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This monograph seeks to determine if the moral detrain of battle for guerrilla soldiers is different from that of conventional soldiers.
The works of classical and contemporary military theorists address various factors that impact on the moral domain of battle for the individual soldier. These works discuss the moral domain almost exclusively from the perspective of conventional soldiers. As the United States faces the challenges of the post-Cold War world, the likelihood of military intervention in conflicts involving guerrilla warfare may increase, if established moral domain theory does not apply to guerrilla warfare then new paradigms addressing the guerrilla merit investigation. Understanding what motivates the guerrilla soldier in combat will assist the U.S. Army in the development of tactics, techniques and procedures to defeat guerilla movements.
This study focuses on rural-based guerrillas in combat at the tactical level of war. The evidence includes a review of theory on the moral domain and case studies on the guerrilla forces of the Yugoslavian Partisans (1941-44) and the Viet Cong (1960-75). Classical and contemporary theories describing the moral domain of conventional soldiers provide a base line for comparisons with guerrilla fighters. The monograph employs Anthony Kellett’s “factors affecting combat motivation” as criteria in a comparative analysis of the guerrilla’s moral domain. Those factors are: importance of the primary group; unit esprit; manpower allocation; socialization; training; discipline; leadership; ideology; rewards; preconceptions of combat; aspects of combat; combat stress; and combat behavior. The monograph concludes that Kellett’s factors and much of the classical moral domain theory do apply to the guerrilla. However, while the basic construct is applicable, the nature of some factors is significantly different. The Monograph explores these differences and their implications for counterguerrilla doctrine.