Small Wars Manual

Small Wars Manual

The "Small Wars Manual" is a United States Marine Corps manual on tactics and strategies for engaging in certain types of military operations.

The USMC's role in small wars has a long and complex history. During the early years of the 20th century, the Corps was widely viewed as the nation's overseas police and initial response force. Moreover, the actual execution of these roles were a natural adjunct of the Corps' officially directed mission of sea-based power projection, in turn buttressed by its fundamental expeditionary operational character; i.e., the availability for "sudden and immediate call."

As a result of this "natural fit" and the experience of a series of guerrilla wars and military interventions loosely known as The Banana Wars, the Marine Corps began to systematically analyze the character and requirements of operations short of war proper, or "Small Wars". Major S.M. Harrington of the Marine Corps Schools delivered a formal report "The Strategy and Tactics of Small Wars" in 1921. In addition, Major C. J. Miller wrote an 154 page report on the 2nd Marine Brigade's operations in the Dominican Republic titled "Diplomacy and Spurs in the Dominican Republic" in 1923. Versions of these and other reports were serialized in "The Marine Corps Gazette" and additional articles on the subject appeared in "The Marine Corps Gazette" and the "Proceedings of the U.S. Naval Institute".

The results of these efforts were encapsulated in the manual "Small Wars Operations" in 1935. For the 1940 revision, it was renamed The "Small Wars Manual (SWM)". A classic of military science, it remains relevant today as the foundation of much current thinking and doctrine.

Table of Contents (for the 1935 revision)

*Chapter I - General Characteristics of Small Wars
*Chapter II - The Strategy of Small Wars
*Chapter III - Psychology in Small Wars
*Chapter IV - Concentration
*Chapter V - Transportation
*Chapter VI - Port of Embarkation
*Chapter VII - Training Management for Small Wars
*Chapter VIII - Operations Orders and Instructions (Navy)
*Chapter IX - Debarkation
*Chapter X - Supply Plans
*Chapter XI - Neutral Zones and Movement Inland
*Chapter XII - Disarming Population, Collecting and Custody of Arms
*Chapter XIII - Armed Native Organizations
*Chapter XIV - Relationship-Military, Naval and Civil Authorities
*Chapter XV - Military Territorial Organization and Methods of Pacification
*Chapter XVI - Principles and Functions of the Marine Staff
*Chapter XVII - Signal Communications
*Chapter XVIII - Infantry Weapons and Equipment
*Chapter XIX - Light Artillery in Small Wars
*Chapter XX - The Defense, Attack and Occupation of Towns
*Chapter XXI - Animal Transportation and Mounted Detachments
*Chapter XXII - Convoys and Convoy Escorts
*Chapter XXIII - Organizing the Infantry Patrol
*Chapter XXIV - The Infantry Patrol in the Field
*Chapter XXV - Aviation
*Chapter XXVI - River Operations
*Chapter XXVII - River Crossings
*Chapter XXVIII - Chemical Agents
*Chapter XXIX - Medical
*Chapter XXX - Withdrawal from Foreign Territory
*Chapter XXXI - Military Government
*Chapter XXXII - Supervision of Election


* "The Small Wars Manual: Fleet Marine Force Reference Publication 12-25." Sunflower University Press, July 1940.
* Bickel, Keith B. "Mars Learning: The Marine Corps' Development of Small Wars Doctrine, 1915-1940", Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 2001.
* Green, Lt. Col. T. N., "The Guerrilla and How to Fight Him: Selections from the Marine Corps Gazette", ed. for the "Marine Corps Gazette", New York: Praeger, 1962

External links

* [ Read Manual On-Line for Free]
* [ How This Book Remains Relevant Today]

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