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Unformatted text preview: t military component of a resistance movement or insurgency. As the
individuals that engage the enemy in combat operations, guerrillas typically have a significant disadvantage
in terms of training, equipment, and firepower. For all their disadvantages, guerrillas have one advantage
that can offset this unfavorable balance—the initiative. In all his endeavors, the guerrilla commander must 30 November 2010 TC 18-01 2-11 Chapter 2 strive to maintain and protect this advantage. The guerrilla only attacks the enemy when he can generate a
relative, if temporary, state of superiority. The guerrilla commander must avoid decisive engagements,
thereby denying the enemy the opportunity to recover, regain their actual superiority, and use it against the
guerrilla force. The guerrilla force is only able to generate and maintain the initiative advantage in areas
where they have significant familiarity with the terrain and a connection with the local population that
allows them to harness clandestine support.
2-39. Depending on the degree of control over the local environment, the size of guerrilla elements can
range anywhere from squad to brigade-size groups or larger. In the early stages of an insurgency, the
guerrilla force’s offensive capability might be limited to small standoff attacks. As the guerrilla force’s
base of support from the population grows, its ability to challenge government security forces more openly
with larger-scale attacks increases. At some point in an insurgency or resistance movement, the guerrillas
may achieve a degree of parity with HN forces in certain areas. In these cases, units may start openly
fighting, rather than as guerrilla bands. In well-developed insurgencies, formerly isolated pockets of
resistance activity may eventually connect and create liberated territory, possibly even linking with a
friendly or sympathetic border state.
2-40. It is important to use the term “guerrilla” accurately in order to distinguish between other types of
irregular forces that might appear similar but are in fact something entirely different, such as militias,
mercenaries, or criminal gangs. The DOD defines a guerrilla as someone who engages in guerrilla warfare.
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