Guerrillas And The Spanish Peninsula – Type of terrorism Used By Spanish Guerrillas To Deter French army


            The term guerrilla originates from Spanish ‘guerra’ which a common word used during duke of Wellington’s campaign at the time of Peninsular War (1808 – 1814). This is the period which Spanish and Portuguese irregulars commonly referred to guerrilleros were battling with French forces. Therefore, guerrilla warfare is described as a war that is fought using small-scale actions by a fast-moving irregulars against a police force and military (Chakravorti, 1994). Many published literature of the Spanish peninsular have focused most on the French soldiers’ experience and morale. This paper discusses the type of terrorism that Spanish guerrillas used to deter the French army. Although the discussion mainly focused on the Spanish guerrillas, it is important to understand that the peninsula war was fought by Spanish and Portuguese irregulars against the French soldiers in Iberian Peninsula.

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Types of terrorism used

In Iberian Peninsula, Spain employed three strategies to fight against French army commanded by Napoleon. The first strategy was the use of Spanish Army, the second strategy was the assistance from the British Expeditionary Army and the third strategy was use of guerrilla warfare. It is the third strategy that was the main focus of this discussion. Analysis indicated that guerilla in Spanish first strategy was to use terrain to perpetrate their terrorism activities against French army (Esdaile, 2003). The use of geographical topology as the tool of war to fight French army was a perfect strategy for guerrillas. This because the guerrillas were able to carry out attacks in every corner of the build, bottom of the gorges and in the wilderness without allowing their enemies to rest.

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The strategy was unique to peninsula since Napoleon’s army was not able to use the strategy of “Separate to live, unite to fight” which was strategy behind the success of French army in other parts of Europe (Pisa, 2011). Analysis indicated that mountains in Spain provided perfect geographic landscape for guerrillas to attack and inflict maximum damage on the enemy. In fact French Colonel Joseph Conrad Marnier acknowledged that French army faced a lot of challenges because they were fighting against invisible enemy.

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The second strategy employed by the guerrillas was ambush and quick retreat. This is the strategy that is intended to demoralized French army because the ambush was lethal. Studies have indicated that frequent ambush and quick retreat was tiresome, hence exhausted the manpower and resources as the French army tried to conquer the guerrillas without success (Pisa, 2011). All these factors coupled with terrain, sickness, hunger, violence and weather conditions negatively affected the ability and will of the French soldiers to effective perform their duties.

The third strategy was to completely block French soldiers from receiving any support from the villages and peasant. The guerrillas also employed tactics such as raiding the isolated and small posts, destroying French communication lines, assaulting couriers and convoys. This forced the French soldiers to constantly patrol the roads in order to protect their supplies and troops from these attacks.

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Justification of these strategies

            The application of these strategies by guerrillas was justifiable since they were less in number and poorly equipped as compared to French soldiers (Pisa, 2011). Analysis also indicated that these strategies worked in favor of guerrillas because many French soldiers sustained casualties that force Napoleon to deploy many soldiers to the area in an attempt to conquer the guerrillas

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