There is a question whether they should even be military, or paramilitary
Why do you see "stay behind" as a paramilitary? Is the light infantry concept really that strange to you?
You need both - heavier units to act as a speedbump and buy a time for a mobilization, light units to secure rear (if lines are stable), fight attempts on insurgency and operate in the enemy rear if main defense is overrun. Thing is that for a superpower quick war might be acceptable, since minor nation can never match it, but a long term occupation with constant attacks might not be. Especially if it is supported by a 3rd party.
Its a useful thing to have in ones pocket in a war, but its of course useless as a deterrent factor. Obviously he only way it works is if you keep the whole thing secret.
If none knows about it than it is not useful deterrent.
Like I say, listen to the podcast. The stay behind parties were more than you think.
The yanks saw the stay behind parties actually fulfilling 2 roles. The first we know, obviously, was staying behind after an invasion. The one that is less well known was based on a perception of what happened in Czechoslovakia. That a coup might occur in the host European country, or at the very least, a long running subversion campaign to bring the country down. The involvement of the CIA brought the latter into focus, because it was feared that some European nations, if they were not invaded, could easily be brought down by subversion. As we saw with Operation Gladio, some operations very similar to this was actually enacted against Socialist groups in Italy, to the point where a Gladio group launched at least one terrorist attack that brought retribution down on radical Italian left wing radical groups.
This is obviously something of a contradiction with the NATO aim of mutual defence, but it is the role the CIA founded these groups for, or at least, one of the aims. Whilst they were given to NATO, some of them clearly didnt change that mindset.
The Alaska stay behind parties were even more different, apparently less like soldiers, and far more like spies or saboteurs.
So do you actually want this to 'just' be light infantry, or do you want this tertiary role as well as a hidden hand to strike down subversion before it emerges? Id prefer the former, but hand on heart, looking at what happened in Ukraine and the historical subversion Russia has been running against the Baltic states, the latter might actually prove more useful if it came to it.
Yes, thats my point, its a contradiction. If its secret, it would be actually useful in war. If its not secret, it would be a damp squib, but it might prove some tertiary role in deterrence. After all, the myth of francs tireurs was more powerful in 1914 than the actual reality.
Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 23 October 2019 - 0930 AM.