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U.S. Marine Corps - Small Wars Manual (1940 Edition)



The nature of the prohlem  			5-17
Methods of operation 				5-18
Occupation of an area 				5-19
Patrols 					5-20
Roving patrols 					5-21
Zones of refuge 				5-22
The cordon system 				5-23
The blockhouse system 				5-14
Special methods 				5-15

5-17.The nature of the problem.-- The regular forces in this type of warfare usually are of inadequate numerical strength from the viewpoint of extent of terrain to be controlled. Thus the decision as to the amountof dispersion of regular forces that may be resorted to is an important problem. Detachments with offensive missions should be maintained at sufficient strength to insure their ability to overcome the largest armed bands likely to be encountered. Detachments with security missions, such as the garrison of a town or the escort of a convoy, should be of the strength essential to the accomplishment of the task.

5-18. Methods of operations.--Among the various methods that have been used for the pacification of an area infested with irregulars are:

(1) Occupation of an area.
(2) Patrols.
(3) Roving patrols.
(4) Zones of refuge.
(5) Cordon system.
(6) Blockhouse system.
(7) Special methods.
Each of these will be discussed in the succeeding paragraphs.

5-19. Occupation of an area.--a. This consists of dispersing the force in as many small towns and important localities as tha security and patrolling required of each garrison will permit. It partakes of the nature of an active defense. When communications are good, a coordinated counter-offensive may be taken up rapidly, because patrols from various garrisons will receive prompt operation orders.

b. Sometimes the requirements that certain localities be defended necessitates the application of this method; at other times pressure from the outside sources to secure protection for communities and individuals makes this method manclatory. In establishing numerous fixed posts, consideration should be given to the fact that withdraw thetefrom during active operations involves protests from those protected directly or indirectly, loss of prestige, and increased danger to the installations or individuals that were protected. The greater the number of localities that are garrisoned permanently, the less is the mobility of the command; consequently, care should be tnken to retain sufficient reserves properly located to take up the counteroffensive at every opportunity.

c. The necessity for bases of operation indicates that this method will be used to a greater or less extent in every operation, that is, irrespective of the plan adopted, this method will be used at least in part. The discussion in this paragraph is particularly applicable to those situations where this plan is the fundamental one for accomplishing the pacification.

d. Modification of this scheme wherein many detachments of regulars are encamped in infested localities and on or near hostile routes of movement, has been used successfully in combination with other courses of action.

520. Patrols.--a. These are detachments capable of operating for only a comparatively limited time without returning to a base. They vary anywhere from powerful combat patrols to small detachments performing police functions according to the situation and mission. They are usually controlled by the commander responsible for the area in which they operate, but in operations against well defined objectives they are often coordinated by higher commanders.

b. Patrolling is essentially offensive action. Accordingly its use in small-wars operations is universal even under conditions that require the strategical defensive.

c. When information of hostile forces is lacking or meager, recourse to patrolling for the purpose of denying the opposing forces terrain and freedom of movement may be the only effective form of offensive action open to the commander. In this case, patrols become moving garrisons and deny the opposing forces such terrain as they can cover by observation, movement, and fire. Extensive operations of this nature exhaust the command, but on the other hand are often more effective in the restoration of order than first appearances indicate.

5-21. Roving patrols.--a. A roving patrol is a self-sustaining detachment of a more or less independent nature. It usually operates within an assigned zone and as a rule has much freedom of action. As distinguished from other patrols, it is capable of operating away from its base for an indefinite period of time. Missions generally assigned include a relentless pursuit of guerilla groups continuing until their disorgmization is practically complete.

b. This method is particularly applicable when large bands are known to exist and the locality of their depredations is approximately known. Such patrols are often employed in conjunction with other methods of operation.

5-22. Zones of refuge.--a. This system consists of establishing protected zones in the vicinity of garrisons. Their areas are so limited as to be susceptible of protection by the garrisons concerned. Peaceful inhabitants are drawn into this protected area together with their effects, livestock, and movable belongings. Unauthorized persons found outside of these areas are liable to arrest, and property that could be used by insurgent forces is liable to confiscation.

b. This procedure is applicable at times when, through sympathy with or intimidation by insurgents, the rural population is furnishing such extensive support to the resistance as to seriously hamper attempts at pacification. This is a rather drastic procedure warrented only by military necessity.

5-23. The cordon system.-- a. This system invovles placing a cordon of troops around an infested area and closing in while restoring order in the area.

b. The cordon may remain stationary while patrols operate within the line.

c. This system may be used when the trouble is localized or the regular force is of considerable size. Due to the limited forces usually available, the application of this system by a marine force will usually be confined to situations where the trouble is rather localized, or to the variation of the method where only a general or partially effective cordon is established.

5-24. The Blockhouse system.--The blockhouse system involves the establishment of a line of defended localities. In one way it is similar to the cordon system as both methods deny the opposing forces terrain beyond an established line. In principle it is defensive while the latter is offensive.

5-25. Special methods.--a. The peculiar nature of any situation may require the application of some special method in conjunction with and in accord with the general principles discussed in the preceding paragraphs. Two important phases of operation that may be used in any campaign of this nature are:

(1) River operations.
(2) Flying columns.

b. The tactics and technique of river operations are discussed in chapter X.

c. Flying columns are self-sustaining detachments with specific objectives. Their most common use is in the early phases of campaign such as the movement inland where large columns with important strategic objectives in view may temporarily sever their connection with the base, seize the objective, and thereafter establish lines of communication. (See par. 5-8.)

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