What are some guerrilla hit and run tactics?

Of course, when we talk about guerrilla attacks, we’re going to eventually come to ambushes.

There are two types of point ambushes: Linear and L-Shaped, and these can be conducted with small units.

In every ambush there should be at least an assault element, a support element, and two or more security teams.

The (preferred) method for a Linear ambush looks something like this:

In a linear ambush, once the signal is given, the support element simply opens fire (but does not advance), killing or suppressing most of the enemy. Security teams move up and prevent the enemy from going back the way they came or pushing forward. After most of the enemy has been incapacitated/suppressed in some way, the support element ceases firing and the assault team advances either towards the rear (in the graphic above) or the front of the enemy. The assault team either eliminates the remaining enemy forces, or seeks and destroys their objective.

The greatest weakness in a linear ambush is that enemy forces may be stretched out in a very long line which may be longer than what the ambush is capable of. If an ambush is executed in this situation, the security teams may not be capable of delaying reinforcements.

Of course, the “difficult to access area” may be supplemented by another group of assault and support elements. However, the possibility of fratricide will increase unless both groups are on higher elevations relative to the ground or there is exceptional communication between both groups.

The (preferred) method for a L-shaped ambush looks something like this:

Once again, the support element opens fire down the road (the area where the yellow words are) with security teams blocking both sides of the road. Assault teams move in and finish their objective.

The central issue with L-shaped ambushes is that concealment on two sides (bottom and right) is necessary to maintain surprise, which makes this ambush quite situational. If the enemy is in a two-column formation, it may turn and attack the assault element or drive a wedge between the assault element and the security teams.

Once again, another ambushing team may replace the difficult to access area, but fratricide may occur.


If the ambush fails due to a successful penetration, enemy reinforcements arrive, or security teams are defeated and the enemy is about to perform a turning maneuver to encircle the ambushing forces, the ambush forces should retreat to a predetermined rally point, preferably under cover of smoke. It is important to move quickly, otherwise ambush forces should activate prepared minefields or other obstacles if they are being chased.

After safely escaping, the ambush team would analyze and study the enemy’s response method, modify positions, and reconsider lanes of fire if fratricide occurs, etc.

Other way:

A typical hit and run attack is executed at night. You have to approach your target undetected and this is much easier in the dark.

I remember one of our night attacks which had all the elements of ‘hit and run’ tactics: Stealthy approach, surprise attack and fast disengagement:

In the beginning of their big spring offensive, our enemy had positioned a couple of tanks in an isolated forward base on a hill close to our valley. From their new position, they were able to observe our movements and shoot directly at our base. We had to do something!

In the late afternoon, I went with another soldier on a reconnaissance mission. We had a small video camera with us and were able to film the enemy’s outpost from several different angles.

Back at our Kosovo Liberation Army base, we watched and re-watched our videotape and made a plan. We would attack in two groups: The first one with several machine guns would approach the enemy from the left flank and shoot suppressing fire.

Their mission was to make it impossible for the enemy’s tank crews to get out of their positions and enter their tanks. This was crucial: If the enemy would be able to operate their tanks, both of our attack groups would be extremely vulnerable.

The second attack group, where I was a part of, was much smaller. We were only three fighters and our job was to get into a good position to shoot at the tanks. To achieve our task, we carried two ‘Zolja’ RPGs (Rocket Propelled Grenades) and a bigger ‘OSA’ RPG.

We left our base at midnight and marched by foot towards the enemy’s position. On our way were several villages which we didn’t dare to enter. We didn’t know if they were occupied by enemy troops or not and we also had to be careful not to encounter any enemy patrols.

Five hundred meters in front of our target we split into two teams. The first attack group went to the left, while my own small detachment slowly climbed up the hill, directly to the place where we had seen the enemy tanks in the afternoon. There were a lot of small trees which gave us some concealment. It wouldn’t protect us from enemy fire, though.

The last meters we walked very slowly. There was a hedge in front of us where we kneeled down to plan our next moves. We talked in whispers: My buddies would take a center and right position, while I would go a little to the left. We saw two tanks and decided that the one that was further away from us would be attacked with the stronger ‘OSA’ rocket, while the other tank would fall victim to our ‘Zoljas’.

I had a ‘Zolja’ and made it ready to shoot. The ‘OSA’ would shoot first and that would be the signal, not only for the RPGs, but also for the first attack group, to open fire.

I stood up and waited. My target was about 50 meters away from me and I hoped that no Serb would decide to go for a smoke at this time. We knew there were guards somewhere, but they were further to my left. Our first attack team would have to deal with him.

A piece from an Associated Press video from our Night Attack (from 0:49)

I stood still and listened. A flash of light and a loud ‘boom’ to my right. The ‘OSA’! My ears rang when I aimed and activated the firing button on my RPG. I was shortly blinded by the trail of my rocket, but then I could see it exploding about 30 meters in front of me. It had hit an obstacle before it had reached its target!

I was disappointed, but there was no time for regrets. Hell broke loose! Our first team was shooting at the enemy’s outpost and I could hear a few bullets zipping over my head. I put away the empty tube of my RPG and made my AK-47 ready. Then I waited if I could see the muzzle flashes of an enemy weapon. After a few seconds I saw a little flash to my left and started shooting.

I shot three bursts, knelt down and looked what my two buddies were doing. The ‘OSA’ gunner looked at me and gave me a sign to follow him. He had made his shot and there was no reason for us to stay around any longer. Any second, our enemy might recover from the shock and respond fire. We had to get away as quickly as possible!

Our second ‘Zolja’ had already left us and we met him a few minutes later near an empty farmhouse at the bottom of the hill. I told him that I missed my shot and he said that he might have hit the tank, but wasn’t sure.

Our ‘OSA’ had hit its target and had taken the tank. We were happy! A few moments later, our first attack group joined us. They had met only very little resistance and had no problems to deal with it.

Most important, no one was dead or injured.

We left the place heading for our base, but after only a couple of meters we came under heavy machine gun fire from the top of the hill. 12.7 mm tracer rounds hit were hitting the ground a few meters away from us. Most probably, this was the anti-aircraft machine gun from one of the tanks.

We started running, but the bullets didn’t stop. I was wondering if they could see us or if they were just extremely lucky. We ran up another smaller hill and when we crossed the ridge we were finally safe!

We made a quick headcount and fortunately, everyone was there with us. Miraculously, nobody was injured. We continued our way, this time much more relaxed, and reached our base without further incidents.

 

About: Shawn

Shawn is an expert legal analyst, lawyer, and journalist.


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