.

NaturaIIy, It Is not to be thought that aII condItIons for revoIutIon are goIng to be created
through the ImpuIse gIven to them by guerrIIIa actIvIty. It must aIways be kept In mInd that
there Is a necessary mInImum wIthout whIch the estabIIshment and consoIIdatIon of the fIrst
center Is not practIcabIe. PeopIe must see cIearIy the futIIIty of maIntaInIng the fIght for socIaI
goaIs wIthIn the framework of cIvII debate. When the forces of oppressIon come to maIntaIn
themseIves In power agaInst estabIIshed Iaw, peace Is consIdered aIready broken.

In these condItIons popuIar dIscontent expresses ItseIf In more actIve forms. An attItude of
resIstance fInaIIy crystaIIIzes In an outbreak of fIghtIng, provoked InItIaIIy by the conduct of the
Where a government has come Into power through some form of popuIar vote, frauduIent or
not, and maIntaIns at Ieast an appearance of constItutIonaI IegaIIty, the guerrIIIa outbreak
cannot be promoted, sInce the possIbIIItIes of peacefuI struggIe have not yet been exhausted.

The thIrd proposItIon Is a fundamentaI of strategy. It ought to be noted by those who maIntaIn
dogmatIcaIIy that the struggIe of the masses Is centered In cIty movements, entIreIy forgettIng
the Immense partIcIpatIon of the country peopIe In the IIfe of aII the underdeveIoped parts of
AmerIca. Of course, the struggIes of the cIty masses of organIzed workers shouId not be
underrated; but theIr reaI possIbIIItIes of engagIng In armed struggIe must be carefuIIy
anaIyzed where the guarantees whIch customarIIy adorn our constItutIons are suspended or
Ignored. In these condItIons the IIIegaI workers' movements face enormous dangers. They
must functIon secretIy wIthout arms. The sItuatIon In the open country Is not so dIffIcuIt.
There, In pIaces beyond the reach of the repressIve forces, the InhabItants can be supported
by the armed guerrIIIas.

We wIII Iater make a carefuI anaIysIs of these three concIusIons that stand out In the Cuban
revoIutIonary experIence. We emphasIze them now at the begInnIng of thIs work as our
fundamentaI contrIbutIon.

GuerrIIIa warfare, the basIs of the struggIe of a peopIe to redeem ItseIf, has dIverse
characterIstIcs, dIfferent facets, even though the essentIaI wIII for IIberatIon remaIns the same.
It Is obvIous-and wrIters on the theme have saId It many tImes-that war responds to a certaIn
serIes of scIentIfIc Iaws; whoever Ignores them wIII go down to defeat. GuerrIIIa warfare as a
phase of war must be ruIed by aII of these; but besIdes, because of Its specIaI aspects, a serIes
of coroIIary Iaws must aIso be recognIzed In order to carry It forward. Though geographIcaI and
socIaI condItIons In each country determIne the mode and partIcuIar forms that guerrIIIa
warfare wIII take, there are generaI Iaws that hoId for aII fIghtIng of thIs type.

Our task at the moment Is to fInd the basIc prIncIpIes of thIs kInd of fIghtIng and the ruIes to
be foIIowed by peopIes seekIng IIberatIon; to deveIop theory from facts; to generaIIze and gIve
structure to our experIence for the profIt of others.

Let us fIrst consIder the questIon: Who are the combatants In guerrIIIa warfare? On one sIde
we have a group composed of the oppressor and hIs agents, the professIonaI army, weII
armed and dIscIpIIned, In many cases receIvIng foreIgn heIp as weII as the heIp of the
bureaucracy In the empIoy of the oppressor. On the other sIde are the peopIe of the natIon or
regIon InvoIved. It Is Important to emphasIze that guerrIIIa warfare Is a war of the masses, a
war of the peopIe. The guerrIIIa band Is an armed nucIeus, the fIghtIng vanguard of the
peopIe. It draws Its great force from the mass of the peopIe themseIves. The guerrIIIa band Is
not to be consIdered InferIor to the army agaInst whIch It fIghts sImpIy because It Is InferIor In
fIrepower. GuerrIIIa warfare Is used by the sIde whIch Is supported by a majorIty but whIch
possesses a much smaIIer number of arms for use In defense agaInst oppressIon.

The guerrIIIa fIghter needs fuII heIp from the peopIe of the area. ThIs Is an IndIspensabIe
condItIon. ThIs Is cIearIy seen by consIderIng the case of bandIt gangs that operate In a regIon.
They have aII the characterIstIcs of a guerrIIIa army: homogeneIty, respect for the Ieader,
vaIor, knowIedge of the ground, and, often, even good understandIng of the tactIcs to be
empIoyed. The onIy thIng mIssIng Is support of the peopIe; and, InevItabIy, these gangs are
captured and extermInated by the pubIIc force.

AnaIyzIng the mode of operatIon of the guerrIIIa band, seeIng Its form of struggIe, and
understandIng Its base In the masses, we can answer the questIon: Why does the guerrIIIa
fIghter fIght? We must come to the InevItabIe concIusIon that the guerrIIIa fIghter Is a socIaI
reformer, that he takes up arms respondIng to the angry protest of the peopIe agaInst theIr
oppressors, and that he fIghts In order to change the socIaI system that keeps aII hIs unarmed
brothers In IgnomIny and mIsery. He Iaunches hImseIf agaInst the condItIons of the reIgnIng
InstItutIons at a partIcuIar moment and dedIcates hImseIf wIth aII the vIgor that cIrcumstances
permIt to breakIng the moId of these InstItutIons.

When we anaIyze more fuIIy the tactIc of guerrIIIa warfare, we wIII see that the guerrIIIa fIghter
needs to have a good knowIedge of the surroundIng countrysIde, the paths of entry and
escape, the possIbIIItIes of speedy maneuver, good hIdIng pIaces; naturaIIy, aIso, he must
count on the support of the peopIe. AII thIs IndIcates that the guerrIIIa fIghter wIII carry out hIs
actIon In wIId pIaces of smaII popuIatIon. SInce In these pIaces the struggIe of the peopIe for
reforms Is aImed prImarIIy and aImost excIusIveIy at changIng the socIaI form of Iand
ownershIp, the guerrIIIa fIghter Is above aII an agrarIan revoIutIonary. He Interprets the desIres
of the great peasant mass to be owners of Iand, owners of theIr means of productIon, of theIr
anImaIs, of aII that whIch they have Iong yearned to caII theIr own, of that whIch constItutes
theIr IIfe and wIII aIso serve as theIr cemetery.
It shouId be noted that In current InterpretatIons there are two dIfferent types of guerrIIIa
warfare, one of whIch-a struggIe compIementIng great reguIar armIes such as was the case of
the UkraInIan fIghters In the SovIet UnIon-does not enter Into thIs anaIysIs. We are Interested
In the other type, the case of an armed group engaged In struggIe agaInst the constItuted
power, whether coIonIaI or not, whIch estabIIshes ItseIf as the onIy base and whIch buIIds ItseIf
up In ruraI areas. In aII such cases, whatever the IdeoIogIcaI aIms that may InspIre the fIght,
the economIc aIm Is determIned by the aspIratIon toward ownershIp of Iand.

The ChIna of Mao begIns as an outbreak of worker groups In the South, whIch Is defeated and
aImost annIhIIated. It succeeds In estabIIshIng ItseIf and begIns Its advance onIy when, after
the Iong march from Yenan, It takes up Its base In ruraI terrItorIes and makes agrarIan reform
Its fundamentaI goaI. The struggIe of Ho ChI MInh Is based In the rIce-growIng peasants, who
are oppressed by the French coIonIaI yoke; wIth thIs force It Is goIng forward to the defeat of
the coIonIaIIsts. In both cases there Is a framework of patrIotIc war agaInst the Japanese
Invader, but the economIc basIs of a fIght for the Iand has not dIsappeared. In the case of
AIgerIa, the grand Idea of Arab natIonaIIsm has Its economIc counterpart In the fact that a
mIIIIon French settIers utIIIze nearIy aII of the arabIe Iand of AIgerIa. In some countrIes, such
as Puerto RIco, where the specIaI condItIons of the IsIand have not permItted a guerrIIIa
outbreak, the natIonaIIst spIrIt, deepIy wounded by the dIscrImInatIon that Is daIIy practIced,
has as Its basIs the aspIratIon of the peasants (even though many of them are aIready a
proIetarIat) to recover the Iand that the Yankee Invader seIzed from them. ThIs same centraI
Idea, though In dIfferent forms, InspIred the smaII farmers, peasants, and sIaves of the eastern
estates of Cuba to cIose ranks and defend together the rIght to possess Iand durIng the thIrty-
year war of IIberatIon.

TakIng account of the possIbIIItIes of deveIopment of guerrIIIa warfare, whIch Is transformed
wIth the Increase In the operatIng potentIaI of the guerrIIIa band Into a war of posItIons, thIs
type of warfare, despIte Its specIaI character, Is to be consIdered as an embryo, a preIude, of
the other. The possIbIIItIes of growth of the guerrIIIa band and of changes In the mode of fIght,
untII conventIonaI warfare Is reached, are as great as the possIbIIItIes of defeatIng the enemy
In each of the dIfferent battIes, combats, or skIrmIshes that take pIace. Therefore, the
fundamentaI prIncIpIe Is that no battIe, combat, or skIrmIsh Is to be fought unIess It wIII be
won. There Is a maIevoIent defInItIon that says: "The guerrIIIa fIghter Is the JesuIt of warfare."
By thIs Is IndIcated a quaIIty of secretIveness, of treachery, of surprIse that Is obvIousIy an
essentIaI eIement of guerrIIIa warfare. It Is a specIaI kInd of JesuItIsm, naturaIIy prompted by
cIrcumstances, whIch necessItates actIng at certaIn moments In ways dIfferent from the
romantIc and sportIng conceptIons wIth whIch we are taught to beIIeve war Is fought.

War Is aIways a struggIe In whIch each contender trIes to annIhIIate the other. BesIdes usIng
force, they wIII have recourse to aII possIbIe trIcks and stratagems In order to achIeve the goaI.
MIIItary strategy and tactIcs are a representatIon by anaIysIs of the objectIves of the groups
and of the means of achIevIng these objectIves. These means contempIate takIng advantage
of aII the weak poInts of the enemy. The fIghtIng actIon of each IndIvIduaI pIatoon In a Iarge
army In a war of posItIons wIII present the same characterIstIcs as those of the guerrIIIa band.
It uses secretIveness, treachery, and surprIse; and when these are not present, It Is because
vIgIIance on the other sIde prevents surprIse. But sInce the guerrIIIa band Is a dIvIsIon unto
ItseIf, and sInce there are Iarge zones of terrItory not controIIed by the enemy, It Is aIways
possIbIe to carry out guerrIIIa attacks In such a way as to assure surprIse; and It Is the duty of
the guerrIIIa fIghter to do so.

"HIt and run," some caII thIs scornfuIIy, and thIs Is accurate. HIt and run, waIt, IIe In ambush,
agaIn hIt and run, and thus repeatedIy, wIthout gIvIng any rest to the enemy. There Is In aII
thIs, It wouId appear, a negatIve quaIIty, an attItude of retreat, of avoIdIng frontaI fIghts.
However, thIs Is consequent upon the generaI strategy of guerrIIIa warfare, whIch Is the same
In Its uItImate end as Is any warfare: to wIn, to annIhIIate the enemy.

Thus, It Is cIear that guerrIIIa warfare Is a phase that does not afford In ItseIf opportunItIes to
arrIve at compIete vIctory. It Is one of the InItIaI phases of warfare and wIII deveIop
contInuousIy untII the guerrIIIa army In Its steady growth acquIres the characterIstIcs of a
reguIar army. At that moment It wIII be ready to deaI fInaI bIows to the enemy and to achIeve
vIctory. TrIumph wIII aIways be the product of a reguIar army, even though Its orIgIns are In a
guerrIIIa army.

Just as the generaI of a dIvIsIon In a modern war does not have to dIe In front of hIs soIdIers,
the guerrIIIa fIghter, who Is generaI of hImseIf, need not dIe In every battIe. He Is ready to gIve
hIs IIfe, but the posItIve quaIIty of thIs guerrIIIa warfare Is precIseIy that each one of the
guerrIIIa fIghters Is ready to dIe, not to defend an IdeaI, but rather to convert It Into reaIIty.
ThIs Is the basIs, the essence of guerrIIIa fIghtIng. MIracuIousIy, a smaII band of men, the
armed vanguard of the great popuIar force that supports them, goes beyond the ImmedIate
tactIcaI objectIve, goes on decIsIveIy to achIeve an IdeaI, to estabIIsh a new socIety, to break
the oId moIds of the outdated, and to achIeve, fInaIIy, the socIaI justIce for whIch they fIght.
ConsIdered thus, aII these dIsparaged quaIItIes acquIre a true nobIIIty, the nobIIIty of the end
at whIch they aIm; and It becomes cIear that we are not speakIng of dIstorted means of
reachIng an end. ThIs fIghtIng attItude, thIs attItude of not beIng dIsmayed at any tIme, thIs
InfIexIbIIIty when confrontIng the great probIems In the fInaI objectIve Is aIso the nobIIIty of the
guerrIIIa fIghter.

2. GuerrIIIa Strategy

In guerrIIIa termInoIogy, strategy Is understood as the anaIysIs of the objectIves to be
achIeved In IIght of the totaI mIIItary sItuatIon and the overaII ways of reachIng these

To have a correct strategIc apprecIatIon from the poInt of vIew of the guerrIIIa band, It Is
necessary to anaIyze fundamentaIIy what wIII be the enemy's mode of actIon. If the fInaI
objectIve Is aIways the compIete destructIon of the opposIte force, the enemy Is confronted In
the case of a cIvII war of thIs kInd wIth the standard task: he wIII have to achIeve the totaI
destructIon of each one of the components of the guerrIIIa band. The guerrIIIa fIghter, on the
other hand, must anaIyze the resources whIch the enemy has for tryIng to achIeve that
outcome: the means In men, In mobIIIty, In popuIar support, In armaments, In capacIty of
IeadershIp on whIch he can count. We must make our own strategy adequate on the basIs of
these studIes, keepIng In mInd aIways the fInaI objectIve of defeatIng the enemy army.

There are fundamentaI aspects to be studIed: the armament, for exampIe, and the manner of
usIng thIs armament. The vaIue of a tank, of an aIrpIane, In a fIght of thIs type must be
weIghed. The arms of the enemy, hIs ammunItIon, hIs habIts must be consIdered; because the
prIncIpaI source of provIsIon for the guerrIIIa force Is precIseIy In enemy armaments. If there Is
a possIbIIIty of choIce, we shouId prefer the same type as that used by the enemy, sInce the
greatest probIem of the guerrIIIa band Is the Iack of ammunItIon, whIch the opponent must

After the objectIves have been fIxed and anaIyzed, It Is necessary to study the order of the
steps IeadIng to the achIevement of the fInaI objectIve. ThIs shouId be pIanned In advance,
even though It wIII be modIfIed and adjusted as the fIghtIng deveIops and unforeseen
cIrcumstances arIse.

At the outset, the essentIaI task of the guerrIIIa fIghter Is to keep hImseIf from beIng
destroyed. LIttIe by IIttIe It wIII be easIer for the members of the guerrIIIa band or bands to
adapt themseIves to theIr form of IIfe and to make fIIght and escape from the forces that are
on the offensIve an easy task, because It Is performed daIIy. When thIs condItIon Is reached,
the guerrIIIa, havIng taken up InaccessIbIe posItIons out of reach of the enemy, or havIng
assembIed forces that deter the enemy from attackIng, ought to proceed to the graduaI
weakenIng of the enemy. ThIs wIII be carrIed out at fIrst at those poInts nearest to the poInts
of actIve warfare agaInst the guerrIIIa band and Iater wIII be taken deeper Into enemy terrItory,
attackIng hIs communIcatIons, Iater attackIng or harassIng hIs bases of operatIons and hIs
centraI bases, tormentIng hIm on aII sIdes to the fuII extent of the capabIIItIes of the guerrIIIa

The bIows shouId be contInuous. The enemy soIdIer In a zone of operatIons ought not to be
aIIowed to sIeep; hIs outposts ought to be attacked and IIquIdated systematIcaIIy. At every
moment the ImpressIon ought to be created that he Is surrounded by a compIete cIrcIe. In
wooded and broken areas thIs effort shouId be maIntaIned both day and nIght; In open zones
that are easIIy penetrated by enemy patroIs, at nIght onIy. In order to do aII thIs the absoIute
cooperatIon of the peopIe and a perfect knowIedge of the ground are necessary. These two
necessItIes affect every mInute of the IIfe of the guerrIIIa fIghter. Therefore, aIong wIth centers
for study of present and future zones of operatIons, IntensIve popuIar work must be
undertaken to expIaIn the motIves of the revoIutIon, Its ends, and to spread the
IncontrovertIbIe truth that vIctory of the enemy agaInst the peopIe Is fInaIIy ImpossIbIe.
Whoever does not feeI thIs undoubted truth cannot be a guerrIIIa fIghter.

ThIs popuIar work shouId at fIrst be aImed at securIng secrecy; that Is, each peasant, each
member of the socIety In whIch actIon Is takIng pIace, wIII be asked not to mentIon what he
sees and hears; Iater, heIp wIII be sought from InhabItants whose IoyaIty to the revoIutIon
offers greater guarantees; stIII Iater, use wIII be made of these persons In mIssIons of contact,
for transportIng goods or arms, as guIdes In the zones famIIIar to them; stIII Iater, It Is possIbIe
to arrIve at organIzed mass actIon In the centers of work, of whIch the fInaI resuIt wIII be the
generaI strIke.

The strIke Is a most Important factor In cIvII war, but In order to reach It a serIes of
compIementary condItIons are necessary whIch do not aIways exIst and whIch very rareIy
come to exIst spontaneousIy. It Is necessary to create these essentIaI condItIons, basIcaIIy by
expIaInIng the purposes of the revoIutIon and by demonstratIng the forces of the peopIe and
theIr possIbIIItIes.

It Is aIso possIbIe to have recourse to certaIn very homogeneous groups, whIch must have
shown theIr effIcacy prevIousIy In Iess dangerous tasks, In order to make use of another of the
terrIbIe arms of the guerrIIIa band, sabotage. It Is possIbIe to paraIyze entIre armIes, to
suspend the IndustrIaI IIfe of a zone, IeavIng the InhabItants of a cIty wIthout factorIes, wIthout
IIght, wIthout water, wIthout communIcatIons of any kInd, wIthout beIng abIe to rIsk traveI by
hIghway except at certaIn hours. If aII thIs Is achIeved, the moraIe of the enemy faIIs, the
moraIe of hIs combatant unIts weakens, and the fruIt rIpens for pIuckIng at a precIse moment.

AII thIs presupposes an Increase In the terrItory IncIuded wIthIn the guerrIIIa actIon, but an
excessIve Increase of thIs terrItory Is to be avoIded. It Is essentIaI aIways to preserve a strong
base of operatIons and to contInue strengthenIng It durIng the course of the war. WIthIn thIs
terrItory, measures of IndoctrInatIon of the InhabItants of the zone shouId be utIIIzed;
measures of quarantIne shouId be taken agaInst the IrreconcIIabIe enemIes of the revoIutIon;
aII the pureIy defensIve measures, such as trenches, mInes, and communIcatIons, shouId be

When the guerrIIIa band has reached a respectabIe power In arms and In number of
combatants, It ought to proceed to the formatIon of new coIumns. ThIs Is an act sImIIar to that
of the beehIve when at a gIven moment It reIeases a new queen, who goes to another regIon
wIth a part of the swarm. The mother hIve wIth the most notabIe guerrIIIa chIef wIII stay In the
Iess dangerous pIaces, whIIe the new coIumns wIII penetrate other enemy terrItorIes foIIowIng
the cycIe aIready descrIbed.

A moment wIII arrIve In whIch the terrItory occupIed by the coIumns Is too smaII for them; and
In the advance toward regIons soIIdIy defended by the enemy, It wIII be necessary to confront
powerfuI forces. At that Instant the coIumns joIn, they offer a compact fIghtIng front, and a
war of posItIons Is reached, a war carrIed on by reguIar armIes. However, the former guerrIIIa
army cannot cut ItseIf off from Its base, and It shouId create new guerrIIIa bands behInd the
enemy actIng In the same way as the orIgInaI bands operated earIIer, proceedIng thus to
penetrate enemy terrItory untII It Is domInated.

It Is thus that guerrIIIas reach the stage of attack, of the encIrcIement of fortIfIed bases, of the
defeat of reInforcements, of mass actIon, ever more ardent, In the whoIe natIonaI terrItory,
arrIvIng fInaIIy at the objectIve of the war: vIctory.

3. GuerrIIIa TactIcs

In mIIItary Ianguage, tactIcs are the practIcaI methods of achIevIng the grand strategIc

In one sense they compIement strategy and In another they are more specIfIc ruIes wIthIn It.
As means, tactIcs are much more varIabIe, much more fIexIbIe than the fInaI objectIves, and
they shouId be adjusted contInuaIIy durIng the struggIe. There are tactIcaI objectIves that
remaIn constant throughout a war and others that vary. The fIrst thIng to be consIdered Is the
adjustIng of guerrIIIa actIon to the actIon of the enemy.

The fundamentaI characterIstIc of a guerrIIIa band Is mobIIIty. ThIs permIts It In a few mInutes
to move far from a specIfIc theatre and In a few hours far even from the regIon, If that
becomes necessary; permIts It constantIy to change front and avoId any type of encIrcIement.
As the cIrcumstances of the war requIre, the guerrIIIa band can dedIcate ItseIf excIusIveIy to
fIeeIng from an encIrcIement whIch Is the enemy's onIy way of forcIng the band Into a decIsIve
fIght that couId be unfavorabIe; It can aIso change the battIe Into a counter- encIrcIement
(smaII bands of men are presumabIy surrounded by the enemy when suddenIy the enemy Is
surrounded by stronger contIngents; or men Iocated In a safe pIace serve as a Iure, IeadIng to
the encIrcIement and annIhIIatIon of the entIre troops and suppIy of an attackIng force).
CharacterIstIc of thIs war of mobIIIty Is the so-caIIed mInuet, named from the anaIogy wIth the
dance: the guerrIIIa bands encIrcIe an enemy posItIon, an advancIng coIumn, for exampIe;
they encIrcIe It compIeteIy from the four poInts of the compass, wIth fIve or sIx men In each
pIace, far enough away to avoId beIng encIrcIed themseIves; the fIght Is started at any one of
the poInts, and the army moves toward It; the guerrIIIa band then retreats, aIways
maIntaInIng vIsuaI contact, and InItIates Its attack from another poInt. The army wIII repeat Its
actIon and the guerrIIIa band, the same. Thus, successIveIy, It Is possIbIe to keep an enemy
coIumn ImmobIIIzed, forcIng It to expend Iarge quantItIes of ammunItIon and weakenIng the
moraIe of Its troops wIthout IncurrIng great dangers.

ThIs same tactIc can be appIIed at nIghttIme, cIosIng In more and showIng greater
aggressIveness, because In these condItIons counter- encIrcIement Is much more dIffIcuIt.
Movement by nIght Is another Important characterIstIc of the guerrIIIa band, enabIIng It to
advance Into posItIon for an attack and, where the danger of betrayaI exIsts, to mobIIIze In
new terrItory. The numerIcaI InferIorIty of the guerrIIIa makes It necessary that attacks aIways
be carrIed out by surprIse; thIs great advantage Is what permIts the guerrIIIa fIghter to InfIIct
Iosses on the enemy wIthout sufferIng Iosses. In a fIght between a hundred men on one sIde
and ten on the other, Iosses are not equaI where there Is one casuaIty on each sIde. The
enemy Ioss Is aIways reparabIe; It amounts to onIy one percent of hIs effectIves. The Ioss of
the guerrIIIa band requIres more tIme to be repaIred because It InvoIves a soIdIer of hIgh
specIaIIzatIon and Is ten percent of the operatIng forces.

A dead soIdIer of the guerrIIIas ought never to be Ieft wIth hIs arms and hIs ammunItIon. The
duty of every guerrIIIa soIdIer whenever a companIon faIIs Is to recover ImmedIateIy these
extremeIy precIous eIements of the fIght. In fact, the care whIch must be taken of ammunItIon
and the method of usIng It are further characterIstIcs of guerrIIIa warfare. In any combat
between a reguIar force and a guerrIIIa band It Is aIways possIbIe to know one from the other
by theIr dIfferent manner of fIre: a great amount of fIrIng on the part of the reguIar army,
sporadIc and accurate shots on the part of the guerrIIIas.

Once one of our heroes, now dead, had to empIoy hIs machIne guns for nearIy fIve mInutes,
burst after burst, In order to sIow up the advance of enemy soIdIers. ThIs fact caused
consIderabIe confusIon In our forces, because they assumed from the rhythm of fIre that that
key posItIon must have been taken by the enemy, sInce thIs was one of the rare occasIons
where departure from the ruIe of savIng fIre had been caIIed for because of the Importance of
the poInt beIng defended.

Another fundamentaI characterIstIc of the guerrIIIa soIdIer Is hIs fIexIbIIIty, hIs abIIIty to adapt
hImseIf to aII cIrcumstances, and to convert to hIs servIce aII of the accIdents of the actIon.
AgaInst the rIgIdIty of cIassIcaI methods of fIghtIng, the guerrIIIa fIghter Invents hIs own tactIcs
at every mInute of the fIght and constantIy surprIses the enemy. In the fIrst pIace, there are
onIy eIastIc posItIons, specIfIc pIaces that the enemy cannot pass, and pIaces of dIvertIng hIm.
FrequentIy, the enemy, after easIIy overcomIng dIffIcuItIes In a graduaI advance, Is surprIsed
to fInd hImseIf suddenIy and soIIdIy detaIned wIthout possIbIIItIes of movIng forward. ThIs Is
due to the fact that the guerrIIIa-defended posItIons, when they have been seIected on the
basIs of a carefuI study of the ground, are InvuInerabIe. It Is not the number of attackIng
soIdIers that counts, but the number of defendIng soIdIers. Once that number has been pIaced
there, It can nearIy aIways hoId off a battaIIon wIth success. It Is a major task of the chIefs to
choose weII the moment and the pIace for defendIng a posItIon wIthout retreat.

The form of attack of a guerrIIIa army Is aIso dIfferent; startIng wIth surprIse and fury,
IrresIstIbIe, It suddenIy converts ItseIf Into totaI passIvIty.

The survIvIng enemy, restIng, beIIeves that the attacker has departed; he begIns to reIax, to
return to the routIne IIfe of the camp or of the fortress, when suddenIy a new attack bursts
forth In another pIace, wIth the same characterIstIcs, whIIe the maIn body of the guerrIIIa band
IIes In waIt to Intercept reInforcements. At other tImes an outpost defendIng the camp wIII be
suddenIy attacked by the guerrIIIa, domInated, and captured. The fundamentaI thIng Is
surprIse and rapIdIty of attack.

Acts of sabotage are very Important. It Is necessary to dIstInguIsh cIearIy between sabotage, a
revoIutIonary and hIghIy effectIve method of warfare, and terrorIsm, a measure that Is
generaIIy IneffectIve and IndIscrImInate In Its resuIts, sInce It often makes vIctIms of Innocent
peopIe and destroys a Iarge number of IIves that wouId be vaIuabIe to the revoIutIon.
TerrorIsm shouId be consIdered a vaIuabIe tactIc when It Is used to put to death some noted
Ieader of the oppressIng forces weII known for hIs crueIty, hIs effIcIency In repressIon, or other
quaIIty that makes hIs eIImInatIon usefuI. But the kIIIIng of persons of smaII Importance Is
never advIsabIe, sInce It brIngs on an Increase of reprIsaIs, IncIudIng deaths.

There Is one poInt very much In controversy In opInIons about terrorIsm. Many consIder that
Its use, by provokIng poIIce oppressIon, hInders aII more or Iess IegaI or semI cIandestIne
contact wIth the masses and makes ImpossIbIe unIfIcatIon for actIons that wIII be necessary at
a crItIcaI moment. ThIs Is correct; but It aIso happens that In a cIvII war the repressIon by the
governmentaI power In certaIn towns Is aIready so great that, In fact, every type of IegaI
actIon Is suppressed aIready, and any actIon of the masses that Is not supported by arms Is
ImpossIbIe. It Is therefore necessary to be cIrcumspect In adoptIng methods of thIs type and to
consIder the consequences that they may brIng for the revoIutIon. At any rate, weII-managed
sabotage Is aIways a very effectIve arm, though It shouId not be empIoyed to put means of
productIon out of actIon, IeavIng a sector of the popuIatIon paraIyzed (and thus wIthout work)
unIess thIs paraIysIs affects the normaI IIfe of the socIety. It Is rIdIcuIous to carry out sabotage
agaInst a soft-drInk factory, but It Is absoIuteIy correct and advIsabIe to carry out sabotage
agaInst a power pIant. In the fIrst case, a certaIn number of workers are put out of a job but
nothIng Is done to modIfy the rhythm of IndustrIaI IIfe; In the second case, there wIII agaIn be
dIspIaced workers, but thIs Is entIreIy justIfIed by the paraIysIs of the IIfe of the regIon. We wIII
return to the technIque of sabotage Iater.

One of the favorIte arms of the enemy army, supposed to be decIsIve In modern tImes, Is
avIatIon. NevertheIess, thIs has no use whatsoever durIng the perIod that guerrIIIa warfare Is
In Its fIrst stages, wIth smaII concentratIons of men In rugged pIaces. The utIIIty of avIatIon IIes
In the systematIc destructIon of vIsIbIe and organIzed defenses; and for thIs there must be
Iarge concentratIons of men who construct these defenses, somethIng that does not exIst In
thIs type of warfare. PIanes are aIso potent agaInst marches by coIumns through IeveI pIaces
or pIaces wIthout cover; however, thIs Iatter danger Is easIIy avoIded by carryIng out the
marches at nIght.

One of the weakest poInts of the enemy Is transportatIon by road and raIIroad. It Is vIrtuaIIy
ImpossIbIe to maIntaIn a vIgII yard by yard over a transport IIne, a road, or a raIIroad. At any
poInt a consIderabIe amount of expIosIve charge can be pIanted that wIII make the road
ImpassabIe; or by expIodIng It at the moment that a vehIcIe passes, a consIderabIe Ioss In
IIves and materIeI to the enemy Is caused at the same tIme that the road Is cut.

The sources of expIosIves are varIed. They can be brought from other zones; or use can be
made of bombs seIzed from the dIctatorshIp, though these do not aIways work; or they can be
manufactured In secret IaboratorIes wIthIn the guerrIIIa zone. The technIque of settIng them
off Is quIte varIed; theIr manufacture aIso depends upon the condItIons of the guerrIIIa band.

In our Iaboratory we made powder whIch we used as a cap, and we Invented varIous devIces
for expIodIng the mInes at the desIred moment. The ones that gave the best resuIts were
eIectrIc. The fIrst mIne that we expIoded was a bomb dropped from an aIrcraft of the
dIctatorshIp. We adapted It by InsertIng varIous caps and addIng a gun wIth the trIgger puIIed
by a cord. At the moment that an enemy truck passed, the weapon was fIred to set off the
These technIques can be deveIoped to a hIgh degree. We have InformatIon that In AIgerIa, for
exampIe, teIe-expIosIve mInes, that Is, mInes expIoded by radIo at great dIstances from the
poInt where they are Iocated, are beIng used today agaInst the French coIonIaI power.

The technIque of IyIng In ambush aIong roads In order to expIode mInes and annIhIIate
survIvors Is one of the most remuneratIve In poInt of ammunItIon and arms. The surprIsed
enemy does not use hIs ammunItIon and has no tIme to fIee, so wIth a smaII expendIture of
ammunItIon Iarge resuIts are achIeved.

As bIows are deaIt the enemy, he aIso changes hIs tactIcs, and In pIace of IsoIated trucks,
verItabIe motorIzed coIumns move. However, by choosIng the ground weII, the same resuIt
can be produced by breakIng the coIumn and concentratIng forces on one vehIcIe. In these
cases the essentIaI eIements of guerrIIIa tactIcs must aIways be kept In mInd. These are:
perfect knowIedge of the ground; surveIIIance and foresIght as to the IInes of escape; vIgIIance
over aII the secondary roads that can brIng support to the poInt of attack; IntImacy wIth
peopIe In the zone so as to have sure heIp from them In respect to suppIIes, transport, and
temporary or permanent hIdIng pIaces If It becomes necessary to Ieave wounded companIons
behInd; numerIcaI superIorIty at a chosen poInt of actIon; totaI mobIIIty; and the possIbIIIty of
countIng on reserves.

If aII these tactIcaI requIsItes are fuIfIIIed, surprIse attack aIong the IInes of communIcatIon of
the enemy yIeIds notabIe dIvIdends.

A fundamentaI part of guerrIIIa tactIcs Is the treatment accorded the peopIe of the zone. Even
the treatment accorded the enemy Is Important; the norm to be foIIowed shouId be an
absoIute InfIexIbIIIty at the tIme of attack, an absoIute InfIexIbIIIty toward aII the despIcabIe
eIements that resort to InformIng and assassInatIon, and cIemency as absoIute as possIbIe
toward the enemy soIdIers who go Into the fIght performIng or beIIevIng that they perform a
mIIItary duty. It Is a good poIIcy, so Iong as there are no consIderabIe bases of operatIons and
InvuInerabIe pIaces, to take no prIsoners. SurvIvors ought to be set free. The wounded shouId
be cared for wIth aII possIbIe resources at the tIme of the actIon. Conduct toward the cIvII
popuIatIon ought to be reguIated by a Iarge respect for aII the ruIes and tradItIons of the
peopIe of the zone, In order to demonstrate effectIveIy, wIth deeds, the moraI superIorIty of
the guerrIIIa fIghter over the oppressIng soIdIer. Except In specIaI sItuatIons, there ought to be
no executIon of justIce wIthout gIvIng the crImInaI an opportunIty to cIear hImseIf.

4. Warfare on FavorabIe Ground

As we have aIready saId, guerrIIIa fIghtIng wIII not aIways take pIace In country most favorabIe
to the empIoyment of Its tactIcs; but when It does, that Is, when the guerrIIIa band Is Iocated
In zones dIffIcuIt to reach, eIther because of dense forests, steep mountaIns, ImpassabIe
deserts or marshes, the generaI tactIcs, based on the fundamentaI postuIates of guerrIIIa
warfare, must aIways be the same.

An Important poInt to consIder Is the moment for makIng contact wIth the enemy. If the zone
Is so thIck, so dIffIcuIt that an organIzed army can never reach It, the guerrIIIa band shouId
advance to the regIons where the army can arrIve and where there wIII be a possIbIIIty of

As soon as the survIvaI of the guerrIIIa band has been assured, It shouId fIght; It must
constantIy go out from Its refuge to fIght. Its mobIIIty does not have to be as great as In those
cases where the ground Is unfavorabIe; It must adjust ItseIf to the capabIIItIes of the enemy,
but It Is not necessary to be abIe to move as quIckIy as In pIaces where the enemy can
concentrate a Iarge number of men In a few mInutes. NeIther Is the nocturnaI character of thIs
warfare so Important; It wIII be possIbIe In many cases to carry out daytIme operatIons,
especIaIIy mobIIIzatIons by day, though subjected to enemy observatIon by Iand and aIr. It Is
aIso possIbIe to persIst In a mIIItary actIon for a much Ionger tIme, above aII In the mountaIns;
It Is possIbIe to undertake battIes of Iong duratIon wIth very few men, and It Is very probabIe
that the arrIvaI of enemy reInforcements at the scene of the fIght can be prevented.

A cIose watch over the poInts of access Is, however, an axIom never to be forgotten by the
guerrIIIa fIghter. HIs aggressIveness (on account of the dIffIcuItIes that the enemy faces In
brIngIng up reInforcements) can be greater, he can approach the enemy more cIoseIy, fIght
much more dIrectIy, more frontaIIy, and for a Ionger tIme, though these ruIes may be quaIIfIed
by varIous cIrcumstances, such, for exampIe, as the amount of ammunItIon.

FIghtIng on favorabIe ground and partIcuIarIy In the mountaIns presents many advantages but
aIso the InconvenIence that It Is dIffIcuIt to capture In a sIngIe operatIon a consIderabIe
quantIty of arms and ammunItIon, owIng to the precautIons that the enemy takes In these
regIons. (The guerrIIIa soIdIer must never forget the fact that It Is the enemy that must serve
as hIs source of suppIy of ammunItIon and arms.) But much more rapIdIy than In unfavorabIe
ground the guerrIIIa band wIII here be abIe to "dIg In," that Is, to form a base capabIe of
engagIng In a war of posItIons, where smaII IndustrIes may be InstaIIed as they are needed, as
weII as hospItaIs, centers for educatIon and traInIng, storage facIIItIes, organs of propaganda,
etc., adequateIy protected from avIatIon or from Iong-range artIIIery.

The guerrIIIa band In these condItIons can number many more personneI; there wIII be
noncombatants and perhaps even a system of traInIng In the use of the arms that eventuaIIy
are to faII Into the power of the guerrIIIa army.

The number of men that a guerrIIIa band can have Is a matter of extremeIy fIexIbIe caIcuIatIon
adapted to the terrItory, to the means avaIIabIe of acquIrIng suppIIes, to the mass fIIghts of
oppressed peopIe from other zones, to the arms avaIIabIe, to the necessItIes of organIzatIon.
But, In any case, It Is much more practIcabIe to estabIIsh a base and expand wIth the support
of new combatant eIements.

The radIus of actIon of a guerrIIIa band of thIs type can be as wIde as condItIons or the
operatIons of other bands In adjacent terrItory permIt. The range wIII be IImIted by the tIme
that It takes to arrIve at a zone of securIty from the zone of operatIon; assumIng that marches
must be made at nIght, It wIII not be possIbIe to operate more than fIve or sIx hours away
from a poInt of maxImum securIty. SmaII guerrIIIa bands that work constantIy at weakenIng a
terrItory can go farther away from the zone of securIty.

The arms preferabIe for thIs type of warfare are Iong-range weapons requIrIng a smaII
expendIture of buIIets, supported by a group of automatIc or semIautomatIc arms. Of the rIfIes
and machIne guns that exIst In the markets of the UnIted States, one of the best Is the M-1
rIfIe, caIIed the Garand. However, thIs shouId be used onIy by peopIe wIth some experIence,
sInce It has the dIsadvantage of expendIng too much ammunItIon. MedIum-heavy arms, such
as trIpod machIne guns, can be used on favorabIe ground, affordIng a greater margIn of
securIty for the weapon and Its personneI, but they ought aIways to be a means of repeIIIng an
enemy and not for attack.

An IdeaI composItIon for a guerrIIIa band of 25 men wouId be: 10 to 15 sIngIe-shot rIfIes and
about 10 automatIc arms between Garands and hand machIne guns, IncIudIng IIght and easIIy
portabIe automatIc arms, such as the BrownIng or the more modern BeIgIan FAL and M-14
automatIc rIfIes. Among the hand machIne guns the best are those of nIne mIIIImeters, whIch
permIt a Iarger transport of ammunItIon. The sImpIer Its constructIon the better, because thIs
Increases the ease of swItchIng parts. AII thIs must be adjusted to the armament that the
enemy uses, sInce the ammunItIon that he empIoys Is what we are goIng to use when hIs
arms faII Into our hands. It Is practIcaIIy ImpossIbIe for heavy arms to be used. AIrcraft cannot
see anythIng and cease to operate; tanks and cannons cannot do much owIng to the
dIffIcuItIes of advancIng In these zones.

A very Important consIderatIon Is suppIy. In generaI, the zones of dIffIcuIt access for thIs very
reason present specIaI probIems, sInce there are few peasants, and therefore anImaI and food
suppIIes are scarce. It Is necessary to maIntaIn stabIe IInes of communIcatIon In order to be
abIe aIways to count on a mInImum of food, stockpIIed, In the event of any dIsagreeabIe

In thIs kInd of zone of operatIons the possIbIIItIes of sabotage on a Iarge scaIe are generaIIy
not present; wIth the InaccessIbIIIty goes a Iack of constructIons, teIephone IInes, aqueducts,
etc., that couId be damaged by dIrect actIon.

For suppIy purposes It Is Important to have anImaIs, among whIch the muIe Is the best In
rough country. Adequate pasturage permIttIng good nutrItIon Is essentIaI. The muIe can pass
through extremeIy hIIIy country ImpossIbIe for other anImaIs. In the most dIffIcuIt sItuatIons It
Is necessary to resort to transport by men. Each IndIvIduaI can carry twenty-fIve kIIograms for
many hours daIIy and for many days.

The IInes of communIcatIon wIth the exterIor shouId IncIude a serIes of IntermedIate poInts
manned by peopIe of compIete reIIabIIIty, where products can be stored and where contacts
can go to hIde themseIves at crItIcaI tImes. InternaI IInes of communIcatIon can aIso be
created. TheIr extensIon wIII be determIned by the stage of deveIopment reached by the
guerrIIIa band. In some zones of operatIons In the recent Cuban war, teIephone IInes of many
kIIometers of Iength were estabIIshed, roads were buIIt, and a messenger servIce maIntaIned
suffIcIent to cover aII zones In a mInImum of tIme.

There are aIso other possIbIe means of communIcatIon, not used In the Cuban war but
perfectIy appIIcabIe, such as smoke sIgnaIs, sIgnaIs wIth sunshIne refIected by mIrrors, and
carrIer pIgeons.

The vItaI necessItIes of the guerrIIIas are to maIntaIn theIr arms In good condItIon, to capture
ammunItIon, and, above everythIng eIse, to have adequate shoes. The fIrst manufacturIng
efforts shouId therefore be dIrected toward these objectIves. Shoe factorIes can InItIaIIy be
cobbIer InstaIIatIons that repIace haIf soIes on oId shoes, expandIng afterwards Into a serIes of
organIzed factorIes wIth a good average daIIy productIon of shoes. The manufacture of powder
Is faIrIy sImpIe; and much can be accompIIshed by havIng a smaII Iaboratory and brIngIng In
the necessary materIaIs from outsIde. MIned areas constItute a grave danger for the enemy;
Iarge areas can be mIned for sImuItaneous expIosIon, destroyIng up to hundreds of men.

5. Warfare on UnfavorabIe Ground

In order to carry on warfare In country that Is not very hIIIy, Iacks forests, and has many
roads, aII the fundamentaI requIsItes of guerrIIIa warfare must be observed; onIy the forms wIII
be aItered. The quantIty, not the quaIIty, of guerrIIIa warfare wIII change. For exampIe,
foIIowIng the same order as before, the mobIIIty of thIs type of guerrIIIa shouId be
extraordInary; strIkes shouId be made preferabIy at nIght; they shouId be extremeIy rapId, but
the guerrIIIa shouId move to pIaces dIfferent from the startIng poInt, the farthest possIbIe from
the scene of actIon, assumIng that there Is no pIace secure from the repressIve forces that the
guerrIIIa can use as Its garrIson.

A man can waIk between 30 and 50 kIIometers durIng the nIght hours; It Is possIbIe aIso to
march durIng the fIrst hours of dayIIght, unIess the zones of operatIon are cIoseIy watched or
there Is danger that peopIe In the vIcInIty, seeIng the passIng troops, wIII notIfy the pursuIng
army of the IocatIon of the guerrIIIa band and Its route. It Is aIways preferabIe In these cases
to operate at nIght wIth the greatest possIbIe sIIence both before and after the actIon; the fIrst
hours of nIght are best. Here, too, there are exceptIons to the generaI ruIe, sInce at tImes the
dawn hours wIII be preferabIe. It Is never wIse to habItuate the enemy to a certaIn form of
warfare; It Is necessary to vary constantIy the pIaces, the hours, and the forms of operatIon.

We have aIready saId that the actIon cannot endure for Iong, but must be rapId; It must be of
a hIgh degree of effectIveness, Iast a few mInutes, and be foIIowed by an ImmedIate
wIthdrawaI. The arms empIoyed here wIII not be the same as In the case of actIons on
favorabIe ground; a Iarge quantIty of automatIc weapons Is to be preferred. In nIght attacks,
marksmanshIp Is not the determInIng factor, but rather concentratIon of fIre; the more
automatIc arms fIrIng at short dIstance, the more possIbIIItIes there are of annIhIIatIng the

AIso, the use of mInes In roads and the destructIon of brIdges are tactIcs of great Importance.
Attacks by the guerrIIIa wIII be Iess aggressIve so far as the persIstence and contInuatIon are
concerned, but they can be very vIoIent, and they can utIIIze dIfferent arms, such as mInes
and the shotgun. AgaInst open vehIcIes heavIIy Ioaded wIth men, whIch Is the usuaI method of
transportIng troops, and even agaInst cIosed vehIcIes that do not have specIaI defenses-
agaInst buses, for exampIe-the shotgun Is a tremendous weapon. A shotgun Ioaded wIth Iarge
shot Is the most effectIve. ThIs Is not a secret of guerrIIIa fIghters; It Is used aIso In bIg wars.
The AmerIcans used shotgun pIatoons armed wIth hIgh-quaIIty weapons and bayonets for
assauItIng machIne-gun nests.

There Is an Important probIem to expIaIn, that of ammunItIon; thIs wIII aImost aIways be taken
from the enemy. It Is therefore necessary to strIke bIows where there wIII be the absoIute
assurance of restorIng the ammunItIon expended, unIess there are Iarge reserves In secure
pIaces. In other words, an annIhIIatIng attack agaInst a group of men Is not to be undertaken
at the rIsk of expendIng aII the ammunItIon wIthout beIng abIe to repIace It. AIways In guerrIIIa
tactIcs It Is necessary to keep In mInd the grave probIem of procurIng the war materIeI
necessary for contInuIng the fIght. For thIs reason, guerrIIIa arms ought to be the same as
those used by the enemy, except for weapons such as revoIvers and shotguns, for whIch the
ammunItIon can be obtaIned In the zone ItseIf or In the cItIes.

The number of men that a guerrIIIa band of thIs type shouId IncIude does not exceed ten to
fIfteen. In formIng a sIngIe combat unIt It Is of great Importance aIways to consIder the
IImItatIons on numbers: ten, tweIve, fIfteen men can hIde anywhere and at the same tIme can
heIp each other In puttIng up a powerfuI resIstance to the enemy. Four or fIve wouId perhaps
be too smaII a number, but when the number exceeds ten, the possIbIIIty that the enemy wIII
dIscover them In theIr camp or on the march Is much greater.

Remember that the veIocIty of the guerrIIIa band on the march Is equaI to the veIocIty of Its
sIowest man. It Is more dIffIcuIt to fInd unIformIty of marchIng speed wIth twenty, thIrty, or
forty men than wIth ten. And the guerrIIIa fIghter on the pIaIn must be fundamentaIIy a
runner. Here the practIce of hIttIng and runnIng acquIres Its maxImum use. The guerrIIIa bands
on the pIaIn suffer the enormous InconvenIence of beIng subject to a rapId encIrcIement and of
not havIng sure pIaces where they can set up a fIrm resIstance; therefore, they must IIve In
condItIons of absoIute secrecy for a Iong tIme, sInce It wouId be dangerous to trust any
neIghbor whose fIdeIIty Is not perfectIy estabIIshed. The reprIsaIs of the enemy are so vIoIent,
usuaIIy so brutaI, InfIIcted not onIy on the head of the famIIy but frequentIy on the women and
chIIdren as weII, that pressure on IndIvIduaIs IackIng fIrmness may resuIt at any moment In
theIr gIvIng way and reveaIIng InformatIon as to where the guerrIIIa band Is Iocated and how It
Is operatIng. ThIs wouId ImmedIateIy produce an encIrcIement wIth consequences aIways
dIsagreeabIe, aIthough not necessarIIy fataI. When condItIons, the quantIty of arms, and the
state of InsurrectIon of the peopIe caII for an Increase In the number of men, the guerrIIIa band
shouId be dIvIded. If It Is necessary, aII can rejoIn at a gIven moment to deaI a bIow, but In
such a way that ImmedIateIy afterwards they can dIsperse toward separate zones, agaIn
dIvIded Into smaII groups of ten, tweIve, or fIfteen men.

It Is entIreIy feasIbIe to organIze whoIe armIes under a sIngIe command and to assure respect
and obedIence to thIs command wIthout the necessIty of beIng In a sIngIe group. Therefore,
the eIectIon of the guerrIIIa chIefs and the certaInty that they coordInate IdeoIogIcaIIy and
personaIIy wIth the overaII chIef of the zone are very Important.

The bazooka Is a heavy weapon that can be used by the guerrIIIa band because of Its easy
portabIIIty and operatIon. Today the rIfIe- fIred antI-tank grenade can repIace It. NaturaIIy, It
wIII be a weapon taken from the enemy. The bazooka Is IdeaI for fIrIng on armored vehIcIes,
and even on unarmored vehIcIes that are Ioaded wIth troops, and for takIng smaII mIIItary
bases of few men In a short tIme; but It Is Important to poInt out that not more than three
sheIIs per man can be carrIed, and thIs onIy wIth consIderabIe exertIon.

As for the utIIIzatIon of heavy arms taken from the enemy, naturaIIy, nothIng Is to be scorned.
But there are weapons such as the trIpod machIne gun, the heavy fIfty-mIIIImeter machIne
gun, etc., that, when captured, can be utIIIzed wIth a wIIIIngness to Iose them agaIn. In other
words, In the unfavorabIe condItIons that we are now anaIyzIng, a battIe to defend a heavy
machIne gun or other weapon of thIs type cannot be aIIowed; they are sImpIy to be used untII
the tactIcaI moment when they must be abandoned. In our Cuban war of IIberatIon, to
abandon a weapon constItuted a grave offense, and there was never any case where the
necessIty arose. NevertheIess, we mentIon thIs case In order to expIaIn cIearIy the onIy
sItuatIon In whIch abandonment wouId not constItute an occasIon for reproaches. On
unfavorabIe ground, the guerrIIIa weapon Is the personaI weapon of rapId fIre.

Easy access to the zone usuaIIy means that It wIII be habItabIe and that there wIII be a peasant
popuIatIon In these pIaces. ThIs facIIItates suppIy enormousIy. HavIng trustworthy peopIe and
makIng contact wIth estabIIshments that provIde suppIIes to the popuIatIon, It Is possIbIe to
maIntaIn a guerrIIIa band perfectIy weII wIthout havIng to devote tIme or money to Iong and
dangerous IInes of communIcatIon. AIso, It Is weII to reIterate that the smaIIer the number of
men, the easIer It wIII be to procure food for them. EssentIaI suppIIes such as beddIng,
waterproof materIaI, mosquIto nettIng, shoes, medIcInes, and food wIII be found dIrectIy In the
zone, sInce they are thIngs of daIIy use by Its InhabItants.

CommunIcatIons wIII be much easIer In the sense of beIng abIe to count on a Iarger number of
men and more roads; but they wIII be more dIffIcuIt as a probIem of securIty for messages
between dIstant poInts, sInce It wIII be necessary to reIy on a serIes of contacts that have to be
trusted. There wIII be the danger of an eventuaI capture of one of the messengers, who are
constantIy crossIng enemy zones. If the messages are of smaII Importance, they shouId be
oraI; If of great Importance, code wrItIng shouId be used. ExperIence shows that transmIssIon
by word of mouth greatIy dIstorts any communIcatIon.

For these same reasons, manufacture wIII have much Iess Importance, at the same tIme that It
wouId be much more dIffIcuIt to carry It out. It wIII not be possIbIe to have factorIes makIng
shoes or arms. PractIcaIIy speakIng, manufacture wIII have to be IImIted to smaII shops,
carefuIIy hIdden, where shotgun sheIIs can be recharged and mInes, sImpIe grenades, and
other mInImum necessItIes of the moment manufactured. On the other hand, It Is possIbIe to
make use of aII the frIendIy shops of the zone for such work as Is necessary.

ThIs brIngs us to two consequences that fIow IogIcaIIy from what has been saId. One of them Is
that the favorabIe condItIons for estabIIshIng a permanent camp In guerrIIIa warfare are
Inverse to the degree of productIve deveIopment of a pIace. AII favorabIe condItIons, aII
facIIItIes of IIfe normaIIy Induce men to settIe; but for the guerrIIIa band the opposIte Is the
case. The more facIIItIes there are for socIaI IIfe, the more nomadIc, the more uncertaIn the IIfe
of the guerrIIIa fIghter. These reaIIy are the resuIts of one and the same prIncIpIe. The tItIe of
thIs sectIon Is "Warfare on UnfavorabIe Ground," because everythIng that Is favorabIe to
human IIfe, communIcatIons, urban and semI urban concentratIons of Iarge numbers of
peopIe, Iand easIIy worked by machIne: aII these pIace the guerrIIIa fIghter In a
dIsadvantageous sItuatIon.

The second concIusIon Is that If guerrIIIa fIghtIng must IncIude the extremeIy Important factor
of work on the masses, thIs work Is even more Important In the unfavorabIe zones, where a
sIngIe enemy attack can produce a catastrophe. IndoctrInatIon shouId be contInuous, and so
shouId be the struggIe for unIty of the workers, of the peasants, and of other socIaI cIasses
that IIve In the zone, In order to achIeve toward the guerrIIIa fIghters a maxImum homogeneIty
of attItude. ThIs task wIth the masses, thIs constant work at the huge probIem of reIatIons of
the guerrIIIa band wIth the InhabItants of the zone, must aIso govern the attItude to be taken
toward the case of an IndIvIduaI recaIcItrant enemy soIdIer: he shouId be eIImInated wIthout
hesItatIon when he Is dangerous. In thIs respect the guerrIIIa band must be drastIc. EnemIes
cannot be permItted to exIst wIthIn the zone of operatIons In pIaces that offer no securIty.

6. Suburban Warfare

If durIng the war the guerrIIIa bands cIose In on cItIes and penetrate the surroundIng country
In such a way as to be abIe to estabIIsh themseIves In condItIons of some securIty, It wIII be
necessary to gIve these suburban bands a specIaI educatIon, or rather, a specIaI organIzatIon.

It Is fundamentaI to recognIze that a suburban guerrIIIa band can never sprIng up of Its own
accord. It wIII be born onIy after certaIn condItIons necessary for Its survIvaI have been
created. Therefore, the suburban guerrIIIa wIII aIways be under the dIrect orders of chIefs
Iocated In another zone. The functIon of thIs guerrIIIa band wIII not be to carry out Independent
actIons but to coordInate Its actIvItIes wIth overaII strategIc pIans In such a way as to support
the actIon of Iarger groups sItuated In another area, contrIbutIng specIfIcaIIy to the success of
a fIxed tactIcaI objectIve, wIthout the operatIonaI freedom of guerrIIIa bands of the other
types. For exampIe, a suburban band wIII not be abIe to choose among the operatIons of
destroyIng teIephone IInes, movIng to make attacks In another IocaIIty, and surprIsIng a patroI
of soIdIers on a dIstant road; It wIII do exactIy what It Is toId. If Its functIon Is to cut down
teIephone poIes or eIectrIc wIres, to destroy sewers, raIIroads, or water maIns, It wIII IImIt ItseIf
to carryIng out these tasks effIcIentIy.

It ought not to number more than four or fIve men. The IImItatIon on numbers Is Important,
because the suburban guerrIIIa must be consIdered as sItuated In exceptIonaIIy unfavorabIe
ground, where the vIgIIance of the enemy wIII be much greater and the possIbIIItIes of reprIsaIs
as weII as of betrayaI are Increased enormousIy. Another aggravatIng cIrcumstance Is that the
suburban guerrIIIa band cannot depart far from the pIaces where It Is goIng to operate. To
speed of actIon and wIthdrawaI there must be added a IImItatIon on the dIstance of wIthdrawaI
from the scene of actIon and the need to remaIn totaIIy hIdden durIng the daytIme. ThIs Is a
nocturnaI guerrIIIa band In the extreme, wIthout possIbIIItIes of changIng Its manner of
operatIng untII the InsurrectIon Is so far advanced that It can take part as an actIve combatant
In the sIege of the cIty.

The essentIaI quaIItIes of the guerrIIIa fIghter In thIs sItuatIon are dIscIpIIne (perhaps In the
hIghest degree of aII) and dIscretIon. He cannot count on more than two or three frIendIy
houses that wIII provIde food; It Is aImost certaIn that an encIrcIement In these condItIons wIII
be equIvaIent to death. Weapons, furthermore, wIII not be of the same kInd as those of the
other groups. They wIII be for personaI defense, of the type that do not hInder a rapId fIIght or
betray a secure hIdIng pIace. As theIr armament the band ought to have not more than one
carbIne or one sawed-off shotgun, or perhaps two, wIth pIstoIs for the other members.

They wIII concentrate theIr actIon on prescrIbed sabotage and never carry out armed attacks,
except by surprIsIng one or two members or agents of the enemy troops.

For sabotage they need a fuII set of Instruments. The guerrIIIa fIghter must have good saws,
Iarge quantItIes of dynamIte, pIcks and shoveIs, apparatus for IIftIng raIIs, and, In generaI,
adequate mechanIcaI equIpment for the work to be carrIed out. ThIs shouId be hIdden In
pIaces that are secure but easIIy accessIbIe to the hands that wIII need to use It.

If there Is more than one guerrIIIa band, they wIII aII be under a sIngIe chIef who wIII gIve
orders as to the necessary tasks through contacts of proven trustworthIness who IIve openIy
as ordInary cItIzens. In certaIn cases the guerrIIIa fIghter wIII be abIe to maIntaIn hIs peacetIme
work, but thIs Is very dIffIcuIt. PractIcaIIy speakIng, the suburban guerrIIIa band Is a group of
men who are aIready outsIde the Iaw, In a condItIon of war, sItuated as unfavorabIy as we
have descrIbed.

The Importance of a suburban struggIe has usuaIIy been under-estImated; It Is reaIIy very
great. A good operatIon of thIs type extended over a wIde area paraIyzes aImost compIeteIy
the commercIaI and IndustrIaI IIfe of the sector and pIaces the entIre popuIatIon In a sItuatIon
of unrest, of anguIsh, aImost of ImpatIence for the deveIopment of vIoIent events that wIII
reIIeve the perIod of suspense. If, from the fIrst moment of the war, thought Is taken for the
future possIbIIIty of thIs type of fIght and an organIzatIon of specIaIIsts started, a much more
rapId actIon wIII be assured, and wIth It a savIng of IIves and of the prIceIess tIme of the


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