Brigadier General ret Dieter Farwick (picture in uniform) published another excellent book about military strategy.

He knows a lot, dares to speak out and has unorthodox ideas –  another of his many books worth reading.


The former director of the Office of Intelligence of the German Forces (ANBw), Assistent Chief of Staff Operations im Allied Joint Force Command (JFC) Brunssum in The Netherlands and  before a close advisor to former Defense Minister Manfred Wörner (later Secretary General NATO)  is one of the best military experts in Europe.

For many years he was editor in chief of GLOBALO partner World Security Network.

Here what this officer tells us in his German book „Kleinkriege – die unterschätzte Kriegsform. Warum die Zukunft von Kriegen den Guerillas, Partisan und Hackern gehört“:

  • Guerrilla warfare is no invention of modern days, but is of growing importance because great powers want to avoid great wars with possible nuclear escalation.
  • After the Second World War there have been about 200 Guerrilla based wars with millions of wounded and killed fighters, and innocent civilians in a defined theatre of war.
  • The title “Guerrilla warfare” was created during the war in Spain at the beginning of the 19th century against the French forces. Spanish guerrillas could drive the superior French forces out of their country.
  • There are other titles for this kind of warfare like “Kleinkrieg” in German language or “small arms conflict” coined by the British military historian Colonel C.E. Callwell.
  • In fact, this kind of warfare started about 2500 years ago in China with its godfather General Sun Tsu (picture) the first leader of those wars to bring his lessons learned to paper. sun-tzuHe advocated total war involving not just the military but in all walks of life, though avoiding any great battle as long as the guerillas are inferior in quality, weaponry and the number of their units. To avoid a great battle the quality of military leaders and the quality of reconnaissance and espionage was paramount as well as mobility. It is a kind of asymmetric warfare quite often fought as proxy wars – see Syria and Yemen.
  • There are many military leaders who took General Sun Tsu as model. Their success depended on how efficiently they copied Sun Tsu.
  • That is true with “Lawrence from Arabia” as shown in the famous book “Seven pillars of wisdom” written by T.E. Lawrence. 662d4147edd44b1fb04e303cafc48272_18(picture below). He followed General Tsu’s rules to win against an enemy who outnumbered his troops. His fighters had a higher moral, a better knowledge of the terrain, a well developed fighter spirit and in his view a strong  third power was decisive for success. In this struggle against the Osmans it was Great Britain who supported the Arabs with personnel, equipment, modern weaponry and ammunition as well as explosives.
  • The next famous follower of Sun Tsu was Mao Tse-tung in his successful “long march”. He had a third power in his back: The Soviet Union.
  • In this book many famous international leaders and experts are presented with their profound expertise: Carl von Clausewitz, Colonel C.E. Callwell, André Beaufre, Sir B.H. Liddell Hart, General Frank Kitson und Professor Werner Hahlweg. There is a huge gap since those authors’ publications. His book closes this gap.

Modern technology has its impact on modern war fare of nowadays and the future, but the basic rules and lessons learned over centuries are still valid.

The most important new dimension is cyber warfare, cyber crimes and cyber espionage. Cyber activities are part of information warfare.

The author of this book comes to an interesting conclusion:

Future wars will belong to the guerillas, the partisans and hacker groups. The latter might be civilian gangs or state sponsored hacker groups with high tech specialists.

A main target in combination with military activities is to destroy the so-called “sensitive infrastructure” in order to paralyze and to destabilize public life – mainly by interrupting the supply channels. Two of those scenarios are looked carefully at with the dramatic consequences achieved for public and private life.

In most European countries – except Switzerland – there  is huge deficit in public and private precautions for any kind of catastrophes – be it warfare, natural or men-made disasters. This book gives some proposals for public and private options to increase the protection of people.

Dieter Farwick. „Kleinkriege – die unterschätzte Kriegsform. Warum die Zukunft von Kriegen den Guerillas, Partisan und Hackern gehört“, Gerhard-Hess-Verlag.Bad Schussenried, 351 Seiten, 19.80 Euro, ISBN 978-3-873-586-5
Photos: Private and US DoD