A coup de main (French pronunciation: [ku mɛ̃], plural: coups de main, 'blow with the hand')[1][a] is a swift attack that relies on speed and surprise to accomplish its objectives in a single blow.

Definition edit

The United States Department of Defense defines it as "An offensive operation that capitalizes on surprise and simultaneous execution of supporting operations to achieve success in one swift stroke."[3]

The term coup de main originally meant "by direct assault rather than by artillery".[4]

Examples edit

The first airborne assault by the Allies in World War II, during the invasion of Normandy, on Pegasus Bridge, is sometimes referred to as Operation Coup de Main though the actual code name for the British airborne attack was Operation Tonga.[5][6]

Emory Upton used the tactic for the Union Army during the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse.[7]

During the Second Battle of Porto, Arthur Wellesley crossed the Douro in a coup de main attack upon the French forces of Marshal Soult.

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ In French, coup de main can also mean "a helping hand" (informal language)[2] or "know-how" by common usage[citation needed]

References edit

  1. ^ "coup de main". dictionary.com. Retrieved 10 January 2024.
  2. ^ "coup de main - English translation". Linguee. Retrieved 10 January 2024.
  3. ^ "Coup de Main". DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03.
  4. ^ Académie française (1765). Dictionnaire de l'Académie françoise. Chez les Libraires associés. p. 291.
  5. ^ Perry, Mike (9 December 2012). "Operation Tonga". SOFREP. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  6. ^ Fowler, Will (2010). Pegasus Bridge: Bénouville, D-Day 1944. Oxford: Osprey. ISBN 9781846038488.
  7. ^ White, Kristopher D. (9 January 2018). "Bloody Horror of Upton's Charge". American Battlefield Trust.

External links edit