Military history

PICTURE SECTION

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Fuegian tribesmen in South America. Tribal warriors were the original guerrillas. (New York Public Library)

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Ancient Mesopotamian sovereign, possibly Sargon of Akkad, ruler of the world’s first empire (ca. 2334–2279 BC) and the first of countless kings who had to battle nomadic guerrillas. (The Image Works)

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There was no “Eastern Way of War” that emphasized guerrilla tactics. These terra-cotta warriors buried in a tomb in 210 BC make clear that ancient Chinese armies were as conventional as their Greek or Roman counterparts. (The Image Works)

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Roman siege of Jerusalem, AD 70. The legions dealt ruthlessly with rebellions, but there was more to Roman counterinsurgency than “they create a desert and call it peace.” (The Image Works)

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The Huns were ferocious raiders—essentially guerrillas—whose invasion of western Europe starting around AD 370 helped bring down the Roman Empire. (Mary Evans Picture Library)

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To make good his claim on the throne of Scotland in 1306, Robert the Bruce employed guerrilla tactics against the English. (The Image Works)

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Battle of Concord, 1775. The redcoats were outraged that “Yankey scoundrels . . . would never engage us properly,” choosing instead to fire from behind trees and stone walls. (Granger Collection)

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Francis Marion, “the Swamp Fox”—the most storied leader of irregulars during the American Revolution. (Granger Collection)

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The American War of Independence was ultimately decided in the House of Commons . British voters tired of the war forced a change of government in 1782, showing the growing importance of public opinion. (Granger Collection)

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“The Maid of Zaragoza” firing a cannon at French troops, 1808. The uprising by the Spanish people dashed Napoleon’s hopes for a quick conquest. (Granger Collection)

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The Peninsular War turned into a bloody struggle pitting guerrilleros (the first use of that word) against French occupiers and their collaborators. This drawing depicts a rebel killing a French soldier. (The Image Works)

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The French were willing to use genocidal violence to squelch the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804). (New York Public Library)

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That Haiti won its independence anyway was due in no small measure to Toussaint Louverture, “the Black Spartacus.” (New York Public Library)

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At the Battle of Navarino in 1827 , a combined English-French-Russian fleet sank a Turkish-Egyptian fleet. The first “humanitarian intervention” made Greek independence inevitable. (The Image Works)

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Giuseppe Garibaldi, champion of Italian unification. The beau ideal of the irregular warrior, he was one of the first guerrillas to become an international celebrity and sex symbol. (The Image Works)

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Jamestown massacre, 1622. In a surprise attack, Powhatan Indians wiped out more than one-fourth of the colonists—347 out of 1,240. Atrocities on both sides would characterize the Indian Wars for nearly 300 years. (Granger Collection)

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Seventh U.S. Cavalry attacking a Cheyenne village on the Washita River in modern-day Oklahoma, 1868. Lieutenant Colonel Custer managed to retreat before being overwhelmed by larger numbers—this time. (Granger Collection)

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General George H. Crook, one of the U.S. Army’s most effective and humane Indian fighters. He was so unassuming that “he might have been taken for a Montana miner.” (New York Public Library)

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The Remnants of an Army, by Elizabeth Butler. This Victorian painting shows Dr. William Brydon, the sole European survivor of a 16,000-strong Anglo-Indian expedition to arrive in Jalalabad in 1842. (Art Resource)

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With their jezail muskets, Pashtun warriors would bedevil British troops on both sides of the India–Afghanistan border from the 1840s to the 1940s. (New York Public Library)

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Shamil led Muslim mountaineers in Chechnya and Dagestan against Russian rule, 1834–59. He had his own mother whipped for suggesting surrender. (New York Public Library)

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Marshal Hubert Lyautey, ruler of Morocco, 1912–25. A soldier with literary flair, he invented the influential “oil spot” theory of pacification. (Bridgeman)

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General Christiaan de Wet, the brilliant but irascible Boer guerrilla leader, with his staff. The Boers were as hard to catch on their ponies as American Indians. (The Image Works)

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British soldiers gained a reputation for brutality during the Boer War, 1802–1902, which gave rise to the term “concentration camp.” (Granger Collection)

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John Brown was a terrible guerrilla leader whose attack on Harpers Ferry was a disaster. But he was a great terrorist who helped spark the war that led to the end of slavery. (Granger Collection)

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Major Lewis Merrill was a dogged investigator, but he could not convict the Klansmen he identified in York County, South Carolina. (U.S. Army Military History Institute)

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With a campaign of intimidation aimed at freed slaves and their Republican champions (as seen above in “Visit of the Ku-Klux,” by Frank Bellew in Harper’s Weekly, February 24, 1872), white supremacists destroyed the promise of Reconstruction. (New York Public Library)

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Émile Henry’s bomb explodes in the Café Terminus in Paris, 1894. Anarchists, one of the first transnational terrorist groups, killed political leaders and ordinary “bourgeois” alike. (The Image Works)

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Michael Collins, mastermind of the Irish Republican cause in the War of Independence, 1919–21. He was said to be “full of fascination and charm—but also of dangerous fire.” (The Image Works)

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Russian Nihilists condemned to be deported to Siberia. Despite the tsarist state’s reputation for heavy-handed rule, its police force was so small and weak that leftist terrorists were able to wreak havoc. (The Image Works)

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The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, 1914—the most consequential terrorist act in history because it sparked World War I. (The Image Works)

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T. E. Lawrence, pictured in his “Lawrence of Arabia” regalia, advised and led Arab irregulars for only two years (1916–18), but he became one of the most influential practitioners and theorists of guerrilla warfare. (The Image Works)

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Orde Wingate, a distant relative, was the closest World War II counterpart to Lawrence. An eccentric who gave interviews in the nude while brushing his private parts, he fought in Palestine, Abyssinia, and Burma. (AP)

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Wingate’s Chindits crossing a river in Burma, 1943. They paid a fearful price on their “deep penetration” missions while pioneering aerial resupply coordinated by radio. (Imperial War Museum)

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Mao Zedong on the Long March, 1934–35. His propaganda genius turned a catastrophic defeat into a triumph of the spirit for the embattled Reds. (The Image Works)

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Vo Nguyen Giap (left) and Ho Chi Minh in 1945, at the start of their long war against the French, Americans, and South Vietnamese. No one else applied the Maoist revolutionary model so successfully. (AP)

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Reinforcements arriving at Dien Bien Phu, 1954. French commanders never imagined that Giap could assemble artillery to besiege their frontier fortress. (The Image Works)

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Gerald Templer in Malaya, 1952. He became associated with winning “hearts and minds,” even though he employed considerable coercion too. (The Image Works)

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Marcel “Bruno” Bigeard, shown as a colonel in 1956, was a legendary French officer who fought the Germans, Vietnamese, and Algerians. Not even surrender at Dien Bien Phu could quench his thirst for battle. (Granger Collection)

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French soldiers patrolling the Casbah, the “native” quarter of Algiers. They ripped out the insurgent infrastructure, but their brutal methods backfired. (Granger Collection)

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Edward Lansdale (left), “the Quiet American,” and Ramón Magsaysay. The two men worked together to defeat the Huk Rebellion in the Philippines (1946–54). (Hoover Institution)

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President Johnson delegated the running of the ground war in South Vietnam to General William Westmoreland (right). Unfortunately, the World War II veteran didn’t understand how to wage a counterinsurgency. (The Image Works)

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U.S. troops slogging through a rice field, 1965. Large-scale “search and destroy” missions wasted American resources and failed to pin down the elusive Vietcong. (The Image Works)

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Lansdale later worked with Ngo Dinh Diem to help create South Vietnam. (Image Works)

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Black September operatives took the Israeli team hostage at the 1972 Munich Olympics—the most famous terrorist attack before 2001. This was indicative of Arafat’s habit of operating through front groups. (The Image Works)

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Fidel Castro (left) with Che Guevara, 1961. Despite their meager forces, they orchestrated a brilliant campaign to win power in Cuba. Afterward Che went from failure to failure. (The Image Works)

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Yasser Arafat in 1969, already sporting his trademark uniform and kaffiyeh. He was a master at spinning military defeats into propaganda victories—a triumph of style over substance. (The Image Works)

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Ahmad Shah Massoud (right) was one of the most skilled and moderate Afghan mujahideen commanders to fight the Red Army in the 1980s. (The Image Works)

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Soviet troops leaving Afghanistan, 1988. Afghanistan is said to be “the graveyard of empires,” but only the Soviet empire was destroyed there even in part. (The Image Works)

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Remnants of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, 1983. This deadly suicide bombing signaled the rise of a potent new threat from the Iranian-backed Hezbollah. (The Image Works)

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Hezbollah militants in 2006 mourn Imad Mughniyeh, architect of the U.S. Marine barracks bombing and countless other terrorist operations. Fittingly, he was killed with one of his favorite weapons—a car bomb. (AP)

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Osama bin Laden, a shy Saudi youth, became the most notorious terrorist in the world. He believed that “the media war” was 90 percent of the battle. (The Image Works)

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General David Petraeus in Iraq, 2007. By resurrecting age-old principles of counterinsurgency, he managed to pull off an improbable come-from-behind campaign. (Author)

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“Sons of Iraq” in Bayji, 2008. The rise of this Sunni militia, together with the surge in U.S. troops and a change in their tactics, helped reduce the power of Al Qaeda in Iraq and other terrorist groups. (Author)

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Marine Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Schmitt meeting with elders in Marjah, Afghanistan, 2011. Such negotiations are an important part of any counterinsurgency campaign. (Author)

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