In 1337 the “Hundred Years’ War” started. Great armies marched to meet each other in the fields of battle. They fought and 2.3 to 3.3 million men died.

In 1792 the French Revolutionary war started. It lasted 7 years and between 1.2 million and 1.4 million men died in the fields of battle.

In 1803 the Napoleonic wars started. Somewhere between 3.5 million and 7.0 million men died in the fields of battle and in the misery of being on campaign.

Between 1955 and 1975 somewhere between 0.9 million and 3.8 million people died in the Vietnam War. There were around 300 thousand soldiers killed in Vietnam, 58 thousand Americans and 254 thousand South Vietnam.

What was the significant change between the previous wars and Vietnam?

Asymmetrical Warfare.

The civilians and the enemy combatants wore the same clothing. They wore the same footwear. They ate the same food. The man sharing a meal with a soldier might be stalking that same soldier later that night.

During the 20 years of “The Troubles” in Ireland 8 to 10 thousand people were active members of the IRA. By the 1980’s it was believed that there were around 450 active members and 300 support members. Yet this small number of dedicated people were able to keep the British at bay.

This equates to around 9/100,000 at the low point and 10/100,000 at the high point. If there was this level of asymmetric warfare in the US that would be around 30,000 active participants every year. Even with people rotating in and out.

In 2021 there were 38.5 million hunting licenses issued. If we assume 12/100,000 this would be 4632 people with the right equipment in hand to take a deer sized target at 100 to 200 yards. Not to mention all the other firearm owners that don’t hunt but are proficient with their firearms.

So at a low end we would have somewhere around 5000 and at the high end about 50,000 actives in the such warfare in America.

All of these people look just like the people they are living with. We saw what this was like in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition there is a higher probability of members of the resistance existing unseen within the government/military complex.

We look at what people with minimal industrial knowledge were able to accomplish. Their ability to make hand crafted firearms, their ability to create IEDs. All of that knowledge from people that don’t have the same level of education as most of the people that read this blog.

If it comes to conflict it will be asymmetrical. One or two man teams working to harass and torment occupying forces. Supply lines that are long and undefended. Convoys traveling on wide open express ways with good sightines to them from good cover and concealment.

People with the money to buy and train with tactical gear.

As more than one person has stated “I’m not about to trade MY AR-15 for a milspec M-4 or M-16, my rifle is much better than that.”

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By awa

6 thoughts on “Asymmetrical Warfare”
  1. Actual war would be hard fought and hard won. How many “gun owners” would actually stand up??? THAT is the big question…

    1. I was attempting to address exactly this question in the discussion around the IRA. People talk about percentages of gun owners doing something. I took as my low end .012% of people that purchased hunting licenses. I think this is a very reasonable lower end. With only 5000 people in active, effective, resistance that is still 100 per state and more than enough to disrupt almost any government activities.

  2. Many retired punks and anarchists have these lessons to teach and do so freely. The ones who kept the anti-authoritarian streak but realized who the real enemy is once they had skin in the game so to speak (family, property, so on).

    These types also look with disgust at the kids now being used the same way they were used and often by the same people/faction to accomplish the same goals.

    How to walk, talk, act, what to wear when you want confrontation and notice vs when you do not.

    The best time to build your community was yesterday but the next best is today.

    Thank you for the notes and many good points Awa

  3. “In addition there is a higher probability of members of the resistance existing unseen within the government/military complex.”
    Those numbers, if they can remain hidden, will have a much higher impact then any hundred hunters. Something as simple as tainting the water supply (or better yet, making it look like the water supply has been tainted), and you can close down an entire military base. Same with the fuel supply, or the food.
    .
    “All of that knowledge from people that don’t have the same level of education as most of the people that read this blog.”
    You left out better tools. I have better tools in my garage than large swaths of the middle east. My tools might not be machinist quality, but it is a damned sight better than the hand tools available to most of the folks fighting against the US military in Afghanistan, etc…

    1. The fact that we have better tools was what I was alluding to in “minimal industrial knowledge”. There are small CNC machines out there that will turn a block of aluminum into an AR-15 lower receiver in a couple of hours. There are homeshop machine shops all over the country.

      While there is need for some specialized tooling to make some firearms of a past era, most machinist know how to make the tools to make the tools to make the parts.

      The is a scene in one of David Drakes books where it the morning after the base camp has been attacked. A reporter is trying to get transportation. The men at the motorpool aren’t willing to hand him a vehicle because the enemy had mined many of them. Some with timed devices, others with motion sensors. It was going to take hours to know if it was safe to drive them.

      This would likely be the case every morning in asymmetrical warfare in the US.

  4. “Supply lines that are long and undefended. Convoys traveling on wide open express ways with good sightines to them from good cover and concealment.”

    On the other side supply lines consist of sympathetic friends and family, no identifiable convoys, or fixed routes. Ammo may be harder to come by but reloading, theft, and cottage industry can go a long way to ease that burden. The Haganah managed to build an entire arms industry under the nose of the British Army.

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