Challenges in Coalition Unconventional Warfare: The Allied Campaign in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV FORT MCNAIR DC
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During World War II, operatives and military advisors of the British Special Operations Executive SOE and the American Office of Strategic Services OSS, which was a precursor to both the current Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. Special Forces, conducted a challenging unconventional warfare UW campaign against the Axis forces with and through guerrilla resistance elements in Yugoslavia. The resistance movement effectively fixed in place 35 German and Italian divisions, consisting of roughly 660,000 soldiers in the western Balkan region during 1941 1945. This campaign rendered them strategically irrelevant by preventing their use in other theaters. The combined United Kingdom UK United States U.S. contingent achieved this effect with never more than 100 Allied personnel on the ground in the denied area. The number of Axis personnel killed in the Balkans is estimated at 450,000.2 This extremely favorable force ratio and its associated effects commend UW as a low-cost, high-reward method of warfare.
- Humanities and History
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Unconventional Warfare