Guerilla Warfare in Sartar and Prax

From: Steve Rennell (software@spis.co.nz)
Date: Thu 29 Jan 1998 - 03:19:56 EET


Hi All,

I've been recently reading a book on the techniques of Guerilla
warfare. It's been quite interesting, and I have to admit that every
half page or so I was thinking of how to apply this to Sartarites
struggling to free Prax and Sartar from the Lunars.

The main points seem to be that successful guerillas need to have the
support of the locals. Even if only tacit support ('I don't
necessarily agree with what you're doing, but I ain't gonna turn you
in to the Lunars'). The rebels need to be able to hide amongst the
locals so that they can't just be rounded up. If the lunars react by
killing people who aren't rebels, or being harsh in their
retributions, then they drive more people into supporting the rebels.

Primarily the struggle is not to beat the regular forces as much as
to make the cost of holding the land unbearable.

The Lunars already sent home from Pavis a couple of regiments because
the cost of logistics to keep them fed was too much. How difficult
will it be to make the price of keeping Prax too high.

If the Lunars want to hold the land (and they appear to) then they
need to spread their soldiers out to stop the rebels living off the
land, which means that the soldiers in any one place are not an
overwhelming army. If the rebels can travel around looking like
normal locals, then they can amass themselves to locally outnumber
the Lunars (Look there's a lunar patrol of 14 guys, all we need is
twenty in one place, and we can take them) even if there is only 50
rebels in the area, if they can get local superiority of forces they
can have victory, then they all bugger off and pretend to be farmers
again, (hiding any wounds with healing). If the Lunars clump together
in unassailable lumps of a couple of hundred troops, then the rebels
just go where the lunars are not and do sabotage.

Threatening a caravan or two would mean that the Lunars need to send
escorts with them, which increases the cost of the caravan (and uses
up troops who could be elsewhere).

This all requires that the Rebels have better intellengence than the
Lunars. A lot of this can come from the locals who aren't actually
fighting. They just watch where the soliders go and pass it on.
Because they aren't actually rebelling, if the Lunars crack
down on this sort of information they increase support for the
rebels who can say "See the tolerant Lunar Empire - aren't they
bastards?"

The odd matryed rebel, executed for struggling for freedom, would
probably help the cause as well.

If the soldiers go out on a patrol, then just burn down their
barracks, or drop dead broo bits in their water barrel. Acts of
sabotage that require very few people to have a significant affect.
After that's happened once, then half the patrol stays home to guard
their barracks, so there isn't as many troops out looking.

The rebels are trying to avoid a stand up fight.

Have people in the towns where the troops are staying, if the troops
go out on the beer, watch them, and if one steps out for a quick
piss against a wall, slash their throat from behind and disappear.
(You could probably get by with throwing an ax at his back and
running - you don't need to kill them to make them scared) This stops
the troops feeling safe in the town, and they stop fraternising
with the locals, further alienating them from the locals.

The ideal group size for a lot of the classic guerilla operations
depends on the terrain and what you are trying to do. 2-8 seems to be
a common size of cell. Open plains are very bad for guerillas, but
large towns and forested or hilly/mountainous regions are good. (That
fits in well with my player group size)

Problems: Magic - particularly Rune Magic. Vision, Divination, the
odd DI, are all going to make life tougher. But then they work the
other way too.

Prax has wide open plains which are quite difficult to hide in,
unless you have the support of some of the Beast riders. Organising
them to work together sounds unlikely.

I'm slowly coming up with a plan to have the PC's take part in the
liberation of Pavis, and Prax and (if they live that long) Sartar.

Part of the technique seems to be to get the Lunars so annoyed that
they do things that are counter to "winning the hearts and minds".
Making life unpleasant for people who've joined the Lunar way seems
likely to be useful as well.

Does anyone have any advice from similar campaigns?

What are the obvious things for the Lunars to do? (Send out small
units of experts to try and beat the rebels at their own game?)

Any advice cheerfully received.

Steve

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