Recent issue of the journal Small Wars & Insurgencies includes two articles on early modern partisan sniping, as well as several more on the Revolutionary and Napoleonic period.
Deruelle, Benjamin. “The Sixteenth-Century Antecedents of Special Operations ‘small War.’” Small Wars & Insurgencies 25, no. 4 (July 4, 2014): 754–66.
Abstract: The first conceptual, theoretical treatises about small war (la petite guerre) as special operations appeared only from the middle of the seventeenth century. The term is not used in the eighteenth-century sense of ‘special operations’ in older sources. The supposed absence of any treatment of the subject is surprising considering the obsession with the ‘art of war’ in the Renaissance, but other authors attribute it to a supposed antinomy between chivalric ideals and irregular warfare. But the absence of explicit manuals on the subject is not evidence of absence of advanced reflection on this kind of operations in the Middle Ages and in Early Modern times. We should thus look elsewhere, in other genres, for writings that contain and pass on military knowledge. Epics, romances, educational and military treatises, and memoirs in fact contain elements of a theory of special operations, even though these genres differ from our conception of rationality inherited from the Enlightenment.
Fonck, Bertrand, and George Satterfield. “The Essence of War: French Armies and Small War in the Low Countries (1672–1697).” Small Wars & Insurgencies 25, no. 4 (July 4, 2014): 767–83.
Abstract: In the late seventeenth century during the Dutch War (1672–1678) and the Nine Years War (1688–1697), French armies relied on small war for the accomplishment of essential tasks and as part of an overall strategy of exhausting their opponents in the Low Countries. The purposes of small war included the imposition of contributions on enemy populations, the destruction of the enemy base of operations, blockades of fortresses, and the general support of campaign armies. The expression ‘small war’ in the French language appeared with growing frequency in the 1690s. Small war can be viewed as both a cause and consequence of the characteristics of these wars. The limited policy goals of Louis XIV the king of France required a strategy that minimised risk and accomplished the goal of reducing if not eliminating the Spanish presence in the Low Countries that bordered the north of France. As French armies increased in size during this period, the demand for specialists at small increased in order to provide security and ensure supply. Small war in the late seventeenth century was thus not ideologically motivated insurgency, but in the minds of French commanders an essential component of strategy and the nature of war.
Personally, I’m waiting for someone to find a way to connect la petite guerre to la petite mort in a title. My feeble attempt:
“Does la petite guerre always result in la petite mort? Casualties in early modern skirmishes”
Feel free to leave a better title in the Comments.