Rocket Thrall (rat839)

In the mid twentieth century, a new form of warfare became a household term due to the Cuban Revolution, “guerrilla warfare”. This was a method used to tilt the scales of asymmetric warfare in favor of the belligerents who are less equipped and fewer in number. One of the pioneers of this new tactic was the Argentinian revolutionary, Che Guevara.

Guerrilla warfare consists of small scale actions (frequently fought by irregulars) against larger regular military forces. Tactics involved are frequently those of ambush, sneak-attack and sabotage. In the type of warfare championed by Che Guevara in Cuba, guerrillas (soldiers engaged in guerrilla warfare) would hide in jungles and trees along pathways and roads waiting for military to pass. Urban warfare was not exempt from guerrilla tactics as well. During the Battle of Santa Clara in December 1958, Che lead a force of only around 300 rebels against the Batista governments’ army. Che’s forces enlisted the help of civilians to put up barricades in the street to stop the flow of the enemy’s tanks. Che’s forces would stay off the streets to survive in such few numbers. In order to advance across the city, Che’s guerrillas would demolish walls inside buildings and move by rooftops. This kept them hidden even in a dense urban environments.

Guerrilla warfare instigated a social change by encompassing a range of tactics that greatly improved the fighting capabilities of a small group of fighters versus a large army. More specifically, Che Guevara’s guerrillas are responsible for the creation of the modern political state of Cuba and the lasting impression of Communism ideology in the Americas. Che’s revolutionary actions and tactics have influenced a wide array of groups apart from specifically communists. In the 1970’s Che’s writings on Guerrilla warfare along with similar texts from Mao Zedong and Vladimir Lenin circulated widely and influenced a generation of anti-soviet insurgents in the middle-east.

Che and Castro in the early days of their guerrilla campaign in Cuba

Che (right) and Castro (left) in the early days of their guerrilla campaign in Cuba

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