The following is an excellent article by Michael Gladius. It is a case study with the purpose of presenting valuable information and insights gleaned from the conflict in question. The purpose of this, as you know, is to better understand geopolitics and military theory (as a result of the direction things are going in Europe).
Obviously a future conflict in Europe is going to be far, far different than any war 100 years ago, but as all the great military theorists in history have stated, the underlying foundations of war and military theory are remarkably consistent throughout time.
Knowledge, and especially knowledge of history, has often been the deciding factor in other momentous struggles.
Here is Mr. Gladius’s article:
Counter-Revolutionary Case Studies
I will be writing a series of essays on various conflicts that I think will be appropriate for the counter-revolution. History offers us many lessons, and I hope to make them known to you, gentle reader. Most of these conflicts are lesser-known, obscure events, which I feel is easier to study objectively. I encourage you to read up on these events more, as my essays are merely a summary of what happened, condensing the lessons useful to our cause. All of them take place in the 20th century, and I will proceed in chronological order.
The Second Anglo-Boer War (Setting the Standard)
The Boers were descendants of 16th-Century Dutch Settlers in South Africa. The British seized this coastal territory during the Napoleonic wars, and so the Boers moved inland, founding the Transvaal and Orange Republics.
Eventually, gold and diamonds were discovered in these areas, and non-Boer Europeans flooded the countries. The British sought to annex the republics, leading to the First Boer war from 1880-81. This was a short war, which resulted in a British defeat after a few decisive Boer victories.
The Second Boer War was started in 1895 after Dr. Leander Starr Jameson, a mining administrator with the blessing of the British Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain, sought to start an uprising among the colonists to overthrow the Boer government and seize the gold mines, in the name of ‘restoring order.’
This led the Boers to believe they were under immediate threat of invasion, and when 4 years of negotiations failed, they chose to strike first.
At first, the Boers mobilized much more quickly than the British, and won several decisive battlefield victories. However, they failed to take the border cities of Kimberly, Mafeking, and Ladysmith, and the British were able to strike back and occupy both republics.
The third phase of the war was a protracted guerrilla war between Boer partisans and British garrison units that lasted until 1902. Political negotiations, combined with scorched-earth tactics and the destruction of Boer guerrilla bands, finally led to peace, and the Boer republics became part of British South Africa.
The film below illustrates my points from ‘Victoriana’ 😉).
How the Boers Fought
The Boer republics lacked a standing army, apart from some artillery units. Their system relied on ‘commandos,’ which were small groups of militia raised by the government, generally platoon-sized (roughly 30 men).
These men were usually farmers, although by the Second Boer War a larger percentage lived in cities. Each man was to have a rifle and a horse, and if did not own any, they would be provided for him by the state. Commandos were not professional soldiers. They were temporary regional units comprised of men from the same town or collection of farms. They lacked formal training or discipline, but compensated for this with individual initiative and skill.
The Boers’ advantages were qualitative, since they could not hope to match the British Empire’s numbers of men, horses, or equipment. In the 4 years leading up to the war, the Boer republics acquired German Mauser rifles in large quantities, and upgraded their artillery, particularly the French 155-mm ‘Long Toms.’ The Boers fought as classic light infantry, although there were several significant differences due to the operating environment.
Like classic light infantry, the Boers took full advantage of every piece of cover and concealment available. Their skill at stalking and infiltration greatly impressed the British, and the lack of smoke (smokeless powder had only recently been introduced) from their muzzles made spotting them difficult. The Boers almost never used formations, but maneuvered in small, dispersed groups as skirmishers.
The Boer reliance on stealth and surprise as force multipliers, combined with their reliance on platoon-sized infiltration attacks, bears a striking resemblance to the Chinese in Korea in 1950.
Where the Boers differed from classic light infantry, however, is their rifle marksmanship and horsemanship.
Light infantry generally fight in close terrain, where horses and machines cannot go (swamps, mountains, heavy forest, and deep snow). As a result, their tactics generally involve creeping to within 50-75 yards of the enemy, initiating combat with hand grenades, and then following up with a sudden, violent assault at close range.
On the veldt, however, the terrain was not suitable for this. The vegetation was short, the air unusually clear, and the flat landscape allowed visibility for miles in every direction. Both sides considered 600 yards to be ‘close range’ in this environment.
The Boers instead preferred to infiltrate by groups, and to open fire at long range, sometimes up to 2000 yards away. Not all Boers were expert marksman, but even those who weren’t could compensate with rapid fire.
In lieu of assault tactics, they would advance and shoot until the enemy withdrew or surrendered (first video below). If the enemy was the attacker, they would let him advance and use aimed fire to break up his attack (second video below). If the enemy did get too close, then the Boers could simply withdraw on horseback a short distance, then turn around and begin firing again.
Future Guerrilla movements called this tactic the minuet, as it matched the movements (i.e., one advances, the other pulls back an equal distance, and vice versa, and avoids closing with the other side) of the two dancers.
Another key difference between the Boers and classic light infantry is their use of cavalry tactics. The latter normally fights dismounted, while the Boers could fight both mounted and dismounted. Traditional cavalry tactics involve long-range reconnaissance, screening larger troop bodies, and raids. The Boers proved to be quite skilled at all three of these, and when dismounted could seamlessly blend their light infantry tactics with their long-range mobility.
The Boers also utilized trenches, and took care to conceal them as best they could. Phony trenches would also be constructed, in order to draw artillery fire away from the main positions. These did not play a major role in the later stages of the war, but did appear often in the opening phase.
Boer tactics changed very little between the conventional phase and the guerrilla phase. In both instances, the Boers travelled light and fought light, relentlessly harassed the British, and would occasionally utilize their own artillery pieces. Their great failing, however, was their inability to capture or defend cities. By becoming tied down in sieges, they gave the British time to reorganize and strike back.
Once the sieges of Kimberly, Mafeking, and Ladysmith were broken, then the Boers were unable to prevent the British from seizing their own cities and towns. Once they lost their own towns, conventional resistance was no longer possible, and the guerrilla phase began.
How The British Fought
The British began the war with a quantitative advantage over the Boers. Most of their units had not seen action in many years, and were untested in battle.
Despite the bloody nose they received in the First Boer War, the British were highly confident. The Boers surprised them with how quickly they mobilized, however, and lay quickly lay siege to the critical cities of Kimberly, Mafeking, and Ladysmith, trapping the local garrisons inside and giving their commandos free reign throughout the countryside. The pressure for a swift reaction made a mess of the original British plan, and the initial attempts at relief resulted in 3 humiliating defeats within a single week (see below video).
However, the sieges bought the British Army valuable time to strike back again, and eventually they prevailed and took the fight to Boer territory.
The British Army was well-organized and well-disciplined. Their troops were not nearly as skilled as the Boers, man-for-man, but they were well-drilled enough to advance through incoming fire without flinching. The British cavalry, in particular, quickly proved itself to be equal to the Boers, although it was hampered by high horse casualties early in the war.
However, the British had many disadvantages as well.
The long supply lines and nonexistent infrastructure meant that both sides had to conserve their ammunition. The Boers conserved ammunition by stressing aimed fire and marksmanship, in order to not waste ammunition. The British, on the other hand, sought to remedy this by tightly restricting their riflemen to fire in volleys, which proved ineffective against the dispersed, concealed Boers.
At long range, the Boers forced the British into open-order formations at distances much further than they were accustomed to, and British troopers were not trained to utilize cover and concealment as they advanced. As a result, they were easily spotted and once the Boers calculated the range, they inflicted heavy casualties on the exposed British infantry.
These problems persisted throughout the war, and spurred massive reforms when the war ended.
Also highly reccomended:
How It’s Relevant For Us
The Boer War was a war of small units. Battles above the company and platoon level were almost unheard of after the initial clash, and large-scale maneuvers had to be learned in WWI. Likewise, the next war in Europe will likely begin with hundreds of small clashes, involving no more than 30-100 people apiece on each side.
For European patriots, the Boers provide a template for excellence that is worth emulating. Firstly, the Boers had no formal training, and a sizable percentage was city boys. Yet through individual skill, particularly marksmanship, physical toughness, and self-discipline, they performed effectively in the open against the slower British forces.
I have previously written about joining the national guard/reserves, but gun clubs are also important, as they will allow patriots to practice their shooting far more than in the military. Our militaries’ musketry standards today are far lower than in WWI, when 600 yards was considered ‘close range.’
Another lesson from the Boers is the need for concealment. The British Army in Europe during WWI rarely found opportunities to employ long-range rifle fire, but emulated the Boers’ ability to melt into the terrain and avoid being seen. Taking advantage of every piece of cover and concealment, the British infantry proved difficult to locate, even to well-trained scouts. European patriots should consider this skill as a matter of life and death, particularly in the face of superior firepower or numbers.
The need for local organizing is also critical. Commando units had high unit cohesion, since they knew each other closely. They were a true band of brothers.
If you are part of a local resistance group, join the national guard together, and become accustomed to working together. Train together, meet together, and fight together. Study maps of your town and county, and ‘patrol’ it together in order to become intimately familiar with it. Invite your friends to join these same units, even if they’re not preservationists yet. Tell them it pays well, if nothing else. Build brotherhood.
Editor’s Note: Big thank you to Michael for sharing this article.
For more info on history, brotherhood, military theory, etc, please check out the following books and websites:
4th Generation Warfare Handbook (note: the above conflict was not 4Gw, but the topics are similar obviously)