10 Insanely Daring Air Raids in History

Air raids were one of the military strategies that were used to attack enemies using fighter planes which would drop bombs and blow buildings apart. This task was perhaps the most dangerous and terrifying mission during the times of war. However, many brave aviators risked their lives and conducted daring raids against insane odds. This post covers ten of the most daring raids to ever been conducted in history, the story behind the raids and the crews who flew the military planes.

10. The Cuxhaven Raid

The Cuxhaven Raid

On the Christmas day of 1914, the British Royal Navy conducted an air raid against the German fleet at Cuxhaven. This day, a Truce took place on parts of the Western Front, but it was by no means universal; many British and German sailors spent the day at sea fighting.

During the early stages of the war, the Germans had built giant airships called Zeppelins which had intimidated the British. They were fast than the fighter planes of that time and the Germans flew and roamed with them over the UK airspace unmolested. Also, the Germans had built large storage sheds for the Zeppelins, and they became impenetrable when the British attacked. With all these looming their mind, the British hatched a plan which involved using nine Royal Naval Air Service seaplanes to find and bomb the German airship shed near Cuxhaven.

On the day of the raid, the Harwich Force escorted three seaplane carriers (Engadine, Riviera, and Empress) to a position twelve miles due west of Heligoland, which was considered to be a suitable position to commence operations. While the fog, low cloud, and anti-aircraft fire prevented the raid from being a complete success, one of the British airplanes found the German fleet – and promptly flew off after the German warships opened up on it. The second airplane sighted and attacked a German destroyer while the third spotted the German cruisers Stralsund and Graudenz. Several German sites were attacked, and the British planes returned unmolested. The raid became a turning point to military tactics, and the British proved that shipborne air strikes were possible.


  • Ed DeLoach

    Please, Operation Vengence isn’t even mentioned? Those P38s had to take off, fly 400 miles, intercept a bomber that was landing at a specific time. They did so perfectly, and killed Admiral Yamamoto. That should be #1.

    • Kevin Mullet

      Probably the strike on Yamamoto didn’t seem as significant since they apparently didn’t know about Pearl Harbor.

      • ZweiSystem

        Or Taranto.

    • Adam Kelleher

      it should at least replace #3, that was an absolutely useless air raid, over 100 prisoners were killed. our own people.

    • Bill Staples

      There was no real impact by his death. The Japanese were already losing and being pushed back, and it wasn’t all that daring of a raid. That being said, they timed it perfectly…but that was it.

      • disqus_C67ZJ9pNj6

        actually this had a major impact on the Japanese, to kill their commander and national hero inside their secure territory affected the moral of the entire Japanese nation

  • Gregory Mead

    There are a lot of errors in this article. First of all, the article starts out by claiming that “air raids” are conducted by fighter aircraft, yet most every raid mentioned was carried out by either dedicated bombers (B-24s, B-25s, GM3s, Lancasters) or fighter-bombers (Mosquitos). The only fighters mentioned were Mystere IVa, F-15s, and F-16s.

    Next, there were a number of mistakes. The Doolittle raid was by 16 B-25s, each with several airmen aboard, not by “a group of sixteen men”. It’s “Ploesti”, not “Ploiesti”. There’s no discussion about WHY the Ploesti raid went so disastrously wrong – navigation errors, planning errors, intelligence errors, errors in execution.

    And leaving out the Midway attacks or the Marianas Turkey Shoot? Those were historic and

    • ZweiSystem

      Daring air raids.

  • Forrest Gumption

    “Operation Overload”??? Good grief, do you know what a proof reader is? These articles would be SO much more interesting if they were written by someone who actually spoke English.

    • Cliff Coburn

      I agree wholeheartedly!

  • jeffsalzberg

    Interesting stuff, which would be more interesting if someone had proofread it.

  • ZweiSystem

    The photo for the “Mosquito Raid on Berlin” is actually a De Haviland Hornet, a single seat fighter.

  • ZweiSystem

    Two major daring attacks not mentioned.

    1) The Japanese attack at Pearl harbour and
    2) The raid that spawned the attack, the British attack on the Italian fleet at Taranto, where 21 Fleet Air Arm Fairy Swordfish (torpedo caring biplanes) carried out a night attack against the Italian Fleet, which sank 1 battleship and heavily damaged 2 battleship.

    From all aspects, the British raid at Taranto, should be number 1; Pearl Harbour, number 2 and the Dambusters raid, number three.

  • ZweiSystem

    De Haviland Mosquito, with rockets and 4 – 20mm canons and 4- .030 machine guns. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/76b32e3fd42223a0f31c26ada5463164bf79d98dad1eec2f1c0ec527668050cb.jpg

  • ZweiSystem
  • Robert Sacchi

    The list seems UK centric. To take nothing away from any of the raids but 1/2 the raids were carried out by the British. The only “bad guy” raid was carried out against the Royal Navy.

  • Love how they failed to mention…
    The Pearl Harbor Raid
    The Sinking of the Yamato

    If we want to really loosen the definition of “daring”, we can include two single-bomber (and single-bomb) raids: Hiroshima and Nagasaki

  • Jeff Dawson

    I don’t know who wrote these pieces, but they need to go back to school. Nothing distracts from a good historical event that bad spelling and grammar!

  • pyotr

    They need an old fashioned English Major to proofread and edit their writing.

  • Hans Barsun

    the photo with #4 ain’t no Mosquito

  • thatpageguy

    Duh, how could this leave out Pearl Harbor, the most daring of all time? I agree with another poster that Taranto should have been included. The sinking of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse wasn’t daring at all, since they kind of blundered into Japanese controlled air space and the ships had absolutely no air cover.

  • Eric Anderson

    No mention of the black buck raids against the Argentinians in 1982?