History Main / GeneralFailure

16th Oct '17 11:11:40 PM OgreProdigy
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* ''Literature/{{Flashman}}'' runs into a lot of these over the course of the series, given that his career puts him at [[BeenThereShapedHistory almost every interesting event in the Victorian era]]. His description of his first commander, William Elphinstone (portrayed in the book as actually senile), provides the current page quote.
15th Oct '17 3:58:41 AM MCanter89
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This trope does not happen too much in RealLife. Really incompetent officers usually never even graduate from the military academy: incompetent officers mostly don't tend to get promoted past Captain (Lieutenant in the Navy) level. Most real life officers appearing as General Failures are simply unlucky ones (and conversely many military "geniuses" just got lucky and afterwards announced IMeantToDoThat). In the mid-19th Century there was (more room for) nepotism and military ranks and jobs had to be bought and were only available to people of the right class/social standing. But even in the 1850s there were limits to how much incompentence a military establishment would tolerate before you got demoted, some of the people dying under your command saw to it [[UnfriendlyFire you got hit by a stray bullet]], or you and your remaining troops were captured by a foe with more competent leaders. [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgement But there have been some truly notable exceptions]].

[[noreallife]]

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This trope does not happen too much in RealLife. Really incompetent officers usually never even graduate from the military academy: incompetent officers mostly don't tend to get promoted past Captain (Lieutenant in the Navy) level. Most real life officers appearing as General Failures are simply unlucky ones (and conversely many military "geniuses" just got lucky and afterwards announced IMeantToDoThat). In the mid-19th Century there was (more room for) nepotism and military ranks and jobs had to be bought and were only available to people of the right class/social standing. But even in the 1850s there were limits to how much incompentence incompetence a military establishment would tolerate before you got demoted, some of the people dying under your command saw to it [[UnfriendlyFire you got hit by a stray bullet]], or you and your remaining troops were captured by a foe with more competent leaders. [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgement But there have been some truly notable exceptions]].

[[noreallife]]
exceptions]].

Administrivia/NoRealLifeExamplesPlease



* [[TheNecromancer Kabuto Yakushi]] of ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' has shown to be a General Failure throughout the WarArc. [[spoiler:Edo Tensei who should have ''steamrolled'' the opposition, such as Deidara or Sasori, are sacrificed extremely early on for stupid reasons and there isn't even a proper attempt in the manga to free Deidara after he's been captured. Sasori, despite being resurrected isn't even given his second scroll of puppets to fight with thus robbing him of his poison and his entire arsenal. Kinkaku and Ginkaku are sealed as well-given them their personalities was the worst choice that Kabuto could have done since they worked-as Kinkaku demonstrated, far better as pseudo-Jinchuriki berserkers. Nagato and Hanzo the Salamander, perhaps his second and third/fourth most powerful Edo Tensei are sealed-the former given a pathetic performance since Kabuto doesn't even give him his normal field of vision. And Hanzo is foolishly set against the [[SamuraiInNinjaTown samurai leader Mifune]], one of the few people Hanzo recognized as a WorthyOpponent in life...the problem being that Hanzo's skills have declined since their epic battle, while Mifune's have improved and his entire fighting style is the perfect counter to Hanzo. And despite having ''four Kages'', he loses all four consecutively. The only times when he plays it smart are with Zabuza and Haku, as well as [[GreaterScopeVillain Madara Uchiha]] which actually scores some wins.]]

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* [[TheNecromancer Kabuto Yakushi]] of ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' has shown to be a General Failure throughout the WarArc. [[spoiler:Edo Tensei who should have ''steamrolled'' the opposition, such as Deidara or Sasori, are sacrificed extremely early on for stupid reasons and there isn't even a proper attempt in the manga to free Deidara after he's been captured. Sasori, despite being resurrected isn't even given his second scroll of puppets to fight with thus robbing him of his poison and his entire arsenal. Kinkaku and Ginkaku are sealed as well-given them their personalities was the worst choice that Kabuto could have done since they worked-as Kinkaku demonstrated, far better as pseudo-Jinchuriki berserkers. Nagato and Hanzo the Salamander, perhaps his second and third/fourth most powerful Edo Tensei are sealed-the former given a pathetic performance since Kabuto doesn't even give him his normal field of vision. And Hanzo is foolishly set against the [[SamuraiInNinjaTown samurai leader Mifune]], one of the few people Hanzo recognized as a WorthyOpponent in life... the problem being that Hanzo's skills have declined since their epic battle, while Mifune's have improved and his entire fighting style is the perfect counter to Hanzo. And despite having ''four Kages'', he loses all four consecutively. The only times when he plays it smart are with Zabuza and Haku, as well as [[GreaterScopeVillain Madara Uchiha]] which actually scores some wins.]]wins]].



** And the worst offender has to be L.T. Colonel Safida: the guy couldn't even put together a shopping list if his life depended on it, with his overworked and unthanked top subordinate keeping the regiment together. He orders pointless and cruel attacks on the native population, and when they rightfully rebel, he gets several battalions of his army killed by ignoring environmental conditions (like mountain sickness). [[spoiler:Thankfully he's court-martialed and executed for his war crimes]].

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** And the worst offender has to be L.T. Colonel Safida: the guy couldn't even put together a shopping list if his life depended on it, with his overworked and unthanked top subordinate keeping the regiment together. He orders pointless and cruel attacks on the native population, and when they rightfully rebel, he gets several battalions of his army killed by ignoring environmental conditions (like mountain sickness). [[spoiler:Thankfully [[spoiler:Thankfully, he's court-martialed and executed for his war crimes]].crimes.]]



** Gets even WORSE in ''ComicBook/ThePunisherMax'', with the over-arching BiggerBad being a group of General Failure's who have ''never seen any real combat'', having ascendent through the ranks entirerly through mundane service. By the time the comic takes place, the Generals end up opposing Frank Castle for the sole purpose of saving their own asses from the massively bad decisions they've made throughout their careers. There's even a scene where Nick Fury whips the head general half to death with his belt for his stupdity during one military operation. The entire group is eventually slaughtered by Castle.

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** Gets even WORSE in ''ComicBook/ThePunisherMax'', with the over-arching overarching BiggerBad being a group of General Failure's who have ''never seen any real combat'', having ascendent through the ranks entirerly entirely through mundane service. By the time the comic takes place, the Generals end up opposing Frank Castle for the sole purpose of saving their own asses from the massively bad decisions they've made throughout their careers. There's even a scene where Nick Fury whips the head general half to death with his belt for his stupdity stupidity during one military operation. The entire group is eventually slaughtered by Castle.



* Though no specific generals are pointed out, this is the general message in ''Film/IronEagle'', where the protagonist (Doug Masters) has to steal an F-16 from the Air Force to save his dad because the government won't do anything about Doug's dad being held by an un-named Arab country somewhere in "the Med."

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* Though no specific generals are pointed out, this is the general message in ''Film/IronEagle'', where the protagonist (Doug Masters) has to steal an F-16 from the Air Force to save his dad because the government won't do anything about Doug's dad being held by an un-named unnamed Arab country somewhere in "the Med."



** Purposely [[AvertedTrope averted]] by the bizarre Helmacrons. To ensure that their leaders never fail, all are killed before being promoted to avoid having to execute them for making a mistake.
* ''Literature/HonorHarrington'': Most of Solarian League Navy's brass falls under this trope. Many of them only hold high rank due to high-level connections (either as members of naval "dynasties" or through family ties to major defense/industrial contractors), and are arrogant enough to believe that, despite the League having had no major combat experience in ''centuries'', that they know everything there is to know about fighting a space war. Haven and Manticore originally had more than a few failures at flag rank levels, but the decades-long war weeded most of them out in a quite Darwinian fashion. What incompetent Havenite admirals didn't die in combat often died at the hands of StateSec [[YouHaveFailedMe for having failed to carry out their orders successfully]], and the StateSec-friendly brand of incompetents then got weeded out in the Havenite Civil War.

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** Purposely [[AvertedTrope averted]] {{averted|Trope}} by the bizarre Helmacrons. To ensure that their leaders never fail, all are killed before being promoted to avoid having to execute them for making a mistake.
* ''Literature/HonorHarrington'': Most of Solarian League Navy's brass falls under this trope. Many of them only hold high rank due to high-level connections (either as members of naval "dynasties" or through family ties to major defense/industrial contractors), and are arrogant enough to believe that, despite the League having had no major combat experience in ''centuries'', that they know everything there is to know about fighting a space war. Haven and Manticore originally had more than a few failures at flag rank levels, but the decades-long war weeded most of them out in a quite Darwinian fashion. What incompetent Havenite admirals didn't die in combat often died at the hands of StateSec [[YouHaveFailedMe for having failed to carry out their orders successfully]], and the StateSec-friendly StateSec–friendly brand of incompetents then got weeded out in the Havenite Civil War.



* ''StarWars'' [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Expanded Universe]]
** ''Literature/JediAcademyTrilogy'': Admiral Daala is [[InformedAbility described]] as a tactical and strategic prodigy, yet her attempts to strike back at the New Republic were easily foiled. It is debatable, whether this was caused by poor planning and disorganization, or by good guys having Suncrusher-grade plot armor when written by her creator, infamous K.J. Anderson. Her only lasting achievement was acknowledging her own failures and uniting the remaining Imperial forces under a single leader rather than a group of [[EnemyCivilWar feuding]] [[GloriousLeader warlords]], which in fairness did lead to the Imperial Remnant getting behind her co-conspirator, the very awesome [[Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy Pellaeon]], and she may [[RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap have gotten better by]] ''Literature/LegacyOfTheForce''. Other books offer an array of explanations for Daala's failures - it's mentioned that she excelled at ''infantry'' tactics, while her war against the New Republic was waged by fleet. ''Literature/DeathStar'' offers a {{Retcon}} suggesting that she suffered brain damage at some point, while there's a long-standing rumor that she earned her rank at least partially by being Grand Moff Tarkin's lover (true or not, it's unwise to mention this in Tarkin's presence; the last guy who did got ThrownOutTheAirlock with his spacesuit's comlink on so everyone could listen to how sorry he was as his orbit decayed). Another problem is that Daala worships Tarkin to a massive degree, resulting in her using his tactics despite the fact that the New Republic is already very experienced in dealing with those tactics as well as following his philosophy despite how it backfired on the Empire leading to it's dissolution in the first place.
** ''Comicbook/XWingSeries'': Ysanne Isard, aka Iceheart, provides a rare [[JustifiedTrope justified example]]. As head of Imperial Intelligence she was a terrifying, {{manipulative|Bastard}} [[TheSpymaster spymaster]] who broke captives down into {{Manchurian Agent}}s and [[KlingonPromotion murdered her way]] into becoming a major power behind the throne. But when she tried her hand at running a war, her WeHaveReserves mentality (with an astonishing degree of YouHaveFailedMe) didn't work so well, especially after she started putting more emphasis on [[RevengeBeforeReason getting revenge against Rogue Squadron than the war's ultimate success]]. The result was a VillainousBreakdown along with MotiveDecay that even Isard could see, while her empire fell apart as her underlings abandoned her. One defecting admiral even called Isard out with a lengthy TheReasonYouSuckSpeech.

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* ''StarWars'' [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Expanded Universe]]
Universe]]:
** ''Literature/JediAcademyTrilogy'': Admiral Daala is [[InformedAbility described]] as a tactical and strategic prodigy, yet her attempts to strike back at the New Republic were easily foiled. It is debatable, whether this was caused by poor planning and disorganization, or by good guys having Suncrusher-grade plot armor when written by her creator, infamous K.J. Anderson. Her only lasting achievement was acknowledging her own failures and uniting the remaining Imperial forces under a single leader rather than a group of [[EnemyCivilWar feuding]] [[GloriousLeader warlords]], which in fairness did lead to the Imperial Remnant getting behind her co-conspirator, the very awesome [[Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy Pellaeon]], and she may [[RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap have gotten better by]] ''Literature/LegacyOfTheForce''. Other books offer an array of explanations for Daala's failures - it's mentioned that she excelled at ''infantry'' tactics, while her war against the New Republic was waged by fleet. ''Literature/DeathStar'' offers a {{Retcon}} {{retcon}} suggesting that she suffered brain damage at some point, while there's a long-standing rumor that she earned her rank at least partially by being Grand Moff Tarkin's lover (true or not, it's unwise to mention this in Tarkin's presence; the last guy who did got ThrownOutTheAirlock with his spacesuit's comlink on so everyone could listen to how sorry he was as his orbit decayed). Another problem is that Daala worships Tarkin to a massive degree, resulting in her using his tactics despite the fact that the New Republic is already very experienced in dealing with those tactics as well as following his philosophy despite how it backfired on the Empire leading to it's dissolution in the first place.
place.
** ''Comicbook/XWingSeries'': Ysanne Isard, aka Iceheart, provides a rare [[JustifiedTrope justified example]]. As head of Imperial Intelligence she was a terrifying, {{manipulative|Bastard}} [[TheSpymaster spymaster]] who broke captives down into {{Manchurian Agent}}s and [[KlingonPromotion murdered her way]] into becoming a major power behind the throne. But when she tried her hand at running a war, her WeHaveReserves mentality (with an astonishing degree of YouHaveFailedMe) didn't work so well, especially after she started putting more emphasis on [[RevengeBeforeReason getting revenge against Rogue Squadron than the war's ultimate success]]. The result was a VillainousBreakdown along with MotiveDecay that even Isard could see, while her empire fell apart as her underlings abandoned her. One defecting admiral even called Isard out with a lengthy TheReasonYouSuckSpeech.



** The military commanders of Yunkai appear to be this universally, so used to fighting mock battles and paying real enemies to go away that they have no idea how to conduct a campaign. They dress their soldiers in ridiculous, impractical armor, and were nearly routed by untrained ex-slaves led by a [[ElCidPloy corpse strapped to horse.]]

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** The military commanders of Yunkai appear to be this universally, so used to fighting mock battles and paying real enemies to go away that they have no idea how to conduct a campaign. They dress their soldiers in ridiculous, impractical armor, and were nearly routed by untrained ex-slaves led by a [[ElCidPloy corpse strapped to horse.]]horse]].



* It's a near RunningGag in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' series that High Lord Weiramon thinks a good cavalry charge will solve any problem, and if left to his own devices will get most of his forces killed while 'heroically' surviving himself and remaining enthusiastic for the next battle. Eventually Rand resorts to sending him on missions that he wants to fail. In the end of the series his antics prove a subversion: [[spoiler: he's actually [[TheMole a darkfriend]] and has been deliberately trying to sabotage Rand's military efforts]].
* In ''Literature/StarksWar'', the army's officer corps contains almost nothing but. There ''are'' good officers, but they end up sidelined — it's the ones who focus on political games and sucking up to their superiors who are rewarded, not the ones who actually do their jobs. And since officers rotate through positions so quickly (and can jump ship to cushy jobs with a MegaCorp if need be), they're never held to account for failure.
* ''Literature/CityOfLight'': Commander Vairnath, chosen by the priests to lead Raine's side in the civil war, has a habit of suicidal attacks and other ill-advised tactics. [[spoiler: Arvis killing him is the best thing that could happen to their side.]]

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* It's a near RunningGag in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' series that High Lord Weiramon thinks a good cavalry charge will solve any problem, and if left to his own devices will get most of his forces killed while 'heroically' surviving himself and remaining enthusiastic for the next battle. Eventually Rand resorts to sending him on missions that he wants to fail. In the end of the series his antics prove a subversion: [[spoiler: he's [[spoiler:he's actually [[TheMole a darkfriend]] and has been deliberately trying to sabotage Rand's military efforts]].
* In ''Literature/StarksWar'', the army's officer corps contains almost nothing but. There ''are'' good officers, but they end up sidelined it's the ones who focus on political games and sucking up to their superiors who are rewarded, not the ones who actually do their jobs. And since officers rotate through positions so quickly (and can jump ship to cushy jobs with a MegaCorp if need be), they're never held to account for failure.
* ''Literature/CityOfLight'': Commander Vairnath, chosen by the priests to lead Raine's side in the civil war, has a habit of suicidal attacks and other ill-advised tactics. [[spoiler: Arvis [[spoiler:Arvis killing him is the best thing that could happen to their side.]]



** Colonel Flagg. Not exactly a "villain," but a certainly an "antagonist" who always fails in his "intelligence" missions. His first appearance has him break his own arm so he can infiltrate the 4077th - a hospital unit with no intelligence issues to be found. He mentions later on that even ''he'' doesn't know what the truth is (so nobody can get it out of him), because he's so paranoid that he keeps himself in a state of total confusion.

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** Colonel Flagg. Not exactly a "villain," but a certainly an "antagonist" who always fails in his "intelligence" missions. His first appearance has him break his own arm so he can infiltrate the 4077th - a hospital unit with no intelligence issues to be found. He mentions later on that even ''he'' doesn't know what the truth is (so nobody can get it out of him), because he's so paranoid that he keeps himself in a state of total confusion.



*** [[FridgeLogic Fridge Logic]] occurs when you realize that the only reason the PDF is worse, is because the Imperial Guard took all the competent commanders and soldiers, since its common knowledge that sending a sub-par tithe of men or materials will get the Imperial Governor a [[StateSec visit from the Adeptes Arbites.]]
*** The prime example of this was Herman von Strab, Overlord of the planet of Armageddon. An UnexpectedSuccessor after the [[TheCoronerDothProtestTooMuch mysterious deaths]] of his brothers and father, Strab was the main reason the Second War for Armageddon was as destructive as it ended up being. His primary strategies included ignoring the massive Ork ship overhead and every single portent foretelling disaster, refusing to inform the rest of the Imperium so he could handle the Orks himself, banishing [[FourStarBadass Commissar Yarrick]] when he did, breaking up his forces and sending them in bite-sized chunks against a foe who outnumbered them considerably, proclaiming that the Orks couldn't get through Armageddon's jungle [[TemptingFate (which they did in two days)]], sending in a [[HumongousMecha Titan Legion]] with absolutely no combined-arms support, and pinning all his hopes on a bunch of ancient {{Doomsday Device}}s that turned out to be centuries past their expiration date. End result: Ork Waaagh in full "[[ZergRush green tide]]" mode, Ghazghkull in control of most of the planet, Armageddon's defenses in ruins, the Iron Skulls Titan Legion wiped out to a man, and the responsibility of saving Armageddon now in the hands of Yarrick and the Space Marines. The rest is history.

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*** [[FridgeLogic Fridge Logic]] FridgeLogic occurs when you realize that the only reason the PDF is worse, is because the Imperial Guard took all the competent commanders and soldiers, since its it's common knowledge that sending a sub-par tithe of men or materials will get the Imperial Governor a [[StateSec visit from the Adeptes Arbites.]]
Arbites]].
*** The prime example of this was Herman von Strab, Overlord of the planet of Armageddon. An UnexpectedSuccessor after the [[TheCoronerDothProtestTooMuch mysterious deaths]] of his brothers and father, Strab was the main reason the Second War for Armageddon was as destructive as it ended up being. His primary strategies included ignoring the massive Ork ship overhead and every single portent foretelling disaster, refusing to inform the rest of the Imperium so he could handle the Orks himself, banishing [[FourStarBadass Commissar Yarrick]] when he did, breaking up his forces and sending them in bite-sized chunks against a foe who outnumbered them considerably, proclaiming that the Orks couldn't get through Armageddon's jungle [[TemptingFate (which ([[TemptingFate which they did in two days)]], days]]), sending in a [[HumongousMecha Titan Legion]] with absolutely no combined-arms support, and pinning all his hopes on a bunch of ancient {{Doomsday Device}}s that turned out to be centuries past their expiration date. End result: Ork Waaagh in full "[[ZergRush green tide]]" mode, Ghazghkull in control of most of the planet, Armageddon's defenses in ruins, the Iron Skulls Titan Legion wiped out to a man, and the responsibility of saving Armageddon now in the hands of Yarrick and the Space Marines. The rest is history.



*** Part of the problem is that the status quo of the setting (bar a few years where they moved it forward and retconned it back not long after) is "Abaddon has begun to attack the Cadian Gate with a colossal army." However, since StatusQuoIsGod, the setting refuses to actually show the intended outcome - namely, Abaddon's trillions of soldiers swamping the Cadian Gate and conquering it in short order. Therefore, Abaddon has been stuck in this early phase for most of the game's history, leaving fans with the impression that Abaddon has spent twenty-odd years failing to breach the defenses of one planet.

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*** Part of the problem is that the status quo of the setting (bar a few years where they moved it forward and retconned it back not long after) is "Abaddon has begun to attack the Cadian Gate with a colossal army." However, since StatusQuoIsGod, the setting refuses to actually show the intended outcome - namely, Abaddon's trillions of soldiers swamping the Cadian Gate and conquering it in short order. Therefore, Abaddon has been stuck in this early phase for most of the game's history, leaving fans with the impression that Abaddon has spent twenty-odd years failing to breach the defenses of one planet.



** The Lyran Commonwealth has an unfortunate history of "social generals" - officers who were promoted not because of actual leadership ability, but because of personal wealth and connections. Naturally, these don't always make the best strategists or tacticians. Fortunately for the commonwealth, lower ranking officers have a tradition of being {{Hyper Competent Sidekick}}s who, when things go well, are able to get their superiors to accept their suggestions, at least enough of the time that the Commonwealth has mostly managed to give as good as it gets over the years.
** Entirely too many high-ranking officers and Warlords of the Draconis Combine have shown similar tendencies for the Dragon's comfort. In their case, the root cause tends to be a mix of ambition, obsession with martial glory, and the Combine's take on ''bushido'', and one major example where it comes back to repeatedly bite them is the initial Clan Invasion, during which tradition- and hidebound comanders lead their troops into 'glorious' and 'honorable' attacks against the Clans on multiple occasions only for the latter's familiarity with very much the same approach to warfare and formidable technological edge to promptly turn those encounters into {{Curb Stomp Battle}}s.

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** The Lyran Commonwealth has an unfortunate history of "social generals" - officers who were promoted not because of actual leadership ability, but because of personal wealth and connections. Naturally, these don't always make the best strategists or tacticians. Fortunately for the commonwealth, lower ranking officers have a tradition of being {{Hyper Competent Sidekick}}s who, when things go well, are able to get their superiors to accept their suggestions, at least enough of the time that the Commonwealth has mostly managed to give as good as it gets over the years.
** Entirely too many high-ranking officers and Warlords of the Draconis Combine have shown similar tendencies for the Dragon's comfort. In their case, the root cause tends to be a mix of ambition, obsession with martial glory, and the Combine's take on ''bushido'', and one major example where it comes back to repeatedly bite them is the initial Clan Invasion, during which tradition- and hidebound comanders commanders lead their troops into 'glorious' and 'honorable' attacks against the Clans on multiple occasions only for the latter's familiarity with very much the same approach to warfare and formidable technological edge to promptly turn those encounters into {{Curb Stomp Battle}}s.



** General Lee Oliver, or "General Wait-And-See" as many of his troops call him. According to Boone, he received his position via nepotism. His strategy (or "Tunnel Vision" as Mr. House calls it) to defend Hoover Dam from Caesar's Legion consists of one glorious slaughterhouse on the dam, in an effort to overshadow Ranger Chief Hanlon's more tactically nuanced defense of the dam four years earlier. This means his only tactic is to mass troops on the Dam, leaving other territories and bases deeply undermanned and open to the Legion's attacks.
** While considered an in-universe MemeticBadass, Joshua Graham was stated to be neither tactically flexible nor strategically brilliant and by his own admission is not one for logistics, who mostly got by due to the fact that he was a OneManArmy who mostly faced off against tribals and raiders. When up against actual tacticians like Hanlon leading a sizable and more technologically-advanced force, he ends up charging his army into a DefensiveFeintTrap.
** Father Elijah, the former Elder of the Mojave chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel, ordered his chapter to hold a power plant against the NCR, despite being vastly outnumbered, simply for the sole purpose of trying to find a hidden superweapon of some sorts. His tactical incompetence is primarily due to the fact that he was not trained as a Knight or Paladin (being a Scribe who was promoted for his technological genius) and the fact that he was also a ControlFreak with no regard for human life.
** His successor, Father [=McNamara=] isn't much of an improvement, keeping the Brotherhood's bunker locked down after the aforementioned disastrous battle Elijah got them into. His rigid insistence on following outdated protocols mean that most of the Brotherhood's troops have never seen real combat, their numbers are dwindling with no new blood being brought in, and there are only a handful of Brotherhood members allowed outside. All but four of the members outside the bunker (three scouts and a black sheep member of the order that you can recruit as a companion) wind up dead by the time you find them. [[RealityEnsues His second-in-command recognizes these issues and wants to relieve him of command as a result.]]

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** General Lee Oliver, or "General Wait-And-See" as many of his troops call him. According to Boone, he received his position via nepotism.because he's friends with President Kimball. His strategy (or "Tunnel Vision" as Mr. House calls it) to defend Hoover Dam from Caesar's Legion consists of one glorious slaughterhouse on the dam, in an effort to overshadow Ranger Chief Hanlon's more tactically nuanced defense of the dam four years earlier. This means his only tactic is to mass troops on the Dam, leaving other territories and bases deeply undermanned and open to the Legion's attacks.
** While considered an in-universe MemeticBadass, Joshua Graham was stated to be neither tactically flexible nor strategically brilliant brilliant, and by his own admission is not one for logistics, who mostly got by due to the fact that because he was a OneManArmy who mostly faced off against tribals and raiders. When up against actual tacticians like Hanlon leading a sizable and more technologically-advanced technologically advanced force, he ends up charging his army into a DefensiveFeintTrap.
** Father Elijah, the former Elder of the Mojave chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel, ordered his chapter to hold a power plant against the NCR, despite being vastly outnumbered, simply for the sole purpose of trying to find a hidden superweapon of some sorts. His tactical incompetence is primarily due to the fact that because he was not trained as a Knight or Paladin (being a Scribe who was promoted for his technological genius) and the fact that because he was also a ControlFreak with no regard for human life.
** His successor, Father [=McNamara=] Elder [=McNamara=], isn't much of an improvement, keeping the Brotherhood's bunker locked down after the aforementioned disastrous battle Elijah got them into. His rigid insistence on following outdated protocols mean means that most of the Brotherhood's troops have never seen real combat, their numbers are dwindling with no new blood being brought in, and there are only a handful of Brotherhood members allowed outside. All but four of the members outside the bunker (three scouts and a black sheep black-sheep member of the order that you can recruit as a companion) wind up dead by the time you find them. [[RealityEnsues His second-in-command recognizes these issues and wants to relieve him of command as a result.]]



** In ''VideoGame/{{Halo 4}}'', Captain Del Rio is presented as one, with Cortana and the Master Chief repeatedly questioning his tactical decisions, starting even before they meet the guy. [[spoiler: When the Chief straight-up ignores Del Rio's orders right to his face, the ''entire ship's crew'', including his first officer, ignores their captain's orders to arrest him, provide him with a Pelican for his mission and ''salute him'' as John-117 undertakes what is officially a mutiny. As an added insult, when the ''Infinity'' makes it back to Earth he ends up being gulaged by Command for picking a fight with a war hero and letting the Didact reach Earth.]]

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** In ''VideoGame/{{Halo 4}}'', ''VideoGame/Halo4'', Captain Del Rio is presented as one, with Cortana and the Master Chief repeatedly questioning his tactical decisions, starting even before they meet the guy. [[spoiler: When [[spoiler:When the Chief straight-up ignores Del Rio's orders right to his face, the ''entire ship's crew'', including his first officer, ignores their captain's orders to arrest him, provide him with a Pelican for his mission and ''salute him'' as John-117 undertakes what is officially a mutiny. As an added insult, when the ''Infinity'' makes it back to Earth he Earth, Del Rio ends up being gulaged by Command for picking a fight with a war hero and letting the Didact reach Earth.]]



** Field Marshal Radik Gradenko, who's own incompetence leads to the endangerment of the Iron Curtain project as well as the inability to capture the Allied Chronosphere; Albert Einstein is also able to slip out of his grasp, all of these due to his own strategic blunders. [[spoiler: He is later poisoned to death by Nadia and succeeded by Georgi Kukov.]]
** General Georgi Kukov is ultimately this, having botched the intended capture of the Allied Chronosphere by failing to inform the Commander of an Allied relay station that remained intact even after their initial assault, giving the Allies time to destroy the weapon before the Soviets could make anything of it. Kukov is all too happy and eager to make the Commander his scapegoat, until he is outed for this mistake by Nadia. [[spoiler: He is ultimately strangled to death by an enraged Stalin.]]

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** Field Marshal Radik Gradenko, who's whose own incompetence leads to the endangerment of the Iron Curtain project as well as the inability to capture the Allied Chronosphere; Albert Einstein is also able to slip out of his grasp, all of these due to his own strategic blunders. [[spoiler: He is later poisoned to death by Nadia and succeeded by Georgi Kukov.]]
** General Georgi Kukov is ultimately this, having botched the intended capture of the Allied Chronosphere by failing to inform the Commander of an Allied relay station that remained intact even after their initial assault, giving the Allies time to destroy the weapon before the Soviets could make anything of it. Kukov is all too happy and eager to make the Commander his scapegoat, until he is outed for this mistake by Nadia. [[spoiler: He [[spoiler:He is ultimately strangled to death by an enraged Stalin.]]



** His successor General Krukov in ''Red Alert 3'' is less incompetent, but makes up for it [[MilesGloriosus with his incredible ego]] and willingness to throw the PlayerCharacter under the bus for the most minor setbacks, [[MisBlamed even (especially) when it isn't your fault]]. He is eventually framed for treason and the player kills him (the real traitor is [[spoiler: Premier Cherdenko himself]]), but nobody cares [[KickTheSonOfABitch because they want him dead anyway]].

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** His successor General Krukov in ''Red Alert 3'' is less incompetent, but makes up for it [[MilesGloriosus with his incredible ego]] and willingness to throw the PlayerCharacter under the bus for the most minor setbacks, [[MisBlamed even (especially) when it isn't your fault]]. He is eventually framed for treason and the player kills him (the real traitor is [[spoiler: Premier [[spoiler:Premier Cherdenko himself]]), but nobody cares [[KickTheSonOfABitch because they want him dead anyway]].



** It gets better. The Combaticons are able to salvage the operation to steal the energon, managing to secure (read: prevent the loss of) half the load of energon. But to do this they had to ignore Starscream's order to retreat. How does Starscream react to this miracle his side deperately needs? He arrests the Combaticons for treason. Of course then Megatron returns...

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** It gets better. The Combaticons are able to salvage the operation to steal the energon, managing to secure (read: prevent the loss of) half the load of energon. But to do this they had to ignore Starscream's order to retreat. How does Starscream react to this miracle his side deperately desperately needs? He arrests the Combaticons for treason. Of course then Megatron returns...



* Sarge from ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' [[{{Flanderization}} progressively becomes more and more like this as the series progresses]], eventually overruling his subordinates' more rational ideas in favor of his own ones based on {{Mad Scien|tist}}ce - for example, suggesting the use of a radiation-induced strength to lift an object where using a jack would be just as appropriate (and more readily available).

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* Sarge from ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' [[{{Flanderization}} progressively becomes more and more like this as the series progresses]], eventually overruling his subordinates' more rational ideas in favor of his own ones based on {{Mad Scien|tist}}ce - for example, suggesting the use of a radiation-induced strength to lift an object where using a jack would be just as appropriate (and more readily available).



* ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'' has only one soldier under his command - Zim himself - but his plans and general behaviour are bang on target with this trope. Examples include:

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* ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'' has only one soldier under his command - Zim himself - but his plans and general behaviour are bang on target with this trope. Examples include: include:



** The episode "Hobo-13" shows that if put in the command of a group of soldiers Zim will [[WeHaveReserves needlessly sacrifice]] everyone until he alone succeeds, using them as either bridges to cross a gap (when there's a tree nearby to knock down), using others as bait and even using his last remaining soldier as a battering ram. Needless to say, the Drill Sergeant failed him so hard he got bruises. [[spoiler: Then Zim SOMEHOW manages to beat said Drill Sergeant in combat.]]

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** The episode "Hobo-13" shows that if put in the command of a group of soldiers Zim will [[WeHaveReserves needlessly sacrifice]] everyone until he alone succeeds, using them as either bridges to cross a gap (when there's a tree nearby to knock down), using others as bait and even using his last remaining soldier as a battering ram. Needless to say, the Drill Sergeant failed him so hard he got bruises. [[spoiler: Then [[spoiler:Then Zim SOMEHOW manages to beat said Drill Sergeant in combat.]]



* Cobra Commander of GIJoe, at least in the cartoons. He's prone to overconfidence, often leading to his forces getting needlessly destroyed when a tactical retreat would've been more prudent, and then afterwards blaming everyone else before himself for his mistakes. His list of accomplishments includes being defeated by a group of schoolchildren in the DiC run.

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* Cobra Commander of GIJoe, ''GIJoe'', at least in the cartoons. He's prone to overconfidence, often leading to his forces getting needlessly destroyed when a tactical retreat would've been more prudent, and then afterwards blaming everyone else before himself for his mistakes. His list of accomplishments includes being defeated by a group of schoolchildren in the DiC run.
5th Oct '17 1:48:54 AM immortalfrieza
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** ''Literature/JediAcademyTrilogy'': Admiral Daala is [[InformedAbility described]] as a tactical and strategic prodigy, yet her attempts to strike back at the New Republic were easily foiled. It is debatable, whether this was caused by poor planning and disorganization, or by good guys having Suncrusher-grade plot armor when written by her creator, infamous K.J. Anderson. Her only lasting achievement was acknowledging her own failures and uniting the remaining Imperial forces under a single leader rather than a group of [[EnemyCivilWar feuding]] [[GloriousLeader warlords]], which in fairness did lead to the Imperial Remnant getting behind her co-conspirator, the very awesome [[Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy Pellaeon]], and she may [[RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap have gotten better by]] ''Literature/LegacyOfTheForce''. Other books offer an array of explanations for Daala's failures - it's mentioned that she excelled at ''infantry'' tactics, while her war against the New Republic was waged by fleet. ''Literature/DeathStar'' offers a {{Retcon}} suggesting that she suffered brain damage at some point, while there's a long-standing rumor that she earned her rank at least partially by being Grand Moff Tarkin's lover (true or not, it's unwise to mention this in Tarkin's presence; the last guy who did got ThrownOutTheAirlock with his spacesuit's comlink on so everyone could listen to how sorry he was as his orbit decayed).

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** ''Literature/JediAcademyTrilogy'': Admiral Daala is [[InformedAbility described]] as a tactical and strategic prodigy, yet her attempts to strike back at the New Republic were easily foiled. It is debatable, whether this was caused by poor planning and disorganization, or by good guys having Suncrusher-grade plot armor when written by her creator, infamous K.J. Anderson. Her only lasting achievement was acknowledging her own failures and uniting the remaining Imperial forces under a single leader rather than a group of [[EnemyCivilWar feuding]] [[GloriousLeader warlords]], which in fairness did lead to the Imperial Remnant getting behind her co-conspirator, the very awesome [[Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy Pellaeon]], and she may [[RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap have gotten better by]] ''Literature/LegacyOfTheForce''. Other books offer an array of explanations for Daala's failures - it's mentioned that she excelled at ''infantry'' tactics, while her war against the New Republic was waged by fleet. ''Literature/DeathStar'' offers a {{Retcon}} suggesting that she suffered brain damage at some point, while there's a long-standing rumor that she earned her rank at least partially by being Grand Moff Tarkin's lover (true or not, it's unwise to mention this in Tarkin's presence; the last guy who did got ThrownOutTheAirlock with his spacesuit's comlink on so everyone could listen to how sorry he was as his orbit decayed). Another problem is that Daala worships Tarkin to a massive degree, resulting in her using his tactics despite the fact that the New Republic is already very experienced in dealing with those tactics as well as following his philosophy despite how it backfired on the Empire leading to it's dissolution in the first place.
2nd Oct '17 10:38:53 AM eduardoalamo22
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** And the worst offender has to be L.T. Colonel Safida; the guy couldn't even put together a shopping list if his life depended on it, with his overworked and unthanked top subordinate keeping the regiment together. He also orders pointless and cruel attacks on the native population, and when they rightfully rebel, he gets several battalions of his army killed by ignoring environmental conditions (like mountain sickness). [[spoiler:Thankfully he's court-martialed and executed for his war crimes]].

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** And the worst offender has to be L.T. Colonel Safida; Safida: the guy couldn't even put together a shopping list if his life depended on it, with his overworked and unthanked top subordinate keeping the regiment together. He also orders pointless and cruel attacks on the native population, and when they rightfully rebel, he gets several battalions of his army killed by ignoring environmental conditions (like mountain sickness). [[spoiler:Thankfully he's court-martialed and executed for his war crimes]].
2nd Oct '17 10:34:23 AM eduardoalamo22
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** And the worst offender has to be L.T. Colonel Safida; the guy couldn't even put together a shopping list if his life depended on it, with his overworked and unthanked top subordinate keeping the regiment together. When his subordinate is killed by rebels (who were righteously furious at his constant abuse), he declares war on them, getting several battalions of his army killed by ignoring environmental conditions (like mountain sickness). So after the protagonists save his ass, he's court martialed [[spoiler:and thankfully executed for his war crimes]].

to:

** And the worst offender has to be L.T. Colonel Safida; the guy couldn't even put together a shopping list if his life depended on it, with his overworked and unthanked top subordinate keeping the regiment together. When his subordinate is killed by rebels (who were righteously furious at his constant abuse), He also orders pointless and cruel attacks on the native population, and when they rightfully rebel, he declares war on them, getting gets several battalions of his army killed by ignoring environmental conditions (like mountain sickness). So after the protagonists save his ass, [[spoiler:Thankfully he's court martialed [[spoiler:and thankfully court-martialed and executed for his war crimes]].
2nd Oct '17 8:39:06 AM eduardoalamo22
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* A very common problem at the Empire's armies in ''LightNovel/AlderaminOnTheSky'' is that they love putting rank ahead of competence or experience, meaning soldiers fight hopeless battles to cover up for their superiors' incompetence, usually at the cost of the lives of competent officers.
** And the worst offender has to be L.T. Colonel Safida; the guy couldn't even put together a shopping list if his life depended on it, with his overworked and unthanked top subordinate keeping the regiment together. When his subordinate is killed by rebels (who were righteously furious at his constant abuse), he declares war on them, getting several battalions of his army killed by ignoring environmental conditions (like mountain sickness). So after the protagonists save his ass, he's court martialed [[spoiler:and thankfully executed for his war crimes]].



* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' has this trope's poster boy: Zapp Brannigan. He's not evil, per se; but he's usually against the protagonists due to his own total incompetence. His deeds have included fighting the Killbots by [[WeHaveReserves sacrificing millions of soldiers until the Killbots reached their limit and shut down]], attacking the Hubble Space Telescope (in fairness, it did have a defense capability and looked very similar to their target), ordering his ships to make a run so as to clog the enemy ship weapons with their own wreckage, getting his ship sliced in half by flying through a giant windmill despite being told what would happen, destroying an entire repair station due to impatience, destroying the brand new headquarters of TheFederation by using his ships' laser at full power to cut the inauguration ribbon, attacking a strategically unimportant planet for no reason and wasting the element of surprise by dumping his soldiers out through the ship's floor, getting enough women killed through fraternization that the army banned them from his command, declaring war on [[StupidNeutral the Neutral Planet]], and trying to get the protagonists arrested or killed multiple times, even when they were either helping him or the only ones capable of solving the problem. He has won offscreen victories (against the [[DamnedByFaintPraise Pacifists of the Gandhi Nebula,]] for instance), and taken credit for other people's deeds, however, so he keeps his job, and is even well-regarded by many.

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* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' has this trope's former poster boy: Zapp Brannigan. He's not evil, per se; but he's usually against the protagonists due to his own total incompetence. His deeds have included fighting the Killbots by [[WeHaveReserves sacrificing millions of soldiers until the Killbots reached their limit and shut down]], attacking the Hubble Space Telescope (in fairness, it did have a defense capability and looked very similar to their target), ordering his ships to make a run so as to clog the enemy ship weapons with their own wreckage, getting his ship sliced in half by flying through a giant windmill despite being told what would happen, destroying an entire repair station due to impatience, destroying the brand new headquarters of TheFederation by using his ships' laser at full power to cut the inauguration ribbon, attacking a strategically unimportant planet for no reason and wasting the element of surprise by dumping his soldiers out through the ship's floor, getting enough women killed through fraternization that the army banned them from his command, declaring war on [[StupidNeutral the Neutral Planet]], and trying to get the protagonists arrested or killed multiple times, even when they were either helping him or the only ones capable of solving the problem. He has won offscreen victories (against the [[DamnedByFaintPraise Pacifists of the Gandhi Nebula,]] for instance), and taken credit for other people's deeds, however, so he keeps his job, and is even well-regarded by many.
29th Sep '17 10:07:16 PM drakensis
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* In ''Fanfic/AlongCameASpider'', Sharon Bryan chooses to interpret an order not to 'hold ground' (as the strategic plan is to trade space for time) as authorising her to counter-attack immediately. Several excellent regiments are destroyed by Clan Jade Falcon as a result.
18th Sep '17 5:59:25 PM TheNerevarine
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** Tyrion Lannister becomes this trope in Season 7, when his strategy for Daenerys' conquest of Westeros backfires catastrophically leading to most of her allies and forces being captured or killed. His scheme to broke a truce with Cersei by bringing a wight from the North to convince her of the threat the White Walkers represent led to one of Daenerys' dragons being killed and revived as a wight by the [[BigBad Night King]], who proceeded to use it to breach the wall. To make matters worse, Cersei refuses to lend them any aid which rendered the whole plan useless and accelerated the White Walkers' invasion into Westeros.
18th Sep '17 4:46:22 AM Willbyr
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[-[[caption-width-right:350:"That's Sir Eider [=McDuck=], who was felled during a Saxon siege in 946! His serfs deserted, because he only [[TheScrooge paid]] '''[[TheScrooge 30 copper pieces]]''' [[TheScrooge per hour--for the]] '''[[TheScrooge lot]]''' [[TheScrooge of them!]]" [[labelnote:note]][[http://i.imgur.com/LlWtoQT.jpg "Do ye know what arrows COST in the 10th century?!"]][[/labelnote]]]]-]



16th Sep '17 1:24:48 PM TheTrailblazerCritic
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* Keith Shadis from ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'' views himself as this, being the previous commander of the Survey Corps before Erwin Smith succeeded him in the post. Returning home to Shiganshina from yet another costly expedition, he comes before the mother of a soldier who died under his command, suffering HeroicBSOD when he admits to the grieving woman and all those around him that his and the sacrifice of everyone before him has been entirely senseless and that nothing has been gained in their forays into the Titan-infested lands beyond the Walls.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.GeneralFailure