Spanish War, Decolonization War (of which Algeria was the most prominent, for us French), Lebanon, (ex) Yugoslavia, Chechnya, Syria, Ukraine... We have a rich and detailed documentary base to analyze the mechanics of a civil war, from its beginnings to armed confrontation. We are going to deliberately exclude decolonization wars from this article (we will be interested in the chapter "intelligence and penetration of structures"), and focus on feedback from the protagonists (regardless of the camp, the essential being the “experience” and the methodology used to overcome or work around such and such a problem). All civil wars are not alike, but all have one or more points in common when it comes to the stages that lead to a collapse of normality on all or part of the national territory - without addressing the cause or causes that lead to the conflict:

 

  • A shortage quickly essential products (medicines, water, food, fuel ...) - especially in large urban centers with regard to water and food
  • The almost immediate implementation of a "black" market - a direct consequence of the shortage
  • The significant increase in predation, including rape
  • The significant increase in mortality - excluding acts of war or predation - of the weakest (roughly infants, children, the elderly and the sick) with as main causes the absence of food, care, heating or the skills of medical personnel
  • Progressive and constant collapse state or service structures (police, fluid maintenance service, communication, logistics chain of supply, relief ...)
  • The takeover of zones (of territories) defined by groups who will develop predation there to establish a form of "power" - on the same basis as a fiefdom in the Middle Ages
  • The resurgence, pell-mell, religious, community or intra-community clashes, and militias, more or less constituted, more or less hierarchical and more or less ... alcoholic.
  • The resurgence of infections and diseases previously controlled or almost unknown in the conflict zone - due to poor sanitation and health care structures.

The uplifting testimony (I invite you to read it carefully) of a stranger during the civil war of ex-Yugoslavia, living in an urban area (thanks to the blog "the survivalist").

We aknowledge that in the "trigger" phase, even when open confrontation has begun, the belligerents do not have significant combat resources. Few weapons (and even less ammunition), limited means of communication (with in particular the "cut" of mobile phone networks and the Internet) and the impossibility of identifying the "camp" of each participant. The passage of a civil society made up of a set of clans (families, groups of families or friends) who try to survive in isolation and by their own means is also striking. In this phase where logistics networks collapse and industrial capacity is very reduced, the situation - particularly in urban areas, very dependent on its supply chain - will be very difficult for civilians (civilians who have to become combatants ), and the human losses will be substantial, especially for already vulnerable populations (the elderly, infants, the poorest, the chronically ill, etc.). IT IS THEREFORE ESSENTIAL - AND EVERYONE'S RESPONSIBILITY - TO HAVE RESERVES AND HIDDEN TO STORE AND PRESERVE THEM.

Fast enough (in a few weeks), supply networks - criminal or not - come to supply combat means (light weapons, ammunition, optics but also heavier means) to the various fighting factions, via either identified areas which allow connection with borders (by sea, road or plane), or via systematic looting of stocks present in the territory. In addition to the means of combat (from the old walkie-talkie to ammunition assembled by sports shooters, smuggling equipment, etc.), the parallel market will offer - obviously with very high inflation - basic necessities (medicines, food, bottled water, fuel, medical equipment, firewood), with the currency of exchange not the national currency but either the usual reserve currencies (dollars, euros ...) or by the introduction of barter, or precious metals (copper, gold & silver).

It is therefore necessary to implement (it is logical but it goes better by saying it) six elements BEFORE to be faced with this type of situation - IT MUST BE NOTED THAT THE FIRST POINT RESULTS FROM ALL OTHERS:

  1. Define general strategic objectives (we are going to make an acronym for simplicity: the OSG). What do you want by considering - and having a PRAGMATIC vision which passes from emotions and ideological considerations but is based EXCLUSIVELY ON THE REAL - your situation? Your position as a weak, poorly equipped and poorly trained fighter by definition (in short, you are an ass comb with the cock, the knife, and the responsibility of a larger or smaller group) should lead you to a simple strategy: to preserve the lives of your loved ones by all means. For the moment, and in the absence of a positive evolution of your situation, it is your line of conduct in all aspects that allows survival. It is your one and only GSO. Secondly, and if you are still alive, it will be time to consider stabilizing, then improving (geographic, social and productive) your situation. This survival objective is also an awareness: YOU ARE NOT A SOLDIER, integrated into a structured whole, but a “chieftain”, a “warrior”, left to yourself in a hostile environment. Your decisions will make the difference between the life and death of your wives, your children and, more generally, your “world”.
  1. Rally around you human resources (skills in general) necessary for the success of your goal, taking into account human affinities (obviously) and an essential need: the medical. Have a doctor with you or, failing that, a nurseis extremely valuable - on the one hand because it can provide care - emergencies or more traditional - and on the other hand because it can train other members of the group care to bring in case of emergency. Similarly, he will be able to define a hygiene protocol in living conditions that are necessarily conducive to diseases and their transmission within the group, define the logistical need (medication, relief and conditioning products for an injured person, etc.) and ensure sanitary control - as strict as possible - on the food and water reserves. In addition to the doctor, every man (and woman), and apart from the status of combatant - ideally all members of the group must be able to use a weapon and participate actively in combat - has a skill (electrician, peasant, mechanic ...) of his own. YOU DO NOT NEED a smoky consultant or "expert", but know-how that ensures the survival and comfort of all and the technical "superiority" over the enemy (as much as can) in your environment. The skills and know-how must be shared to the maximum for a better versatility of men - a fighting peasant is more valuable than a feared TV host.
  1. A mental, physical and technical preparation. Obviously this preparation must be done according to the standard modules of all the armies of the world - you just have to go on the internet to have access to a very substantial documentary base (in English, French, Russian ...) of all the aspects of a quality military training, from the most basic to the most technical. For Francophones there is a set of dedicated documents (well thought out, well designed, and fairly regularly updated) written by the various staffs and services of the French army:
    1. The TTA (friendly acronym for Technique All Arms - weapon is understood as the technical specificity of a fighter, infantry, cavalry, genius ...) consists of a set of fascicles, boards and volumes (there are several tens, that I do not quote here but you will find more or less easily on the internet) to describe ALL aspects of the "military life" of the NRBC combat discipline. All of the TTAs are too big - and sometimes not worthwhile for the case of the civilian fighter - but we will remember:
      1. The 150 TTA (which makes 21 volumes ...) and which has the advantage of describing by the menu the general military training, the know-how and the skills of the NCO. I propose them here (except TITLE XXI entitled "Overseas and Abroad"), in the version of 2001 (and for some volumes earlier than 2001). There is an "updated" version of 2006 and 2012 - maybe even newer, I will make it available as soon as possible.
        1. TTA150 TITLE 1 - GENERAL MILITARY KNOWLEDGE
        2. TTA150 TITLE 2 - COMMAND IN DAILY LIFE
        3. TTA150 TITLE 3 - ROLE OF THE TRAINER
        4. TTA150 TITLE 4 - PROBING COMBAT IN OPEN MEDIA (2012 VERSION)
        5. TTA150 TITLE 5 - COUNTRY SERVICE
        6. TTA150 TITLE 6 - INFORMATION
        7. TTA150 TITLE 7 - SHOOTING AND SHOOTING
        8. TTA150 TITLE 8 - TRANSMISSIONS
        9. TTA150 TITLE 9 - TOPOGRAPHY AND OBSERVATION
        10. TTA150 TITLE 10 - MINES AND EXPLOSIVES
        11. TTA150 TITLE 11 - ORGANIZATION OF THE GROUND - DISSIMULATION
        12. TTA150 TITLE 12 - CBRN DEFENSE
        13. TTA150 TITLE 13 - HYGIENE AND FIRST AID
        14. TTA150 TITLE 14 - MILITARY AND SPORTY PHYSICAL TRAINING
        15. TTA150 TITLE 15 - KNOWLEDGE AND MAINTENANCE OF THE ARMAMENT
        16. TTA150 TITLE 16 - KNOWLEDGE AND MAINTENANCE OF TRANSMISSION EQUIPMENT
        17. TTA150 TITLE 17 - KNOWLEDGE AND MAINTENANCE OF MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS
        18. TTA150 TITLE 18 - MAINTENANCE AND IMPLEMENTATION OF AUTOMOTIVE EQUIPMENT
        19. TTA150 TITLE 19 - PREVENTION AND FIRE FIGHTING
        20. TTA150 TITLE 20 - MILITARY CORRESPONDENCE
      2. The 117 TTA (Provisional Instructions of the Use of the Psychological Weapon), propaganda and counter-propaganda, use of psychology on the national territory and in time of war ... In short a small manual to "infect" the spirit of the enemy, support the morale of yours and guide the mood of allies or those who are "neutral". available here.
    2. The fascicles DIA (Doctrine Inter-Armées), CIA (Inter-Armed Concepts) or the PIA (Inter-Armed Publications). These booklets specify a set of technical points, present tactical points of view or even determine protocols when fighting NRBC, policing ... You will find them on the internet - I propose you a published by the CICDE: CPM n ° 51, the armed force and the city
  1. Dedicated logistics (all materials and commodities necessary for combat and survival) and thought according to:
    1. The size of your group (including the most vulnerable groups of the group, the old, the very small, the sick and taking into account the physiological differences between men and women).
    2. The type of zone in which you operate (urban, peri-urban, countryside ...) and its geographical specificities (sea, mountain, plain ...).
    3. Your ability to re-supply yourself or your shortage constraints (including ammunition, fuel, batteries, electricity, food and drinking water) - be aware that shortages are reducing inevitably your capacity for movement and action.
    4. Consideration of specific risks (NRBC, industrial accidents or attacks that trigger a large scale pollution ...). Even if you do not have the budget to deal with this type of threat, you can buy simple elements (to confine a space, to filter the ambient air ...)
    5. ABSOLUTE need to be mobile. Car, bus, bike ... Be able to move as quickly and discreetly as possible depending on the situation or the mission to be accomplished.
  1. A communication network which can happen antennas of networks GSM, 3, 4 and 5G or VOIP: a network which borrows the ranges of frequencies HF, VHF or UHF - according to the distances of communication. This type of network requires energy (potentially on batteries and which will go through a transformer), one or antennas - according to the frequency band used and the range of your network and of course radios (integrated in vehicles, on an operation basis, on a command post, portable as a talkie Walkie...). For optimal communication security, you have two options: either you have a large budget (I mean very consistent) and you acquire a jamming module that will encrypt your exchanges, or you develop in-house an encryption code - it's tedious, complex and ... free! You can use the square of Vigenère, Polybe or another method of encryption easily found on the internet.
  1. A base of operation (survivalists call it a BAD - Sustainable Autonomous Base) from which you can take rest, bring a feeling of security, restore yourself… in short, all “normal” human activities, with spaces dedicated to children, to the injured… Think your base of operations like a medieval fortified castle: very well defended, provided with abundant reserves, easily controllable and, if necessary, with the possibility of escape if the situation is too bad. In essence, any base of operations is vulnerable (this is where children and the elderly will be concentrated, a good part of your reserves and production capacities). It is therefore necessary FIRST to think about the defense of the perimeter, by ALL MEANS. The location chosen for this base of operations is essential. Ideally at a height, with a good view of the surrounding area, an easy water supply (river, water point…) and “natural defenses” - mountain area, cliffs… In short, think “castle” as much as you do. little.

The only state structure which almost always seems to retain a capacity for coordination and centralization is the national army. This seems logical since it is the only structure which, in essence, has the means and staff trained in order to intervene where “normality” no longer applies. The coherence of the army does not indicate that it will act in one direction or another, or even that all its components will work towards a single and identified goal, but indeed that it has the resources to to protect its members, its rights-of-way and some form of organization.

The national army, who will be either an “arbiter” between the different factions, or a major player in a well-identified faction - the government in place for example - will have to change its “classic” operating methods towards “counter-insurgency” methods, which can include police methods, and necessarily the adaptation of its processes in the face of an enemy that is difficult to identify (intelligence is THE KEY to reducing an enemy that evolves “like a fish in water” within civil society - small reference to one of our great enemies, General Giap). It should be noted that elements which would have defected (with weapons and equipment) can - by logistic superiority - decide to take sides with one faction or another, to seize an area or quite simply to impose a faith (Mohammedan elements for example…) in a given area of ​​the territory.

A small article entitled "The army facing the city" by Jean-Louis Dufour, former officer. At the end of the article, he discusses the particularity of weapon systems adapted to the urban area: the robot - by extension the drones.

The recent conflicts in Chechnya and the Middle East (Iraq, Syria, Libya) - both related to the resurgence of Islam (and related phenomena, especially clan - no need to revisit the funding and support given to Islamic organizations or other sympathetic militias by some states) - have shown that asymmetry means is no guarantee of victory for the camp that has the greatest strength, mainly because (or thanks) to high density urban areas. Each building, each underground network (rail network, metro, car parks ...) are forts. Every open car park, avenue or street is a deadly firing area (see Sniper alley during the siege of Sarajevo - Zmaja od Bosne street and Meša Selimović avenue).

Obviously, each situation - by essence evolutionary - will require an answer adapted to your own means (you are not a constituted army, you do not have a logistics chain et your technical level is low - at least at the beginning of hostilities

Informally, two edifying documents:

The French-style theory fighting against an armed insurrection on national soil (but later used by the US military, the CIA and some South American or African regimes), drawn from the experiences of the decolonization conflicts of Indochina and Algeria , was proposed by Colonel Roger Trinquier in his book « modern war "- the book is available here (readable but of mediocre quality).

Other French officers - most of them having written following their experience in Indo-China or Algeria (David Galula - against insurrection theory and practice & Marcel Bigeard - the intelligence officer's manual)

This theorization, perfectly adapted to its time, would today require the taking into account of factors essential to the conduct of operations in the XNUMXst century, such as:

  • Judicialization of military operations (even if you are not considered a soldier within the meaning of the Geneva Conventions, the risk is high - during the time when a legal and institutional structure continues to exist in the territory where you are fighting, or after the conflict if supra-state authorities (the UN ...) decide on the prosecution - at national and international level
  • The evolution of the ethical sense and the importance given to the individual, a feeling that will be invariably used by your enemies for propaganda purposes to the media and public opinion (especially if the conflict is related to ethnic or religious communitarization) )
  • The lines of communication and the fluidity of information transfer - social networks, the ability to shoot or take pictures with a simple phone and transmit files created in seconds, worldwide

 

END OF FIRST PART OF ARTICLE

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