The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
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A raid is a sudden attack on an enemy position that relies on shock and surprise for success and which is not usually expected to permanently seize the position. The term was most commonly applied to air strikes and to commando-style operations by special forces, but it was also applied to carrier strikes deep in enemy waters, such as the Pearl Harbor attack, the Indian Ocean raid of 1942, or Halsey's raid into the South China Sea in early 1945.
The purpose of a raid is usually to destroy enemy facilities or matériel, to gather intelligence, or simply to keep the enemy off balance. A notable exception was the Army Ranger raid on Canabatuan, which had no other purpose than rescuing prisoners of war who were in danger of being executed. Because raids often take place deep in enemy territory, there is an unusually great risk of the raiding force being cut off or annihilated. Most of the major powers quickly learned that bombers could not make deep penetration raids without adequate fighter escort without risking catastrophic losses. The Marine Raider raid on Makin also came close to catastrophe when heavy surf made it difficult for the Raiders to get back to their submarine.
The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia © 2011, 2013 by Kent G. Budge. Index
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