Spanish Resistance to Napoleon

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Napoleon and the Spanish Resistance
Throughout time, the military has been considered one of the key features in a civilization. It has been considered the heart and soul of many countries and empires and has been the center of many cultures. Throughout history we have seen many military leaders and military powers. We have seen military techniques and technology change as we progress. Our schools are filled with legends of great war heroes and hard-fought battles. One such hero is Napoleon Bonaparte, perhaps one of the greatest generals who ever lived. In his adventures and conquest, as general of the French army, he warred against many lands. These included Spain, in which Napoleon met a strong resistance. The Spaniards were using a new military strategy called guerilla warfare, one that Napoleon had no experience against. Guerilla warfare is the use of unconventional war tactics, such as ambush and sabotage, coined by the Spanish rebellion to Napoleon Bonaparte, resulting in an uprising that even he couldn't put to rest.

To understand why these tactics were so effective, you must first understand the tactics themselves. Before guerilla warfare was popularized, war was mainly a head-to-head meeting between two armies. This idea of mass confrontation was considered a formal and more manly way to conduct war. However, the Spanish noticed drawbacks to this idea. They had far fewer numbers than the French and by using traditional war methods they were destined for failure. The Spanish started to use guerilla tactics.

Traditional wars at the time were decided, often, just by a couple of mass confrontations between the two opponents. Each battle would usually consist of a significant number of soldiers going straight towards each other until they forced the other to retreat. Guerilla warfare on the other hand doesn't rely on this premise. In order to successfully defeat your opponent using guerilla tactics, you must rely instead on a series of smaller confrontations (Free Dictionary). By using these "hit-and-run" strategies, guerilla fighters can quickly tire they're opponents and not lose as many men. Another difference, is that guerilla war relies heavily on ambush. Ambush is when the ambushing force uses concealment to attack an enemy that passes its position. (Free Dictionary) Most guerillas will camouflage themselves in thick forests or hide on hilltops. Some guerillas will even use crowds to conceal themselves, called urban guerillas. Urban guerillas have to rely heavily on support from the citizens. Guerilla warfare basically relies on one standard. The element of surprise. Often, guerillas will not be in uniform and carry just a concealed weapon. By doing this it helps the guerillas startle the enemy and catch them off guard, giving them the clear cut advantage. Also, the enemy is always in a state of fear, never knowing when or where these guerillas could pop out and attack. They are constantly on watch and they tire easily. By using guerilla warfare, forces are able to lower they're casualties while increasing their opponents, even if they are winning "cheap." Because they often time use "cowardly" tactics, guerillas are usually considered "terrorists" by their opponents. Sometimes however, this can be true. Guerillas in some cases have used propaganda, or started revolts to win over their cause. Instead of trying to defeat their enemy, they try to create chaos, hoping to drive their enemy out. Massive riots and sabotage are not at all uncommon in guerilla wars. All in all, guerilla warfare is the use of unconventional war tactics used against enemies that follow these conventional "laws."

Now that we have cleared that up, lets move to the actual events that took place. Spanish resistance was mainly part of the Peninsular War, or as some call it, Napoleon's "Spanish Ulcer." Other names for the same war are the War of Independence, as it is called in Spain, or even The Spanish War, as it is called...
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