I’ll answer this question with your scenario i.e the United States Armed Forces side with the United States government.

No doubt, the United States government would crush the uprising/revolution (I assume that the war originated from this cause).

Yes, I am aware that civilians as a whole in the United States possess a large stock of firearms. This is a great base to assume that they have a well-off chance against the government force.

However, civilians with their large arsenal of firearms can only pitch fairly against the military in a war of attrition.

With the huge number of manpower and firearms, they can easily overrun the military and push them back initially. On the other hand, when the military strikes back with force, they stand little chance to hold their grounds. For the sake of abbreviation, I will call the civilians as the USRF – “United States Revolutionary Force”.

  1. Open combat

The simple fact that the military possesses AFV (Armored Fighting Vehicles) i.e tanks, armored carriers, artillery, etc is enough to devastate any force of plain manpower on foot or automobile. As far as I know (correct me if I’m wrong), American civilians do not possess anti-tank weapons. So the armors will roll freely, gaining grounds along as they move.

Even if the USRF manages to pin down any group of military ground force, fire support will rain down from all available platforms. The United States Air Force, as known, has a gigantic arsenal of aircraft that can rain lead and explosive upon their enemies. The United States Navy as well, with also aircraft and cruise missiles. Having no effective means of air defence, will prove that the USRF stands no chance against incoming air bombardment. The much-beloved A-10 will the special “Angel of Death”, being freely as they like and loiter much as they want.

2. Urban warfare

Unless the government wants to keep cities intact, they can just level everything. If they do decide to go in directly to clear out everything, this is where the USRF can hold out efficiently. Imagine every building, occupied by the USRF forces with firepower at every corner. That is nightmare for any combat force, even with armor support. It will take months, or even years for them to successfully clear out a city of skyscrapers.

However, USRF’s Achilles’ heel is their available resource. Ammunition aren’t infinite. While the government can manage to produce more stock (somehow), the civilians will not have this luxury. Once their ammunition stock empties, there’s nothing else.

So all in all, even though a governmental victory is imminent, it will take years, or even decades to succeed, and will come to considerable losses.

Laura Hancock

If the soldiers support the government, the US citizens are getting massacred. There is no way in hell that a bunch of partially armed and generally-crappily-trained civilians are going to be able to take on the US military. The citizenry don’t have drones or planes or tanks or any of that crap. Some have guns.

Best case scenario, we end up with the citizens combining and essentially performing the equal of “terrorist attacks” on the government forces. But I’m not sure how well that would work. See, part of the reason why ISIS hasn’t been turned into a bloody smear at this point is the average US citizen doesn’t have much stomach for killing all of the innocent people who surround them. Yes, it does happen, but it’s not as if your average US citizen is desirous of bombing human shields. This, as well as pressure from other countries and governments, prevents the US military from unleashing max force.

In this scenario, where the government has turned against its people, who is going to be that intervening force? Nobody.

The pro-gun argument that somehow owning guns prevents the government from being tyrannical is, frankly, poppycock at best. Now, before the NRA jumps down my throat, I’m actually not anti-gun ownership, provided that all legal channels are adhered to, adequate training is had, they are stored and cared for properly, and you’re not walking around a Target like you’re goddamn Rambo trying to find the detergent aisle. (Which does happen to mean I’m against a lot of individual gun-ownership situations in the US, though.)

However, you’re not going to be able to take on the US government with a gun if it decides it wants to teach the populace what “tyrannical” means. Sorry.

The citizens, that is if the soldiers find it morally wrong to attack citizens of their own country, and decide that they won’t fight their own people.

The government, if the military decides to abide and follow the orders of the government. This is not as rare as an occurrence as once might think. There has been on numerous occasions where the U.S. military has attacked their own citizens. Mostly for reasons that are justifiable depending on the viewpoint.

The government has at times been able to crush numerous uprisings. But those times were long ago, and I can’t say exactly for sure if that would apply to today.

I would say citizens, because the questions states “all citizens”. That would include the U.S. military as all soldiers are citizens, and considering the only power the government would have is political at that point, they would ultimately lose—even the political power they had left would be quite small at that point.

Matthew Beasley


Well let us assume that the there really is this nice dividing line between the two. (And this NEVER happens) And let us assume that it really is ALL the civilian none government population of the US against the entire US military, instead of the far messier situation typically found in civil wars.

Well the initial victory goes to the US military. These guys are well trained professionals who will HAMMER a bunch of semi-trained civilians in a straight fight. Forget your little Hollywood fantasies of overthrowing your government overnight, not going to happen. Ever. You have NOTHING that can take on the formidable airborne, armoured and heavily armed forces of the US military on close to even terms. Bach Viet Nguyen is correct when he states that in open combat, a civilian uprising gets hammered. No ifs, no buts, YOU WILL LOSE. Badly I might add. You don’t even need to bring heavy weapons to the table. Professional soldiers have the necessary fire discipline, tactics and know-how to turn any head on confrontation against you with painfully sharp lesson as to why this is a bad idea.

If the US government is unable to cow the population into submission fast enough, then in the long run, the civilian population wins. Because while destroying this

is unlikely, it does have one major weakness. It needs supply lines. It needs logistical support. And THESE things ARE easier to destroy. (Although this will take time and hard earned experience) It also needs economics. Money to BUY the weapons. Money to BUY the fuel. Workers to RUN the essential industries that keep the US military running. A CIVILIAN population to recruit from. A CIVILIAN population to grow the food and educate the next generation of soldiers etc.

Also, forget the fantasies of people who think that their guns are all that stands between them and tyranny. I’d put money on them being killed off early on, even as an opening strike. These guys are happily posting their secrets away on Facebook and the like and easy prey. Frankly, I suspect that these guys would be just as likely to support tyranny than stand up to it.

Also, bear in mind that while some vocal individuals talk about how they would fight to the bitter end, I suspect that when push came to shove, their bravado would quietly fade away. Talk is cheap, but actions are expensive. (And VERY bloody in this scenario. It’s hard to support action when your friends and family are lying in a pool of their own blood. And lets not beat about the bush. A LOT of people are going to die for this.)

Ultimately, not only is it a highly unlikely scenario. Tyranny doesn’t just sneak up on you one day, it takes it’s sweet time. Uprisings are virtually never universally supported by the civilian population and opposed entirely by the military in the scenario you describe. And the US is a country with well built series of checks and balances. Freedom of speech allows the population air their grievances and the civilian government has options to allow redress for those that the state has done wrong. I don’t pretend that it’s perfect, but it works well enough for now. More importantly, it’s flaws are not enough to goad and mobilise the population of America.

So next time you hear someone talking about how an armed population keeps the government in check etc, then I think it is safe to assume that they haven’t a clue. If it gets to the point where your guns are the only thing between you and tyranny, then it’s all gone horribly pear-shaped LONG before then and what the hell were you doing while this happened?

Q: If all US citizens went to war with their own government, who would win?

You see my friend, the entire goverment is manned and consisted of US citizens including this man.

President, Veep, the grunts etc is also US citizens so in essence the entire US population fights…. no one? Easy victory. Just start by punching and kicking the white house, oval room, senate chair and other goverment stuff, piece of cake eh?

ALL the citizens?

In the long run the citizens win. Always. And it has absolutely nothing to do with weaponry. A completely unarmed citizenry still wins, so long as they remain united and dedicated to the cause.

It’s about logistics.

The army’s soldiers need to eat. Who runs the farms that produce that food? CITIZENS. Who drives the trucks that transport that food? CITIZENS. Who inspects that food to make sure it is safe to eat? CITIZENS. Who cooks that food? Processes that food? Preserves that food? CITIZENS.

Who manufactures spare parts for the army’s weapons? CITIZENS. Who assembles the equipment? CITIZENS. Who makes the ammo? CITIZENS.

Who refines the fuel for the army’s vehicles? CITIZENS. Who maintains the transport network that gets that fuel to the army? CITIZENS.

The soldiers in the army, do they have family and friends? Who are these people? CITIZENS.

If ALL the citizens went to war, then the first thing that happens is ALL citizens working in any capacity that supplies or supports the army stop working, or even engage in active sabotage.

The army has reserves of all critical supplies, but these will run out.

The army would then have to, from its own ranks of 2–3 million, do for itself all the support tasks that once were accomplished by civilian infrastructure run by 100–200 million citizens. They would not be able to trust anyone who was not a servicemember with these tasks, because all of those people are CITIZENS, and ALL the citizens are at war with them. Even their own families are CITIZENS, at war with them, and they would have to guard themselves from poisonings, kidnappings, or even simple spying.

No state, of whatever political system, can function if ALL its citizens were in open resurrection against it. Governments need to have compliance from the majority of the governed. Whether they get that by popular appeal, or from fear, or from any other method, they need it, and would not be able to function without it.

[Another totally blind answer using zeroed common sense towards the ways things in America and worldwide truly are]

J.S. Anderson

A few things: first, there are enough guns to arm everyone capable of bearing arms in the united states. Second, there are currently around 2.1 million active and reserve military personal. So, if all forces were pulled from everywhere else in the world, you could throw them up against nothing, because third, there would be no mass engagement of opposing forces. This is pretty obviously an insurgency. Guerrilla tactics are the order of the day. The US is a big country to get lost in, and hunting rifles are more than capable of acting in an anti-personnel role. Harassment, attrition… Basically everything that frustrates our current conflicts only instead of outnumbering the guerrillas, the the army is outnumbered by over 70 to 1. Fourth, funding. Specifically the large amount of it available to the insurgency. US citizens have a lot of assets among the ultra rich. Anything movable, or already overseas can be sold to fund the insurgency. Not sold for US dollars of course because this whole thing makes those worthless. Fifth, state defense forces. There are currently 21 of these, they are not a part of the military or armed forces of the United States. Some state SDFs even have their own air forces. Sixth, around 800 thousand sworn officers in the various police departments, a great many of whom will take issue with being asked to violate their oaths. Add Swat teams to this and you have more trained armed personnel for the resistance. (I couldn’t find reliable numbers for combined swat manpower, so I am unsure if they are part of the sworn officers or separate.)

In 2010 there were around 145 million citizens available for military service, (draftable, in other words) of which about 120 million were estimated to be fit. This number grows by about 4.4 million yearly.

There are easily enough arms for the ~144million civilians fit and able to bear arms.

I would posit that in such an event, the Government would realise that its position is untenable and capitulate to the (unfortunately violently) clearly expressed will of the people, an act which would be in keeping with the founding documents, and the philosophy behind them.

[My apologies for what I am sure is a host of grammatical errors, I’m on my phone]

[Timesoftroubles draws attention to the condition of America past and present as a civilization in the zoo of life as in caged, divided, and fed their sex, drugs, music, social sites, gambling, and all the bs they blindly swallow to keep them all weak and controlled for their coming take-over and fall].

Ronald Kimmons

No government can remain in power if all of its civilians have unified against it in a concerted effort to depose it. This is true regardless of whether or not the citizens are armed. Citizens can overthrow their government by simply refusing to support it. Essentially, they can go on strike. At some point, the government has to give in, because it can no longer support itself. A heavy-handed government can fight this by killing people and using the threat of violence to make them do what it wants, but if the people are truly pushing forward in a united, concerted effort, even this will not work.

However, it is highly doubtful that the citizens would all be unified in an effort like this. Even if they were all opposing the government – which would be unlikely – they would probably be segmented into various groups and fighting among themselves as well.

[Ignorant answer when today’s military technology against a society in division being primitive in comparison becomes the reality]

Ui Neil Sandidge

The government.

But who would win the government to any one point of view? Unity in a Government Position to make “War”, means human “corn starch” of the civilian demographic.

It happened in the 1920’s and other times people were made to march around homeless, yet history is like did that ever happen? Most of us are fine today? Less than civil wars, and founding cities before 1775 AD on Angel Island or Angel Bay California.


There are more successful revolts than their are governments. So instead of “Win”, perhaps you have a different goal than shooting at each other? ~~~ An idea or new government model, or something that is an answer, and not a weapon, might win a hell of a lot easier than any coup, or protest in history. But it has to be very well defined. Leadership has to have a sense of lack of faith in its current models course direction = typically this means at least 20% of those in the streets outside of homes know the Government is bad and are in open revolt or at least contempt of it, or the battle becomes about weapons and “who feels most afraid” all over again.

Again, “who feels the most vulnerable or concerned by the idea of reprisal.”

Not many people have conviction enough to say within themselves, no matter what the fear is, this is definitely a better idea, that what the others want to do, and is what needs to happen if there is to be any sort of future for __?__

In my case the belief is human life on earth, With a human record we would want to learn from.

As our current failings, are entirely due to a lack of firstly truth, with secondly is a ridiculous failure of comprehension and accounting of the failings of any decisions made and note disclosed to the public, so total failure of value to discovered in having a leadership as their isn’t a leadership example to follow just a cloud of words,

the last time someone made the same bad decision and what it is costing us, then goes unknown to yet another generation of hey it have a new idea, “let’s just kill the 6 darkest of 12 tribes and spread the North Artic Race”, getting sunburn cancers in sandy soils and beaches every second of latitude closer toward the equator,

as all animal life in contact with the “North Artic system of values” immediately goes extinct if crushed stone is used.
Smooth Roads = Always brings Tail’ed by more Gun Owners for a Free Meal.

{in North Artic defense packed snow, inspired confidence in oblivion when compared to fresh powder grain snow. = Yet a powder surface for The True Twelve Tribes, of Foot Ballers who exercise on sandy beaches, just sort of boosts level of self confidence and strength in their abilities. causing enduring (ph)fisical improvement in them, rather than triggering, “i wish this was a packed surface” as North Artics instincts without a defined reason to them, lean toward pack pack pack it down.}

Sashank Reddy

The people of course. Thats a no brainer.

[Answer is a no-brainer]

John Tarin

Citizens……It would take great time and logistics to return men and machine to US soil. By that time the citizenry would have won. (tongue planted firmly in cheek)

[Timesoftrouble says — so much for BS and human education as head in the sand].

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