General Logistics Considerations for Resistance Movements
September 8, 2012
(Originally published on the old site, March 2012–J.M.)
The types, quantities, and availability of necessary supplies play an intrinsic part in the capabilities and limitations of resistance forces, as well as the types of missions a given resistance element can successfully perform. Further, an adequate availability of re-supply plays a critical role in the maintenance of all three aspects of a successful resistance. For the active, fighting elements—the paramilitary guerrilla force and the subversive underground—each successful re-supply represents encouragement and reassurance that others are sharing in their struggles and actively supporting their efforts. For the auxiliary and supporting elements of the civilian population, it offers moral encouragement that they are, in fact, actively “doing their part” to assist the movement (thus my constant harping on the logistics support role of the auxiliary).
Historically, many claim that guerrillas “lived off the land.” While true to a degree, it was not in the typical sense most consider when they use the term. Guerrillas didn’t historically spend all of their time hunting for meat and foraging for edible wild plants, although both have certainly played a part in the logistics plans of some historical guerrilla resistance movements. Instead, resistance forces have typically, when outside support was unavailable, relied on “taxation” of the civilian population and battlefield recovery. The resources of the country, represented by how well these demands can be filled through these methods, has limited the size of guerrilla bands that could be successfully organized and maintained in a given unconventional warfare operational area (UWOA). Guerrillas have historically had no choice other than to rely on these indigenous resources for re-supply of critical needs.
As prepared citizens, looking at the potential need for future hostilities in the protection of our local communities, and the restoration of the Republic, we enjoy an unprecedented historical anomaly that greatly benefits us. To wit, we have the opportunity to provide our necessary logistical supplies right now, before we actually need them. The study of historical guerrilla logistical requirements, contemporary unconventional war-fighting tactics, techniques, and procedures, and the ability to leverage the same technology (as well as an inherent cultural understanding of that technology), can allow us the ability to stockpile and prepare the material needs for a successful resistance to tyranny before the hostilities ever begin in earnest (and as so many of us claim and sincerely hope, may in fact result in the preparations never being necessary). This adherence to the “principle of the Ps” (Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance) serves the additional future role of preventing unnecessary stress on the part of the civilian populace by reducing the demands placed on them to successfully support the resistance.
The logistics demands of an unconventional force include many of the same demands as a conventional force, although with different challenges in disbursement. Problems with transporting supplies and equipment through regime-controlled territory complicate resistance logistic efforts even more than the hazards posed by the resistance to regime logistics disbursement efforts.
Geographic location and local culture/economy largely determine the logistic support needs of a resistance. In agricultural-centric areas, the need to stockpile and pre-position food needs will be far less than for a resistance element in an urban area or areas incapable of reliably producing adequate food to support the local civilian population and the needs of the resistance. Environmental conditions in the operational area will affect the type and amount of personal clothing and protective gear that the resistance needs to survive and thrive. These factors have serious bearing on diseases and non-combat injuries and health issues. Finally, the socio-economics and geography of an area, as well as the enemy situation, will influence the type of targets that can be attacked by the resistance successfully.
These logistics factors are critically important to consider from the beginning of planning, since the limitations of these issues may limit the possible size of resistance force elements. They also affect the possible operations that a unit can successfully undertake (if the only weapons the unit has access to are bolt-action, big-game hunting rifles, they may be limited to “simple” sniper attacks. If however, they have access to industrial machining equipment and farm supplies, through the auxiliary, they may be able to expand operations to convoy ambushes due to the ability to manufacture heavy weapons. Simple first-aid or TC3 supplies may limit the ability of the resistance to successfully care for injured/wounded personnel, as opposed to a unit with more advanced medical supplies, who can greater afford to risk personnel being wounded, thanks to their intrinsic ability to provide care to the casualties).