Guerrilla warfare

Spanish guerrilla resistance to the Napoleonic French invasion of Spain in 1808, where the term "guerrilla" was first used in warfare.

Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare in which a small group of combatants, such as paramilitary personnel, armed civilians, or irregulars, use military tactics including ambushes, sabotage, raids, petty warfare, hit-and-run tactics, and mobility to fight a larger and less-mobile traditional military.[1] Guerrilla groups are a type of violent non-state actor.

Etymology

The Spanish word "guerrilla" is the diminutive form of "guerra" ("war"). The term became popular during the early-19th century Peninsular War, when the Spanish people rose against the Napoleonic troops and fought against a highly superior army using the guerrilla strategy. In correct Spanish usage, a person who is a member of a "guerrilla" unit is a "guerrillero" ([ɡeriˈʎeɾo]) if male, or a "guerrillera" ([ɡeriˈʎeɾa]) if female.

The term "guerrilla" was used in English as early as 1809 to refer to the fighters (e.g., "The town was taken by the guerrillas"), and also (as in Spanish) to denote a group or band of such fighters. However, in most languages guerrilla still denotes the specific style of warfare. The use of the diminutive evokes the differences in number, scale, and scope between the guerrilla army and the formal, professional army of the state.[original research?]