Timeline of guerrilla warfare

From Timelines
Jump to: navigation, search

This is a timeline of guerrilla warfare.

Big picture

Time period Development summary More details
18th-19th centuries Spanish and Portuguese people successfully use guerrilla strategy against the Napoleonic troops during the Peninsular War.
20th century Guerrilla warfare plays a significant role in various conflicts and revolutions. Michael Collins and Tom Barry develop tactical features of guerrilla warfare during the Irish War of Independence. Moroccan military leader Abd el-Krim uses guerrilla tactics alongside tunnel warfare during the Rif War. Algerian guerrillas fight against French occupiers in the Algerian Revolution. Mukti Bahini employs guerrilla resistance against the Pakistani military during the Bangladesh Liberation War. Cuban "foco" theory of revolution, inspired by Che Guevara, emphasizes the use of guerrilla warfare as a means of popular insurrection. Guerrilla tactics used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Palestinian fighters draw inspiration from Algerian guerrilla tactics in their conflict with Israel.
21st century Guerrilla warfare continues to be employed by various insurgent groups and resistance movements worldwide.

Full timeline

Year/period Location Campaign Result Details Casualties and losses
6th century BC Sun Tzu proposes the use of guerrilla-style tactics in "The Art of War."
3rd century BC Roman general Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus invents many tactics of guerrilla warfare, known as the Fabian strategy.
8th-10th centuries Guerrilla warfare frequently practiced in the medieval Roman Empire along the eastern frontier with the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates.
17th century Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj pioneers guerrilla tactics to defeat the larger armies of the Mughal Empire in India.
19th century 1815-1914. Guerrilla warfare continues to be employed in various conflicts, including the American Civil War (1861-1865), where irregular warfare follows patterns seen in 19th century Europe.
1775–1783 United States (British America) American Revolutionary War Successful Unknown
1790-1816 Australian Frontier War. Indigenous Australians and the New South Wales Corps engage in guerrilla warfare in conflicts along the Hawkesbury and Nepean rivers.
1793-1796 Vendéan Counter-Revolution. Catholic royalists in the Vendée region of France use guerrilla tactics against the French Revolutionaries.
1799-1815 Napoleonic Wars. Guerrilla tactics are used in the rebellion of 1809 in Tirol and during Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812.
1807-1814 Peninsular War. Spanish and Portuguese guerrillas tie down French Imperial Army troops and achieve significant successes against the occupiers.
1812-1815 War of 1812 Unconventional warfare, including raiding, hit and run incursions, surprise attacks, and ambushes, is used by both the Americans and the British.
1821-1830 Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, involving guerrilla warfare tactics.
1848 Advocacy of guerrilla warfare in Ireland against English rule.
1860 Brigandage in south Italy After Italian unification (), peasant bands emerge in Southern Italy. Carmine Crocco, a former soldier, leads a large army and employs guerrilla tactics against the new government and its forces. Guerrilla tactics include disrupting supplies, destroying infrastructure, and ambushing.
1863-1865 Guerrilla warfare used by Poles and Lithuanians in the January Uprising against the Russian Empire.
1870-1871 Early stages of the Franco-Prussian War (): Francs-tireurs conduct guerrilla warfare against the occupying Prussian Army.
1879-1883 War of the Pacific Peruvian General Andres Avelino Caceres leads a successful three-year guerrilla war against the Chilean Army in the Andean region of Peru.
1880–1881 South Africa (South African Republic) First Boer War Successful Boer commandos employ guerrilla tactics against the invading British Army. Reliance on stealth, speed, and long-range marksmanship.
1899-1902 British Army adapts Boer tactics, changes uniforms, and faces Boer commandos' mobile warfare. Boers eventually surrender, showing the effectiveness of guerrilla tactics.
1899-1902 Philippine-American War Initially, guerrilla warfare is viewed as a tactical option by the Philippine side. American superiority in weaponry leads to early defeats for the Philippine forces. Guerrilla warfare becomes a main strategy, making American occupation difficult. Moro Rebellion showcases guerrilla tactics in the Philippine jungle.
1910-1920 Mexican Revolution Emiliano Zapata employs predominantly guerrilla tactics. Peasant farmers turned soldiers blend into the general population after operations. Zapata's Liberation Army of the South faces government brutality due to difficulties distinguishing combatants from civilians.
1916 Irish Republican Army (IRA) uses guerrilla tactics in the Easter Rising against the British Empire in Ireland.
1916-1922 Irish War of Independence takes place, with the IRA employing urban guerrilla warfare and flying columns against the British forces.
1916-1923 Irish Civil War occurs, where the IRA engages in guerrilla warfare against the Irish Free State.
1916-1918 Arab Revolt takes place during World War I, with the Arab guerrilla forces fighting against the Ottoman Turks.
1916-1918 Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire, led by guerrilla leader T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia).
1918-1921 Guerrilla war against the German Occupation of Ukraine and partisan fighting during the Russian Civil War.
1919-1921 Irish War of Independence, featuring a campaign organized by Michael Collins.
1920-1927 Rif War in Morocco, led by guerrilla leader Abd el-Krim.
1937-1945 Second Sino-Japanese War sees guerrilla resistance by both Nationalist and Communist forces against the Japanese occupation in China.
1939-1945 Resistance movements and guerrilla organizations operate in occupied countries during World War II, including Poland, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, France, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Soviet Union, Italy, Albania, and Greece.
1941-1945 Soviet partisans conduct large-scale guerrilla warfare against German forces on the Eastern Front during World War II.
1942-1945 Guerrilla resistance against the Japanese occupation in the Philippines by Filipino and American forces, including Colonel Wendell Fertig, Colonel Russell Volckmann, and Colonel William R. Peers.
1942-1945 US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) supports guerrilla warfare efforts in the Far East, including the formation of guerrilla forces in the Philippines and Burma.
1942-1945 Burma Campaign during World War II, which included guerrilla warfare operations.
1943-1944 British Chindits, led by Orde Wingate, employ guerrilla warfare tactics of long-range penetration in Burma.
1940s-1948 Jewish Insurgency in Mandatory Palestine Jewish groups such as Lehi and the Irgun employed guerrilla warfare tactics against the British Empire in Palestine. They fought against British soldiers, conducted attacks on Palestinian Arabs, and prepared for the 1947-1949 Palestine war. Some of these groups later joined the Israel Defense Forces and fought in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
1944–1956 Guerrilla war in the Baltic states Baltic Anti-Soviet Campaigns: Guerrilla warfare was conducted by fighters in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania against Soviet occupation after World War II. This resistance lasted until 1958 in Lithuania and continued until the discovery and killing of the last fighter in Estonia in 1978.
1945 Tadamichi Kuribayashi utilizes guerrilla tactics during the Battle of Iwo Jima against American forces.
1945-1949 Indonesian War of Independence against the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, involving guerrilla warfare tactics.
1946-1954 First Indochina War, with Vietnamese forces employing guerrilla warfare against French colonial forces.
1954-1962 Algeria: Guerrilla warfare was employed during the Algerian War of Independence against French colonial forces.
1954-1975 Vietnam War, where the Viet Cong utilized guerrilla tactics against American and South Vietnamese forces.
1955-1975 Second Indochina War (Vietnam War) Within South Vietnam: The National Liberation Front (NLF), consisting of South Vietnamese peasantry and working class, employed guerrilla tactics in the early phases of the war. However, the NLF was gradually supplanted by regular units of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) as U.S. involvement escalated. The NVA fought with conventional military tactics, including the use of tanks and artillery.
1956-1959 Cuban Revolution, led by Fidel Castro and featuring guerrilla warfare against the government of Fulgencio Batista.
1960s-1980s Latin American Insurgencies Several urban guerrilla movements in Latin America aimed to destabilize regimes and provoke military counter-reactions. These movements sought to create a popular uprising by oppressing the middle class through harsh military rule. While they were successful in destabilizing governments, the military often crushed the guerrilla movements with widespread violence and atrocities.
1961-1975 Within Laos: The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) raised a guerrilla army, known as L'Armee Clandestine, consisting mainly of Hmong hill tribesmen, to oppose the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) in Laos. The guerrilla resistance lasted from 1961 to 1975 but eventually faced defeat due to reduced numbers and dwindling American support.
1961-1991 Eritrean War of Independence, involving guerrilla warfare against Ethiopian forces.
1967-1975 Cambodian Civil War, where the Khmer Rouge employed guerrilla tactics against the government forces.
Late 1960s–1998 The Troubles The Troubles in Northern Ireland involved an armed campaign by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) against the British presence. The conflict, which lasted until the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, also saw attacks on civilians by both Ulster loyalists and Irish republicans. The IRA employed guerrilla tactics, including well-planned ambushes.
1971 Bangladesh Liberation War The Mukti Bahini, a guerrilla force comprising Bengali regulars and civilians, fought against the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War. They operated as an effective guerrilla force, comparable to the French Maquis and the Viet Cong, to keep their enemies on the run.
1972-1980 Rhodesian Bush War, with the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) employing guerrilla tactics against the Rhodesian government.
1977-1979 Nicaraguan Revolution, led by the Sandinistas, featuring guerrilla warfare against the Somoza regime.
1979-1989 Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan led to a decade-long guerrilla resistance by the Afghan Mujahideen. The resistance fighters, collectively known as the Mujahideen, included tribes who fought against the Soviet forces using mostly outdated weapons. With support from the United States and the United Kingdom, the Mujahideen received more potent weapons, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, leading to the eventual Soviet retreat.
1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War Irregular warfare, including guerrilla tactics, was used by Iran's Irregular Warfare Headquarters, the 65th Airborne Special Forces Brigade, and the Peshmerga of Iraqi Kurdistan against the Iraqi Armed Forces.
1982-2000 Hezbollah's guerrilla activities in southern Lebanon against Israeli forces.
1990 Greek Marxist group 17 November disbands following the capture of its leadership.
1992-1999 Kosovo Liberation Army, employing guerrilla warfare tactics against Serbian forces.
1998 Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA) carries out the Omagh bombing in Northern Ireland, killing 29 civilians.
2001 The Taliban insurgency begins in Afghanistan following the US-led invasion.
2001-2021 War in Afghanistan, involving guerrilla warfare by Taliban insurgents against coalition forces.
2002 Greek Marxist group 17 November is disbanded.
2003-2011 Iraqi insurgency against the US-led Multi-National Force – Iraq.
2009 Real IRA attacks a Northern Ireland military installation, killing 2 British soldiers.
2011 US troops withdraw from Iraq, officially ending the Iraq War.
2016 Taliban insurgency continues in Afghanistan.

Meta information on the timeline

How the timeline was built

The initial version of the timeline was written by FIXME.

Funding information for this timeline is available.

Feedback and comments

Feedback for the timeline can be provided at the following places:


What the timeline is still missing

Timeline update strategy

See also

External links