The French involvement in Algeria and the American involvement in the Philippines during the 19th and 20th centuries are comparable as both nations applied military warfare to quell insurgents. However, several differences between the two cases are evidence. The purpose of this paper is to develop a comparative analysis of the French military involvement in Algeria and the American military incursion in Philippines.
Tactical strategic principles applied by the French in Algeria versus those applied by the US in the Philippines
The French military involvement in Algeria during the counterinsurgency displayed a couple of similarities and differences with the tactics that the American forces used in countering the insurgency in Philippine. Taking the military tactics at the strategic and organizational levels, it is worth noting that the French in Algeria used military tactics aimed at controlling the situation.
Both focused on controlling some important economic and political areas like the ports (House, 2008). They hoped to establish some ‘free fire zones’, where the insurgents would not attack, while leaving out the others areas of less economic important prone to insurgency.
This is similar with what the Americans had done years before in the Philippine Islands (Boot, 2002). The Americans were interested in controlling some major islands of economic importance as well as major cities where American and European interest would be guarded. Most other areas considered of less military and economic importance were left prone to rebel attacks.
Secondly, both the US and the French militaries won the war against insurgency due to their ability to mobilize and achieve international support.
In addition, they were capable of providing their troops with adequate supplies and support, while ensuring that the insurgents had little support and resources at their disposal (Boot, 2002). In fact, both the US and the French achieved success over the rebels through cutting them off from vital resources and logistics rather than using excessive force to persuade them.
In both cases, the foreign powers’ military involvements were not accepted at home, despite the government support the militaries had. For instance, in New York and Washington, a number of demonstrations took place, with the people calling the government to withdraw its forces from Manila and relinquish power to the locals (Horne, 1977).
Similarly, the French were not happy with the incursions in Algeria, despite the government’s continued support to the military counterinsurgency efforts. In both cases, the war took an incredible toll of lives, especially the locals rather than the opposing forces.
Finally, the French and American forces in Algeria and Philippines respectively suffered guerilla-like attacks as both the Philippine rebels and the Berbers in Algeria, once they saw they could not fight the foreign powers, resolved to guerilla warfare. This is the point at which both the French and the American forces lost a good number of their troops.
On the other hand, the two cases differed significantly. While the American involvement in the Philippines resulted into the foreign power relinquishing power and appointing locals in major offices, the French in Algeria were determined to hold on to the rule, as it was common with the European colonialists (Boot, 2002).
Secondly, the American goal to stick in the Philippines was not actually to maintain its rule there, rather it wanted to protect itself from possible attacks by Japan and her allies (Medoff, 2011). On the other hand, the French were interested to maintain Algeria as a colony and increase its influence over the entire North African region.
Moreover, while American forces seem to have allowed the insurgents to retain their rule over some islands, the French forces in Algeria carried out massive attacks and isolation of the insurgents, driving them into the mountains and deserts where their rule could not be viable (Medoff, 2011: House, 2008).
Boot, M. (2002). The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power. New York: Basic Books.
Horne, A. (1977). A Savage War of Peace. New York: The Viking Press.
House, J. M. (2008). Historical Case Study: The French in Algeria, 1954-62. New York: US Army Sergeants Major Academy.
Medoff, A. (2011). COIN and HNGs: Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902). Web.