Today, I am compelled by conscience to write a review of a classic treatise on guerrilla warfare and underground operations. I present to you Maj H. Von Dach's timeless classic, "Total Resistance". The last guerrilla manual reviewed here was Scott Wimberly's book, "Special Forces Guerrilla Warfare Manual". While the work of Wimberly is a rich vein of information ore, "Total Resistance" is written from a different perspective and strip mines the ore in a different field. I will illustrate that in this review, while filling you in on the content and context of the work. Both books belong on your shelf after you read them, and I will illustrate why- they are complementary works. They go together like milk and cookies. While Wimberly's book does not appear to be banned in Germany, Major Von Dach's IS (1) It may hit too close to home for the comfort of the Frau Merkel apparatchik class.
Amazon Purchase Link for Total Resistance
In the case of this book, you can pencil in "Soviet Union" in its stead. Wimberly wrote about guerrilla operations but did not specifically address the employment of those tactics, techniques and procedures on his home soil. Von Dach did from the perspective of a bottom-up, mostly civilian movement mindset. Between Wimberly and Von Dach, the present situation for Europa is more along the lines of what Von Dach envisioned, except this time the invasion is a two-legged biological weapon of mass destruction unseen in Europe since the sacking of Constantinople.
The book is comprised of 2 roughly equal parts, 173 pages in total. You will find numerous diagrams that effectively and simply make the point discussed. As I mentioned the context of this book, note that the two page introductory note from the Central Committee of the Swiss Non Commissioned Officer's Association is titled "Resistance to the Last". A few choice quotes will set the mood for you:
If the aim of the book is still somewhat fuzzy for you, and you are the type who skips over the introduction to "get to the good stuff", well... read the notes and introduction. The explicit purpose of the book is declared by this paragraph:"One thing is certain. The enemy will show no mercy. The enemy will snuff out one life, dozens, hundreds or thousands without any qualms if this would further his aims. The captured soldier will face deportation, forced labor or death. But so will the worker, the employee, the self-employed, and the housewife."
Part One is "Organization and Conduct of Guerrilla Warfare". In the context of national and cultural survival when faced by an existential threat (despite some claiming existential threats do not exist, Von Dach and history argue from the opposite view), the idea behind guerrilla warfare goes beyond replacing a puppet/kleptocracy/5th columnist in office. It extends to actual eradication and expulsion of the foe. There is no gentle way to put it, and the small unit tactics and psychological operations detailed in Scott Wimberley's Special Forces Guerrilla Warfare Manual do not cross that Rubicon. Again, Von Dach does. To wit:"We believe it is better to resist until the last. We believe that every Swiss woman or man must resist. We believe that the enemy cannot be allowed to feel at ease for even one minute in the conquered territory. We believe that we have to inflict damage upon him, fight him wherever and whenever we have the opportunity! By speaking this way we have clearly and explicitly indicated the purpose of this book."
The chapter is fairly littered with graphics that, while contemporary to late 1950's typography and graphic design, feel fresh and current. Line and block diagrams, simplified operational graphics and explanatory paragraphs abound. It appears that Von Dach drew many of the diagrams himself. I will not comment on the improvised munitions, except to say that it should be for purposes of education only. Many of the readers here have likely seen similar things, from Iraq to Afghanistan."The purpose of guerrilla warfare is to continue resistance in those parts of the country occupied by the enemy, or to continue the fight after the defeat of the regular army. Guerrilla detachments cause fear and confusion behind enemy lines; force the enemy to initiate complicated security measures thus wasting his strength; and inflicting losses on both personnel and materiel. The entire occupied territory must be pushed into a state of constant unrest (emphasis mine) so that no invader may move about alone and unarmed. Service and occupation troops of the enemy will have to take on extra security measures in addition to their numerous other tasks. The final phase will be a general, open insurrection whose aim will be to force the enemy from the country."
A critical point to make is the clarity with which Von Dach speaks of in the importance of support of the population. Where Wimberly seems to mostly echo Mao (page 3, "Civilian Support, a mere 4 paragraphs), Von Dach devotes twice as much space to the concept. I quote at length:
Page 22 is of note for the flow chart of the progression of guerrilla attacks. Those familiar with military training concepts will instantly recognize the "crawl/walk/run" pacing and rationale. If you have made it to this point in the manual, you will recognize a distinctly rural flavor to much of the operational planning and diagramming."The population is your greatest friend. Without their sympathy and active support you will be unable to exist for extended periods of time. As a result, you can ill afford to alienate them by brutal behavior or lack of discipline. Such provocation should never happen. The possibility exists that guerrilla units may become a greater evil than the occupation forces. If you have to requisition something, do not demand it with a sub-machine gun, but appeal to the common goal and patriotism. Do not forget that the laws of the conventional war hardly apply any more (emphasis mine); each old man, each woman and each child can harm you greatly if they want to. For better or worse, you are practically dependent upon the good will of the population. You also depend upon their steady, "I do not know, I have not heard nor seen anything," replies to enemy interrogators, even when this attitude might mean their deportation and death."
Page 32... I have an issue with the diagram as posted. While I understand that Von Dach is addressing a civilian audience, the use and placement of air rifles in an ambush is interesting. Just read all the text on his diagram before you dismiss what he is saying in that example. He is showing an ambush of a single enemy vehicle, not a convoy. I don't think I'd do it that way, but it's his book and not mine.
Page 42 is a discussion of taking down power lines under the conditions of an enemy occupation. While he notes the hazard in this, some idiot out there will do it and forget to let go of the line. If you mess with high tension lines, you can look like this guy:
In going through this section, look at the tactical diagrams. They are clearly meant more for larger movements than a SF "A" Team. They represent a people in an uprising against an occupying force across the breadth of the territory.
Part Two is "Organization and Operation of the Civilian Resistance Movement". I will quote in part some of the missions and outlook that are relevant to the concept.
(The emphasis in the following is mine)
Maintain belief in final victory (Admiral Stockdale embodied this: “I never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”)
Develop an intelligence service which will assist guerrilla units, and portions of the Army still holding out as well as allied foreign countries.
Maintain a list of all atrocities committed by each official of the oppressors for the "Day for Settling Accounts." (Through posters, leaflets and rumors, you have to make sure that everybody, even the enemy, knows about this. This knowledge will keep many an official from committing himself).
Publish a free newspaper ("underground paper")
Broadcast radio programs ("Freedom transmitter")
When you consider it, what we do here is a form of publication of news and opinion. It is broadcast via the internet. So, consciously or not, whether you are reading or writing, you are a part of it. Page 84 has a fascinating graph on it, called "Curve of Collaboration". I have taken it from the document and posted it here, it is that important to see.
From page 86 to 92, Von Dach clearly lays out the internal workings and organization of the support structure of guerrilla warfare. It cannot be stressed enough that without the support and facilitation, a guerrilla movement has no depth and will soon perish. An example of this is the sheer idiocy of Che Guevara living out his Focoist fantasy, as opposed to say the Irish Republican Army. Here is "Che" reaching room temperature. Before the Bolivians removed his hands and buried him under a runway.
Starting on page 94, Von Dach puts to paper what you will see in a repressive Regime. It is of great interest to read what he has put in here, so I will quote the beginning of the chapter...
"If you resist political indoctrination and the enemy realizes that he is failing in his attempts to "convert" you to his ideology, he will attempt to obtain obedience through fear. He will try to create this fear by terror. The enemy has developed terror techniques which have proved very effective. You therefore must be prepared. If you are acquainted with these techniques you can resist them more easily".
These terror measures are:
a. Surveillance of telephone and letters through censorship;b. Establishment of an agent and informer net;
c. Arbitrary arrests;
d. No public trials except "show trials";
e. Arbitrary sentences;
f. Lengthy prison sentences out of proportion to the offense.
One may ponder the points mentioned... mass domestic surveillance, heavy use of informers, arrests, public show trials (ahem... Baltimore) and consider how they play out in modern day life in the home of the slave, land of the fee.
Then, there is the graphic depiction of what the transmission belt of progressivism probably could do without you seeing:
I will conclude this review with a quote from Major Von Dach's closing remarks. It is important that Americans read this book with a clear eye, free of fanciful notions. As Europe explodes from the planned importation of multitudes of Mohammadean miscreants, Americans should remember the words of Von Dach as they cringe at the scenes unfolding on the flat screens in the sports bars and in their living rooms
I give this book my highest personal recommendation to each and every one of you in the Readership. It is well written, coherent as well as clear in intent. You are not likely to find it in a local bookshop, the information distilled between its covers is timeless. Some further insight into Swiss psyche regarding warfare, its citizenry and industry can be found in a free downloadable pdf called "The Swiss Report" . This document was commissioned by the American Right-leaning think tank "Western Goals Foundation" circa 1983 and addresses a true citizen militia army as done by the Swiss."If two enemies fight each other to the last - and this is always the case when an ideology is involved (religion is part of it) guerrilla warfare and civilian resistance will inevitably break out in the final phase. The military expert who undervalues or even disregards guerrilla warfare makes a mistake since he does not take into consideration the strength of the heart. The last, and admittedly, most cruel battle will be fought by civilians. It will be conducted under the fear of deportation, of execution, and concentration camps."
Buy it while you still can!
You may also enjoy our previously published book reviews, in a comprehensive list with links HERE.
Thanks for stopping by and visiting our little corner of the internets! If you enjoyed what you read, you can "share" with others by using the social media buttons (Twitter, Facebook, Google+) at the end of the post. Shopping through any of our Amazon links at no out-of-pocket cost to you helps support our little blog and is greatly appreciated. You can sign up for email notice of new posts through the sidebar link on the right hand side of the blog (your information or e-mail is never shared/sold with anyone).
Follow us on Twitter @StopShoutBlog and/or @Partyzantski. Questions, comments and concerns are most welcome. All comments are moderated and will post when we have time to review and release.
Written by StopShoutingBlog contributor and #FAB50 Blog Award Winner Partyzantski, coolest cat on teh inner webs, retired Mustang, former FID embedded military Advisor, SASO trainer and scenario developer, Electronic Warfare Aviator, PME instructor, certified Force Protection and Anti-terrorism officer and combat seasoned USMC (0202) field grade intelligence officer. When not blogging or maintaining weapons proficiency at the range, he enjoys cat herding and travel to off-the-beaten-track locales. You can follow him on Twitter @Partyzantski
(1) Since 1988, Der totale Widerstand (Total Resistance) has been the only Swiss book whose distribution is restricted in Germany because it is indexed by the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons as "conducive to confusing the social ethics of children and young people, and to promote their inclination to violence".
- 30 -