Small Wars Journal

Special Warfare - 1962

Wed, 03/11/2009 - 9:32pm
Okay, you remember back a few years when those trying to figure out counterinsurgency were snapping up all available copies of Galula's 1964 Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice and breaking out the popcorn to watch the 1967 movie The Battle of Algiers. Well, now circulating amongst those tasked for figuring out "Irregular Warfare" comes the 1962 US Army "booklet" entitled Special Warfare -- with an introduction by President John F. Kennedy. So here, SWJ brings you another blast from the past.

The Introduction begins with a letter to the US Army from President John F. Kennedy that interestingly enough, notes the "several terms" that the Army used to describe guerrilla warfare and goes on to say "by whatever name, this militant challenge to freedom calls for an improvement and enlargement of our own development of techniques and tactics, communications and logistics to meet this threat. The introduction also includes a foreword by Secretary of the Army Elvis Stahr, the Table of Contents and (something we could use today) a section called "Use the Right Word!" -- a handy guide to official terminology.

Part I - New Emphasis on Special Warfare includes articles The Third Challenge by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and Special Warfare: A Progress Report by General George Decker, Chief of Staff of the US Army.

Part II -- Why You Should Know About Special Warfare includes articles Countering Guerilla Attack by Walt Rostow, Guerrillas: A Formable Force by Captain Thomas Collier, and Soldier of the Future by Major Boyd Bashore.

Part III -- Is Special Warfare Something New? Includes articles The US Army and Guerrilla Warfare by Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Gardner and Counterguerrilla Operations: A Case Study by Lieutenant Colonel Donald Rattan.

Part IV -- What the Army is Doing includes articles Special Forces by Charles Dodson, US Army Special Warfare Center by Brigadier General William Yarbrough, The World's Top Jungle Fighters by Nelson Axlerod, The Jungle Tigers of Viet Nam by Simon Poore, Our Secret Weapon in The Far East by Dickey Chapelle and Special Forces: Europe by Captain Robert Asprey.

Part V -- Some Thoughts on Guerrilla Philosophy and Tactics includes articles Mao's Primer on Guerilla War by Mao Tse-tung, La Guerra De Guerillas by Che Guevara, Encirclement Methods in Counterguerrilla Warfare by Major Thoung Htaik and Both Sides of The Guerrilla Hill by Brigadier R.C.H. Miers.

Part VI -- A Look at The Future includes articles Twilight War by Colonel Robert Rigg and Unconventional Warfare by Franklin Lindsay.

Part VII -- Additional contains reference listings for further reading.

With that we give a SWJ Tip O' Hat to Paul Tompkins and Dave Maxwell.


Homer Hodge

Thu, 03/12/2009 - 11:18am

I guess this is what they call "a blast from the past!" I still have my copy that I picked up at Fort Bragg eons ago - a little worn around the edges but still serviceable. Some very interesting articles mostly dealing with pre-1960 history with a nice intro to SF as it was back then.