Roger Trinquier

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Roger Trinquier (1908-1986), an influential French theorist and commander of guerrilla warfare forces, was born into a peasant family and was graduated from the military academy at Saint-Maixent. He was posted in the Far East for much of his career. He is one of the few Western theorists to endorse the use of torture.

After World War II, he fought with French Airborne forces in Indochina, before returning to organize and train a colonial parachute battalion in France.[1] Next, he commanded the Groupement de Commandos Mixtes Aeroportes (GCMA). GCMA has been likened to United States Army Special Forces and the paramilitary units of intelligence organization. While GCMA was created by the French military commander in 1950, it had close ties to the French Service de Documentation Exterieure et de Contra-Espionage (SDECE). Its mission had three parts: The GCMA was created to execute a three-part mission:[2]

  1. Establish French-led indigenous counter-guerrilla groups to be called "Maquis."
  2. Set up escape and evasion routes where needed.
  3. Organize sabotage squads.

The GCMA had some successes, but were abandoned by the cease-fire agreement. [3]

After Indochina, he served as a counterinsurgency advisor in the Algerian War; he defined counterinsurgency as

"an interlocking system of actions—political, economic, psychological, military—that aims at the [insurgents’ intended] overthrow of the established authority in a country and its replacement by another regime"

In his book, Modern Warfare, his counterinsurgency doctrine included the controlled use of torture.[4] Eventually, he took part in the May 1958 French Army revolt, retiring, as a colonel, shortly afterwards.

With the knowledge of the Ministry of Defense, he led a group of officers to serve as mercenary advisors to Moïse Tshombe in Katanga, Zaire.


  1. Praeger International, Roger Trinquier
  2. War Story: Col. Roger Trinquier and French Special Ops in the First Indochina War, 17 July 2006
  3. Cassidy, Robert M. (Summer 2006), "The Long Small War: Indigenous Forces for Counterinsurgency", Parameters: 47-62
  4. Trinquier, Roger (1961), Modern Warfare: A French View of Counterinsurgency, Editions de la Table Ronde