Raiding on the Western Front

Raiding on the Western Front

Anthony Saunders

Publication date:
July 2012
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
No associated books available.


The trench raid came to typify the aggression and close-combat of trench warfare on the Western Front. Inevitably, raiding by aggressively minded units had a psychological effect on the enemy. Dominance over the enemy could be established by aggressive raiding. Equally, raiding had an effect on the morale of friendly troops but not always a positive one. Successful raids buoyed spirits but unsuccessful raids could be detrimental because of the casualties sustained for no gain and raiding provoked retaliation from enemy artillery or mortars or a tit-for-tat return raid.

Raids came to be the epitome of all-arms operations, combining individual weapons skills with tactical sense and requiring cooperation with artillery and mortar batteries for success. Yet, a raiding party was an ad hoc all-arms combat team put together and trained for a specific operation. In the early days of raiding, the raiders were always volunteers but the steady toll of experienced soldiers led to raiders being told off for the first task like any other.

This is the first book to look at how raids were carried out, the successes, the failures, the consequences of raiding, and their effect on morale and their contribution to military operations on the Western Front.