History Main / CannonFodder

14th Sep '16 4:54:30 PM Mechamorph2
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** The use of cannon fodder as a delaying tactic is known as a "tarpit", especially in melee. Cheap, expendable troops like ripper swarms or conscripts remain locked in combat unless they fail a morale save or you kill the bloody lot of them. Give them Fearless or at least a good leadership score with an attached character and the latter becomes the only option. You can tie up a truly scary unit for almost the entire game with half its point value worth of cannon fodder.
28th Aug '16 11:04:22 AM Morgenthaler
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* [[RedsWithRockets Red Army staff officers]] sometimes referred to lost soldiers as "material" or "wastage". Euphemisms such as "how many pencils were broken today?" were common. This is actually something of a subversion: it was not simple callousness, but a coping strategy given the incomprehensibly massive casualties (twelve million dead and several million more crippled, more than every other combatant [including China] put together) the Soviets suffered in WWII. Given [[NazisWithGnarlyWeapons how much as been written about the "Red hordes" (most of it nonsense, based upon accounts by embittered ex-Wehrmacht personnel)]], this may come as a surprise to some.

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* [[RedsWithRockets [[UsefulNotes/RedsWithRockets Red Army staff officers]] sometimes referred to lost soldiers as "material" or "wastage". Euphemisms such as "how many pencils were broken today?" were common. This is actually something of a subversion: it was not simple callousness, but a coping strategy given the incomprehensibly massive casualties (twelve million dead and several million more crippled, more than every other combatant [including China] put together) the Soviets suffered in WWII. Given [[NazisWithGnarlyWeapons [[UsefulNotes/NazisWithGnarlyWeapons how much as been written about the "Red hordes" (most of it nonsense, based upon accounts by embittered ex-Wehrmacht personnel)]], this may come as a surprise to some.
16th Aug '16 10:50:05 AM htuttle
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* In the VideoGame/{{X-COM}} series, it is the default ''modus operandi'' of the alien force. The reason: the aliens are effectively countless, they can be easily bred and they have little to no survival instinct.
** XCOMEnemyUnknown subverts this: the less-equipped aliens are still cannon fodder, but they're strategically-placed cannon fodder. [[spoiler:The Etherial Faction, which rules over the other alien factions like a theocracy, is trying to find new forms of life, test and experiment on them, and determine their place in the hierarchy with the ultimate goal of finding a race that can surpass them - everyone in the hierarchy, Ethereals included, are considered failures by the Ethereals.]] You fight waves of Greys and Thin Men with ease in the beginning stages of the game [[spoiler:because the Ethereals are testing to see if your race can survive their weakest, most inept soldiers. If so, great; have some more technology and harder enemies to fight. If not, get ready to beg and grovel before your current foes as their new thralls.]]

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* In the VideoGame/{{X-COM}} VideoGame/{{XCOM}} series, it is the default ''modus operandi'' of the alien force. The reason: the aliens are effectively countless, they can be easily bred and they have little to no survival instinct.
** XCOMEnemyUnknown ''VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown'' subverts this: the less-equipped aliens are still cannon fodder, but they're strategically-placed cannon fodder. [[spoiler:The Etherial Faction, which rules over the other alien factions like a theocracy, is trying to find new forms of life, test and experiment on them, and determine their place in the hierarchy with the ultimate goal of finding a race that can surpass them - everyone in the hierarchy, Ethereals included, are considered failures by the Ethereals.]] You fight waves of Greys and Thin Men with ease in the beginning stages of the game [[spoiler:because the Ethereals are testing to see if your race can survive their weakest, most inept soldiers. If so, great; have some more technology and harder enemies to fight. If not, get ready to beg and grovel before your current foes as their new thralls.]]
15th Aug '16 2:08:00 PM DavidCowie
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* ''Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945'' (non fiction) by Max Hastings. Hastings discusses how individual soldiers vary widely in competence, and quotes a German officer who said that he would rather fight with 40 men than 200, as long as he could pick the 40. Hastings goes on to say that the 40 wouldn't last very long without the "cannon fodder" to distract enemy attention and soak up the bullets.

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* ''Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945'' (non fiction) by Max Hastings. Hastings discusses how individual soldiers vary widely in competence, and quotes a German an American officer who said that he would rather fight with 40 men than 200, as long as he could pick the 40. Hastings goes on to say that the 40 wouldn't last very long without the "cannon fodder" to distract enemy attention and soak up the bullets.
8th Aug '16 6:16:53 PM jormis29
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* WarhammerFantasy:

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* WarhammerFantasy:''TabletopGame/WarhammerFantasy'':



** Skaven units are this, given their culture. Skaven Slaves are this in the actual game, as you can fire into melees where only they and the enemy are, making them literal cannon fodder.

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** Skaven units are this, given their culture. [[BattleThralls Skaven Slaves Slaves]] are this in the actual game, as you can fire into melees where only they and the enemy are, making them literal cannon fodder.



* This is the role that mortals play in ''{{Exalted}}'', because their world just [[CrapsackWorld sucks that much]]. It's even codified in the rules: "extras" -- usually defined as anyone without an [[PowerLevels Essence rating]] -- have only three [[HitPoints health levels]] where everyone else has at least seven. A FanNickname for mortals in Exalted combat is "Ablative People Shields".

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* This is the role that mortals play in ''{{Exalted}}'', ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', because their world just [[CrapsackWorld sucks that much]]. It's even codified in the rules: "extras" -- usually defined as anyone without an [[PowerLevels Essence rating]] -- have only three [[HitPoints health levels]] where everyone else has at least seven. A FanNickname for mortals in Exalted combat is "Ablative People Shields".
4th Aug '16 5:09:37 AM UmbrellasWereAwesome
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* The soldiers of the Spartan III program from ''Literature/HaloGhostsOfOnyx'' are meant to be this. Their sole purpose is to take the suicide missions that are beyond the skill level of the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers but beneath the potential loss of the Spartan II's.

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* The soldiers of the Spartan III SPARTAN-III program from introduced in ''Literature/HaloGhostsOfOnyx'' are meant to be this. Their sole purpose is to take the suicide missions that are beyond the skill level of the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers but beneath the potential loss of the Spartan II's.[=Spartan-IIs=].



* In the ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' series, the Covenant military use the Grunts primarily as cannon fodder, giving them such glorious jobs as running across active minefields to clear the way for more elite troops. Their fighting skills are generally laughable at best, as their tactics are usually nothing more complex than taking potshots at the enemy and hoping it dies. They also tend to run away when their squad leader is killed. However, Grunts can also be surprisingly dangerous in large numbers; when the entire Grunt race rebelled against the Covenant, it took an Arbiter ordering a massive orbital bombardment of their homeworld to end their revolt. Additionally, some Grunts carry heavy weapons capable of instantly tearing the player apart, and the sticky grenades that all ranks love to throw make them a potential threat even when the player is in a heavy vehicle. They've also taken some levels in badass as the series progressed; from ''VideoGame/{{Halo 3}}'' onwards, Grunts can drive light vehicles and will sometimes attempt to suicide-bomb their foes instead of running away if things go south for them.

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* In the ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' series, the Covenant military use the Grunts primarily as cannon fodder, giving them such glorious jobs as running across active minefields to clear the way for more elite troops. Their fighting skills are generally laughable at best, as their tactics are usually nothing more complex than taking potshots at the enemy and hoping it dies. They also tend to run away when their squad leader is killed. However, Grunts can also be surprisingly dangerous in large numbers; when the entire Grunt race rebelled against the Covenant, it took an Arbiter ordering a massive orbital bombardment of their homeworld to end their revolt. Additionally, some Grunts carry heavy weapons capable of instantly tearing the player apart, and the sticky grenades that all ranks love to throw make them a potential threat even when the player is in a heavy vehicle. They've also taken some levels in badass as the series progressed; from ''VideoGame/{{Halo 3}}'' onwards, onward, Grunts can drive light vehicles and will sometimes attempt to suicide-bomb their foes instead of running away if things go south for them.them, and ''VideoGame/Halo5Guardians''[='s=] Firefight mode gives us Grunts with recharging energy shields and Grunts piloting superpowerful MiniMecha.
18th Jul '16 9:37:28 AM DavidCowie
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* ''Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945'' (non fiction) by Max Hastings. Hastings discusses how individual soldiers vary widely in competence, and quotes a German officer who said that he would rather fight with 40 men than 200, as long as he could pick the 40. Hastings goes on to say that the 40 wouldn't last very long without the "cannon fodder" to distract enemy attention and soak up the bullets.
1st Jun '16 3:07:51 PM sanfranman91
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* In ''[[Series/Roots2016 Roots (2016)]]'', slaves who tried to join the British Army become this during the American Revolution. Armed with only spears against the comparatively well-armed Continental Army, slaves who fight with the British are essentially being sent to be the first ones to die in battle. Needless to say, Kunta and Carlton [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere decide to escape]] when things go [[CurbStompBattle as well as the viewer expects]].
15th May '16 11:24:04 PM azul120
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[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* Anything fielded by Orcs or Goblins in ''any'' tabletop game, including tanks and HumongousMecha. Dem humies (stunties, skinnies) just rilly cawn't kil us ladz all, can dey?

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[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Anything fielded by Orcs or Goblins in ''any'' tabletop game, including tanks and HumongousMecha. Dem humies (stunties, skinnies) just rilly cawn't kil us ladz all, can dey? dey?



[[folder: Video Games ]]

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[[folder: Video Games ]][[folder:Video Games]]
15th May '16 11:21:18 PM azul120
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WeHaveReserves is a related trope but, as often as it happens to CannonFodder characters, it is different. WeHaveReserves is there to establish a military commander as a particular villain by having him give an inhumane order where it could have been avoided. CannonFodder has no other option but get killed and hope the reserves come in time. And yes, even the good guys employ CannonFodder in battle, as sad as it may be for them.

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WeHaveReserves is a related trope but, as often as it happens to CannonFodder Cannon Fodder characters, it is different. WeHaveReserves is there to establish a military commander as a particular villain by having him give an inhumane order where it could have been avoided. CannonFodder Cannon Fodder has no other option but get killed and hope the reserves come in time. And yes, even the good guys employ CannonFodder Cannon Fodder in battle, as sad as it may be for them.



{{Conscription}} is the TropeMaker for CannonFodder. If the commanding officer treats his troops like CannonFodder, it is WeHaveReserves.

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{{Conscription}} is the TropeMaker for CannonFodder. Cannon Fodder. If the commanding officer treats his troops like CannonFodder, Cannon Fodder, it is WeHaveReserves.



* The Cultists in ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar'' are actually referred to as CannonFodder by their own unit description.

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* The Cultists in ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar'' are actually referred to as CannonFodder Cannon Fodder by their own unit description.



** The initial wave of attacks during D-Day consisted of this almost exclusively. Several thousands of soldiers landed via boats at the beach and were simply ordered "run and take the hills". The purpose of this was a fairly literal invocation of CannonFodder, in that the soldiers were just there to take the bullets and keep the Nazis busy until they simply ran out of ammo. Estimates go that there were around 1000 Nazis dead, ten times as many as that died on the Allied side with 4,414 confirmed according to ''Wiki/{{Wikipedia}}''.

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** The initial wave of attacks during D-Day consisted of this almost exclusively. Several thousands of soldiers landed via boats at the beach and were simply ordered "run and take the hills". The purpose of this was a fairly literal invocation of CannonFodder, Cannon Fodder, in that the soldiers were just there to take the bullets and keep the Nazis busy until they simply ran out of ammo. Estimates go that there were around 1000 Nazis dead, ten times as many as that died on the Allied side with 4,414 confirmed according to ''Wiki/{{Wikipedia}}''.



** Napoleonic armies were raised by {{conscription}}, and any conscription armies tend likewise to be CannonFodder. Equipment and weapons are expensive, human life is cheap.

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** Napoleonic armies were raised by {{conscription}}, and any conscription armies tend likewise to be CannonFodder.Cannon Fodder. Equipment and weapons are expensive, human life is cheap.
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