History Main / SuperWeaponSurprise

19th Oct '17 11:57:17 PM PaulA
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** An even more spectacular variant can be seen in ''Fleet of Worlds'', where [[spoiler: an ''interstellar'' communications laser, aimed very precisely, is used to achieve the impossible: destroy a General Products hull. The Puppeteers are convinced that their pet humans have somehow obtained antimatter, since General Products hulls are invulnerable to anything less.]]

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** An even more spectacular variant can be seen in ''Fleet of Worlds'', ''Literature/FleetOfWorlds'', where [[spoiler: an [[spoiler:an ''interstellar'' communications laser, aimed very precisely, is used to achieve the impossible: destroy a General Products hull. The Puppeteers are convinced that their pet humans have somehow obtained antimatter, since General Products hulls are invulnerable to anything less.]]



** Human beings themselves, along with other mutated hominids, can be considered a Superweapon Surprise, seeings as they can, if they ingest enough Tree of Life, transform into Protectors, the (presumed to be lost) third developmental phase which features heightened intelligence, superhuman strength, increased pain tolerance, biological immortality, and an uncontrollable compulsion to protect members of their respective species. The entire human population of one planet was converted into Protectors in order to save Earth from the impending invasion of the Pak.

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** Human beings themselves, along with other mutated hominids, can be considered a Superweapon Surprise, seeings as they can, if they ingest enough Tree of Life, transform into Protectors, the (presumed to be lost) third developmental phase which features heightened intelligence, superhuman strength, increased pain tolerance, biological immortality, and an uncontrollable compulsion to protect members of their respective species. The In ''Literature/{{Protector}}'', the entire human population of one planet was converted into Protectors in order to save Earth from the impending invasion of the Pak.
5th Oct '17 12:45:14 PM MarkLungo
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*** There are also the peaceful Eloi from the first season episode "Justice". When Westley breaks a law, SufficientlyAdvancedAliens whom the Eloi worship as God, intervene to ensure the Enterprise does not escape.

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*** There are also the peaceful Eloi from the first season episode "Justice". "[[Recap/StarTrekTheNextGenerationS1E7Justice Justice]]". When Westley Wesley breaks a law, SufficientlyAdvancedAliens whom the Eloi worship as God, intervene to ensure the Enterprise does not escape.
8th Sep '17 3:12:07 PM ZimFan89
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Added DiffLines:

* In ''Literature/AMorePersonalUnion'', a failed attempt by the Scottish at colonizing the northeast of North America results in the survivors being assimilated into the Haudenosaunee/Iroquois Confederacy, buying their safety by giving the natives the secrets of iron working and gunpowder. This results in the Confederacy quickly curbstomping the other tribes in the region, and beginning to spread their power and influence south- and westwards.
26th Aug '17 2:39:16 AM SeptimusHeap
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* The Harshini in Jennifer Fallion's ''Wolfblade'' are a race of extreme pacifists possessed of great magical power, but incapable of defending themselves with it, so the people of the nation of Medalon can kill them off for no reason whenever they find them. Except for this one guy, Brakandaran the Halfbreed...
* ''ShadowsOfTheEmpire'' has a good one. The ''Suprosa'' is an apparently harmless freighter that the Rebels suspect is carrying the plans for the second Death Star. When they attack, the ''Suprosa'' deploys its weapons, including a diamond-boron missile launcher that takes out half of the attackers. Remember the "many Bothans who died to bring us this information"? That was the ''Suprosa''.

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* The Harshini in Jennifer Fallion's ''Wolfblade'' ''Literature/{{Wolfblade}}'' are a race of extreme pacifists possessed of great magical power, but incapable of defending themselves with it, so the people of the nation of Medalon can kill them off for no reason whenever they find them. Except for this one guy, Brakandaran the Halfbreed...
* ''ShadowsOfTheEmpire'' ''Literature/ShadowsOfTheEmpire'' has a good one. The ''Suprosa'' is an apparently harmless freighter that the Rebels suspect is carrying the plans for the second Death Star. When they attack, the ''Suprosa'' deploys its weapons, including a diamond-boron missile launcher that takes out half of the attackers. Remember the "many Bothans who died to bring us this information"? That was the ''Suprosa''.
21st Aug '17 11:19:18 AM SeptimusHeap
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* The planet of Exocron in the ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'' novel ''[[HandOfThrawn Vision Of The Future]]'' is defended by a pretty pitiful defense fleet, which doesn't stand much of a chance against the powerful slaver fleet which tracked the protagonists there. However, it turns out the slavers were [[ThePlan deliberately led to Exocron]]; the Aing-Tii monks, Force-users who usually don't go out of their territory but hate slavers, pop into orbit and, with their weird alien tech, waste the attacking fleet in a matter of minutes, then promptly leave again.

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* The planet of Exocron in the ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'' novel ''[[HandOfThrawn ''[[Literature/HandOfThrawn Vision Of The Future]]'' is defended by a pretty pitiful defense fleet, which doesn't stand much of a chance against the powerful slaver fleet which tracked the protagonists there. However, it turns out the slavers were [[ThePlan deliberately led to Exocron]]; the Aing-Tii monks, Force-users who usually don't go out of their territory but hate slavers, pop into orbit and, with their weird alien tech, waste the attacking fleet in a matter of minutes, then promptly leave again.
20th Aug '17 10:31:19 PM GrammarNavi
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** In ''[[JediAcademyTrilogy Jedi Search]]'' scientist Qwi Xux, one of the designers of the Death Star, believes it was supposed to crack open dead planetoids for mining purposes, the World Devastators were automated mining vehicles, and the Sun Crusher was ... well, at that point she faces the fact that she was in denial.

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** In ''[[JediAcademyTrilogy ''[[Literature/JediAcademyTrilogy Jedi Search]]'' scientist Qwi Xux, one of the designers of the Death Star, believes it was supposed to crack open dead planetoids for mining purposes, the World Devastators were automated mining vehicles, and the Sun Crusher was ... well, at that point she faces the fact that she was in denial.
9th Aug '17 9:44:54 PM TheRoguePenguin
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* ''ComicBook/{{Asterix}}'' is about a small, backwards barbarian village containing nothing of value and only a handful of uncoordinated warriors, ripe pickings for the Romans. Unfortunately for them, the villagers all happen all to possess superhuman strength thanks to SuperSerum, and [[UndefeatableLittleVillage the Romans don't stand a chance]]. This is only a 'surprise' for the first couple of albums; after this, the village's reputation is well-known by the Romans and they become increasingly afraid of it. Even so, many an album has a fresh set of legionnaires or another cocky adversary arrive from another part of the Empire, who might have ''heard'' about the Gauls' superweapon, but fail to appreciate just how terrible it is - until

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* ''ComicBook/{{Asterix}}'' is about a small, backwards barbarian village containing nothing of value and only a handful of uncoordinated warriors, ripe pickings for the Romans. Unfortunately for them, the villagers all happen all to possess superhuman strength thanks to SuperSerum, and [[UndefeatableLittleVillage the Romans don't stand a chance]]. This is only a 'surprise' for the first couple of albums; after this, the village's reputation is well-known by the Romans and they become increasingly afraid of it. Even so, many an album has a fresh set of legionnaires or another cocky adversary arrive from another part of the Empire, who might have ''heard'' about the Gauls' superweapon, but fail to appreciate just how terrible it is - untiluntil they witness one of the series' trademark [[CurbStompBattle Curb Stomp Battles]].
* ''ComicBook/PaperinikNewAdventures'' has a few examples:
** Earth's ''first'' surprise to the Evronians is the title character, DonaldDuck's superhero/antihero alter ego, who gives the alien invaders a nasty surprise by savagely beating a large squad on a raid. The Evronians [[GenreSavvy having experience with this kind of things]], they react by sending hand-picked elimination squads to take him out and check for other surprises before launching the invasion proper.
** Earth's second surprise is [[NuclearOption the nuclear arsenals]]. The Evronians ''could'' simply weather the barrage, but the losses would be unacceptable.
** Earth's third surprise is the military of Stahlburg, small but very technologically advanced-[[SubvertedTrope and completely ineffective against an outdated Evronian battlecruiser]].
** Earth's fourth surprise is a plot point in "[[Recap/PaperinikNewAdventuresS1E32Virus Virus]]", and stated to be the main reason the Evronians are not invading: [[spoiler:a virus capable of turning the Evronians back into spores. [[SubvertedTrope Except it doesn't exist]]: Wisecube invented it to dupe Paperinik into helping him recovering the evidence of the Evronian threat to try and reveal it to the public, [[WellIntentionedExtremist believing it would help resisting the eventual invasion]]]].
** The fifth surprise comes out in "Might and Power": a ray gun that turns groups of Evronians back into spores. It's devastating enough that Earth's militaries, previously not so effective against the Evronians, [[CurbStompBattle mop the floor with them]].
** Xerba has Xadhoom-that is, their chief of state that turne herself into a PhysicalGoddess by way of [[ProfessorGuineaPig a scientific experiment aimed to solve their incoming energetic crisis]]. Too bad the experiment was completed after the Evronians had already overran the planet... Especially for the Evronians, as she now wants them all dead and not only she has the firepower for that, ''they can't stop her''.
** The Evronians have more than a few, mostly new technologies made to try and counter Xadhoom. [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu They came close to success more than once]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/IronSky'' features a few on both sides. First, we have the Moon Nazis (ItMakesSenseInContext) with their anti-gravity technology, {{Flying Saucer}}s, and Zeppelins InSpace. While a few saucers are taken out by jet fighters, more jet fighters are shot down by Nazi turrets. Then the President reveals that the vehicle for the planned American manned Mars mission is actually a warship armed with powerful guns and dozens of nukes. It proceeds to blow up a good number of Nazi warships before it gets overwhelmed and requests help. Cue dozens of armed spaceships from ''all'' other nations (except Finland), which proceed to obliterate the Nazi space fleet. Oh, and one of those ships is the supposedly-destroyed ''Mir'' station. Then comes the Nazi flagship ''Götterdämmerung'', a gigantic war machine that is so overpowered and complex that the most powerful Nazi computer (the size of a room) can't control its systems. But an [=iPad=] app can. When unleashed, it simply flies through the Earth fleet, smashing a number of the ships on its windshield. The guns on the ''Götterdämmerung'' are powerful enough to take a 10% chunk of the Moon with each shot.
* In ''Film/{{Purgatory}}'', a group of bandits came across a town named Refuge, which is apparently populated by nothing but ActualPacifist - even the Sheriff would not raise his weapon in the face of imminent threat. This made the town easy prey for the bandits, but it was slowly revealed that the citizens were outlaws who were granted a chance to redeem themselves: live for 10 years in peace, or go to hell. When push finally comes to shove, the bandits found out they were facing legendary figures such as Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickok, and Doc Holliday.
* ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'' features an odd variation. [[LaResistance The rebels]] know that TheEmpire is building a second [[EarthShatteringKaboom Death Star]], but as it's unfinished they assume that its WaveMotionGun isn't yet operational. After the [[BigBadassBattleSequence Battle of Endor]] starts, however...
--> '''Palpatine:''' Now witness the firepower of this ''fully armed and operational battle station''! Fire at will, Commander!\\
''(the Death Star fires and destroys a Rebel cruiser)''\\
'''Lando:''' That blast came from the Death Star! ''[[OhCrap That thing's operational!]]''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* In the ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''[=/=]''Series/DoctorWho'' crossover [[http://www.tthfanfic.org/Story-19093/Meshakhad+%20The+%20Impossible+%20War.htm The Impossible War]], the Daleks invade modern-day Earth. As expected, human technology is woefully inadequate. Human ''magic'' on the other hand...
* In the ''Franchise/MassEffect''[=/=]''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer'' crossover ''Fanfic/{{Renegade}}'', the Turian Hierarchy invaded the human colony world of Shanxi just like the did in the canon timeline. However, Shanxi is held by the Global Defense Initiative, and the turians catch a face full of ion cannons, rapid-fabrication technology, and [[TankGoodness house-sized tanks of "fuck you"]].
* In Warhammer 40,000 we have Knight Inductors, who are also known as Reasonable Marines. They don't particularly care about those defenseless Eldar Exodite Worlds in their sector, but they really don't like Chaos Marines. So when some Slaanesh CSM try to harvest some soulstones in Apriori sector, they got utterly curb stomped by Stealth Terminators and Supersoldier Blanks armed with rapid fire plasma cannons.
* [[NukeEm Nuclear]] [[UsefulNotes/NuclearWeapons weapons]] and [[MoreDakka firearms]] in many [[FanFic/TheConversionBureau Conversion Bureau]] {{Hate Fic}}s and {{DeconstructionFic}}s. Half the time, when "Xenolestia" declares that humanity must become ponies or be exterminated, humans whip out the nukes, destroy their AdvancingWallOfDoom, and [[CurbStompBattle utterly devastate the Equestrian military]].
** ''Fanfic/TheConversionBureauTheOtherSideOfTheSpectrum'' takes it UpToEleven. Since the barrier will vaporize nukes along with every other man-made object, the US military instead [[spoiler: plants several nukes in the weak points of the Yellowstone caldera. If the barrier consumes too much of the world, they'll detonate the nukes, inducing an eruption powerful enough to spread the fire and ash over the world in a TakingYouWithMe move and render the TCB Equestrians' victory a [[PyrrhicVictory hollow one]]. Suicidal, sure, but it proves the humans would [[BetterToDieThanBeKilled do whatever]] [[IDieFree it takes]] [[AFateWorseThanDeath to avoid "living" as]] zombified slaves to a xenocidal tyrant]].
* In ''FanFic/WorldwarWarOfEquals'', Race high command did not expect the spear swinging primitives to have moved up so quickly to using tanks, aircraft, and nuclear weaponry. When the invaders land on Earth and have nearly overrun Ukraine, they get another fun surprise in the form of Eastern European nerve gas.
* In ''FanFic/OriginStory," which is set during the ''Marvel ComicBook/CivilWar'' arc, the Avengers are tasked by SHIELD to arrest a girl who escaped from their custody. SHIELD had previously tested the girl's power level, and put her somewhere on the scale between Power Man and SpiderMan. Well, surprise, surprise, turns out she was a [[{{Superman}} Kryptonian]] who figured out that maybe hiding just how powerful she really was might be a smart idea. Cue [[IronMan Tony Stark]] getting the [[CurbStompBattle ass-whipping]] of his life.
* In the ''Franchise/{{Naruto}}'' fanfiction ''Fanfic/CatchYourBreath'' Kei, the protagonist, is a [[spoiler:jinchuuriki]], and that fact rarely bodes well for her opponents.
** [[spoiler:When a Yamanaka hit Kei with the mind body switch jutsu (a jutsu Kei was noted to ''not like'') he came face to face with the Three Tailed Beast. Also when Honoka Uchiha hit her with two devastating jutsu, and Kei started manifesting a bijuu chakra cloak to mitigate the damage. It was quite a nasty surprise for everyone not in the know.]]
** In an [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11379740/1/The-B-Plot-Another-Side-Another-Story Omake]] chapter [[spoiler:where Zabuza and (especially) Haku find out they've bitten off far more than they can chew when that lanky Konoha special jonin (Kei) whips out [[SealedInAPersonShapedCan Tailed Beast chakra]]. Canon Kakashi can be counted too, since he had no idea the cross-dimensional time-traveller (also Kei) is a jinchuuriki as well.]]
** Raido has confirmed, in-story, to have had a run in with the Four Tails host (presumably on the battlefields of the Third Shinobi War).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Frank Herbert's ''Franchise/{{Dune}}'' provides a clean-cut example of the Hidden Badass variety. On the remote outskirts of god-forsaken planet, in the huge desert, a small bunch of ragtag people scavenge for a living. Do not get trigger-happy yet: those people are, in fact, bred by their demanding enviroment to be the best fighters in Universe. And their numbers are seriously underestimated... Long story short, a hundred years and several books after being bothered, they sweep their Jihad holy crusade across the Galaxy. Woops!
* Subverted in ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'', with an alien race of {{Precursors}} called the Pemalites. The Pemalites had great technological power, and used it only for peaceful and playful purposes. They were invaded and destroyed by another race called the Howlers. It's explained that they could have forged their plowshares into swords, could have repelled their invasion, but they chose not to do it because they couldn't bring themselves to become violent killers. So they were destroyed, and their memory is a cautionary tale against the dangers of pacifism. In a later addition, it turns out that they were created by the [[SufficientlyAdvancedAliens Ellimist]], and learned to have such an overwhelming love for life that they could never kill.
** Played straight with the Pemalites' androids, the Chee. Although simarly loaded with pacifist protocols, they are are super strong. [[spoiler:The Animorphs use a crystal to turn off said protocols, leading Erek to take and kill more Hork Bajir than the entire GROUP can manage. He is so horrified at his actions he requests for the protocols to be put back, but for a few moments, he's the surprise superweapon. Made by a race of space hippies.]]
** Another example of the Pemalites' power is shown when the Animorphs and the Yeerks fight for control of the Pemalite ship that brought them to Earth. The Animorphs are on the losing end when Erik activates the ship's anti-hostility countermeasures. The ship promptly freezes everyone in place, regretfully informs them that they have to leave because of the ruckus, and politely, peacefully, harmlessly kicks everyone out.
* The Harshini in Jennifer Fallion's ''Wolfblade'' are a race of extreme pacifists possessed of great magical power, but incapable of defending themselves with it, so the people of the nation of Medalon can kill them off for no reason whenever they find them. Except for this one guy, Brakandaran the Halfbreed...
* ''ShadowsOfTheEmpire'' has a good one. The ''Suprosa'' is an apparently harmless freighter that the Rebels suspect is carrying the plans for the second Death Star. When they attack, the ''Suprosa'' deploys its weapons, including a diamond-boron missile launcher that takes out half of the attackers. Remember the "many Bothans who died to bring us this information"? That was the ''Suprosa''.
** Also seen in ''Rebel Dream'', when Czulkang Lah discovered that [[spoiler:Republic capital ships are ''very'' good at orbital bombardment.]]
* The ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}'' short story "Wayward Children" is about a group of draconians who have occupied a small, peaceful elven village. There are no children in this village, which the draconians think is a little unusual. Following a magical attempt to turn the draconians back into what they were made from - which fails - the draconians discover that the "elves" are actually ''silver dragons''. Cue death-screams.
* Creator/AlanDeanFoster's ''The Damned'' series. The real superweapon is Humanity itself, bred on a world with chaotic geology and weather, thus stronger and tougher and more adaptable than most, and capable of dealing with the insanity of war and ''enjoying it''. Oh, and non-human telepaths that try to enter our minds go into catatonia.
* The attempted Haruchai invasion of the Land in the BackStory of ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfThomasCovenant'' is this trope. The ProudWarriorRace in question thought that the peaceful hippies of the Land would be easy pickings. It turned out said hippies wielded powerful nature magic that the Haruchai had no counter for. The invasion didn't amount to much, and in short order the Haruchai found themselves in debt to the people of the Land for their mercy.
* [[Creator/IainBanks Iain M. Banks]] ''lived'' by this trope (see examples from the other subcategories): Literature/TheCulture itself is also a nasty surprise. They are not SpaceAmish, they are [[PlanetOfHats Space Hippies]]. They spend their time [[ReallyGetsAround having as much sex as they can]], playing {{MMORPG}}s [[DeepImmersionGaming while sleeping]], organizing parties, and just enjoying their very, very long lives. They are apparently so [[MildlyMilitary alien to discipline]] than even their equivalent of [[OneManArmy elite soldiers]] can wander off the battlefield if they feel like it. But the civilization is run by [[DeusEstMachina godlike AI]], virtually any of their 30+ ''trillion'' citizens can be made into a PersonOfMassDestruction, and their war fleets have little trouble [[ApocalypseHow blowing up planets]] or suns if they feel like it.
** Aesop: When you have trouble with your neighbors and are able to quasi-instantly drop items into existence across star systems, consider sending them anti-matter.
** It even happens on an individual level: the ''Sleeper Service'' appears to be a mildly eccentric GSV which has spent 40 years wandering the galaxy as a storage vessel for {{Human Popsicle}}s. In fact it's [[spoiler: an agent of Special Circumstances and has spent those 40 years not only constructing an armada of remote-controlled battleships and a full wartime weapons suite, but also making arrangements to offload its 'official' cargo and convert its entire internal volume to engines, transforming itself into the most heavily armed and fastest vessel in the entire Culture in a matter of days.]]
** Don't Fuck With The Culture. It's a well known maxim. Nasty things tend to happen to people who do.
*** Or civilisations who do... or solar systems who do... And ''then'' you get [[ApocalypseHow Special Circumstances involved...]]
*** Sterilizing solar systems is nothing special in Cultureverse. The major galactic civilations there have weapons that can seriously damage ''stars''. The better indication of the Culture's badassitude is the fact, that at least one of these civilizations, which has ''even better'' tech, most certainly isn't composed of space hippies, and does not like the Culture, still prefers to avoid a direct confrontation.
** There are also a few sinister examples of ships that decide to ''not'' adopt the Culture's happy-go-lucky superficial appearance, and use that ridiculous amount of incredibly advanced technology for their own... not so happy-go-lucky activities. This is a good indication of what the Culture [[BewareTheNiceOnes could do if it decides to get nasty]]. So it's probably a ''really'' good idea not to do anything that might influence them to ''change'' said happy-go-lucky nature. ''Grey Area'' (a.k.a [[MeaningfulName Meatfucker]]), anyone?
* ''The Algebraist'' by Iain M. Banks: the Dwellers, a bumbling, if ancient, race of gas-giant aliens reveal that their tech is vastly superior to the junk with which they are normally credited: [[spoiler:in an ill-advised attack on the Dwellers, the Mercatoria find out about the Isaut, a Planetary Protector (Deniable), which rises from the cloud-deck, destroys the entire fleet in moments and sinks again.]] Also consider that if you really piss off Dwellers, you can expect to find a planet sized collection of rocks, gravel and dust impacting your home world at a great proportion of the speed of light.
* In one of the books in the ''Literature/{{Worldwar}}'' series, as the Race prepares its invasion of Britain, Churchill warns that any invaders will have to face his most horrible weapons. No, he's not talking about nukes. [[spoiler:However, he still has some stockpiles of mustard gas left over from World War I...]]
** ''Ships'' are also a big surprise to the Race, although not of the superweapon type (except when one is used [[spoiler:to deliver a nuke to the lizard-held Miami]]). They've never seen any body of water bigger than a lake and never bothered to develop sea travel or naval warfare.
** Earth as a whole is this to The Race. When they first scouted Earth, it was during TheMiddleAges. Given the rate of development of themselves and the two previous races they had conquered, they expected the "Tosevites" to just be getting around to the crossbow by the time they brought their invasion fleet. The fleet arrived during the latter part of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. Thanks to Humanity's unexpected rate of advancement, bewildering (to the Race) ability to adapt to and counter any Lizard advantage (short of the [[NukeEm "explosive metal bombs"]] on their starships) and doubly-bewildering capacity for self-sacrifice (whether to destroy enemies or protect allies), they manage to force The Race into a stalemate.[[note]]And in the sequel series, surpass and subdue them in a matter of decades.[[/note]]
* Invoked In-Universe in ''Literature/EnchantressFromTheStars''. An advanced spacefaring civilization invades a world that is still in Middle Ages and intends to rout and enslave all locals. This is discovered by TheFederation, and even more advanced civilization which, however, has an AlienNonInterferenceClause prohibiting them of overtly takoing position. So they plan to get the Empire to withdraw by convincing them that local people have supernatural powers like telekinesis.
* ''By Blood Alone'' (the second of William C. Deitz's [[Literature/LegionOfLostSouls French Foreign Legion]] InSpace novels) has a strange alien life form turn out to be a superweapon. Two 'rafts' of alien plankton are brought aboard a specially converted transport ship and brought to the planned key spacebattle. They conduct a 'psychomotor attack' at a key point in the battle, which paralyzes a large section of the enemy fleet, turning the entire course of the battle.
* In ''Literature/TheZombieKnight'', the ancient Armans repelled the invading [[TheEmpire Lyzakks]] dozens of times by riddling their eternally-flooding lands with dams, which they then [[BigDamPlot broke at the opportune moment]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', the Klingons came in with an armada to take the puny station. Captain Sisko informs them that the station has been upgraded, and is quite willing to show what happens when TheFederation puts their minds to arming themselves. The station puts the fleet through a grueling meat grinder of a battle, with [[MacrossMissileMassacre torpedoes]] and [[BeamSpam phaser beams]] flying every which way out of the station.
* In "Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy" of ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'', [[ItMakesSenseInContext The Doctor]] tries to convince an assault ship from another species that Voyager is this trope; he [[BrandishmentBluff convinces them]] that the "[[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast photonic cannon]]" is starting up and cannot be detected by their sensors.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Cleverly subverted in ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberiumWars'', where the SufficientlyAdvancedAliens fall prey to Kane's diabolical EvilPlan. It turns out that the aim of the liquid tiberium explosion (engineered by Kane) was to trigger a premature alien invasion of Earth, permit the still-powerful GDI to slaughter the aliens, then recover their technology. This is reflected in the Scrin campaign, where initial confidence quickly gives way to damage control, followed by a hasty evacuation of the invading forces. They only helped Kane's EvilPlan along.
* Done straight in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTheSacredStones''. Myrrh appears to be a shy, young little girl who seems harmless. But when equipped with her Dragonstone, she transforms into a huge-ass Dragon who can kill almost anyone with one shot.
* ''VideoGame/{{Metroid}}'' has the Chozo: peaceful bird-like people who lived in harmony with nature. Also were once ''the'' single most technologically-advanced race ''ever''. Vanished without a trace by the time the series continuity starts, but their remnant technology demonstrates this trope well. In particular, their statues, while decorative and ceremonial, also function as guardians of important places to the Chozo: Ridley, in ''[[MetroidPrime Prime]]'', blew up one of their temples trying to kill Samus, and got six giant lasers to the chest for doing so (''after'' Samus beat him into the ground). Samus is the [[OneManArmy only Chozo soldier present in the known universe]], and that's enough to give nightmares to the most ruthless race of the galaxy, (essentially [[Franchise/{{Alien}} Xenomorphs]] with a technological level approaching the [[Literature/TheCulture Culture]]'s)
* A variation occurs in ''VideoGame/UnrealIITheAwakening''. Most of the game involves a hunt for what you think is a superweapon. The ''actual'' super weapon turns out to be a race of seemingly-harmless aliens that perform various menial tasks. The "superweapon" you were collecting was merely an activation key that takes them out of this "dormant" form, into their true form -- giant unstoppable killing machines that can shoot black holes from their hands. No, really. Unfortunately, it really is ''only'' an activation key -- it provides no control, so the new supersoldiers rampage through the ship this was tested on and you have to reroute it into the nearest star and escape alive.
* In ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri'', the Gaians--and, in the expansion, the Cult of Planet--seem like rather wimpy factions, what with being more concerned with environmentalism than proper defense training, a lucrative economy, or developing weapons technology. That is, until you find that their devotion to the environment also gives them an innate ability to take control of the extremely dangerous [[MindRape mindraping]], live-brain-devouring native fauna of Planet. Did we mention that said fauna is equally threatening to unarmored infantrymen carrying ancient guns and your best tanks armed with literal black hole generators and armored with space-time itself? You ''don't'' want to know what they can do once they figure out how to breed their own...
* In ''VideoGame/GalacticCivilizations'', the computer determines actual military power based on the number and power of warships in your empire, and forgets about the technological advantages, industrial base, and massive treasuries. No, I don't have any warships. Next week, I can have a fleet of battleships, dreadnoughts, and destroyers ready to wipe you from space.
** In the backstory, when the Terrans make their appearance on the galactic stage, the Drengin, wanting to test them, secretly convinced a race called the Xendar to attack. The Terrans responded by rapidly militarizing and beating the Xendar all the way back to their homeworld, at which point the Drengin exterminated the Xendar so their involvement would not become known (all other races assumed that the Terrans wiped out the Xendar). The Terrans immediately went back to their usual diplomatic selves, confusing and scaring the hell out of the [[ProudWarriorRace Drengin]], who couldn't wrap their heads around the idea of demilitarizing once it was no longer strictly necessary.
* The Liir from ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars'' are normally pacifistic and were targeted for enslavement by the "[[AbusivePrecursors Suul'Ka]]" for it. The enslavement led to two things: Firstly, that the Liir will turn directly from TheFettered into TheUnfettered when pushed too far and ''stay that way'', and two, that their innate skill with technology renders them really good at [[TurnedAgainstTheirMasters making bio-weapons of 'extinction'-level virulence]] and turning their (now exterminated) captors' techology into a workable technological basis for making starfleets.
** Since then, we have gotten a bit more of a view of the SotS universe. The Suul'ka in question are the insane Liir elders who in an attempt to avoid their inevitable death by crushing enslave the entire Liir race and run them through rapid industrialization in order to have them build a massive spacesuit they can live in. After the last time this happened the Liir rose, led by the Black and decided that they weren't going to let that happen any more. Oh and that they were going to go ahead and get rid of those insane elders already in space. Cue most of the Suul'ka dying. A few got away though and as of ''Sword of the Stars 2'', they're back.
*** The bioweapon used to destroy them also turned out to be a tad bit bigger than the viruses they more commonly use. As in, it was effectively a "good" Suul'ka.
** The humans also had something of a Peace Vault example: After World War III, humanity more or less disarmed itself. So when a small Hiver fleet attacked Earth, they were able to bombard the surface unchallenged for 32 hours... until the curators charged with disposing of the world's nuclear arsenal managed to find the launch codes for all those [[NukeEm ICBMs]] they hadn't yet dismantled...
* In ''VideoGame/CaveStory'', Mimigas once ate flowers that made them into {{Killer Rabbit}}s as a last resort to thwart an invasion. It's so secret they no longer know it.
* When the orcs of ''VideoGame/WarcraftOrcsAndHumans'' initially sent scouts to Azeroth, they saw peaceful meadows tended by farmers, and quickly came to the conclusion that they would roll over the population. Instead, the Azeroth soldiers and knights crushed their initial attack. The orcs regrouped and eventually won, but them being on the business end of an asswhuppin' came as a shock. In the sequel ''VideoGame/WarcraftII'', the orcs also made a point of killing off the knights, and [[EvilSorcerer Gul'dan]] would use their remains to create his ''own'' superweapons, the Death Knights.
* The game ''VideoGame/ImmortalDefense'' has people ascended to pathspace to serve as the [[OneManArmy One Man Armies]] meant to destroy the oncoming invasion of the Bavakh. You are one such of these people. [[spoiler: You fail.]]
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' reveals that despite their hat being ProudMerchantRace, the volus have a respectable navy, though it has only a single dreadnought (for comparison, humanity has six). But its one dreadnought that packs enough firepower to roast an entire planet ''three times over''. There's a reason they don't need two.
* In ''VideoGame/MiniRobotWars'', the titular [=MiniRobots=] are MechanicalLifeforms who are initially overwhelmed and captured by the invading Machines. They actually have many battle-capable units who are able to destroy and repel the invading Machines, but the [=MiniRobots=] are peace-lovers and were not prepared for war.
* King Volcheck from ''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'' knows that the [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Luna Tower]] is sleeping beneath his city, built by an ancient people. He thinks he is pulling this trope against his enemies, but the reality is much, ''much'' [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone worse.]]
* ''VideoGame/Halo3'' has a heroic version of this trope where the Ark is [[TheReveal revealed]] to [[spoiler: contain a foundry at its core that could build Halo rings to replace those that have been destroyed, and a partially constructed replacement for [[VideoGame/HaloCombatEvolved Installation 04]] is uncovered.]] Suddenly the [[EldritchAbomination Gravemind's]] idea of sending all of his [[TheVirus Flood]] forces to the Ark in an effort to keep them outside of the range of the other [[DepopulationBomb Halo]] [[LostSuperweapon rings]] [[DidntThinkThisThrough doesn't seem like such a smart idea]] and the Flood is [[spoiler: finally killed off by the firing of the installation, albeit at the cost of the ring and damaging the Ark]]. This was pulled off without the Gravemind knowing anything until the last minute because no one else knew much about this either, in an unusual case of UnspokenPlanGuarantee, and because the [[ThePrecursors Forerunners]] removed all knowledge of important information on other installations that could prove useful to the Flood from the minds of the [[AncientKeeper Monitors]] of each installation. Even Cortana wasn't sure of the exact details of what solution the Ark contained when she sent her message to the [[TheFederation UNSC]] forces to warn of the threat of the Flood.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Webcomic/GirlGenius has a rather weird case in the city of Mechanicsburg, which was the home of the [[CrazyAwesome Heterodyne dynasty]] - [[MadScientist Sparks]] crazy even by the Sparks' standards. This obviously means the city is, in fact, a death trap looking like a city. However, since the dynasty is presumed to have died out and only a Heterodyne can properly use it, nobody expects the stuff to be used. Then, Klaus Wulfenbach (ruler of most of Europe due to his politics of [[BadassCreed "don't make me come over there"]]) is incapacitated - in Mechanicsburg. This quickly starts a free-for-all war with Mechanincsburg as the battleground. Guess what happens.
** Then, the armies actually overcome the resistance; weakened, but still too powerful to beat...and then the [[BadassArmy Jägers]] arrive.
** Played with in the case of the Baron. Although Wulfenbach has no lack of conventional weaponry and troops, it's actually the ''unconventional'' stuff you should be ''really'' afraid of: his highway construction, fire-fighting, and communication units. Construction machinery which can liquefy solid rock, firefighters equipped with freeze-cannons that can crack open fortresses, and long-range light signal airships, which when focused at closer range can incinerate anything on the ground. His troops can take over cities. His non-combat units can make cities cease to exist.
** To some degree, stronger Sparks are walking potential armies with the stuff they can create. This is explicitly mentioned for the Heterodynes (being very strong Sparks). Every strategist will give you the same advice (and they have done so for centuries): Whatever you do, ''do not'' give the Heterodynes time. Strategically speaking, they are machines that turn "Time" into "'''Death. Lots of it.'''"
* ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'' heavily suggests this with Maxim 24: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a really big gun."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Literature/TheSalvationWar'', the forces of Satan invade the Earth [[spoiler: after Yahweh, pissed that people aren't as into worshiping him as they once were, decides that Satan can have the whole lot of them]] expecting a curbstomp. Too bad the demons are at bronze age levels of technology and haven't been keeping up to date on recent human history. As it happens, there IS a curbstomp... right about when bronze meets the [=M1=] Abrams. Surprise! Also a surprise to Incomparable Legion Of Light when [[spoiler:a cruise missile detonates over their main body of troops and a 1.2 megaton nuclear explosion kills 150,000 to 250,000 Angels and Human Levies at once with the estimate in the next chapter being 349,000 humans and 45,000 angels with another surge of deaths expected in six to eight weeks time from radiation sickness.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'' uses a combination. On the one hand, the Decepticons have weapons while the Autobots have tools (tool conversion). However, there were several things that also factored into the Autobot victory: their mastery of the Space Bridge technology gave them a massive advantage, and their creation of the Omega Sentinels (Bigger Brothers).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The possibility of atomic weaponry had been theorized by every major power in the war, but the Germans believed it wouldn't make a noticeable difference in the war (and they kept drafting their best physicists and sending them to die in battle, as well as dismissing some of the underlying scientific theory as 'Jewish Physics'), the Japanese didn't quite have the gear and the resources they'd have needed and the Soviets couldn't spare the necessary resources while also trying to defend from Germany. It came as a surprise to everyone when the US turned out to have achieved the unachievable.
** The Kamikaze, the Kaiten torpedo, and the Baka bomb. At a stage when the US had already essentially won the war as long as they kept fighting, these suicide weapons were a most unpleasant surprise.
* {{Ninja}} (as in ''real'' Ninja) weapons were all derived from farm implements and often disguised and used as such so that they can carried and used in the open. Keep in mind that, at least from the beginning, Ninja were strictly defensive clans allied against oppressive samurai.
** The shillelagh, in Ireland (and, no, not the little, short cudgels passed off to tourists as shillelaghs, nowadays). The knob on the end of that "walking stick" can pack quite a wallop, especially if it's filled with lead (referred to as a "loaded" stick). Though it could be argued that this doesn't apply that well to the trope in general, as few with any sense of history would describe the Irish as "peaceful".
* Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands because the islands were completely undefended (the only British "military" asset stationed there at the time was an Antarctic research ship, and even that was about to be pulled out) and they believed the British simply had no real desire to try to retake them, especially in the face of proposed defense cuts. Then they invaded; then the British got pissed, and sent anything they could to the South Atlantic, including postponing the retirement of their Vulcan bombers (and pulling some out of the boneyards), originally scheduled for retirement early that year and doing an emergency cancellation of the sale of the aircraft carrier HMS ''Hermes'' (one of only two the Royal Navy had at the time) to the Indians when the ink was still drying (and completely scrapping the sale of the other one, HMS ''Invincible'', to the Aussies), so you can argue it fits the above trope as well.
* New Zealand has a very small military, retiring the last of their tactical combat aircraft in 2002 and their largest warships are under-gunned frigates; yet they possess some of the most respected, well-trained and highly capable special forces teams in the world (some have argued they're better than what the US can put out), and have been on nearly continuous overseas deployment during TheNineties and since the turn of the millenium.
** Australian soldiers are renowned for being very professional and excellent at teamwork (though not always at taking orders). Small population countries do the best with what they have.
* Switzerland. Eternally neutral [[note]]since their confederacy in 14th century, when their mercenary pikemen graced every army that could afford them until gunpowder weaponry caught on in earnest[[/note]]. Good bankers and watchmakers. Want to stomp on them? Feel like walking into a small, mountainous region where every able-bodied male is conscripted into the military when they turn eighteen, serves until the age of thirty (sure, it's only three weeks a year, not unlike the National Guard, but still), and is required to keep an assault rifle and 50 rounds in his house at all times? Many choose to retain their service weapons as hunting rifles as well... About the only thing dumber than an invasion of Switzerland would be [[Film/ThePrincessBride starting a land war in Asia]].
** A famous BadassBoast:
--->'''Swiss General:''' If you invade us, we can mobilize half a million men to defend our country within two days.
--->'''Wehrmacht General:''' And what if the Fuehrer invades your country with one million men?
--->'''Swiss General:''' We will all shoot twice, then go home.
* Despite the fact that their constitution explicitly prohibits militarization, Japan's "Self-Defense Forces" are in the [[http://www.globalfirepower.com/ top ten largest militaries in the world.]]
** They could probably pull it off in a literal sense too. While Japan constitutionally prohibits nuclear weapons, they have all the materials, expertise and industry to make one, possibly developing a fusion bomb inside a few ''months''. For comparison, the US took 12 years to develop a deployable fusion weapon, and China "only" took about six. [[http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-nuclear-plutonium-idUSKCN0WO0R5 Japan periodically ships weapons grade plutonium to the United States for destruction]], largely to keep China and Korea less grumbly about the Japanese stockpiling ''50 TONS'' of the stuff (a byproduct from decades of nuclear power plant use).
** Japan also counts the US as a military ally and hosts American military bases on its soil. While current treaty obligations prohibit the Americans from stationing any nuclear weapons in Japan ([[NuclearWeaponsTaboo for reasons that should be obvious]]), the alliance itself could prove quite useful should Japan ever find itself attacked by one of its neighbors (such as, say, UsefulNotes/NorthKorea).
* Israel essentially pulled this in the Six-Day War.
* Half a century later, Lebanon's Hizbollah pulled something similar. Not so much Superweaponing as massive Underdogging.
* Finland during the Winter War. The Soviet Union was certain they could conquer the entire country within a span of few weeks. Instead, the plucky little place resisted for a hundred days and made their enemy pay a heavy price for every mile they acquired. Technically the Soviets did win, and they could have kept going and eventually crush the Finns, but it more than qualifies regardless. Besides, Finland had a OneManArmy UsefulNotes/SimoHayha, who practically qualifies as a superweapon in his own right.
** Amusingly (well, in a grim way, but still) it worked for the Soviets as well. Hitler was so unimpressed with their performance against the Finland, he was convinced it was safe to invade and that he would curbstomp the Union just as he had done with Europe. Boy, was he in for a surprise.
* Inverted during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII when the Japanese grabbed an atlas, took a look at the size of Australia and believed that a successful land invasion would be utterly impossible. Even if every able bodied Aussie alive at the time was armed and ready, they still wouldn't have enough troops to defend themselves as their population was only a bit over 7 million. Even now, they only have a bit under 22 million (the majority of the population is within a couple hundred miles of an ocean coast - the inland is primarily desert and almost entirely unpopulated). On the flipside, they do have large uranium deposits and the know-how to make them into something explosive.
** Not to mention that it's [[LandDownUnder Australia]]. [[EverythingTryingToKillYou The country itself arguably qualifies as a weapon.]]
* The siege of Syracuse 215 B.C. . What was supposed to be a quick assault turned into a three year siege. Credited to the wonderful devices of Archimedes. As the biographer Plutarch put it "When, therefore, the Romans came up under the walls, thinking themselves unnoticed, once more they encountered a great storm of missiles; huge stones came tumbling down upon them almost perpendicularly, and the wall shot out arrows at them from every point; they therefore retired.... . At last, the Romans became so fearful that, whenever they saw a bit of rope or a stick of timber projecting a little over the wall, “There it is,” they cried, “Archimedes is training some engine upon us,” and turned their backs and fled."
** Other accounts also include hidden hooks and pulleys that could tear ships apart if they got too close to the walls and arrays of mirrors used as DeathRays by focusing sunlight to burn ships.
* Italy is not normally known for its military courage, but it has its moments:
** In UsefulNotes/WorldWarI they initially ''{{Subverted}}'' it by not entering the war on the side of their allies, Germany and Austria-Hungary (had they done it, the French army would have been too overstretched to stop either the Germans or the Italians). Then they entered the war on the side of the Entente, but by then everybody was expecting it;
** In 1917 the Austro-Hungarians had finally broken through Italian lines at Caporetto and were marching on the valley where most of the Italian weapons were and still are made... Only to stumble on a massif fortified with thousands of guns. In the same days, the routed Italian soldiers running from the main Austro-Hungarian force suddenly realized that their homes were under attack, stopped running, and started fighting like demons (an Italian brigade was actually nicknamed 'Demons' by the Austro-Hungarians due their ferocity), with the Austro-Hungarian invasion being stopped dead on its tracks;
** During the war, the Italians pulled a ToolConversion by creating the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAS_%28boat%29 MAS boats]], basically large civilian motorboats with a machine gun and two torpedoes strapped on them. The Austro-Hungarians laughed... Then a couple MAS sank an Austro-Hungarian pre-dreadnought battleship in harbour. Then three of them ([[RunningGag the two of the previous attack]] plus a third) penetrated the most guarded harbour in the world and fired torpedoes at the moored ships ([[ProperlyParanoid they didn't sink because the high command had ordered to place torpedo nets after the first attack, just in case]]). ''Then'' the ''[[OverlyLongGag same two MAS of the first attack]]'' stumbled on the Austro-Hungarian flagship and ''sank her''. In UsefulNotes/WorldWarII the MAS didn't enjoy the same success because every possible target was looking for them and was liable to call for air support at the first sign;
** What did the Italians use to replace the MAS in World War II? The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_torpedo Human torpedo]]: a large torpedo with two divers steering it until they reached their targets, at which point they removed the limpet mine that replaced the warhead, placed it on the ship, and swam away before it blew up and sank the target. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raid_on_Alexandria_%281941%29 One such raid disabled two battleships in harbour and damaged a tanker (plus a destroyer as collateral)]]. After that, the Allies copied the concept... And the Royal Navy started dropping depth charge every time they suspected a raid ([[ProperlyParanoid they thwarted at least one such raid this way]]);
** In North Africa during World War II, many armies mounted light cannons on trucks. Not Italy. They mounted [[http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/102/35_su_Fiat_634N 102mm naval guns taken from old destroyers]] (link in Italian, sorry). To say that they came as a surprise for British tankers would be an understatement.
** At [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Kasserine_Pass Kasserine Pass]], the Americans believed they had stopped Rommel's counterattack; his German troops were exhausted, and all he had left were Italians. But the Italians were ''Bersaglieri'', elite troops who Rommel considered superior to his German infantry; they attacked the American forces and showed that Rommel's appraisal was right.
[[/folder]]

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29th Jul '17 5:41:05 PM EDP
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* During the UsefulNotes/BattleOfLepanto, the Ottomans saw that the League fleet was preceeded by six large Venetian barges, and proceeded to try and board it. Turned out the barges were the first-ever galleasses: large merchant barges that the Venetians had armed with 36 guns on the sides (a galley, the standard warship on both sides, embarked four, two fore and two aft, all smaller than the ones on the galleasses). When the Ottomans managed to get away, they had lost ''70 out of their 206 galleys'' and their formation was in disarray, and the galleasses were intact.



* ''ComicBook/{{Asterix}}'' is about a small, backwards barbarian village containing nothing of value and only a handful of uncoordinated warriors, ripe pickings for the Romans. Unfortunately for them, the villagers all happen all to possess superhuman strength thanks to SuperSerum, and [[UndefeatableLittleVillage the Romans don't stand a chance]]. This is only a 'surprise' for the first couple of albums; after this, the village's reputation is well-known by the Romans and they become increasingly afraid of it. Even so, many an album has a fresh set of legionnaires or another cocky adversary arrive from another part of the Empire, who might have ''heard'' about the Gauls' superweapon, but fail to appreciate just how terrible it is - until they witness one of the series' trademark [[CurbStompBattle Curb Stomp Battles]].
* ''ComicBook/PaperinikNewAdventures'' has a few examples:
** Earth's ''first'' surprise to the Evronians is the title character, DonaldDuck's superhero/antihero alter ego, who gives the alien invaders a nasty surprise by savagely beating a large squad on a raid. The Evronians [[GenreSavvy having experience with this kind of things]], they react by sending hand-picked elimination squads to take him out and check for other surprises before launching the invasion proper.
** Earth's second surprise is [[NuclearOption the nuclear arsenals]]. The Evronians ''could'' simply weather the barrage, but the losses would be unacceptable.
** Earth's third surprise is the military of Stahlburg, small but very technologically advanced-[[SubvertedTrope and completely ineffective against an outdated Evronian battlecruiser]].
** Earth's fourth surprise is a plot point in "[[Recap/PaperinikNewAdventuresS1E32Virus Virus]]", and stated to be the main reason the Evronians are not invading: [[spoiler:a virus capable of turning the Evronians back into spores. [[SubvertedTrope Except it doesn't exist]]: Wisecube invented it to dupe Paperinik into helping him recovering the evidence of the Evronian threat to try and reveal it to the public, [[WellIntentionedExtremist believing it would help resisting the eventual invasion]]]].
** The fifth surprise comes out in "Might and Power": a ray gun that turns groups of Evronians back into spores. It's devastating enough that Earth's militaries, previously not so effective against the Evronians, [[CurbStompBattle mop the floor with them]].
** Xerba has Xadhoom-that is, their chief of state that turne herself into a PhysicalGoddess by way of [[ProfessorGuineaPig a scientific experiment aimed to solve their incoming energetic crisis]]. Too bad the experiment was completed after the Evronians had already overran the planet... Especially for the Evronians, as she now wants them all dead and not only she has the firepower for that, ''they can't stop her''.
** The Evronians have more than a few, mostly new technologies made to try and counter Xadhoom. [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu They came close to success more than once]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/IronSky'' features a few on both sides. First, we have the Moon Nazis (ItMakesSenseInContext) with their anti-gravity technology, {{Flying Saucer}}s, and Zeppelins InSpace. While a few saucers are taken out by jet fighters, more jet fighters are shot down by Nazi turrets. Then the President reveals that the vehicle for the planned American manned Mars mission is actually a warship armed with powerful guns and dozens of nukes. It proceeds to blow up a good number of Nazi warships before it gets overwhelmed and requests help. Cue dozens of armed spaceships from ''all'' other nations (except Finland), which proceed to obliterate the Nazi space fleet. Oh, and one of those ships is the supposedly-destroyed ''Mir'' station. Then comes the Nazi flagship ''Götterdämmerung'', a gigantic war machine that is so overpowered and complex that the most powerful Nazi computer (the size of a room) can't control its systems. But an [=iPad=] app can. When unleashed, it simply flies through the Earth fleet, smashing a number of the ships on its windshield. The guns on the ''Götterdämmerung'' are powerful enough to take a 10% chunk of the Moon with each shot.
* In ''Film/{{Purgatory}}'', a group of bandits came across a town named Refuge, which is apparently populated by nothing but ActualPacifist - even the Sheriff would not raise his weapon in the face of imminent threat. This made the town easy prey for the bandits, but it was slowly revealed that the citizens were outlaws who were granted a chance to redeem themselves: live for 10 years in peace, or go to hell. When push finally comes to shove, the bandits found out they were facing legendary figures such as Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickok, and Doc Holliday.
* ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'' features an odd variation. [[LaResistance The rebels]] know that TheEmpire is building a second [[EarthShatteringKaboom Death Star]], but as it's unfinished they assume that its WaveMotionGun isn't yet operational. After the [[BigBadassBattleSequence Battle of Endor]] starts, however...
--> '''Palpatine:''' Now witness the firepower of this ''fully armed and operational battle station''! Fire at will, Commander!\\
''(the Death Star fires and destroys a Rebel cruiser)''\\
'''Lando:''' That blast came from the Death Star! ''[[OhCrap That thing's operational!]]''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* In the ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''[=/=]''Series/DoctorWho'' crossover [[http://www.tthfanfic.org/Story-19093/Meshakhad+%20The+%20Impossible+%20War.htm The Impossible War]], the Daleks invade modern-day Earth. As expected, human technology is woefully inadequate. Human ''magic'' on the other hand...
* In the ''Franchise/MassEffect''[=/=]''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer'' crossover ''Fanfic/{{Renegade}}'', the Turian Hierarchy invaded the human colony world of Shanxi just like the did in the canon timeline. However, Shanxi is held by the Global Defense Initiative, and the turians catch a face full of ion cannons, rapid-fabrication technology, and [[TankGoodness house-sized tanks of "fuck you"]].
* In Warhammer 40,000 we have Knight Inductors, who are also known as Reasonable Marines. They don't particularly care about those defenseless Eldar Exodite Worlds in their sector, but they really don't like Chaos Marines. So when some Slaanesh CSM try to harvest some soulstones in Apriori sector, they got utterly curb stomped by Stealth Terminators and Supersoldier Blanks armed with rapid fire plasma cannons.
* [[NukeEm Nuclear]] [[UsefulNotes/NuclearWeapons weapons]] and [[MoreDakka firearms]] in many [[FanFic/TheConversionBureau Conversion Bureau]] {{Hate Fic}}s and {{DeconstructionFic}}s. Half the time, when "Xenolestia" declares that humanity must become ponies or be exterminated, humans whip out the nukes, destroy their AdvancingWallOfDoom, and [[CurbStompBattle utterly devastate the Equestrian military]].
** ''Fanfic/TheConversionBureauTheOtherSideOfTheSpectrum'' takes it UpToEleven. Since the barrier will vaporize nukes along with every other man-made object, the US military instead [[spoiler: plants several nukes in the weak points of the Yellowstone caldera. If the barrier consumes too much of the world, they'll detonate the nukes, inducing an eruption powerful enough to spread the fire and ash over the world in a TakingYouWithMe move and render the TCB Equestrians' victory a [[PyrrhicVictory hollow one]]. Suicidal, sure, but it proves the humans would [[BetterToDieThanBeKilled do whatever]] [[IDieFree it takes]] [[AFateWorseThanDeath to avoid "living" as]] zombified slaves to a xenocidal tyrant]].
* In ''FanFic/WorldwarWarOfEquals'', Race high command did not expect the spear swinging primitives to have moved up so quickly to using tanks, aircraft, and nuclear weaponry. When the invaders land on Earth and have nearly overrun Ukraine, they get another fun surprise in the form of Eastern European nerve gas.
* In ''FanFic/OriginStory," which is set during the ''Marvel ComicBook/CivilWar'' arc, the Avengers are tasked by SHIELD to arrest a girl who escaped from their custody. SHIELD had previously tested the girl's power level, and put her somewhere on the scale between Power Man and SpiderMan. Well, surprise, surprise, turns out she was a [[{{Superman}} Kryptonian]] who figured out that maybe hiding just how powerful she really was might be a smart idea. Cue [[IronMan Tony Stark]] getting the [[CurbStompBattle ass-whipping]] of his life.
* In the ''Franchise/{{Naruto}}'' fanfiction ''Fanfic/CatchYourBreath'' Kei, the protagonist, is a [[spoiler:jinchuuriki]], and that fact rarely bodes well for her opponents.
** [[spoiler:When a Yamanaka hit Kei with the mind body switch jutsu (a jutsu Kei was noted to ''not like'') he came face to face with the Three Tailed Beast. Also when Honoka Uchiha hit her with two devastating jutsu, and Kei started manifesting a bijuu chakra cloak to mitigate the damage. It was quite a nasty surprise for everyone not in the know.]]
** In an [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11379740/1/The-B-Plot-Another-Side-Another-Story Omake]] chapter [[spoiler:where Zabuza and (especially) Haku find out they've bitten off far more than they can chew when that lanky Konoha special jonin (Kei) whips out [[SealedInAPersonShapedCan Tailed Beast chakra]]. Canon Kakashi can be counted too, since he had no idea the cross-dimensional time-traveller (also Kei) is a jinchuuriki as well.]]
** Raido has confirmed, in-story, to have had a run in with the Four Tails host (presumably on the battlefields of the Third Shinobi War).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Frank Herbert's ''Franchise/{{Dune}}'' provides a clean-cut example of the Hidden Badass variety. On the remote outskirts of god-forsaken planet, in the huge desert, a small bunch of ragtag people scavenge for a living. Do not get trigger-happy yet: those people are, in fact, bred by their demanding enviroment to be the best fighters in Universe. And their numbers are seriously underestimated... Long story short, a hundred years and several books after being bothered, they sweep their Jihad holy crusade across the Galaxy. Woops!
* Subverted in ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'', with an alien race of {{Precursors}} called the Pemalites. The Pemalites had great technological power, and used it only for peaceful and playful purposes. They were invaded and destroyed by another race called the Howlers. It's explained that they could have forged their plowshares into swords, could have repelled their invasion, but they chose not to do it because they couldn't bring themselves to become violent killers. So they were destroyed, and their memory is a cautionary tale against the dangers of pacifism. In a later addition, it turns out that they were created by the [[SufficientlyAdvancedAliens Ellimist]], and learned to have such an overwhelming love for life that they could never kill.
** Played straight with the Pemalites' androids, the Chee. Although simarly loaded with pacifist protocols, they are are super strong. [[spoiler:The Animorphs use a crystal to turn off said protocols, leading Erek to take and kill more Hork Bajir than the entire GROUP can manage. He is so horrified at his actions he requests for the protocols to be put back, but for a few moments, he's the surprise superweapon. Made by a race of space hippies.]]
** Another example of the Pemalites' power is shown when the Animorphs and the Yeerks fight for control of the Pemalite ship that brought them to Earth. The Animorphs are on the losing end when Erik activates the ship's anti-hostility countermeasures. The ship promptly freezes everyone in place, regretfully informs them that they have to leave because of the ruckus, and politely, peacefully, harmlessly kicks everyone out.
* The Harshini in Jennifer Fallion's ''Wolfblade'' are a race of extreme pacifists possessed of great magical power, but incapable of defending themselves with it, so the people of the nation of Medalon can kill them off for no reason whenever they find them. Except for this one guy, Brakandaran the Halfbreed...
* ''ShadowsOfTheEmpire'' has a good one. The ''Suprosa'' is an apparently harmless freighter that the Rebels suspect is carrying the plans for the second Death Star. When they attack, the ''Suprosa'' deploys its weapons, including a diamond-boron missile launcher that takes out half of the attackers. Remember the "many Bothans who died to bring us this information"? That was the ''Suprosa''.
** Also seen in ''Rebel Dream'', when Czulkang Lah discovered that [[spoiler:Republic capital ships are ''very'' good at orbital bombardment.]]
* The ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}'' short story "Wayward Children" is about a group of draconians who have occupied a small, peaceful elven village. There are no children in this village, which the draconians think is a little unusual. Following a magical attempt to turn the draconians back into what they were made from - which fails - the draconians discover that the "elves" are actually ''silver dragons''. Cue death-screams.
* Creator/AlanDeanFoster's ''The Damned'' series. The real superweapon is Humanity itself, bred on a world with chaotic geology and weather, thus stronger and tougher and more adaptable than most, and capable of dealing with the insanity of war and ''enjoying it''. Oh, and non-human telepaths that try to enter our minds go into catatonia.
* The attempted Haruchai invasion of the Land in the BackStory of ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfThomasCovenant'' is this trope. The ProudWarriorRace in question thought that the peaceful hippies of the Land would be easy pickings. It turned out said hippies wielded powerful nature magic that the Haruchai had no counter for. The invasion didn't amount to much, and in short order the Haruchai found themselves in debt to the people of the Land for their mercy.
* [[Creator/IainBanks Iain M. Banks]] ''lived'' by this trope (see examples from the other subcategories): Literature/TheCulture itself is also a nasty surprise. They are not SpaceAmish, they are [[PlanetOfHats Space Hippies]]. They spend their time [[ReallyGetsAround having as much sex as they can]], playing {{MMORPG}}s [[DeepImmersionGaming while sleeping]], organizing parties, and just enjoying their very, very long lives. They are apparently so [[MildlyMilitary alien to discipline]] than even their equivalent of [[OneManArmy elite soldiers]] can wander off the battlefield if they feel like it. But the civilization is run by [[DeusEstMachina godlike AI]], virtually any of their 30+ ''trillion'' citizens can be made into a PersonOfMassDestruction, and their war fleets have little trouble [[ApocalypseHow blowing up planets]] or suns if they feel like it.
** Aesop: When you have trouble with your neighbors and are able to quasi-instantly drop items into existence across star systems, consider sending them anti-matter.
** It even happens on an individual level: the ''Sleeper Service'' appears to be a mildly eccentric GSV which has spent 40 years wandering the galaxy as a storage vessel for {{Human Popsicle}}s. In fact it's [[spoiler: an agent of Special Circumstances and has spent those 40 years not only constructing an armada of remote-controlled battleships and a full wartime weapons suite, but also making arrangements to offload its 'official' cargo and convert its entire internal volume to engines, transforming itself into the most heavily armed and fastest vessel in the entire Culture in a matter of days.]]
** Don't Fuck With The Culture. It's a well known maxim. Nasty things tend to happen to people who do.
*** Or civilisations who do... or solar systems who do... And ''then'' you get [[ApocalypseHow Special Circumstances involved...]]
*** Sterilizing solar systems is nothing special in Cultureverse. The major galactic civilations there have weapons that can seriously damage ''stars''. The better indication of the Culture's badassitude is the fact, that at least one of these civilizations, which has ''even better'' tech, most certainly isn't composed of space hippies, and does not like the Culture, still prefers to avoid a direct confrontation.
** There are also a few sinister examples of ships that decide to ''not'' adopt the Culture's happy-go-lucky superficial appearance, and use that ridiculous amount of incredibly advanced technology for their own... not so happy-go-lucky activities. This is a good indication of what the Culture [[BewareTheNiceOnes could do if it decides to get nasty]]. So it's probably a ''really'' good idea not to do anything that might influence them to ''change'' said happy-go-lucky nature. ''Grey Area'' (a.k.a [[MeaningfulName Meatfucker]]), anyone?
* ''The Algebraist'' by Iain M. Banks: the Dwellers, a bumbling, if ancient, race of gas-giant aliens reveal that their tech is vastly superior to the junk with which they are normally credited: [[spoiler:in an ill-advised attack on the Dwellers, the Mercatoria find out about the Isaut, a Planetary Protector (Deniable), which rises from the cloud-deck, destroys the entire fleet in moments and sinks again.]] Also consider that if you really piss off Dwellers, you can expect to find a planet sized collection of rocks, gravel and dust impacting your home world at a great proportion of the speed of light.
* In one of the books in the ''Literature/{{Worldwar}}'' series, as the Race prepares its invasion of Britain, Churchill warns that any invaders will have to face his most horrible weapons. No, he's not talking about nukes. [[spoiler:However, he still has some stockpiles of mustard gas left over from World War I...]]
** ''Ships'' are also a big surprise to the Race, although not of the superweapon type (except when one is used [[spoiler:to deliver a nuke to the lizard-held Miami]]). They've never seen any body of water bigger than a lake and never bothered to develop sea travel or naval warfare.
** Earth as a whole is this to The Race. When they first scouted Earth, it was during TheMiddleAges. Given the rate of development of themselves and the two previous races they had conquered, they expected the "Tosevites" to just be getting around to the crossbow by the time they brought their invasion fleet. The fleet arrived during the latter part of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. Thanks to Humanity's unexpected rate of advancement, bewildering (to the Race) ability to adapt to and counter any Lizard advantage (short of the [[NukeEm "explosive metal bombs"]] on their starships) and doubly-bewildering capacity for self-sacrifice (whether to destroy enemies or protect allies), they manage to force The Race into a stalemate.[[note]]And in the sequel series, surpass and subdue them in a matter of decades.[[/note]]
* Invoked In-Universe in ''Literature/EnchantressFromTheStars''. An advanced spacefaring civilization invades a world that is still in Middle Ages and intends to rout and enslave all locals. This is discovered by TheFederation, and even more advanced civilization which, however, has an AlienNonInterferenceClause prohibiting them of overtly takoing position. So they plan to get the Empire to withdraw by convincing them that local people have supernatural powers like telekinesis.
* ''By Blood Alone'' (the second of William C. Deitz's [[Literature/LegionOfLostSouls French Foreign Legion]] InSpace novels) has a strange alien life form turn out to be a superweapon. Two 'rafts' of alien plankton are brought aboard a specially converted transport ship and brought to the planned key spacebattle. They conduct a 'psychomotor attack' at a key point in the battle, which paralyzes a large section of the enemy fleet, turning the entire course of the battle.
* In ''Literature/TheZombieKnight'', the ancient Armans repelled the invading [[TheEmpire Lyzakks]] dozens of times by riddling their eternally-flooding lands with dams, which they then [[BigDamPlot broke at the opportune moment]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', the Klingons came in with an armada to take the puny station. Captain Sisko informs them that the station has been upgraded, and is quite willing to show what happens when TheFederation puts their minds to arming themselves. The station puts the fleet through a grueling meat grinder of a battle, with [[MacrossMissileMassacre torpedoes]] and [[BeamSpam phaser beams]] flying every which way out of the station.
* In "Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy" of ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'', [[ItMakesSenseInContext The Doctor]] tries to convince an assault ship from another species that Voyager is this trope; he [[BrandishmentBluff convinces them]] that the "[[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast photonic cannon]]" is starting up and cannot be detected by their sensors.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Cleverly subverted in ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberiumWars'', where the SufficientlyAdvancedAliens fall prey to Kane's diabolical EvilPlan. It turns out that the aim of the liquid tiberium explosion (engineered by Kane) was to trigger a premature alien invasion of Earth, permit the still-powerful GDI to slaughter the aliens, then recover their technology. This is reflected in the Scrin campaign, where initial confidence quickly gives way to damage control, followed by a hasty evacuation of the invading forces. They only helped Kane's EvilPlan along.
* Done straight in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTheSacredStones''. Myrrh appears to be a shy, young little girl who seems harmless. But when equipped with her Dragonstone, she transforms into a huge-ass Dragon who can kill almost anyone with one shot.
* ''VideoGame/{{Metroid}}'' has the Chozo: peaceful bird-like people who lived in harmony with nature. Also were once ''the'' single most technologically-advanced race ''ever''. Vanished without a trace by the time the series continuity starts, but their remnant technology demonstrates this trope well. In particular, their statues, while decorative and ceremonial, also function as guardians of important places to the Chozo: Ridley, in ''[[MetroidPrime Prime]]'', blew up one of their temples trying to kill Samus, and got six giant lasers to the chest for doing so (''after'' Samus beat him into the ground). Samus is the [[OneManArmy only Chozo soldier present in the known universe]], and that's enough to give nightmares to the most ruthless race of the galaxy, (essentially [[Franchise/{{Alien}} Xenomorphs]] with a technological level approaching the [[Literature/TheCulture Culture]]'s)
* A variation occurs in ''VideoGame/UnrealIITheAwakening''. Most of the game involves a hunt for what you think is a superweapon. The ''actual'' super weapon turns out to be a race of seemingly-harmless aliens that perform various menial tasks. The "superweapon" you were collecting was merely an activation key that takes them out of this "dormant" form, into their true form -- giant unstoppable killing machines that can shoot black holes from their hands. No, really. Unfortunately, it really is ''only'' an activation key -- it provides no control, so the new supersoldiers rampage through the ship this was tested on and you have to reroute it into the nearest star and escape alive.
* In ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri'', the Gaians--and, in the expansion, the Cult of Planet--seem like rather wimpy factions, what with being more concerned with environmentalism than proper defense training, a lucrative economy, or developing weapons technology. That is, until you find that their devotion to the environment also gives them an innate ability to take control of the extremely dangerous [[MindRape mindraping]], live-brain-devouring native fauna of Planet. Did we mention that said fauna is equally threatening to unarmored infantrymen carrying ancient guns and your best tanks armed with literal black hole generators and armored with space-time itself? You ''don't'' want to know what they can do once they figure out how to breed their own...
* In ''VideoGame/GalacticCivilizations'', the computer determines actual military power based on the number and power of warships in your empire, and forgets about the technological advantages, industrial base, and massive treasuries. No, I don't have any warships. Next week, I can have a fleet of battleships, dreadnoughts, and destroyers ready to wipe you from space.
** In the backstory, when the Terrans make their appearance on the galactic stage, the Drengin, wanting to test them, secretly convinced a race called the Xendar to attack. The Terrans responded by rapidly militarizing and beating the Xendar all the way back to their homeworld, at which point the Drengin exterminated the Xendar so their involvement would not become known (all other races assumed that the Terrans wiped out the Xendar). The Terrans immediately went back to their usual diplomatic selves, confusing and scaring the hell out of the [[ProudWarriorRace Drengin]], who couldn't wrap their heads around the idea of demilitarizing once it was no longer strictly necessary.
* The Liir from ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars'' are normally pacifistic and were targeted for enslavement by the "[[AbusivePrecursors Suul'Ka]]" for it. The enslavement led to two things: Firstly, that the Liir will turn directly from TheFettered into TheUnfettered when pushed too far and ''stay that way'', and two, that their innate skill with technology renders them really good at [[TurnedAgainstTheirMasters making bio-weapons of 'extinction'-level virulence]] and turning their (now exterminated) captors' techology into a workable technological basis for making starfleets.
** Since then, we have gotten a bit more of a view of the SotS universe. The Suul'ka in question are the insane Liir elders who in an attempt to avoid their inevitable death by crushing enslave the entire Liir race and run them through rapid industrialization in order to have them build a massive spacesuit they can live in. After the last time this happened the Liir rose, led by the Black and decided that they weren't going to let that happen any more. Oh and that they were going to go ahead and get rid of those insane elders already in space. Cue most of the Suul'ka dying. A few got away though and as of ''Sword of the Stars 2'', they're back.
*** The bioweapon used to destroy them also turned out to be a tad bit bigger than the viruses they more commonly use. As in, it was effectively a "good" Suul'ka.
** The humans also had something of a Peace Vault example: After World War III, humanity more or less disarmed itself. So when a small Hiver fleet attacked Earth, they were able to bombard the surface unchallenged for 32 hours... until the curators charged with disposing of the world's nuclear arsenal managed to find the launch codes for all those [[NukeEm ICBMs]] they hadn't yet dismantled...
* In ''VideoGame/CaveStory'', Mimigas once ate flowers that made them into {{Killer Rabbit}}s as a last resort to thwart an invasion. It's so secret they no longer know it.
* When the orcs of ''VideoGame/WarcraftOrcsAndHumans'' initially sent scouts to Azeroth, they saw peaceful meadows tended by farmers, and quickly came to the conclusion that they would roll over the population. Instead, the Azeroth soldiers and knights crushed their initial attack. The orcs regrouped and eventually won, but them being on the business end of an asswhuppin' came as a shock. In the sequel ''VideoGame/WarcraftII'', the orcs also made a point of killing off the knights, and [[EvilSorcerer Gul'dan]] would use their remains to create his ''own'' superweapons, the Death Knights.
* The game ''VideoGame/ImmortalDefense'' has people ascended to pathspace to serve as the [[OneManArmy One Man Armies]] meant to destroy the oncoming invasion of the Bavakh. You are one such of these people. [[spoiler: You fail.]]
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' reveals that despite their hat being ProudMerchantRace, the volus have a respectable navy, though it has only a single dreadnought (for comparison, humanity has six). But its one dreadnought that packs enough firepower to roast an entire planet ''three times over''. There's a reason they don't need two.
* In ''VideoGame/MiniRobotWars'', the titular [=MiniRobots=] are MechanicalLifeforms who are initially overwhelmed and captured by the invading Machines. They actually have many battle-capable units who are able to destroy and repel the invading Machines, but the [=MiniRobots=] are peace-lovers and were not prepared for war.
* King Volcheck from ''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'' knows that the [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Luna Tower]] is sleeping beneath his city, built by an ancient people. He thinks he is pulling this trope against his enemies, but the reality is much, ''much'' [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone worse.]]
* ''VideoGame/Halo3'' has a heroic version of this trope where the Ark is [[TheReveal revealed]] to [[spoiler: contain a foundry at its core that could build Halo rings to replace those that have been destroyed, and a partially constructed replacement for [[VideoGame/HaloCombatEvolved Installation 04]] is uncovered.]] Suddenly the [[EldritchAbomination Gravemind's]] idea of sending all of his [[TheVirus Flood]] forces to the Ark in an effort to keep them outside of the range of the other [[DepopulationBomb Halo]] [[LostSuperweapon rings]] [[DidntThinkThisThrough doesn't seem like such a smart idea]] and the Flood is [[spoiler: finally killed off by the firing of the installation, albeit at the cost of the ring and damaging the Ark]]. This was pulled off without the Gravemind knowing anything until the last minute because no one else knew much about this either, in an unusual case of UnspokenPlanGuarantee, and because the [[ThePrecursors Forerunners]] removed all knowledge of important information on other installations that could prove useful to the Flood from the minds of the [[AncientKeeper Monitors]] of each installation. Even Cortana wasn't sure of the exact details of what solution the Ark contained when she sent her message to the [[TheFederation UNSC]] forces to warn of the threat of the Flood.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Webcomic/GirlGenius has a rather weird case in the city of Mechanicsburg, which was the home of the [[CrazyAwesome Heterodyne dynasty]] - [[MadScientist Sparks]] crazy even by the Sparks' standards. This obviously means the city is, in fact, a death trap looking like a city. However, since the dynasty is presumed to have died out and only a Heterodyne can properly use it, nobody expects the stuff to be used. Then, Klaus Wulfenbach (ruler of most of Europe due to his politics of [[BadassCreed "don't make me come over there"]]) is incapacitated - in Mechanicsburg. This quickly starts a free-for-all war with Mechanincsburg as the battleground. Guess what happens.
** Then, the armies actually overcome the resistance; weakened, but still too powerful to beat...and then the [[BadassArmy Jägers]] arrive.
** Played with in the case of the Baron. Although Wulfenbach has no lack of conventional weaponry and troops, it's actually the ''unconventional'' stuff you should be ''really'' afraid of: his highway construction, fire-fighting, and communication units. Construction machinery which can liquefy solid rock, firefighters equipped with freeze-cannons that can crack open fortresses, and long-range light signal airships, which when focused at closer range can incinerate anything on the ground. His troops can take over cities. His non-combat units can make cities cease to exist.
** To some degree, stronger Sparks are walking potential armies with the stuff they can create. This is explicitly mentioned for the Heterodynes (being very strong Sparks). Every strategist will give you the same advice (and they have done so for centuries): Whatever you do, ''do not'' give the Heterodynes time. Strategically speaking, they are machines that turn "Time" into "'''Death. Lots of it.'''"
* ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'' heavily suggests this with Maxim 24: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a really big gun."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Literature/TheSalvationWar'', the forces of Satan invade the Earth [[spoiler: after Yahweh, pissed that people aren't as into worshiping him as they once were, decides that Satan can have the whole lot of them]] expecting a curbstomp. Too bad the demons are at bronze age levels of technology and haven't been keeping up to date on recent human history. As it happens, there IS a curbstomp... right about when bronze meets the [=M1=] Abrams. Surprise! Also a surprise to Incomparable Legion Of Light when [[spoiler:a cruise missile detonates over their main body of troops and a 1.2 megaton nuclear explosion kills 150,000 to 250,000 Angels and Human Levies at once with the estimate in the next chapter being 349,000 humans and 45,000 angels with another surge of deaths expected in six to eight weeks time from radiation sickness.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'' uses a combination. On the one hand, the Decepticons have weapons while the Autobots have tools (tool conversion). However, there were several things that also factored into the Autobot victory: their mastery of the Space Bridge technology gave them a massive advantage, and their creation of the Omega Sentinels (Bigger Brothers).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The possibility of atomic weaponry had been theorized by every major power in the war, but the Germans believed it wouldn't make a noticeable difference in the war (and they kept drafting their best physicists and sending them to die in battle, as well as dismissing some of the underlying scientific theory as 'Jewish Physics'), the Japanese didn't quite have the gear and the resources they'd have needed and the Soviets couldn't spare the necessary resources while also trying to defend from Germany. It came as a surprise to everyone when the US turned out to have achieved the unachievable.
** The Kamikaze, the Kaiten torpedo, and the Baka bomb. At a stage when the US had already essentially won the war as long as they kept fighting, these suicide weapons were a most unpleasant surprise.
* {{Ninja}} (as in ''real'' Ninja) weapons were all derived from farm implements and often disguised and used as such so that they can carried and used in the open. Keep in mind that, at least from the beginning, Ninja were strictly defensive clans allied against oppressive samurai.
** The shillelagh, in Ireland (and, no, not the little, short cudgels passed off to tourists as shillelaghs, nowadays). The knob on the end of that "walking stick" can pack quite a wallop, especially if it's filled with lead (referred to as a "loaded" stick). Though it could be argued that this doesn't apply that well to the trope in general, as few with any sense of history would describe the Irish as "peaceful".
* Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands because the islands were completely undefended (the only British "military" asset stationed there at the time was an Antarctic research ship, and even that was about to be pulled out) and they believed the British simply had no real desire to try to retake them, especially in the face of proposed defense cuts. Then they invaded; then the British got pissed, and sent anything they could to the South Atlantic, including postponing the retirement of their Vulcan bombers (and pulling some out of the boneyards), originally scheduled for retirement early that year and doing an emergency cancellation of the sale of the aircraft carrier HMS ''Hermes'' (one of only two the Royal Navy had at the time) to the Indians when the ink was still drying (and completely scrapping the sale of the other one, HMS ''Invincible'', to the Aussies), so you can argue it fits the above trope as well.
* New Zealand has a very small military, retiring the last of their tactical combat aircraft in 2002 and their largest warships are under-gunned frigates; yet they possess some of the most respected, well-trained and highly capable special forces teams in the world (some have argued they're better than what the US can put out), and have been on nearly continuous overseas deployment during TheNineties and since the turn of the millenium.
** Australian soldiers are renowned for being very professional and excellent at teamwork (though not always at taking orders). Small population countries do the best with what they have.
* Switzerland. Eternally neutral [[note]]since their confederacy in 14th century, when their mercenary pikemen graced every army that could afford them until gunpowder weaponry caught on in earnest[[/note]]. Good bankers and watchmakers. Want to stomp on them? Feel like walking into a small, mountainous region where every able-bodied male is conscripted into the military when they turn eighteen, serves until the age of thirty (sure, it's only three weeks a year, not unlike the National Guard, but still), and is required to keep an assault rifle and 50 rounds in his house at all times? Many choose to retain their service weapons as hunting rifles as well... About the only thing dumber than an invasion of Switzerland would be [[Film/ThePrincessBride starting a land war in Asia]].
** A famous BadassBoast:
--->'''Swiss General:''' If you invade us, we can mobilize half a million men to defend our country within two days.
--->'''Wehrmacht General:''' And what if the Fuehrer invades your country with one million men?
--->'''Swiss General:''' We will all shoot twice, then go home.
* Despite the fact that their constitution explicitly prohibits militarization, Japan's "Self-Defense Forces" are in the [[http://www.globalfirepower.com/ top ten largest militaries in the world.]]
** They could probably pull it off in a literal sense too. While Japan constitutionally prohibits nuclear weapons, they have all the materials, expertise and industry to make one, possibly developing a fusion bomb inside a few ''months''. For comparison, the US took 12 years to develop a deployable fusion weapon, and China "only" took about six. [[http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-nuclear-plutonium-idUSKCN0WO0R5 Japan periodically ships weapons grade plutonium to the United States for destruction]], largely to keep China and Korea less grumbly about the Japanese stockpiling ''50 TONS'' of the stuff (a byproduct from decades of nuclear power plant use).
** Japan also counts the US as a military ally and hosts American military bases on its soil. While current treaty obligations prohibit the Americans from stationing any nuclear weapons in Japan ([[NuclearWeaponsTaboo for reasons that should be obvious]]), the alliance itself could prove quite useful should Japan ever find itself attacked by one of its neighbors (such as, say, UsefulNotes/NorthKorea).
* Israel essentially pulled this in the Six-Day War.
* Half a century later, Lebanon's Hizbollah pulled something similar. Not so much Superweaponing as massive Underdogging.
* Finland during the Winter War. The Soviet Union was certain they could conquer the entire country within a span of few weeks. Instead, the plucky little place resisted for a hundred days and made their enemy pay a heavy price for every mile they acquired. Technically the Soviets did win, and they could have kept going and eventually crush the Finns, but it more than qualifies regardless. Besides, Finland had a OneManArmy UsefulNotes/SimoHayha, who practically qualifies as a superweapon in his own right.
** Amusingly (well, in a grim way, but still) it worked for the Soviets as well. Hitler was so unimpressed with their performance against the Finland, he was convinced it was safe to invade and that he would curbstomp the Union just as he had done with Europe. Boy, was he in for a surprise.
* Inverted during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII when the Japanese grabbed an atlas, took a look at the size of Australia and believed that a successful land invasion would be utterly impossible. Even if every able bodied Aussie alive at the time was armed and ready, they still wouldn't have enough troops to defend themselves as their population was only a bit over 7 million. Even now, they only have a bit under 22 million (the majority of the population is within a couple hundred miles of an ocean coast - the inland is primarily desert and almost entirely unpopulated). On the flipside, they do have large uranium deposits and the know-how to make them into something explosive.
** Not to mention that it's [[LandDownUnder Australia]]. [[EverythingTryingToKillYou The country itself arguably qualifies as a weapon.]]
* The siege of Syracuse 215 B.C. . What was supposed to be a quick assault turned into a three year siege. Credited to the wonderful devices of Archimedes. As the biographer Plutarch put it "When, therefore, the Romans came up under the walls, thinking themselves unnoticed, once more they encountered a great storm of missiles; huge stones came tumbling down upon them almost perpendicularly, and the wall shot out arrows at them from every point; they therefore retired.... . At last, the Romans became so fearful that, whenever they saw a bit of rope or a stick of timber projecting a little over the wall, “There it is,” they cried, “Archimedes is training some engine upon us,” and turned their backs and fled."
** Other accounts also include hidden hooks and pulleys that could tear ships apart if they got too close to the walls and arrays of mirrors used as DeathRays by focusing sunlight to burn ships.
* Italy is not normally known for its military courage, but it has its moments:
** In UsefulNotes/WorldWarI they initially ''{{Subverted}}'' it by not entering the war on the side of their allies, Germany and Austria-Hungary (had they done it, the French army would have been too overstretched to stop either the Germans or the Italians). Then they entered the war on the side of the Entente, but by then everybody was expecting it;
** In 1917 the Austro-Hungarians had finally broken through Italian lines at Caporetto and were marching on the valley where most of the Italian weapons were and still are made... Only to stumble on a massif fortified with thousands of guns. In the same days, the routed Italian soldiers running from the main Austro-Hungarian force suddenly realized that their homes were under attack, stopped running, and started fighting like demons (an Italian brigade was actually nicknamed 'Demons' by the Austro-Hungarians due their ferocity), with the Austro-Hungarian invasion being stopped dead on its tracks;
** During the war, the Italians pulled a ToolConversion by creating the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAS_%28boat%29 MAS boats]], basically large civilian motorboats with a machine gun and two torpedoes strapped on them. The Austro-Hungarians laughed... Then a couple MAS sank an Austro-Hungarian pre-dreadnought battleship in harbour. Then three of them ([[RunningGag the two of the previous attack]] plus a third) penetrated the most guarded harbour in the world and fired torpedoes at the moored ships ([[ProperlyParanoid they didn't sink because the high command had ordered to place torpedo nets after the first attack, just in case]]). ''Then'' the ''[[OverlyLongGag same two MAS of the first attack]]'' stumbled on the Austro-Hungarian flagship and ''sank her''. In UsefulNotes/WorldWarII the MAS didn't enjoy the same success because every possible target was looking for them and was liable to call for air support at the first sign;
** What did the Italians use to replace the MAS in World War II? The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_torpedo Human torpedo]]: a large torpedo with two divers steering it until they reached their targets, at which point they removed the limpet mine that replaced the warhead, placed it on the ship, and swam away before it blew up and sank the target. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raid_on_Alexandria_%281941%29 One such raid disabled two battleships in harbour and damaged a tanker (plus a destroyer as collateral)]]. After that, the Allies copied the concept... And the Royal Navy started dropping depth charge every time they suspected a raid ([[ProperlyParanoid they thwarted at least one such raid this way]]);
** In North Africa during World War II, many armies mounted light cannons on trucks. Not Italy. They mounted [[http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/102/35_su_Fiat_634N 102mm naval guns taken from old destroyers]] (link in Italian, sorry). To say that they came as a surprise for British tankers would be an understatement.
** At [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Kasserine_Pass Kasserine Pass]], the Americans believed they had stopped Rommel's counterattack; his German troops were exhausted, and all he had left were Italians. But the Italians were ''Bersaglieri'', elite troops who Rommel considered superior to his German infantry; they attacked the American forces and showed that Rommel's appraisal was right.
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* ''ComicBook/{{Asterix}}'' is about a small, backwards barbarian village containing nothing of value and only a handful of uncoordinated warriors, ripe pickings for the Romans. Unfortunately for them, the villagers all happen all to possess superhuman strength thanks to SuperSerum, and [[UndefeatableLittleVillage the Romans don't stand a chance]]. This is only a 'surprise' for the first couple of albums; after this, the village's reputation is well-known by the Romans and they become increasingly afraid of it. Even so, many an album has a fresh set of legionnaires or another cocky adversary arrive from another part of the Empire, who might have ''heard'' about the Gauls' superweapon, but fail to appreciate just how terrible it is - until they witness one of the series' trademark [[CurbStompBattle Curb Stomp Battles]].
* ''ComicBook/PaperinikNewAdventures'' has a few examples:
** Earth's ''first'' surprise to the Evronians is the title character, DonaldDuck's superhero/antihero alter ego, who gives the alien invaders a nasty surprise by savagely beating a large squad on a raid. The Evronians [[GenreSavvy having experience with this kind of things]], they react by sending hand-picked elimination squads to take him out and check for other surprises before launching the invasion proper.
** Earth's second surprise is [[NuclearOption the nuclear arsenals]]. The Evronians ''could'' simply weather the barrage, but the losses would be unacceptable.
** Earth's third surprise is the military of Stahlburg, small but very technologically advanced-[[SubvertedTrope and completely ineffective against an outdated Evronian battlecruiser]].
** Earth's fourth surprise is a plot point in "[[Recap/PaperinikNewAdventuresS1E32Virus Virus]]", and stated to be the main reason the Evronians are not invading: [[spoiler:a virus capable of turning the Evronians back into spores. [[SubvertedTrope Except it doesn't exist]]: Wisecube invented it to dupe Paperinik into helping him recovering the evidence of the Evronian threat to try and reveal it to the public, [[WellIntentionedExtremist believing it would help resisting the eventual invasion]]]].
** The fifth surprise comes out in "Might and Power": a ray gun that turns groups of Evronians back into spores. It's devastating enough that Earth's militaries, previously not so effective against the Evronians, [[CurbStompBattle mop the floor with them]].
** Xerba has Xadhoom-that is, their chief of state that turne herself into a PhysicalGoddess by way of [[ProfessorGuineaPig a scientific experiment aimed to solve their incoming energetic crisis]]. Too bad the experiment was completed after the Evronians had already overran the planet... Especially for the Evronians, as she now wants them all dead and not only she has the firepower for that, ''they can't stop her''.
** The Evronians have more than a few, mostly new technologies made to try and counter Xadhoom. [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu They came close to success more than once]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/IronSky'' features a few on both sides. First, we have the Moon Nazis (ItMakesSenseInContext) with their anti-gravity technology, {{Flying Saucer}}s, and Zeppelins InSpace. While a few saucers are taken out by jet fighters, more jet fighters are shot down by Nazi turrets. Then the President reveals that the vehicle for the planned American manned Mars mission is actually a warship armed with powerful guns and dozens of nukes. It proceeds to blow up a good number of Nazi warships before it gets overwhelmed and requests help. Cue dozens of armed spaceships from ''all'' other nations (except Finland), which proceed to obliterate the Nazi space fleet. Oh, and one of those ships is the supposedly-destroyed ''Mir'' station. Then comes the Nazi flagship ''Götterdämmerung'', a gigantic war machine that is so overpowered and complex that the most powerful Nazi computer (the size of a room) can't control its systems. But an [=iPad=] app can. When unleashed, it simply flies through the Earth fleet, smashing a number of the ships on its windshield. The guns on the ''Götterdämmerung'' are powerful enough to take a 10% chunk of the Moon with each shot.
* In ''Film/{{Purgatory}}'', a group of bandits came across a town named Refuge, which is apparently populated by nothing but ActualPacifist - even the Sheriff would not raise his weapon in the face of imminent threat. This made the town easy prey for the bandits, but it was slowly revealed that the citizens were outlaws who were granted a chance to redeem themselves: live for 10 years in peace, or go to hell. When push finally comes to shove, the bandits found out they were facing legendary figures such as Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickok, and Doc Holliday.
* ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'' features an odd variation. [[LaResistance The rebels]] know that TheEmpire is building a second [[EarthShatteringKaboom Death Star]], but as it's unfinished they assume that its WaveMotionGun isn't yet operational. After the [[BigBadassBattleSequence Battle of Endor]] starts, however...
--> '''Palpatine:''' Now witness the firepower of this ''fully armed and operational battle station''! Fire at will, Commander!\\
''(the Death Star fires and destroys a Rebel cruiser)''\\
'''Lando:''' That blast came from the Death Star! ''[[OhCrap That thing's operational!]]''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* In the ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''[=/=]''Series/DoctorWho'' crossover [[http://www.tthfanfic.org/Story-19093/Meshakhad+%20The+%20Impossible+%20War.htm The Impossible War]], the Daleks invade modern-day Earth. As expected, human technology is woefully inadequate. Human ''magic'' on the other hand...
* In the ''Franchise/MassEffect''[=/=]''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer'' crossover ''Fanfic/{{Renegade}}'', the Turian Hierarchy invaded the human colony world of Shanxi just like the did in the canon timeline. However, Shanxi is held by the Global Defense Initiative, and the turians catch a face full of ion cannons, rapid-fabrication technology, and [[TankGoodness house-sized tanks of "fuck you"]].
* In Warhammer 40,000 we have Knight Inductors, who are also known as Reasonable Marines. They don't particularly care about those defenseless Eldar Exodite Worlds in their sector, but they really don't like Chaos Marines. So when some Slaanesh CSM try to harvest some soulstones in Apriori sector, they got utterly curb stomped by Stealth Terminators and Supersoldier Blanks armed with rapid fire plasma cannons.
* [[NukeEm Nuclear]] [[UsefulNotes/NuclearWeapons weapons]] and [[MoreDakka firearms]] in many [[FanFic/TheConversionBureau Conversion Bureau]] {{Hate Fic}}s and {{DeconstructionFic}}s. Half the time, when "Xenolestia" declares that humanity must become ponies or be exterminated, humans whip out the nukes, destroy their AdvancingWallOfDoom, and [[CurbStompBattle utterly devastate the Equestrian military]].
** ''Fanfic/TheConversionBureauTheOtherSideOfTheSpectrum'' takes it UpToEleven. Since the barrier will vaporize nukes along with every other man-made object, the US military instead [[spoiler: plants several nukes in the weak points of the Yellowstone caldera. If the barrier consumes too much of the world, they'll detonate the nukes, inducing an eruption powerful enough to spread the fire and ash over the world in a TakingYouWithMe move and render the TCB Equestrians' victory a [[PyrrhicVictory hollow one]]. Suicidal, sure, but it proves the humans would [[BetterToDieThanBeKilled do whatever]] [[IDieFree it takes]] [[AFateWorseThanDeath to avoid "living" as]] zombified slaves to a xenocidal tyrant]].
* In ''FanFic/WorldwarWarOfEquals'', Race high command did not expect the spear swinging primitives to have moved up so quickly to using tanks, aircraft, and nuclear weaponry. When the invaders land on Earth and have nearly overrun Ukraine, they get another fun surprise in the form of Eastern European nerve gas.
* In ''FanFic/OriginStory," which is set during the ''Marvel ComicBook/CivilWar'' arc, the Avengers are tasked by SHIELD to arrest a girl who escaped from their custody. SHIELD had previously tested the girl's power level, and put her somewhere on the scale between Power Man and SpiderMan. Well, surprise, surprise, turns out she was a [[{{Superman}} Kryptonian]] who figured out that maybe hiding just how powerful she really was might be a smart idea. Cue [[IronMan Tony Stark]] getting the [[CurbStompBattle ass-whipping]] of his life.
* In the ''Franchise/{{Naruto}}'' fanfiction ''Fanfic/CatchYourBreath'' Kei, the protagonist, is a [[spoiler:jinchuuriki]], and that fact rarely bodes well for her opponents.
** [[spoiler:When a Yamanaka hit Kei with the mind body switch jutsu (a jutsu Kei was noted to ''not like'') he came face to face with the Three Tailed Beast. Also when Honoka Uchiha hit her with two devastating jutsu, and Kei started manifesting a bijuu chakra cloak to mitigate the damage. It was quite a nasty surprise for everyone not in the know.]]
** In an [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11379740/1/The-B-Plot-Another-Side-Another-Story Omake]] chapter [[spoiler:where Zabuza and (especially) Haku find out they've bitten off far more than they can chew when that lanky Konoha special jonin (Kei) whips out [[SealedInAPersonShapedCan Tailed Beast chakra]]. Canon Kakashi can be counted too, since he had no idea the cross-dimensional time-traveller (also Kei) is a jinchuuriki as well.]]
** Raido has confirmed, in-story, to have had a run in with the Four Tails host (presumably on the battlefields of the Third Shinobi War).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Frank Herbert's ''Franchise/{{Dune}}'' provides a clean-cut example of the Hidden Badass variety. On the remote outskirts of god-forsaken planet, in the huge desert, a small bunch of ragtag people scavenge for a living. Do not get trigger-happy yet: those people are, in fact, bred by their demanding enviroment to be the best fighters in Universe. And their numbers are seriously underestimated... Long story short, a hundred years and several books after being bothered, they sweep their Jihad holy crusade across the Galaxy. Woops!
* Subverted in ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'', with an alien race of {{Precursors}} called the Pemalites. The Pemalites had great technological power, and used it only for peaceful and playful purposes. They were invaded and destroyed by another race called the Howlers. It's explained that they could have forged their plowshares into swords, could have repelled their invasion, but they chose not to do it because they couldn't bring themselves to become violent killers. So they were destroyed, and their memory is a cautionary tale against the dangers of pacifism. In a later addition, it turns out that they were created by the [[SufficientlyAdvancedAliens Ellimist]], and learned to have such an overwhelming love for life that they could never kill.
** Played straight with the Pemalites' androids, the Chee. Although simarly loaded with pacifist protocols, they are are super strong. [[spoiler:The Animorphs use a crystal to turn off said protocols, leading Erek to take and kill more Hork Bajir than the entire GROUP can manage. He is so horrified at his actions he requests for the protocols to be put back, but for a few moments, he's the surprise superweapon. Made by a race of space hippies.]]
** Another example of the Pemalites' power is shown when the Animorphs and the Yeerks fight for control of the Pemalite ship that brought them to Earth. The Animorphs are on the losing end when Erik activates the ship's anti-hostility countermeasures. The ship promptly freezes everyone in place, regretfully informs them that they have to leave because of the ruckus, and politely, peacefully, harmlessly kicks everyone out.
* The Harshini in Jennifer Fallion's ''Wolfblade'' are a race of extreme pacifists possessed of great magical power, but incapable of defending themselves with it, so the people of the nation of Medalon can kill them off for no reason whenever they find them. Except for this one guy, Brakandaran the Halfbreed...
* ''ShadowsOfTheEmpire'' has a good one. The ''Suprosa'' is an apparently harmless freighter that the Rebels suspect is carrying the plans for the second Death Star. When they attack, the ''Suprosa'' deploys its weapons, including a diamond-boron missile launcher that takes out half of the attackers. Remember the "many Bothans who died to bring us this information"? That was the ''Suprosa''.
** Also seen in ''Rebel Dream'', when Czulkang Lah discovered that [[spoiler:Republic capital ships are ''very'' good at orbital bombardment.]]
* The ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}'' short story "Wayward Children" is about a group of draconians who have occupied a small, peaceful elven village. There are no children in this village, which the draconians think is a little unusual. Following a magical attempt to turn the draconians back into what they were made from - which fails - the draconians discover that the "elves" are actually ''silver dragons''. Cue death-screams.
* Creator/AlanDeanFoster's ''The Damned'' series. The real superweapon is Humanity itself, bred on a world with chaotic geology and weather, thus stronger and tougher and more adaptable than most, and capable of dealing with the insanity of war and ''enjoying it''. Oh, and non-human telepaths that try to enter our minds go into catatonia.
* The attempted Haruchai invasion of the Land in the BackStory of ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfThomasCovenant'' is this trope. The ProudWarriorRace in question thought that the peaceful hippies of the Land would be easy pickings. It turned out said hippies wielded powerful nature magic that the Haruchai had no counter for. The invasion didn't amount to much, and in short order the Haruchai found themselves in debt to the people of the Land for their mercy.
* [[Creator/IainBanks Iain M. Banks]] ''lived'' by this trope (see examples from the other subcategories): Literature/TheCulture itself is also a nasty surprise. They are not SpaceAmish, they are [[PlanetOfHats Space Hippies]]. They spend their time [[ReallyGetsAround having as much sex as they can]], playing {{MMORPG}}s [[DeepImmersionGaming while sleeping]], organizing parties, and just enjoying their very, very long lives. They are apparently so [[MildlyMilitary alien to discipline]] than even their equivalent of [[OneManArmy elite soldiers]] can wander off the battlefield if they feel like it. But the civilization is run by [[DeusEstMachina godlike AI]], virtually any of their 30+ ''trillion'' citizens can be made into a PersonOfMassDestruction, and their war fleets have little trouble [[ApocalypseHow blowing up planets]] or suns if they feel like it.
** Aesop: When you have trouble with your neighbors and are able to quasi-instantly drop items into existence across star systems, consider sending them anti-matter.
** It even happens on an individual level: the ''Sleeper Service'' appears to be a mildly eccentric GSV which has spent 40 years wandering the galaxy as a storage vessel for {{Human Popsicle}}s. In fact it's [[spoiler: an agent of Special Circumstances and has spent those 40 years not only constructing an armada of remote-controlled battleships and a full wartime weapons suite, but also making arrangements to offload its 'official' cargo and convert its entire internal volume to engines, transforming itself into the most heavily armed and fastest vessel in the entire Culture in a matter of days.]]
** Don't Fuck With The Culture. It's a well known maxim. Nasty things tend to happen to people who do.
*** Or civilisations who do... or solar systems who do... And ''then'' you get [[ApocalypseHow Special Circumstances involved...]]
*** Sterilizing solar systems is nothing special in Cultureverse. The major galactic civilations there have weapons that can seriously damage ''stars''. The better indication of the Culture's badassitude is the fact, that at least one of these civilizations, which has ''even better'' tech, most certainly isn't composed of space hippies, and does not like the Culture, still prefers to avoid a direct confrontation.
** There are also a few sinister examples of ships that decide to ''not'' adopt the Culture's happy-go-lucky superficial appearance, and use that ridiculous amount of incredibly advanced technology for their own... not so happy-go-lucky activities. This is a good indication of what the Culture [[BewareTheNiceOnes could do if it decides to get nasty]]. So it's probably a ''really'' good idea not to do anything that might influence them to ''change'' said happy-go-lucky nature. ''Grey Area'' (a.k.a [[MeaningfulName Meatfucker]]), anyone?
* ''The Algebraist'' by Iain M. Banks: the Dwellers, a bumbling, if ancient, race of gas-giant aliens reveal that their tech is vastly superior to the junk with which they are normally credited: [[spoiler:in an ill-advised attack on the Dwellers, the Mercatoria find out about the Isaut, a Planetary Protector (Deniable), which rises from the cloud-deck, destroys the entire fleet in moments and sinks again.]] Also consider that if you really piss off Dwellers, you can expect to find a planet sized collection of rocks, gravel and dust impacting your home world at a great proportion of the speed of light.
* In one of the books in the ''Literature/{{Worldwar}}'' series, as the Race prepares its invasion of Britain, Churchill warns that any invaders will have to face his most horrible weapons. No, he's not talking about nukes. [[spoiler:However, he still has some stockpiles of mustard gas left over from World War I...]]
** ''Ships'' are also a big surprise to the Race, although not of the superweapon type (except when one is used [[spoiler:to deliver a nuke to the lizard-held Miami]]). They've never seen any body of water bigger than a lake and never bothered to develop sea travel or naval warfare.
** Earth as a whole is this to The Race. When they first scouted Earth, it was during TheMiddleAges. Given the rate of development of themselves and the two previous races they had conquered, they expected the "Tosevites" to just be getting around to the crossbow by the time they brought their invasion fleet. The fleet arrived during the latter part of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. Thanks to Humanity's unexpected rate of advancement, bewildering (to the Race) ability to adapt to and counter any Lizard advantage (short of the [[NukeEm "explosive metal bombs"]] on their starships) and doubly-bewildering capacity for self-sacrifice (whether to destroy enemies or protect allies), they manage to force The Race into a stalemate.[[note]]And in the sequel series, surpass and subdue them in a matter of decades.[[/note]]
* Invoked In-Universe in ''Literature/EnchantressFromTheStars''. An advanced spacefaring civilization invades a world that is still in Middle Ages and intends to rout and enslave all locals. This is discovered by TheFederation, and even more advanced civilization which, however, has an AlienNonInterferenceClause prohibiting them of overtly takoing position. So they plan to get the Empire to withdraw by convincing them that local people have supernatural powers like telekinesis.
* ''By Blood Alone'' (the second of William C. Deitz's [[Literature/LegionOfLostSouls French Foreign Legion]] InSpace novels) has a strange alien life form turn out to be a superweapon. Two 'rafts' of alien plankton are brought aboard a specially converted transport ship and brought to the planned key spacebattle. They conduct a 'psychomotor attack' at a key point in the battle, which paralyzes a large section of the enemy fleet, turning the entire course of the battle.
* In ''Literature/TheZombieKnight'', the ancient Armans repelled the invading [[TheEmpire Lyzakks]] dozens of times by riddling their eternally-flooding lands with dams, which they then [[BigDamPlot broke at the opportune moment]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', the Klingons came in with an armada to take the puny station. Captain Sisko informs them that the station has been upgraded, and is quite willing to show what happens when TheFederation puts their minds to arming themselves. The station puts the fleet through a grueling meat grinder of a battle, with [[MacrossMissileMassacre torpedoes]] and [[BeamSpam phaser beams]] flying every which way out of the station.
* In "Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy" of ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'', [[ItMakesSenseInContext The Doctor]] tries to convince an assault ship from another species that Voyager is this trope; he [[BrandishmentBluff convinces them]] that the "[[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast photonic cannon]]" is starting up and cannot be detected by their sensors.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Cleverly subverted in ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberiumWars'', where the SufficientlyAdvancedAliens fall prey to Kane's diabolical EvilPlan. It turns out that the aim of the liquid tiberium explosion (engineered by Kane) was to trigger a premature alien invasion of Earth, permit the still-powerful GDI to slaughter the aliens, then recover their technology. This is reflected in the Scrin campaign, where initial confidence quickly gives way to damage control, followed by a hasty evacuation of the invading forces. They only helped Kane's EvilPlan along.
* Done straight in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTheSacredStones''. Myrrh appears to be a shy, young little girl who seems harmless. But when equipped with her Dragonstone, she transforms into a huge-ass Dragon who can kill almost anyone with one shot.
* ''VideoGame/{{Metroid}}'' has the Chozo: peaceful bird-like people who lived in harmony with nature. Also were once ''the'' single most technologically-advanced race ''ever''. Vanished without a trace by the time the series continuity starts, but their remnant technology demonstrates this trope well. In particular, their statues, while decorative and ceremonial, also function as guardians of important places to the Chozo: Ridley, in ''[[MetroidPrime Prime]]'', blew up one of their temples trying to kill Samus, and got six giant lasers to the chest for doing so (''after'' Samus beat him into the ground). Samus is the [[OneManArmy only Chozo soldier present in the known universe]], and that's enough to give nightmares to the most ruthless race of the galaxy, (essentially [[Franchise/{{Alien}} Xenomorphs]] with a technological level approaching the [[Literature/TheCulture Culture]]'s)
* A variation occurs in ''VideoGame/UnrealIITheAwakening''. Most of the game involves a hunt for what you think is a superweapon. The ''actual'' super weapon turns out to be a race of seemingly-harmless aliens that perform various menial tasks. The "superweapon" you were collecting was merely an activation key that takes them out of this "dormant" form, into their true form -- giant unstoppable killing machines that can shoot black holes from their hands. No, really. Unfortunately, it really is ''only'' an activation key -- it provides no control, so the new supersoldiers rampage through the ship this was tested on and you have to reroute it into the nearest star and escape alive.
* In ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri'', the Gaians--and, in the expansion, the Cult of Planet--seem like rather wimpy factions, what with being more concerned with environmentalism than proper defense training, a lucrative economy, or developing weapons technology. That is, until you find that their devotion to the environment also gives them an innate ability to take control of the extremely dangerous [[MindRape mindraping]], live-brain-devouring native fauna of Planet. Did we mention that said fauna is equally threatening to unarmored infantrymen carrying ancient guns and your best tanks armed with literal black hole generators and armored with space-time itself? You ''don't'' want to know what they can do once they figure out how to breed their own...
* In ''VideoGame/GalacticCivilizations'', the computer determines actual military power based on the number and power of warships in your empire, and forgets about the technological advantages, industrial base, and massive treasuries. No, I don't have any warships. Next week, I can have a fleet of battleships, dreadnoughts, and destroyers ready to wipe you from space.
** In the backstory, when the Terrans make their appearance on the galactic stage, the Drengin, wanting to test them, secretly convinced a race called the Xendar to attack. The Terrans responded by rapidly militarizing and beating the Xendar all the way back to their homeworld, at which point the Drengin exterminated the Xendar so their involvement would not become known (all other races assumed that the Terrans wiped out the Xendar). The Terrans immediately went back to their usual diplomatic selves, confusing and scaring the hell out of the [[ProudWarriorRace Drengin]], who couldn't wrap their heads around the idea of demilitarizing once it was no longer strictly necessary.
* The Liir from ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars'' are normally pacifistic and were targeted for enslavement by the "[[AbusivePrecursors Suul'Ka]]" for it. The enslavement led to two things: Firstly, that the Liir will turn directly from TheFettered into TheUnfettered when pushed too far and ''stay that way'', and two, that their innate skill with technology renders them really good at [[TurnedAgainstTheirMasters making bio-weapons of 'extinction'-level virulence]] and turning their (now exterminated) captors' techology into a workable technological basis for making starfleets.
** Since then, we have gotten a bit more of a view of the SotS universe. The Suul'ka in question are the insane Liir elders who in an attempt to avoid their inevitable death by crushing enslave the entire Liir race and run them through rapid industrialization in order to have them build a massive spacesuit they can live in. After the last time this happened the Liir rose, led by the Black and decided that they weren't going to let that happen any more. Oh and that they were going to go ahead and get rid of those insane elders already in space. Cue most of the Suul'ka dying. A few got away though and as of ''Sword of the Stars 2'', they're back.
*** The bioweapon used to destroy them also turned out to be a tad bit bigger than the viruses they more commonly use. As in, it was effectively a "good" Suul'ka.
** The humans also had something of a Peace Vault example: After World War III, humanity more or less disarmed itself. So when a small Hiver fleet attacked Earth, they were able to bombard the surface unchallenged for 32 hours... until the curators charged with disposing of the world's nuclear arsenal managed to find the launch codes for all those [[NukeEm ICBMs]] they hadn't yet dismantled...
* In ''VideoGame/CaveStory'', Mimigas once ate flowers that made them into {{Killer Rabbit}}s as a last resort to thwart an invasion. It's so secret they no longer know it.
* When the orcs of ''VideoGame/WarcraftOrcsAndHumans'' initially sent scouts to Azeroth, they saw peaceful meadows tended by farmers, and quickly came to the conclusion that they would roll over the population. Instead, the Azeroth soldiers and knights crushed their initial attack. The orcs regrouped and eventually won, but them being on the business end of an asswhuppin' came as a shock. In the sequel ''VideoGame/WarcraftII'', the orcs also made a point of killing off the knights, and [[EvilSorcerer Gul'dan]] would use their remains to create his ''own'' superweapons, the Death Knights.
* The game ''VideoGame/ImmortalDefense'' has people ascended to pathspace to serve as the [[OneManArmy One Man Armies]] meant to destroy the oncoming invasion of the Bavakh. You are one such of these people. [[spoiler: You fail.]]
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' reveals that despite their hat being ProudMerchantRace, the volus have a respectable navy, though it has only a single dreadnought (for comparison, humanity has six). But its one dreadnought that packs enough firepower to roast an entire planet ''three times over''. There's a reason they don't need two.
* In ''VideoGame/MiniRobotWars'', the titular [=MiniRobots=] are MechanicalLifeforms who are initially overwhelmed and captured by the invading Machines. They actually have many battle-capable units who are able to destroy and repel the invading Machines, but the [=MiniRobots=] are peace-lovers and were not prepared for war.
* King Volcheck from ''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'' knows that the [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Luna Tower]] is sleeping beneath his city, built by an ancient people. He thinks he is pulling this trope against his enemies, but the reality is much, ''much'' [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone worse.]]
* ''VideoGame/Halo3'' has a heroic version of this trope where the Ark is [[TheReveal revealed]] to [[spoiler: contain a foundry at its core that could build Halo rings to replace those that have been destroyed, and a partially constructed replacement for [[VideoGame/HaloCombatEvolved Installation 04]] is uncovered.]] Suddenly the [[EldritchAbomination Gravemind's]] idea of sending all of his [[TheVirus Flood]] forces to the Ark in an effort to keep them outside of the range of the other [[DepopulationBomb Halo]] [[LostSuperweapon rings]] [[DidntThinkThisThrough doesn't seem like such a smart idea]] and the Flood is [[spoiler: finally killed off by the firing of the installation, albeit at the cost of the ring and damaging the Ark]]. This was pulled off without the Gravemind knowing anything until the last minute because no one else knew much about this either, in an unusual case of UnspokenPlanGuarantee, and because the [[ThePrecursors Forerunners]] removed all knowledge of important information on other installations that could prove useful to the Flood from the minds of the [[AncientKeeper Monitors]] of each installation. Even Cortana wasn't sure of the exact details of what solution the Ark contained when she sent her message to the [[TheFederation UNSC]] forces to warn of the threat of the Flood.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Webcomic/GirlGenius has a rather weird case in the city of Mechanicsburg, which was the home of the [[CrazyAwesome Heterodyne dynasty]] - [[MadScientist Sparks]] crazy even by the Sparks' standards. This obviously means the city is, in fact, a death trap looking like a city. However, since the dynasty is presumed to have died out and only a Heterodyne can properly use it, nobody expects the stuff to be used. Then, Klaus Wulfenbach (ruler of most of Europe due to his politics of [[BadassCreed "don't make me come over there"]]) is incapacitated - in Mechanicsburg. This quickly starts a free-for-all war with Mechanincsburg as the battleground. Guess what happens.
** Then, the armies actually overcome the resistance; weakened, but still too powerful to beat...and then the [[BadassArmy Jägers]] arrive.
** Played with in the case of the Baron. Although Wulfenbach has no lack of conventional weaponry and troops, it's actually the ''unconventional'' stuff you should be ''really'' afraid of: his highway construction, fire-fighting, and communication units. Construction machinery which can liquefy solid rock, firefighters equipped with freeze-cannons that can crack open fortresses, and long-range light signal airships, which when focused at closer range can incinerate anything on the ground. His troops can take over cities. His non-combat units can make cities cease to exist.
** To some degree, stronger Sparks are walking potential armies with the stuff they can create. This is explicitly mentioned for the Heterodynes (being very strong Sparks). Every strategist will give you the same advice (and they have done so for centuries): Whatever you do, ''do not'' give the Heterodynes time. Strategically speaking, they are machines that turn "Time" into "'''Death. Lots of it.'''"
* ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'' heavily suggests this with Maxim 24: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a really big gun."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Literature/TheSalvationWar'', the forces of Satan invade the Earth [[spoiler: after Yahweh, pissed that people aren't as into worshiping him as they once were, decides that Satan can have the whole lot of them]] expecting a curbstomp. Too bad the demons are at bronze age levels of technology and haven't been keeping up to date on recent human history. As it happens, there IS a curbstomp... right about when bronze meets the [=M1=] Abrams. Surprise! Also a surprise to Incomparable Legion Of Light when [[spoiler:a cruise missile detonates over their main body of troops and a 1.2 megaton nuclear explosion kills 150,000 to 250,000 Angels and Human Levies at once with the estimate in the next chapter being 349,000 humans and 45,000 angels with another surge of deaths expected in six to eight weeks time from radiation sickness.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'' uses a combination. On the one hand, the Decepticons have weapons while the Autobots have tools (tool conversion). However, there were several things that also factored into the Autobot victory: their mastery of the Space Bridge technology gave them a massive advantage, and their creation of the Omega Sentinels (Bigger Brothers).
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[[folder:Real Life]]
* The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The possibility of atomic weaponry had been theorized by every major power in the war, but the Germans believed it wouldn't make a noticeable difference in the war (and they kept drafting their best physicists and sending them to die in battle, as well as dismissing some of the underlying scientific theory as 'Jewish Physics'), the Japanese didn't quite have the gear and the resources they'd have needed and the Soviets couldn't spare the necessary resources while also trying to defend from Germany. It came as a surprise to everyone when the US turned out to have achieved the unachievable.
** The Kamikaze, the Kaiten torpedo, and the Baka bomb. At a stage when the US had already essentially won the war as long as they kept fighting, these suicide weapons were a most unpleasant surprise.
* {{Ninja}} (as in ''real'' Ninja) weapons were all derived from farm implements and often disguised and used as such so that they can carried and used in the open. Keep in mind that, at least from the beginning, Ninja were strictly defensive clans allied against oppressive samurai.
** The shillelagh, in Ireland (and, no, not the little, short cudgels passed off to tourists as shillelaghs, nowadays). The knob on the end of that "walking stick" can pack quite a wallop, especially if it's filled with lead (referred to as a "loaded" stick). Though it could be argued that this doesn't apply that well to the trope in general, as few with any sense of history would describe the Irish as "peaceful".
* Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands because the islands were completely undefended (the only British "military" asset stationed there at the time was an Antarctic research ship, and even that was about to be pulled out) and they believed the British simply had no real desire to try to retake them, especially in the face of proposed defense cuts. Then they invaded; then the British got pissed, and sent anything they could to the South Atlantic, including postponing the retirement of their Vulcan bombers (and pulling some out of the boneyards), originally scheduled for retirement early that year and doing an emergency cancellation of the sale of the aircraft carrier HMS ''Hermes'' (one of only two the Royal Navy had at the time) to the Indians when the ink was still drying (and completely scrapping the sale of the other one, HMS ''Invincible'', to the Aussies), so you can argue it fits the above trope as well.
* New Zealand has a very small military, retiring the last of their tactical combat aircraft in 2002 and their largest warships are under-gunned frigates; yet they possess some of the most respected, well-trained and highly capable special forces teams in the world (some have argued they're better than what the US can put out), and have been on nearly continuous overseas deployment during TheNineties and since the turn of the millenium.
** Australian soldiers are renowned for being very professional and excellent at teamwork (though not always at taking orders). Small population countries do the best with what they have.
* Switzerland. Eternally neutral [[note]]since their confederacy in 14th century, when their mercenary pikemen graced every army that could afford them until gunpowder weaponry caught on in earnest[[/note]]. Good bankers and watchmakers. Want to stomp on them? Feel like walking into a small, mountainous region where every able-bodied male is conscripted into the military when they turn eighteen, serves until the age of thirty (sure, it's only three weeks a year, not unlike the National Guard, but still), and is required to keep an assault rifle and 50 rounds in his house at all times? Many choose to retain their service weapons as hunting rifles as well... About the only thing dumber than an invasion of Switzerland would be [[Film/ThePrincessBride starting a land war in Asia]].
** A famous BadassBoast:
--->'''Swiss General:''' If you invade us, we can mobilize half a million men to defend our country within two days.
--->'''Wehrmacht General:''' And what if the Fuehrer invades your country with one million men?
--->'''Swiss General:''' We will all shoot twice, then go home.
* Despite the fact that their constitution explicitly prohibits militarization, Japan's "Self-Defense Forces" are in the [[http://www.globalfirepower.com/ top ten largest militaries in the world.]]
** They could probably pull it off in a literal sense too. While Japan constitutionally prohibits nuclear weapons, they have all the materials, expertise and industry to make one, possibly developing a fusion bomb inside a few ''months''. For comparison, the US took 12 years to develop a deployable fusion weapon, and China "only" took about six. [[http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-nuclear-plutonium-idUSKCN0WO0R5 Japan periodically ships weapons grade plutonium to the United States for destruction]], largely to keep China and Korea less grumbly about the Japanese stockpiling ''50 TONS'' of the stuff (a byproduct from decades of nuclear power plant use).
** Japan also counts the US as a military ally and hosts American military bases on its soil. While current treaty obligations prohibit the Americans from stationing any nuclear weapons in Japan ([[NuclearWeaponsTaboo for reasons that should be obvious]]), the alliance itself could prove quite useful should Japan ever find itself attacked by one of its neighbors (such as, say, UsefulNotes/NorthKorea).
* Israel essentially pulled this in the Six-Day War.
* Half a century later, Lebanon's Hizbollah pulled something similar. Not so much Superweaponing as massive Underdogging.
* Finland during the Winter War. The Soviet Union was certain they could conquer the entire country within a span of few weeks. Instead, the plucky little place resisted for a hundred days and made their enemy pay a heavy price for every mile they acquired. Technically the Soviets did win, and they could have kept going and eventually crush the Finns, but it more than qualifies regardless. Besides, Finland had a OneManArmy UsefulNotes/SimoHayha, who practically qualifies as a superweapon in his own right.
** Amusingly (well, in a grim way, but still) it worked for the Soviets as well. Hitler was so unimpressed with their performance against the Finland, he was convinced it was safe to invade and that he would curbstomp the Union just as he had done with Europe. Boy, was he in for a surprise.
* Inverted during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII when the Japanese grabbed an atlas, took a look at the size of Australia and believed that a successful land invasion would be utterly impossible. Even if every able bodied Aussie alive at the time was armed and ready, they still wouldn't have enough troops to defend themselves as their population was only a bit over 7 million. Even now, they only have a bit under 22 million (the majority of the population is within a couple hundred miles of an ocean coast - the inland is primarily desert and almost entirely unpopulated). On the flipside, they do have large uranium deposits and the know-how to make them into something explosive.
** Not to mention that it's [[LandDownUnder Australia]]. [[EverythingTryingToKillYou The country itself arguably qualifies as a weapon.]]
* The siege of Syracuse 215 B.C. . What was supposed to be a quick assault turned into a three year siege. Credited to the wonderful devices of Archimedes. As the biographer Plutarch put it "When, therefore, the Romans came up under the walls, thinking themselves unnoticed, once more they encountered a great storm of missiles; huge stones came tumbling down upon them almost perpendicularly, and the wall shot out arrows at them from every point; they therefore retired.... . At last, the Romans became so fearful that, whenever they saw a bit of rope or a stick of timber projecting a little over the wall, “There it is,” they cried, “Archimedes is training some engine upon us,” and turned their backs and fled."
** Other accounts also include hidden hooks and pulleys that could tear ships apart if they got too close to the walls and arrays of mirrors used as DeathRays by focusing sunlight to burn ships.
* Italy is not normally known for its military courage, but it has its moments:
** In UsefulNotes/WorldWarI they initially ''{{Subverted}}'' it by not entering the war on the side of their allies, Germany and Austria-Hungary (had they done it, the French army would have been too overstretched to stop either the Germans or the Italians). Then they entered the war on the side of the Entente, but by then everybody was expecting it;
** In 1917 the Austro-Hungarians had finally broken through Italian lines at Caporetto and were marching on the valley where most of the Italian weapons were and still are made... Only to stumble on a massif fortified with thousands of guns. In the same days, the routed Italian soldiers running from the main Austro-Hungarian force suddenly realized that their homes were under attack, stopped running, and started fighting like demons (an Italian brigade was actually nicknamed 'Demons' by the Austro-Hungarians due their ferocity), with the Austro-Hungarian invasion being stopped dead on its tracks;
** During the war, the Italians pulled a ToolConversion by creating the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAS_%28boat%29 MAS boats]], basically large civilian motorboats with a machine gun and two torpedoes strapped on them. The Austro-Hungarians laughed... Then a couple MAS sank an Austro-Hungarian pre-dreadnought battleship in harbour. Then three of them ([[RunningGag the two of the previous attack]] plus a third) penetrated the most guarded harbour in the world and fired torpedoes at the moored ships ([[ProperlyParanoid they didn't sink because the high command had ordered to place torpedo nets after the first attack, just in case]]). ''Then'' the ''[[OverlyLongGag same two MAS of the first attack]]'' stumbled on the Austro-Hungarian flagship and ''sank her''. In UsefulNotes/WorldWarII the MAS didn't enjoy the same success because every possible target was looking for them and was liable to call for air support at the first sign;
** What did the Italians use to replace the MAS in World War II? The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_torpedo Human torpedo]]: a large torpedo with two divers steering it until they reached their targets, at which point they removed the limpet mine that replaced the warhead, placed it on the ship, and swam away before it blew up and sank the target. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raid_on_Alexandria_%281941%29 One such raid disabled two battleships in harbour and damaged a tanker (plus a destroyer as collateral)]]. After that, the Allies copied the concept... And the Royal Navy started dropping depth charge every time they suspected a raid ([[ProperlyParanoid they thwarted at least one such raid this way]]);
** In North Africa during World War II, many armies mounted light cannons on trucks. Not Italy. They mounted [[http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/102/35_su_Fiat_634N 102mm naval guns taken from old destroyers]] (link in Italian, sorry). To say that they came as a surprise for British tankers would be an understatement.
** At [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Kasserine_Pass Kasserine Pass]], the Americans believed they had stopped Rommel's counterattack; his German troops were exhausted, and all he had left were Italians. But the Italians were ''Bersaglieri'', elite troops who Rommel considered superior to his German infantry; they attacked the American forces and showed that Rommel's appraisal was right.
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until
29th Jul '17 5:31:03 PM EDP
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* ''ComicBook/PaperinikNewAdventures'' has a few examples:
** Earth's ''first'' surprise to the Evronians is the title character, DonaldDuck's superhero/antihero alter ego, who gives the alien invaders a nasty surprise by savagely beating a large squad on a raid. The Evronians [[GenreSavvy having experience with this kind of things]], they react by sending hand-picked elimination squads to take him out and check for other surprises before launching the invasion proper.
** Earth's second surprise is [[NuclearOption the nuclear arsenals]]. The Evronians ''could'' simply weather the barrage, but the losses would be unacceptable.
** Earth's third surprise is the military of Stahlburg, small but very technologically advanced-[[SubvertedTrope and completely ineffective against an outdated Evronian battlecruiser]].
** Earth's fourth surprise is a plot point in "[[Recap/PaperinikNewAdventuresS1E32Virus Virus]]", and stated to be the main reason the Evronians are not invading: [[spoiler:a virus capable of turning the Evronians back into spores. [[SubvertedTrope Except it doesn't exist]]: Wisecube invented it to dupe Paperinik into helping him recovering the evidence of the Evronian threat to try and reveal it to the public, [[WellIntentionedExtremist believing it would help resisting the eventual invasion]]]].
** The fifth surprise comes out in "Might and Power": a ray gun that turns groups of Evronians back into spores. It's devastating enough that Earth's militaries, previously not so effective against the Evronians, [[CurbStompBattle mop the floor with them]].
** Xerba has Xadhoom-that is, their chief of state that turne herself into a PhysicalGoddess by way of [[ProfessorGuineaPig a scientific experiment aimed to solve their incoming energetic crisis]]. Too bad the experiment was completed after the Evronians had already overran the planet... Especially for the Evronians, as she now wants them all dead and not only she has the firepower for that, ''they can't stop her''.
** The Evronians have more than a few, mostly new technologies made to try and counter Xadhoom. [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu They came close to success more than once]].
26th Jul '17 5:53:53 AM Dracis
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* ''FanFic/ToTheStars'', a ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' fanfic taking place four hundred years in the future, has the outer human colonies invaded by a vicious race of StarfishAliens. The Cephalopods have greatly superior technology, and the first few clashes are massive [[CurbStompBattle Curb Stomp Battles]] -- but then the [[MagicalGirl magical girls]] show up, many of whom have ''centuries'' of demon-fighting experience and ''all'' of whom have ingrained combat instincts, a HealingFactor and a dazzling array of powers. The playing field is considerably leveled after that.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.SuperWeaponSurprise