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Relief is a special combat action to a city , castle , fort or included troops from the outside of the enclosure to liberate and thereby gain their freedom again. It is therefore to be distinguished from the reinforcement , which supplies forces inwards without acting directly from outside. The term is derived from the Middle High German word “horror” and means, in addition to “liberate”, also “depose” and “fear”.

Purpose and process

Relief can be useful from a military point of view if the context of the conduct of the operation is endangered by the inclusion of partial forces or if trapped troops cannot free themselves on their own. The besiegers should be compelled by the action of an army coming from outside to give up the planned or ongoing enclosure of a place and the attack on it.

Preparing for a successful relief includes taking logistical considerations and measures with regard to the trapped troops into account . Depending on the intended purpose of the relief attack (establishing the context of the overall operation or freeing the trapped forces), arrangements should be made for a possible failure of the trapped parts and for the subordination of the relief forces to the (formerly) trapped forces or vice versa.

Trapped troops are usually shocked by an attack . Relief attacks should be coordinated with the actions of the besieged , trapped troops. But that was often not possible in the absence of communication. In earlier times a messenger often had to sneak through the siege ring to request relief, which for security reasons often took place at night to deliver the call for help to friendly powers. A relief army (also relief army , French Armée de secours ), d. H. an auxiliary army ( military formation ).


In July 1634, an attempt at relief by the city ​​of Regensburg, which was occupied by the Swedes during the Thirty Years' War and besieged by an imperial army , failed due to a Swedish army brought in from Württemberg in many day's marches . The threatened situation of the city because of the running out of powder supplies was not sufficiently known to the troops brought in, so that the approach took two days too long.

A successful relief battle was the relief of Vienna as part of the Second Turkish Siege of Vienna on September 12, 1683 against the Turks .

The attempt at relief by the Imperial Russian Navy against Japan during the siege of Port Arthur in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904/1905 remained unsuccessful .

In World War II failed in December 1942 under the code name " Operation Winter Storm " well-known relief attack of the 4th Panzer Army (called at that time, "Army Group Hoth") for in Stalingrad included German 6th Army (see Battle of Stalingrad ).

Further examples:

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: Relief  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Jean-Jacques Langendorf : Strategy and Conflict Research : Waging War: Antoine-Henri Jomini. Vdf Hochschulverlag 2008, ISBN 3-7281-3168-7 , p. 347.