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▶  More from Modern Combat Book Reviews The Combat Space Guerilla Masculinity
4th Generation Warfare Handbook by William S. Lind & LtCol Gregory A. Thiele, USMC
2015, Castalia House, 126
The best portion of this book is the discussion between General Forest and Lt Colonel Burke concerning operations David and Goliath beginning on page 20. The other officers present are the typical war losers one can expect from one of the world’s largest armed bureaucracies. The episode is also illustrative of the American versus Islamic experience which has informed so much of the doctrine on the operational end.
Lind, is the author of Four Generations of Modern War, which is well-illuminated in Appendix A. If the reader hasn’t read Lind I would begin with Appendix A.
Thiele provides actual training and small unit doctrine for light infantry deployment which does bring the American fighting man back to his rifleman roots.
Where Creveld in A History of Strategy discusses the four generations of warfare in evolutionary terms, noting that 2nd generation warfare evolved from column and line from 1816 through 1918, Lind stresses that 2nd generation warfare was actually codified as an internally oriented system by the French at the very same time that the Germans codified 3GW as externally oriented system, resulting in the mismatch of the opening days of WWII. The importance of the cult of inward order that resulted in the formation of modern nation state militaries after the Peace of Westphalia cannot be understood without a knowledge of the conduct of the Thirty Years War, which was essentially a 3GW/4GW apocalypse, with mercenary armies raping and pillaging for a generation—which is how I think modernity plays out, just like the Middle Ages, in blood under ever colder skies.
Lind certainly gains reader confidence by declaring flatly that the U.S. lost the Vietnam War, even as so many commentators refuse to believe that one can lose in places such as Vietnam and Iraq even after exacting gruesomely disproportionate casualties on the enemy. This seems to be an American mental disorder, as imposition of will seems to count for less in the eyes of many self-defense enthusiasts than the facial damage inflicted in the affray.
The book actually offers a training curriculum for light infantry development. The crucial lesson of 4GW [post state war protagonists] is that this guerilla form of fighting is ideal for defeating 1GW and 2GW armies [most armies remaining 2GW entities] and that one must develop effective 3GW forces deployed with a light socio-economic footprint in order to defeat 4GW forces. The authors do not point out that 4GW is man’s original form of warfare, a primitive activity that permitted small bands of hunters to keep civilizations at bay for ages, bringing post-state war back into pre-state behavior, seeming to suggest the cyclic nature of our plight.
This reader honestly hopes that the mission of this book is not realized. The authors have conceptualized 3GW solutions to 4GW problems as First World versus Third World and American versus Islamist. However, on the cover of this very book is the ultimate target of the 3GW extermination campaign, a tall pale, red-headed insurgent with mountains behind and big sky overhead. I sincerely hope that the rapidly feminizing U.S. military utterly fails to develop 3GW capability. Because if they succeed, those methods may one day be turned on a balkanized North America. May the American military never learn that line infantry is not light infantry just because it’s not mechanized infantry—because it is not and the last thing Americans of the future need is good light African infantry in American uniforms hunting them across the North American Veld.
Thought Crimes: Against the Goddess
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Bryce SharperDecember 11, 2018 4:33 AM UTC


Can you find those articles for us? I am reading, "Victoria" by Lind right now. It is overly-optimistic about American moral fiber as Lind admits but we need optimism.

I am beginning to wonder how moral victories can be won if morality is inverted?
KmanDecember 4, 2018 2:16 AM UTC

I read this book a while back as well as a couple of long internet articles by Lind and Matt Bracken. Lind's "what if the Colonists had engaged in 4GW against the British" was an eye opener. I think a few parallel observations are applicable. Von Clausewitz is most famous for his observation that war is a continuation of politics, but in a 4GW sense his doctrine of identifying the enemies "centers of gravity" is most applicable. In the current culture/4gw I identify the centers of gravity as the media, the courts and the educational system. All are vulnerable to 4GW tactics in the unlikely event that my white brethren suddenly and collectively grow sets of balls. Dr. David Grossman notes that the battlefield is an intensely psychological place and he quotes Napoleon as saying that "The moral is to the physical as three is to one" Sun Tzu's relevant observations are too numerous to list but he said that "every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought"
Bryce SharperNovember 22, 2018 3:07 AM UTC

I read that book a couple of years ago. Rest assured, the US military is not developing a 3rd-generation military. Our military is devolving completely into a bureaucracy ready for everything but war.

The transition to the post-nation-state era is going to be rocky indeed. Look no further than Mexico to see the possibilities.

I think we need to develop a doctrine of urban counter-insurgency where we have two enemies: the State and the narco-terrorists. The two often work together as they do in Mexico.

Your book, "The Violence Project" can be the combatives manual. We will need air arms for quiet sniping or .22 LRs with coke bottle suppressors. Local radio nets and cameras can be used for perimeter defense and surveillance.

the biggest problem is the State which prevents lawful assembly and actively imports terrorists and narco-terrorists or at least enables them by failing to hang them. People keep thinking the STate is the solution when it is the problem. Perhaps decent government can be lawfully-constituted at a local level.

We need strategic adn operational plans to win on the moral and mental levels Lind/Boyd describe. Organizing will be key. Otherwise, we're going to be at the mercy of cartels who are well-financed with drug money and kidnappings which are the lifeblood of their private armies.

Glad you're blogging again.