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  1. #61
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    That's true as well, although the Levée en Masse during the French Revolution was the first known example of mass conscription we have. It's official decree begins with:
    From this moment until that in which the enemy shall have been driven from the soil of the Republic, all Frenchmen are in permanent requisition for the service of the armies. The young men shall go to battle; the married men shall forge arms and transport provisions; the women shall make tents and clothing and shall serve in the hospitals; the children shall turn old linen into lint; the aged shall betake themselves to the public places in order to arouse the courage of the warriors and preach the hatred of kings and the unity of the Republic.
    I think that some of the resistance to conscription is a result of post-vietnam and modern, ie foreign deployments, war fighting, in the past it was less likely to be press ganging people into service than a sort of public safety announcement, like "you know that the invading force will not make any distinction between the standing army and anyone else?"

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Not to mention those armed citizens would have to be reasonably organized to truely be effective even in irregular tactics against an invading force. Random acts of violence by private citizens would be more an annoyance than a deep thorn in their side.
    The evidence is surely in from Libya, air support and even sea faring artillary or weapons support are so significant it doesnt matter how many bands or gangs of armed individuals you have roaming the streets, no civilian force is likely to defeat a developed standing army these days. Engels was already saying so after the Paris Commune and in his commentaries on the development of the US, he suggested that reform in the future would depend on elections because of it.

  3. #63
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    The evidence is surely in from Libya, air support and even sea faring artillary or weapons support are so significant it doesnt matter how many bands or gangs of armed individuals you have roaming the streets, no civilian force is likely to defeat a developed standing army these days. Engels was already saying so after the Paris Commune and in his commentaries on the development of the US, he suggested that reform in the future would depend on elections because of it.
    I haven't been following the events in Libya so I can't comment specifically on the tactical implications of such. I will say that it took the rebels quite a while to finally triumph over Gadafhi's forces even with support from NATO. I don't know if this proves the sufficient strength of air and sea power, no doubt it helps, but I don't think it's sufficient on its own without forces on the ground - if I understand your argument correctly.

    Civilian irregular bands certainly cannot go toe-to-toe with standing armies, that's been clear for at least a century. Whether they can successfully drive out the invador, that still remains an open case but often it's more of wearing down the invador's resovle to continue the fight rather than actually defeating their forces militarily. There's the famous conversation between an American officer and his Vietnamese counterpart when the American uttered "You never defeat us on the battlefield." to which the Vietnamese officer replied, "That's true, but it's also irrelevant."

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    I haven't been following the events in Libya so I can't comment specifically on the tactical implications of such. I will say that it took the rebels quite a while to finally triumph over Gadafhi's forces even with support from NATO. I don't know if this proves the sufficient strength of air and sea power, no doubt it helps, but I don't think it's sufficient on its own without forces on the ground - if I understand your argument correctly.

    Civilian irregular bands certainly cannot go toe-to-toe with standing armies, that's been clear for at least a century. Whether they can successfully drive out the invador, that still remains an open case but often it's more of wearing down the invador's resovle to continue the fight rather than actually defeating their forces militarily. There's the famous conversation between an American officer and his Vietnamese counterpart when the American uttered "You never defeat us on the battlefield." to which the Vietnamese officer replied, "That's true, but it's also irrelevant."
    I've only followed the BBC coverage of the struggles in Libya and European news sources but it has been a replete with requests for air support or devastating weapons systems deployed by NATO, much of the coverage I saw involved NATO sources repeatedly telling the rebels that they couldnt use these weapons with indiscriminate casualties and a lot of collatoral damage. That was at the beginning of the conflict to be honest so I dont know what actually happened, most of the official statements about civil strife, lawlessness and chaos seem to have been vindicated, the rebels are a pretty disparite group.

    Guerillas and irregulars could triumph through a war of attrition but the authorities are good at that too, when it is a foreign campaign, against a totally different people it can present its own unique challenges which would militate against the military, such as in Vietnam. Mao was a better writer on that topic than the VC or Latin American theatre writers like Che Guevara and he acknowledged that irregular forces would need conventional forces support for an ultimate victory.

    The thing about wars of attrition, especially when they span generations, is that they can become traditional and limited, ensure no end and no victory for any of those involved. Like the violence in northern ireland.

  5. #65
    Sniffles
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    I agree that Mao was a better military strategist than Che(and certainly more successful to boot, even in conventional war). If I understood Mao correctly, the conventional stage is the final one when the guerrillas have achieved sufficient strength in order to defeat its opponent in open battle. The notion of irregular forces playing supportive roles for conventional forces also stems back to Clausewitz's conception of "Peoples War" which was based on the example of the Prussian War of Liberation of 1813.

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