Guerrilla Warfare has its origins from small bands of Spanish soldiers who fought against Napoleon's French army in the Peninsular War, 1807-1814. The word "guerrilla" itself means "little war" in Spanish, which is accurate because guerrilla warfare is usually used when one of the parties in the war are smaller than the other.
The tactics employed by "guerrillas" however date back over 2000 years, to the ideas of Sun Tzu, a Chinese military strategist. Sun Tzu argued that all warfare involves the employing of one's strength to exploit the weakness of the enemy. In his book, The Art Of War, he gives many suggestions on how to defeat a larger and better-equipped army than your own. Mao Zedong, the leader of the communist forces in china successfully adapted Sun Tzu's idea. The establishment of a communist government in China was an inspiration to all revolutionaries in South East Asia, especially China's neighbour, Vietnam.
The strategy tactics of the National Liberation Front (Viet Cong) were based very much upon the same tactics employed by Mao Zedong in China. The Viet Cong were organised in small groups of three to ten soldiers, also known as cells. The cells worked together, however they were organised so that they new nothing about each other. Therefore when a guerrilla was captured and tortured, his confessions did not do much damage to the Viet Cong itself.
The main objective of the Viet Cong was to gain the support of the peasants living in rural Vietnam. According to Mao Zedong, the peasants were the sea in which the guerrillas needed to swim: .
" Without the constant and active support of the peasants failure is inevitable.".
Upon entry into a village, the Viet Cong obeyed a strict code of behaviour and were issued a strict series of "directives". This ensured that the Viet Cong blended in with the everyday life of the villagers (who in most cases supported the VC), and ensured that the American, British, and Australian forces did not capture them.