Asymmetrical Warfare

Asymmetries in warfare refer to imbalances between opposing forces. These may be differences in numbers of soldiers, equipment, firepower, morale, tactics, values, or other factors. Guerrilla warfare, occurring between lightly armed partisans and a conventional army, is an example of asymmetrical warfare. Terrorist tactics, such as hijackings and suicide bombings, are also considered to be asymmetrical, both because they tend to involve a smaller, weaker group attacking a stronger one and because attacks on civilians are by definition one-way warfare.

Victory in war does not always go to the militarily superior force; the Revolutionary War between the Americans and the English is a clear example of effective asymmetrical warfare. Since World War II, Western powers fighting in developing countries have sometimes been defeated by local forces, despite massive asymmetries in terms of conventional military strength. Colonial powers have been forced to withdraw from Algeria, Indochina, ...

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