September 01, 2019

Not raids

For a raid to be a raid, three conditions must be fulfilled:
  • There is an (attempted) surprise attack
  • The force goes to a hostile location and tries to fulfill its mission
  • The force withdraws when the mission is complete

So these operations - however admirable or heroic - are not raids: 
  • Battle of Tulagi and Gavutu–Tanambogo, August 1942.  Although the capture of Tulagi by the U.S. Marine Corps had raid-like elements, they did not withdraw after their victory, instead occupying Tulagi and turning it into a key strongpoint for U.S. naval forces in the Guadalcanal campaign.

  • Carlson's Patrol, Guadalcanal, November-December 1942.  This famous march of 150 miles, which included a dozen or so battles and skirmishes, was more a pursuit or reconnaissance in force.  There was sustained contact with hostile forces, and, apart from harassing and defeating the enemy where possible, no concrete objective.  

  • The Rangers take Zerf, February 1945.  There are some similarities to the Tatsinskaya raid in the sense that the Rangers were tasked to conduct 'deep operations' in German-controlled territory.  And, as at Tatsinkaya, the objective was to deny supplies to an enemy force - in this case German troops in Zerf, a town on the western German frontier.  The Rangers did so, and although they were told they would be relieved in 48 hours, a change of plan meant it actually took nine days.  Their service was heroic, but their operation was never conceived as anything other than the permanent capture of territory in support of offensive not a raid.
Not saying it was easy



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