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Roger Trinquier, Modern Warfare: A French View of Counterinsurgency (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2006), vii-90.

Context: Roger Trinquier was born into a peasant family and graduated from Saint-Maixent. He was posted in the Far East for much of his career, serving in Indochina and China. Following WWII, he campaigned in Vietnam and became an expert in counter-guerilla warfare. He later served in Algeria and was part of the 1958 revolt of the French Army.

Thesis: We still persist in studying the type of warfare that no longer exists and we shall never fight again. The result of this shortcoming is that the army is not prepared to confront an adversary employing arms and methods the army itself ignores. It has no chance of winning. (3)


Subversive or revolutionary warfare – differs fundamentally from the wars of the past in that victory is not expected form the clash of two armies on a field of battle (5)

Sine qua non of victory in modern warfare is the unconditional support of a population (6)[edit | edit source]

If it doesn’t exist, it must be secured by every possible means, the most effective is terrorism (6) Victory – only by the complete destruction of the insurgent organization – Master concept – requires study (7) Basic weapon – permits enemies to fight effectively with few resources and even defeat a traditional army (15) Terrorism is that weapon Can neither be ignored nor minimized – should be studied Average citizen becomes more drawn to the side of the terrorist, because of protection Characterized by slaughter of generally defenseless persons (16) Terrorist has become a soldier – much like aviator or infantryman (18) Deceitful to refuse interrogation specialists the right to seize the truly guilty terrorist and spare the innocent—Torture under certain circumstances is warranted (20) Enemy very difficult to identify (23) Enemy consists not of a few armed bands, but a larger organization that feeds, informs, and sustains him (25) Democracy tolerates – measures for decisive blow are either never taken or indefinitely delayed (25) First objective: Assure pop. protection by giving them means to defend selves, especially against terrorism (27) Control of the masses through a tight organization is the master weapon (28) Bulk of population (through habit or tradition) normally devoted to established authority (30) Intelligence organization key – should set up before opening of hostilities (31) Struggle assumes two aspects: Political –action on population; Military – struggle against armed forces (34) Guerrilla warfare – rooted in terrorism – proven method for modern warfare (45) Dispersion is a necessary part of their defense (45) Support of the population essential to the guerrilla—prevents surprise (47) Force guerrilla out of familiar towns--loses a great deal of value in new or unknown territory (53) Three simple principles to apply in fighting the guerrilla (54) Cut him off from sustaining population Render guerrilla zones untenable Coordinate actions over a wide area and long enough

Bottom Line – It will never achieve spectacular results (54) Most desirable objective is the destruction of the pol/mil organization in the intermediate area of operations (60) Police operation success – severs contact between guerrillas and population (67) When intervention troops leave – must destroy bands and leave area uninhabitable (69)

No time limit for the operation should be set ahead of time (71) Destruction of neutralization of enemy bases in foreign territory is essential (78) Air attack offers advantage of secret preparation and rapid execution (80) Decisive only if massive Considerable resources Surprise only at first – camouflage and dispersion inhibit later success Aerial attacks do not permit realization of desired objectives

We must carry the war to the enemy with the same methods employed against us (81) Army should make main effort where population is densest (cities) (83)

Ought to be firmly decided to employ every resource of modern warfare to ensure our protection

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