A punitive expedition is a military campaign whose official aim is to punish the wrongdoing of the country to which it applies. This term is mostly used when taking action against colonies or annexed provinces, for example Caesar's Gaul campaigns were such punitive expeditions.
An example of a misdirected punitive expedition is the failure of the 7th US Cavalry against the Sioux and Cheyenne , led by George Armstrong Custer , which culminated in the defeat at Little Big Horn .
Further examples of a punitive expedition include a. the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900 with the legendary Huns speech by Kaiser Wilhelm II (quote: " Pardon will not be given! Prisoners will not be taken!"), the direct or indirect persecution and murder of large parts of the Herero and Nama ethnic groups in the former colony Deutsch-Südwest (today Namibia ) 1904 to 1908 during the uprising of the Herero and Nama as well as the suppression of the Russian Revolution in 1905 : Troop units and naval battalions were sent to the Baltic provinces of Estonia , Livonia and Courland to ensure that the leaders were punished quickly. In Siberia the tsarist generals Paul von Rennenkampff and Alexander Nikolajewitsch Möller-Sakomelski persecuted the rebels. In just a few months, more than 1,000 people were shot, many arrested and punished or exiled to Siberia, and around 300 farms were burned down.