Coup de main

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A coup de main (plural: coups de main, French for blow with the hand[1][2]) is a swift attack that relies on speed and surprise to accomplish its objectives in a single blow. The United States Department of Defense defines it as:

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

The first Allied airborne assault in World War II, during the invasion of Normandy, on Pegasus Bridge, is an example of a "coup de main" operation, and is sometimes referred to as Operation Coup de Main though the actual code name for the British airborne attack was Operation Deadstick.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ coup de main on
  2. ^ In French, coup de main can also mean "a helping hand" (informal language), or "know-how".
  3. ^ Coup de Main, DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms
  4. ^ Dictionnaire de l'Académie françoise (1765)