There are a number of famous guerrillas in the world history of war.
But it is hard to find such guerrillas as those of Korea, who defeated the enemy much stronger in terms of strength in such severe conditions and for such a long time in the world history of guerrilla warfare.
In the first half of the last century the situation of Korea was very miserable under the military occupation of Japan.
It was a colony where literally everything was controlled by the Japanese; state sovereignty, territory, resources and even the right to existence as a nation were violated by the imperialist state.
Independence of Korea at that time seemed bleak under the oppression of Japan that was boasting of being one of the five military powers in the world.
At this time of agony there was a man, named Kim Il Sung (1912-1994), who believed that the Japanese aggressors could be defeated.
As a son of the Korean nation, he founded in 1932, at the age of twenty, the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army, and declared a war against Japan with a firm determination to liberate his country without fail.
From that time the Korean guerillas led by General Kim Il Sung wrote a heroic epic in the history of the struggle for the liberation of their country, eating and sleeping in the open and overcoming all difficulties and ordeals of every description.
What should be mentioned first when speaking about the Korean guerillas is the fact that they fought in the most arduous conditions.
They could not rely on support from a state and regular army at all.
Everything including food, weapons, ammunition and clothes had to be obtained by themselves.
With the spirit of self-reliance, they attacked the enemy and captured weapons, food and other supplies from them; they built arsenals in the mountains and made bombs and even wooden guns.
In winter the temperature in the northern part of Korea and Manchuria of China, the main theatres of struggle by the guerrillas, is sometimes under 40! below zero and the accumulated snow is deeper than a man’s stature.
It may be rather favourable to fight a guerrilla war in Africa or Latin America where there is no cold winter and one can enjoy a certain degree of benefits of nature.
This notwithstanding, guerrilla warfare is not easy in these regions.
When Cuban leader Fidel Castro visited the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he asked Kim Il Sung how he had solved the problem of food in the days of the guerrilla warfare.
Since he had conducted guerrilla warfare in Mt Sierra Maestra, he was much interested in the way the Korean leader had solved the problem.
It is indeed beyond imagination that the Korean guerrillas fought the large contingents of enemy troops almost every day, sometimes eating snow in winter as they had run out of provisions.
General Kim Il Sung was always in the vanguard of this bloody struggle.
Sharing weal and woe with his soldiers, he awakened them to their ennobling mission for liberating their motherland, and instilled in them the conviction in sure victory.
Under the most severe conditions, in which others must have yielded easily, the Korean guerrillas fought with conviction in victory and optimism about the future, emerging victorious at last.
Later the guerilla war veterans recalled that they could overcome the severe difficulties because they had cherished absolute trust in their commander General Kim Il Sung and an indomitable faith.
It is also important to note that, upholding Kim Il Sung’s idea of army-people unity that “Just as fish cannot live without water, so the guerrillas cannot exist apart from the people,” the guerrillas did all things for the benefit of the people and the people supported them with all sincerity
Elusive Tactics of Guerilla Warfare
General Kim Il Sung was well known as a guerrilla commander associated with many legendary tales, all produced by his ingenious guerilla tactics.
At that time the Japanese described the Korean guerrillas as “a drop in the ocean.”
The Korean guerrillas armed with light weapons only paled in comparison to Japan, the “leader” of Asia and one of the military powers in the world, which had the one-million-strong Kwantung Army in Korea and Manchuria of China.
But every battle between those two forces ended in the victory of the Korean guerrillas, a fact transcending the conventional concepts and common sense.
The secret was the ingenious tactics of General Kim Il Sung.
Kim Il Sung always took the initiative and defeated the enemy forces, who had numerical and technical superiority, by dint of strategic and tactical superiority. He could do so as he had created and applied unique and mysterious tactics not known in the military textbooks of warfare, ancient or modern, Eastern or Western.
The lure and ambush tactic, telescoping tactic, the tactic of marching 1 000 ri at a stretch and others are the acme of mysteriousness and resourcefulness.
The so-called military generals of Japan, once caught in one of those tactics, had to swallow a bitter pill.
Legendary tales about the tactics of appearing and disappearing with preternatural swiftness, soaring above the sky and sinking into the earth and shrinking distances spread across Korea, leading the people to cherish national dignity and pride and look forward to the day of their liberation.
At last Korea was liberated on August 15, 1945.
The glorious name of General Kim Il Sung, who led the Korean guerrillas to victory, shook the world as well as Korea.
It reminds us of the remarks made by Mark W. Clark, commander-in-chief of the UN forces, who lamenting that he had gained the unenviable distinction of being the first United States army commander in history to sign an armistice agreement without victory. He said: Kim Il Sung performed wonderful exploits as the commander of a guerillas army that fought against the Japanese army for many years; many people respected his name and his name became the symbol of patriotic deeds in Korea