Guerrilla (also called a partisan) is a term borrowed from Spanish (from "guerra" meaning war) used to describe small combat groups. Guerrilla warfare operates with small, mobile and flexible combat groups called cells, without a front line. Guerrilla warfare is one of the oldest forms of asymmetric warfare. Primary contributors to modern theories of guerrilla war include Mao Zedong and Che Guevara. While "asymmetric warfare" is the military term for guerrilla tactics, it is often referred to in the pejorative as " terrorism."
The term was invented in Spain to describe the tactics used to resist the French regime instituted by Napoleon Bonaparte (one should however remember, that the tactics themselves were known and used even centuries earlier). The Spanish word means "little war". The Spanish word for guerrilla fighter is guerrillero. The change of usage from the tactics to the person implementing them is a late 19th century mistake. In most languages the word still denotes the style of warfare. However this is changing under the influence of the English usage.
Guerrilla tactics are based on ambush and sabotage, and their ultimate objective is usually to destabilize an authority through long, low-intensity confrontation. It can be quite successful against an unpopular foreign regime: a guerrilla army may increase the cost of maintaining an occupation or a colonial presence above what the foreign power may wish to bear.
Guerrillas in wars against foreign powers do not principally direct their attacks at civilians, as they desire to obtain as much support as possible from the population as part of their tactics. Civilians are primarily attacked or assassinated as punishment for collaboration. Often such an attack will be officially sanctioned by guerrilla command or tribunal. An exception is in civil wars, where both guerrilla groups and organized armies have been known to commit atrocitiesAn atrocity (from the Latin atrox "atrocious", from Latin ater "matt black" (as distinct from niger "shiny black")) is a reprehensible act ranging from an act committed against a single person but, usually, to one committed against a population or ethnic against the civilian population.
Guerrillas are often characterised as terrorists by their opponents. Guerrillas are in danger of not being recognized as combatantsA combatant (also referred to as an enemy combatant is a soldier or guerrilla member who is waging war. Under the Geneva Conventions, persons waging war must have the following four characteristics to be protected by the laws of war: In uniform Wear disti because they may not wear a uniformThis page describes uniform in the sense of clothing. For other meanings, see uniform (disambiguation . A uniform is a set of standard clothing worn by members of an organisation whilst participating in that organisation's activity. People performing reli, (to mingle with the local population), or their uniform and distinctive emblems my not be recognised as such by their opponents. Article 44, sections 3 and 4 of the 1977 First Additional Protocol to the Geneva ConventionsThe Geneva Conventions consist of treaties formulated in Geneva, Switzerland that set the standards for international law for humanitarian concerns. The conventions were the results of efforts by Henri Dunant, who was motivated by the horrors of war he wi, "relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts", does recognise combatants who, due to the nature of the conflict, do not wear uniforms as long as they carry their weapons openly during military operations. This gives non-uniformed guerrillas lawful combatant status against countries that have ratified this convention.
Guerrilla warfare is classified into two main categories: urban guerrilla warfare and rural guerrilla warfare. In both cases, guerrillas rely on a friendly population to provide supply and intelligence. Rural guerrillas prefer to operate in regions providing plenty of cover and concealment, especially heavily forested and mountainous areas. Urban guerrillas, rather than melting into the mountains and jungles, blend into the population and are dependent on a support base among the people. Foreign support in the form of soldiers, weapons, sanctuary, or, at the very least, statements of sympathy for the guerrillas can greatly increase the chances of victory for an insurgency, although it is not always necessary.
Maoist theory of people's war divides warfare into three phases. In the first phase, the guerrillas gain the support of the population through attacks on the machinery of government and the distribution of propagandaNorth Korean propaganda showing a soldier destroying the Capitol building. This article is about the type of communication. For other meanings, see Propaganda (disambiguation). Propaganda is a specific type of message presentation, aimed at serving an age. In the second phase, escalating attacks are made on the government's militaryMilitary (from latin militarius miles "soldier") as an adjective describes anything related to soldiers and warfare. Used as a noun, it is equivalent to Armed force. See also Armed force Martial art Militaria Military history Military rule Military by cou and vital institutions. In the third phase, conventional fighting is used to seize cities, overthrow the government and take control of the country.