Historian Timothy Snyder has written, "In the guise of anti-partisan actions, the Germans killed perhaps three quarters of a million people, about 350,000 in Belarus alone, and lower but comparable numbers in Poland and Yugoslavia.
The Germans killed more than a hundred thousand Poles when suppressing the Warsaw Uprising of 1944." (see Operation Ranch Hand).
The wide availability of the Internet has also caused changes in the tempo and mode of guerrilla operations in such areas as coordination of strikes, leveraging of financing, recruitment, and media manipulation.
While the classic guidelines still apply, today's anti-guerrilla forces need to accept a more disruptive, disorderly and ambiguous mode of operation.
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare in which a small group of combatants such as armed civilians (or "irregulars") use military tactics including ambushes, sabotage, raids, petty warfare, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to dominate a larger and less-mobile traditional army, or strike an invulnerable target, and withdraw almost immediately. The term "guerrilla" was used in English as early as 1809, to describe 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.Mao Zedong summarized basic guerrilla tactics at the beginning of the Chinese "Second Revolutionary Civil War" as: "The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy camps, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursue." While the tactics of modern guerrilla warfare originate in the 20th century, irregular warfare, using elements later characteristic of modern guerrilla warfare, has existed throughout the battles of many ancient civilizations but in a smaller scale.This recent growth was inspired in part by theoretical works on guerrilla warfare, starting with the Manual de Guerra de Guerrillas by Matías Ramón Mella written in the 19th century and, more recently, Mao Zedong's On Guerrilla Warfare, Che Guevara's Guerrilla Warfare and Lenin's text of the same name, all written after the successful revolutions carried by them in China, Cuba and Russia respectively.Some writers on counter-insurgency warfare emphasize the more turbulent nature of today's guerrilla warfare environment, where the clear political goals, parties and structures of such places as Vietnam, Malaysia, and El Salvador are not as prevalent.These writers point to numerous guerrilla conflicts that center around religious, ethnic or even criminal enterprise themes, and that do not lend themselves to the classic "national liberation" template.Thompson's underlying assumption is that of a country minimally committed to the rule of law and better governance.Some governments, however, give such considerations short shrift, and their counter-insurgency operations have involved mass of murder, genocide, and the massive spread of terror, torture and execution.According to David Kilcullen: "Insurgents may not be seeking to overthrow the state, may have no coherent strategy or may pursue a faith-based approach difficult to counter with traditional methods.There may be numerous competing insurgencies in one theater, meaning that the counterinsurgent must control the overall environment rather than defeat a specific enemy.This type of war can be practiced anywhere there are places for combatants to cover themselves and where such advantage cannot be made use of by a larger and more conventional force.Communist leaders like Mao Zedong and North Vietnamese Ho Chi Minh both implemented guerrilla warfare giving it a theoretical frame which served as a model for similar strategies elsewhere, such as the Cuban "foco" theory and the anti-Soviet Mujahadeen in Afghanistan.