Raid (military)

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A raid in the military sense is a tactical measure aimed at surprisingly attacking an enemy who is in a state of calm and whom one has to get closer to. It differs from ambush in that the attack is made from a hidden position against a moving enemy. For both, however, speed, information and secrecy or deception are important requirements. Due to the element of surprise , the victim is unprepared and incapable of an orderly defense.

Both measures are typical features of the Little War , in which they are mainly used by smaller troop divisions. Until the First World War (1914-1918), mainly cavalry units were used. With this type of warfare great tactical successes could seldom be achieved, but with longer duration they could weaken the enemy. Only on a few occasions did larger troop divisions attack the camps of entire armies, for example in the Battle of Herbsthausen (1645), the Battle of Hochkirch (1758), the Battle of Trenton (1776), the Battle of Chancellorsville (1863) and the battle at Beaumont (1870). Raids usually took place shortly before daybreak in order to maintain the element of surprise and still be able to take advantage of the daylight soon.

The concept of the attack experienced a certain specialization in the " fortress war ". Here he described the violent takeover of a fortress or part of it.


  • Bernhard von Poten (Ed.): Handbook of the entire military sciences. 9 volumes, Verlag von Velhagen and Klasing, Bielefeld and Leipzig 1877–80.