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Definition Assault, in military operations, refers to a coordinated attack on an enemy position, often with the objective of capturing a strategic point or territory. It typically involves the use of ground forces, aided by air and/or naval support, to engage and neutralize enemy defenses. The assault may consist of infantry, armored vehicles, and or […]


Assault, in military operations, refers to a coordinated attack on an enemy position, often with the objective of capturing a strategic point or territory. It typically involves the use of ground forces, aided by air and/or naval support, to engage and neutralize enemy defenses. The assault may consist of infantry, armored vehicles, and or special operations forces, working in unison to achieve their mission objective.

Key Takeaways

  1. Assault is a coordinated and concentrated attack carried out by armed forces with an objective to defeat the enemy, capture a position, or secure a target area.
  2. It typically involves the use of various tactics and strategies, such as infiltration, direct attack, and maneuvering, as well as the employment of different resources like infantry, armor, artillery, and air support.
  3. The element of surprise, speed, and close coordination between different units are crucial for a successful assault, as they help disrupt the enemy’s defenses and minimize the risk of friendly casualties.


The military operations term “assault” is important because it denotes a critical and aggressive phase in the execution of a mission, typically involving combat forces engaging the enemy in a coordinated and sustained attack.

In an assault, forces aim to neutralize enemy defenses, control strategic objectives, or seize territory, often with the ultimate goal of achieving a decisive victory or allowing for further operations.

This term carries weight because it signifies a higher level of intensity, coordination, and risk in comparison to other military operations or maneuvers.

Understanding the significance of an assault is crucial for military planners and commanders as it highlights the need for detailed planning, adequate resources, and effective execution to succeed under challenging and contested conditions.


Assault, in military operations, is a highly coordinated and planned offensive action designed to accomplish specific objectives, often involving the seizure and control of strategic or tactically significant locations. The primary purpose of an assault is to disrupt and destabilize enemy defenses, neutralize key threats, and regain or establish dominance in a contested area.

This can be achieved through the utilization of a combination of maneuver and firepower in a swift and decisive manner. This action is crucial in shaping the battlefield to favor the attacking force’s overall objectives and can create a ripple effect that significantly weakens the enemy’s defensive capabilities.

A well-executed assault hinges on a thorough understanding of the enemy’s composition, disposition, and intentions, as well as the ability to synchronize the various elements of combat power to create a single, unified assault force. This involves orchestrating the efforts of infantry, artillery, armor, air support, and special operations forces to exploit identified weaknesses in enemy defenses and apply overwhelming force at decisive points.

A successful assault accomplishes multiple aims, including reducing the enemy’s ability to resist, securing vital resources or infrastructure, and demoralizing the opponent through a show of superior tactics, technology, and determination. As such, assault operations are key components of a broader military campaign strategy and can dictate the overall outcome of conflict between opposing forces.

Examples of Assault

Operation Overlord (D-Day): One of the most famous military assaults in history was the invasion of Normandy by the Allied forces during World War II. On June 6, 1944, more than 150,000 American, British, and Canadian troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, in a massive amphibious assault. This operation marked the beginning of the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi control and played a vital role in the eventual defeat of Adolf Hitler’s regime.

The Battle of Inchon: During the Korean War, the Battle of Inchon in September 1950 was a key amphibious assault launched by United Nations forces, primarily led by the United States. General Douglas MacArthur orchestrated this bold and highly successful military operation, which aimed to recapture the South Korean capital of Seoul. The daring assault took the North Korean forces by surprise, and the swift capture of Inchon significantly turned the tide of the war in favor of the UN forces.

The Battle of Fallujah: In November 2004, the United States led a coalition force in a massive assault against the insurgency-held city of Fallujah, during the Iraq War. Codenamed Operation Phantom Fury or Al-Fajr, this massive urban assault involved heavy fighting, including house-to-house combat. After weeks of intense battles, coalition forces succeeded in restoring government control over Fallujah while dealing a significant blow to the insurgency in Iraq. This operation is considered one of the most intense and ferocious urban battles in recent military history.

Assault Military Operations FAQ

What is an assault in military operations?

An assault in military operations refers to a coordinated attack carried out by armed forces, with the aim of capturing or securing an objective, such as territory, strategic resources, or enemy personnel. To achieve this, military units are tactically deployed and engage in combat if necessary against enemy forces.

What are the types of assault operations?

There are two primary types of assault operations: deliberate assaults and hasty assaults. Deliberate assaults involve extensive planning, coordination, intelligence gathering, and troop movement before the operation is executed. Hasty assaults are carried out rapidly, often with little or no preparation, in order to exploit an opportunity or respond to an imminent threat.

What does a typical assault operation involve?

A typical assault operation involves several stages, including planning and preparation, movement to the objective, establishment of a perimeter, breaching of any obstacles, clearing the objective, and securing the objective. These stages may be executed in a linear or nonlinear fashion, depending on the specific operational requirements and context.

How is an assault different from a raid or an ambush?

An assault is focused on capturing or securing an objective and typically involves fighting the enemy forces directly. A raid is a more focused attack on a specific target that is usually of high strategic, operational, or tactical importance and is carried out without the intent to hold the ground. An ambush is a surprise attack that is usually conducted by a smaller force against a larger, moving enemy force, taking advantage of concealment and superior tactical positioning.

What are some key principles or considerations in planning an assault operation?

Key principles in planning an assault operation include surprise, speed, violence of action, security, and flexibility. Coordinating and synchronizing the efforts of multiple units, gathering accurate and timely intelligence, allocating sufficient resources, and choosing the right tactics and strategies are essential aspects of planning a successful assault operation.

Related Military Operation Terms

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  • Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC)
  • Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Care

Sources for More Information

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