World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Raid (military)


Raid (military)

British commandos watch as an ammunition dump burns during Operation Archery, Vågsøy 27 December 1941.
Battlespace Land, Air, Sea
Strategy Operational

Raid, also known as depredation, is a military tactic or operational warfare mission which has a specific purpose and is not normally intended to capture and hold terrain, but instead finish with the raiding force quickly retreating to a previous defended position prior to enemy forces being able to respond in a co-ordinated manner or formulate a counter-attack. Within the tactical mission, a raiding group may consist of combatants specially trained in this tactic, such as commandos, regular soldiers, militias, or guerrilla fighters.

The purposes of a raid may include:

  • to demoralize, confuse, or exhaust the enemy
  • to ransack or pillage a location
  • to obtain property or capture people
  • to destroy goods or other things with an economic value
  • to free POWs
  • to kill or capture specific people
  • to gather intelligence.


  • Land 1
    • Arabia during Muhammad's era 1.1
  • Seaborne 2
  • Air 3
    • Air landed 3.1
    • Aerial bombardment 3.2
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Sources 6


Among many tribal societies, raiding was the most common and lethal form of warfare. Taking place at night, the goal was to catch the enemy sleeping to avoid casualties to the raiding party.[1] Cattle raiding was a major feature of Irish society in the Iron Age and forms the central plot of the historical epic Táin Bó Cúailnge (English: Cattle Raid of Cooley).

Small scale raiding warfare was common in Western European warfare of the Middle Ages. Much of a professional soldiers' time could be spent in "little war", carrying out raids or defending against them.[2] Typical of this style of warfare was the mounted raid or chevauchée, popular during the Hundred Years War. Chevauchées varied in size from a few hundred men to armies of thousands, and could range in scope from attacks on nearby enemy areas to the devastation of whole regions, such as that carried out by the Black Prince in Southern France in 1355. This last is notable not just for its success and scope but the fact that the raiders deliberately captured records in order to carry out a post-operational analysis of the impact of the raid on the enemy economy.[3]

The largest raids in history were the series undertaken during and following the

  • Black, Robert W. (2004). Cavalry Raids of the Civil War. Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books. 
  • Chappell, Mike (1996). Army Commandos 1940–45. Elite Series # 64. London: Osprey Publishing.  
  • Crowley, Roger (2008). Empires of the Sea. London: Faber & Faber.  
  • Evans, Martin (2000). The Fall of France: Act With Daring. Botley, Oxford: Osprey Publishing.  
  • Gat, Azar (2006). War in Human Civilization. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 
  • Hanson, Neil (2003). The Confident Hope of a Miracle. London: Corgi.  
  • Longmate, Norman (1990). Defending the Island. London: Grafton.  
  • Simpkin, Richard; Erickson, John (1987). Deep Battle: The Brainchild of Marshal Tukhachevskii. London: Brassey's Defence Publishers. 
  • Smith, Kevin (2012). "Operation Opossum: The Raiding Party to Rescue the Sultan of Ternate, 1945". Sabretache 53 (4, Dec): 48–54.  
  • Thompson, Leroy (1989). British Paratroops in Action. Combat Troops Number 9. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications.  


  1. ^ Gat (2006)
  2. ^ Rogers (2007), Chapter 7 Little War
  3. ^ Rogers (2000), pp. 304–324
  4. ^ Black (2004)
  5. ^ Simpkin and Erickson (1987), p. 72
  6. ^ Mubarakpuri, Saifur Rahman Al (2005), The sealed nectar: biography of the Noble Prophet, Darussalam Publications, p. 245,  
  7. ^ Muḥammad Ibn ʻAbd al-Wahhāb, Mukhtaṣar zād al-maʻād, p. 346.
  8. ^ Muḥammad Ibn ʻAbd al-Wahhāb, Mukhtaṣar zād al-maʻād, p. 346.
  9. ^ Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar, pp.128-131. (online)
  10. ^ a b Strauch, Sameh (2006), Biography of the Prophet, Darussalam Publications, p. 472,  
  11. ^ Hawarey, Dr. Mosab (2010). The Journey of Prophecy; Days of Peace and War (Arabic). Islamic Book Trust.  Note: Book contains a list of battles of Muhammad in Arabic, English translation available here
  12. ^ Abū Khalīl, Shawqī (2003). Atlas of the Quran. Dar-us-Salam. p. 242.  (online)
  13. ^ Tabari, Al (2008), The foundation of the community, State University of New York Press, p. 119,  
  14. ^ Mubarakpuri, Saifur Rahman Al (2005), The Sealed Nectar, Darussalam Publications, p. 205 
  15. ^ Griffith (1995), Chapter 4 The Viking Notion of Strategy
  16. ^ Longmate (1990), pp. 314–382
  17. ^ Crowley (2008), Chapter 6 The Turkish Sea
  18. ^ Hanson (2003), pp. 111–122
  19. ^ Chappell (1996), pp. 5 & 13
  20. ^ Smith (2012), pp. 48–54
  21. ^ Chappell (1996), pp. 19–26
  22. ^ Evans (2000), p. 42
  23. ^ Thompson (1989), pp. 11 & 18


See also

The Royal Air Force first used the term "raid" in the Second World War when referring to an air attack. It included those by one aircraft or many squadrons, against all manner of targets on the ground and the targets defending aircraft. "Raid" was different from "battle", which was used for land, sea, or amphibious conflict. An aircraft "raid" was always planned ahead of time. Aircraft patrols (against U-Boats) and defensive launches of carrier aircraft (against recently detected enemy ships) are differentiated from raids.

Aerial bombardment

Paratroopers and glider-borne troops have been landed by aircraft on raids, including offensive counter-air missions such as those carried out by the Teishin Shudan and Giretsu Kuteitai commandos. In the modern era, the helicopter, allowing for both insertion and extraction, offers a superior method of raid transportation, although it comes at the cost of noise. During the Second World War, several air-landed raids were undertaken, including the German glider-borne raid on Fort Eben-Emal in Belgium in 1940,[22] and the British Operation Colossus and Operation Biting, which were raids in Italy and France in 1941 and 1942.[23]

Air landed


During the Second World War, the British set up the raids against the Germans in Europe. The first operation conducted by a "commando" formation, known as Operation Ambassador, took place in July 1940, but it was a small-scale operation that resulted in negligible success. The next major raid was Operation Claymore, which was launched in March 1941 against the Lofoten Islands.[19] Throughout the war there were many other operations of varied size, ranging from small scale operations like those undertaken by Z Special Unit against the Japanese in the Pacific, such as Project Opossum,[20] to Operation Chariot – a raid on Saint-Nazaire – and the Dieppe Raid, which was a large scale raid employing about 6,000 soldiers, over 200 ships and 74 squadrons of aircraft intended to take and hold Dieppe sufficiently to cause sufficient destruction to the port.[21]

In the early Middle Ages, Viking raiders from Scandinavia attacked the British isles, France and Spain, attacking coastal and riverside targets. Much Viking raiding was carried out as a private initiative with a few ships, usually to gain loot, but much larger fleets were also involved, often as intent on extorting protection money (English: Danegeld) as looting and pillaging.[15] Raiding did not cease with the decline of the Viking threat in the 11th century. It remained a common element of the medieval naval warfare. Extensive naval raiding was carried out by all sides during the Hundred Years War, often involving privateers such as John Hawley of Dartmouth or the Castilian Pero Niño.[16] In the Mediterranean, raiding using oared galleys was common throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance and was particularly a feature of the wars between the Christian powers and the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century.[17] Raiding formed a major component of English naval strategy in the Elizabethan era, with attacks on the Spanish possessions in the New World. A major raid on Cadiz to destroy shipping being assembled for the Spanish Armada was carried out by Sir Francis Drake in 1587.[18]

Raiding by sea was known at the time of the Pharaohs, when the shipborne forces of the Sea Peoples caused serious disruption to the economies of the eastern Mediterranean.


In August 627 [11][12][13] he ordered the First Raid on Banu Thalabah, the Banu Thalabah tribe were already aware of the impending attack; so they lay in wait for the Muslims, and when Muhammad ibn Maslamah arrived at the site.The Banu Thalabah, with 100 men ambushed them, while the Muslims were making preparation to sleep; and after a brief resistance killed all of Muhammad ibn Maslama’s men. Muhammad ibn Maslama pretended to be dead. A Muslim who happened to pass that way found him and assisted him to return to Medina. The raid was unsuccessful.[14]

The Islamic Prophet Muhammad made frequent use of raiding tactics. His first use of raids was during the Caravan raids, and his first successful raid was the Nakhla raid. In January 624[6] Muhammad ordered this raid to attack a Quraysh caravan and gather information[7][8] [9] During the Invasion of Thi Amr he ordered a raid on the Banu Muharib and Banu Talabah tribes after he received intelligence that they were allegedly going to raid the outskirts of Medina[10] 1 person was captured by Muslims during this raid.[10]

Arabia during Muhammad's era

In the operational level of war, raids were the precursors in the development of the Operational Manoeuvre Groups in the Soviet Army as early as the 1930s.[5]

raids behind enemy lines that have taken place throughout all periods of history. small group and numerous examples of [4]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.