History Main / SurprisinglyEliteCannonFodder

28th Sep '17 4:00:14 PM GMon
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However, rather than get worried for their jobs, the superiors are actually quite pleased. Now they've got CannonFodder who are actually likely to get the job done, but whom no one is going to miss if they don't come back! Often the mark of very cunning superiors. See WeDoTheImpossible for the SuperTrope.

Contrast EliteMooks, who are actually intended to be elite, as well as OneRiotOneRanger where the superiors send out someone who is meant to be elite from the start.

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However, rather than get worried for their jobs, the superiors are actually quite pleased. Now they've got CannonFodder who are actually likely to get the job done, but whom no one is going to miss if they don't come back! Often the mark of very cunning superiors. See WeDoTheImpossible for the SuperTrope.

superiors.

SubTrope of WeDoTheImpossible.
Contrast EliteMooks, who are actually intended to be elite, as well as OneRiotOneRanger OneRiotOneRanger, where the superiors send out someone who is meant to be elite from the start.



* Odd example in ''Literature/CiaphasCain'' in that the superiors may be completely innocent, but Colonel Mostrue often seems a bit too quick to call in artillery strikes close to where Cain is stationed during Cain's time with the artillery unit, and also frequently gets Cain sent off into dangerous situations. Cain suspects that Mostrue is aware of the fact that his first great triumph was really just a desperate attempt to get to safety and abandon the battery to its fate, but whatever Mostrue's intentions, Cain's repeated survival of adverse circumstances only adds to the double-edged sword which is his reputation.
* Played completely straight in the ''Literature/GauntsGhosts'' novels, however. Colonel-Commissar Gaunt has made his fair share of enemies in the higher echelons of Imperial command, and many go out of their way to find ways to kill him and his Ghosts off.
* This is the entire point of the [[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} 13th Penal Legion]]. In the first book, Colonel Schaefer starts with a legion of four-thousand troopers, the scum of the Imperial Guard. Two years later, he's got a 'legion' of 8 soldiers and they can do things even a Space Marine cannot.
* One last ''Warhammer 40000'' example: subverted horribly in ''Fire Caste''. The Arkhan Confederates succeed where countless other Guard battalions have failed, routing legions of turncoats and aliens, eventually pushing the Tau back to their base of operations, "The Diadem". [[spoiler:This is the exact opposite of what the [[DefectorFromDecadence Sky Marshal]] wanted; the Arkhans turning out to be Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder does not benefit the Marshal at ''all''.]]

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* Some examples from the ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' ExpandedUniverse:
**
Odd example in ''Literature/CiaphasCain'' in that the superiors may be completely innocent, but Colonel Mostrue often seems a bit too quick to call in artillery strikes close to where Cain is stationed during Cain's time with the artillery unit, and also frequently gets Cain sent off into dangerous situations. Cain suspects that Mostrue is aware of the fact that his first great triumph was really just a desperate attempt to get to safety and abandon the battery to its fate, but whatever Mostrue's intentions, Cain's repeated survival of adverse circumstances only adds to the double-edged sword which is his reputation.
* ** Played completely straight in the ''Literature/GauntsGhosts'' novels, however. Colonel-Commissar Gaunt has made his fair share of enemies in the higher echelons of Imperial command, and many go out of their way to find ways to kill him and his Ghosts off.
* ** This is the entire point of the [[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} 13th Penal Legion]].Legion. In the first book, Colonel Schaefer starts with a legion of four-thousand troopers, the scum of the Imperial Guard. Two years later, he's got a 'legion' of 8 soldiers and they can do things even a Space Marine cannot.
* One last ''Warhammer 40000'' example: subverted ** {{Subverted|Trope}} horribly in ''Fire Caste''. The Arkhan Confederates succeed where countless other Guard battalions have failed, routing legions of turncoats and aliens, eventually pushing the Tau back to their base of operations, "The Diadem". [[spoiler:This is the exact opposite of what the [[DefectorFromDecadence Sky Marshal]] wanted; the Arkhans turning out to be Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder does not benefit the Marshal at ''all''.]]



** The unit participated in some of World War II's most notorious campaigns of terror in the east. During the organization's time in Russia, Dirlewanger burned women and children alive and let starved packs of dogs feed on them. He was known to hold large formations with the sole purpose of injecting Jews with strychnine. Dirlewanger's unit took part in the occupation of Belarus, where it carved out a reputation within the Waffen-SS as an atrocious unit. Numerous Heer and SS commanders attempted to remove Dirlewanger from the SS and disband the unit, although he had patrons within the Nazi apparatus who intervened on his behalf. His unit was most notably credited with the destruction of Warsaw, and the massacre of ~100,000 of the city's population during the Warsaw Uprising; and participating in the brutal suppression of the Slovak National Uprising in 1944. Dirlewanger's Division of the Waffen SS generated fear throughout Waffen-SS Organizations including the SS-Führungshauptamt (SS Command Headquarters) and earned the notoriety as the most criminal and heinous SS unit in Hitler's war machine.

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** The unit participated in some of World War II's most notorious campaigns of terror in the east. During the organization's time in Russia, Dirlewanger burned women and children alive and let starved packs of dogs feed on them. He was known to hold large formations with the sole purpose of injecting Jews with strychnine. Dirlewanger's unit took part in the occupation of Belarus, where it carved out a reputation within the Waffen-SS as an atrocious unit. Numerous Heer and SS commanders attempted to remove Dirlewanger from the SS and disband the unit, although he had patrons within the Nazi apparatus who intervened on his behalf. His unit was most notably credited with the destruction of Warsaw, and the massacre of ~100,000 of the city's population during the Warsaw Uprising; and participating in the brutal suppression of the Slovak National Uprising in 1944. Dirlewanger's Division of the Waffen SS generated fear throughout Waffen-SS Organizations including the SS-Führungshauptamt (SS Command Headquarters) and earned the notoriety as the most criminal and heinous SS unit in Hitler's war machine.



20th Sep '17 5:52:51 AM Doug86
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* The basic set-up for "Hunter's Hellcts" in ''Our Fighting Forces'' from Creator/DCComics. The Hellcats were a group of convicted felons sent on dangerous missions behind enemy lines during WWII.

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* The basic set-up for "Hunter's Hellcts" Hellcats" in ''Our Fighting Forces'' from Creator/DCComics. The Hellcats were a group of convicted felons sent on dangerous missions behind enemy lines during WWII.
26th Aug '17 12:07:09 PM rmctagg09
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* An episode of Gundam Wing had a disillusioned [[CharClone Zechs]] pair up with a pair of asshole soldiers to take out a few of the remaining Earth Sphere Alliance strongholds. The pair assign Zechs to make a very visible attack on the base's main defense (a large beam cannon), figuring that Zechs's conspicuous new mobile suit and high-profile reputation will make him a ripe target. Meanwhile they'll be free to sneak in unnoticed and take out the base themselves. Unfortunately, they greatly underestimated Zechs skills, and failed to realize that the "conspicuous new mobile suit" was [[SuperPrototype The Tallgeese]]. Zechs not only survived the encounter but is in perfect shape to fight when he cases his partners killing soldiers who have already surrendered, and proceeds to [[CurbStompBattle deal with the situation accordingly.]]

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* An episode of Gundam Wing ''Anime/GundamWing'' had a disillusioned [[CharClone Zechs]] pair up with a pair of asshole soldiers to take out a few of the remaining Earth Sphere Alliance strongholds. The pair assign Zechs to make a very visible attack on the base's main defense (a large beam cannon), figuring that Zechs's conspicuous new mobile suit and high-profile reputation will make him a ripe target. Meanwhile they'll be free to sneak in unnoticed and take out the base themselves. Unfortunately, they greatly underestimated Zechs skills, and failed to realize that the "conspicuous new mobile suit" was [[SuperPrototype The Tallgeese]]. Zechs not only survived the encounter but is in perfect shape to fight when he cases his partners killing soldiers who have already surrendered, and proceeds to [[CurbStompBattle deal with the situation accordingly.]]
23rd Jul '17 8:28:45 PM AdamC
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Added DiffLines:

* An episode of Gundam Wing had a disillusioned [[CharClone Zechs]] pair up with a pair of asshole soldiers to take out a few of the remaining Earth Sphere Alliance strongholds. The pair assign Zechs to make a very visible attack on the base's main defense (a large beam cannon), figuring that Zechs's conspicuous new mobile suit and high-profile reputation will make him a ripe target. Meanwhile they'll be free to sneak in unnoticed and take out the base themselves. Unfortunately, they greatly underestimated Zechs skills, and failed to realize that the "conspicuous new mobile suit" was [[SuperPrototype The Tallgeese]]. Zechs not only survived the encounter but is in perfect shape to fight when he cases his partners killing soldiers who have already surrendered, and proceeds to [[CurbStompBattle deal with the situation accordingly.]]
6th Jul '17 6:13:29 PM TedEldritch
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Added DiffLines:

* ''VideoGame/DarkSoulsIII:'' Gael is an old undead who used to serve as a Slave Knight, an expendable servant sent to fight in countless wars. Most Slave Knights were driven to madness by their never-ending duty, but Gael kept his sanity and has outlived his masters by what is implied to be millennia. He can be summoned for two battles in which the [[PlayerCharacter Ashen One]] is outnumbered and can stand his ground rather well. He also guides the Ashen One through the Dreg Heap, leaving messages that point out places where you can survive the long falls throughout the area, and at the end of the Ringed City he [[spoiler:devours the blood of the Pygmy Lords for their Dark Souls, becoming the incarnation of the very Dark Soul itself]].
13th Jun '17 9:28:39 PM nombretomado
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** Polish troops were ''theoretically'' cannonfodder for three of the combatants fighting WorldWarOne, but in practice they were never actually used in this capacity due to their tendency to surrender to the enemy. The Polish-Russian dual monarchy (commonly called 'Russia'), Austro-Hungarian dual empire, and German kingdom ''all'' fielded combat units composed largely or even entirely of ethnic Poles during WorldWarOne. However the German ''Polnische Wehrmacht'' (headed by the later military dictator of Poland, Joseph Piwsudski) and Austro-Hungarian ''Polnische Legion'' were only very small with the former never having more than 10,000 men and the no more than 60,000. While the Polish-Russian kingdom fielded as many as 200,000 Polish troops, including some with very good (in relative terms) training and morale, they were as unreliable as their German and Austro-Hungarian counterparts and were never used in combat if STAVKA could avoid it.
** Polish troops were ''kind of'' cannonfodder for three different combatants fighting WorldWarTwo, though in practice their treatment seems to have been little different to that of other forces - [[DudeWheresMyRespect save the egregious lack of publicity recognition given to their efforts]]. [[DudeWheresMyRespect This became particularly grating when other forces received greater thanks for their own efforts, sometimes despite them having actually contributed far less than the Poles]]. The French, British, and Soviets all fielded Polish veteran expats in combat units, in which many acquitted themselves very well. While the NKVD (predecessor to the KGB) ''did'' have those captured Polish Army Officers who refused to serve in the army of Communist Poland executed (in the 'Katyn' massacre of 1940, with as many as nine-tenths refusing and being killed), the volunteers seemed to have performed admirably against Nazi Germany. Indeed, it was a Polish Army force which finally liberated Warsaw in January 1945 (for a given value of 'liberation'). The British in particular were heavily reliant on their Poles' grit, guts, and experience to sway the outcome of several pitched trench-warfare battles including the Battles of Monte Cassino (Italian campaign, January-April 1944), the lack of recognition given for their part in that particular campaign being something of a sore point.

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** Polish troops were ''theoretically'' cannonfodder for three of the combatants fighting WorldWarOne, UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, but in practice they were never actually used in this capacity due to their tendency to surrender to the enemy. The Polish-Russian dual monarchy (commonly called 'Russia'), Austro-Hungarian dual empire, and German kingdom ''all'' fielded combat units composed largely or even entirely of ethnic Poles during WorldWarOne.UsefulNotes/WorldWarI. However the German ''Polnische Wehrmacht'' (headed by the later military dictator of Poland, Joseph Piwsudski) and Austro-Hungarian ''Polnische Legion'' were only very small with the former never having more than 10,000 men and the no more than 60,000. While the Polish-Russian kingdom fielded as many as 200,000 Polish troops, including some with very good (in relative terms) training and morale, they were as unreliable as their German and Austro-Hungarian counterparts and were never used in combat if STAVKA could avoid it.
** Polish troops were ''kind of'' cannonfodder for three different combatants fighting WorldWarTwo, UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, though in practice their treatment seems to have been little different to that of other forces - [[DudeWheresMyRespect save the egregious lack of publicity recognition given to their efforts]]. [[DudeWheresMyRespect This became particularly grating when other forces received greater thanks for their own efforts, sometimes despite them having actually contributed far less than the Poles]]. The French, British, and Soviets all fielded Polish veteran expats in combat units, in which many acquitted themselves very well. While the NKVD (predecessor to the KGB) ''did'' have those captured Polish Army Officers who refused to serve in the army of Communist Poland executed (in the 'Katyn' massacre of 1940, with as many as nine-tenths refusing and being killed), the volunteers seemed to have performed admirably against Nazi Germany. Indeed, it was a Polish Army force which finally liberated Warsaw in January 1945 (for a given value of 'liberation'). The British in particular were heavily reliant on their Poles' grit, guts, and experience to sway the outcome of several pitched trench-warfare battles including the Battles of Monte Cassino (Italian campaign, January-April 1944), the lack of recognition given for their part in that particular campaign being something of a sore point.
31st Mar '17 6:12:53 AM Illgeo
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* The WWII Soviet Black Sea Naval Infantry, aka The "Black Death". Got Romanians on your doorstep? Army getting pushed back on all other fronts? Give your sailors rifles, tell 'em to fight. Everyday sailors given a rifle and pressed into service as shocktroopers against the Germans, Italians and mostly Romanians. Manages to hold Sevastapol in the face of German invasion for months, even completed more paradrops during the war than the actual Red Army paratroopers. They were among World War 2's many unsung badasses.

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* The WWII Soviet Black Sea Naval Infantry, aka The "Black Death". Got Romanians on your doorstep? Army getting pushed back on all other fronts? Give your sailors rifles, tell 'em to fight. Everyday sailors given a rifle and pressed into service as shocktroopers against the Germans, Italians and mostly Romanians. Manages Manage to hold Sevastapol in the face of German invasion for months, even completed more paradrops during the war than the actual Red Army paratroopers. They were among World War 2's many unsung badasses.
18th Jan '17 5:50:40 PM ChronoLegion
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** This is the purpose of SPARTAN-[=IIIs=]. Unlike their predecessors, who were turned into {{Super Soldier}}s, the [=IIIs=] were turned into enhanced but disposable soldiers, meant to be spent on a single key mission.
5th Oct '16 5:46:42 PM SmoCro
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*** The Dirlewanger brigade/division does not really qualify as 'elite' while cannon fodder it might be. Himmler wanted its own penal unit and this really was a unit of criminals not of soldiers accused and convicted of minor or major offenses. The casualty rates reflected that which regularly caused the unit to drastically down-size when faced with anything more dangerous than women and children.
24th Sep '16 3:49:38 PM Jacob175
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A close relative of ReassignmentBackfire, except this turns out rather well for the superiors. This is when your RagtagBunchOfMisfits are a bunch of assholes or at least out of favour with high command, and [[TheUriahGambit their superiors are clearly deliberate in sending them off to their certain demises]]. The problem is that, through sheer luck, ruthlessness, or [[LetsGetDangerous actual competence and skill,]] they keep returning, sometimes even accomplishing the [[ImpossibleTask impossible missions.]]

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A close relative of ReassignmentBackfire, except this turns out rather well for the superiors. This is when your RagtagBunchOfMisfits are a bunch of assholes or at least out of favour with high command, and [[TheUriahGambit [[UriahGambit their superiors are clearly deliberate in sending them off to their certain demises]]. The problem is that, through sheer luck, ruthlessness, or [[LetsGetDangerous actual competence and skill,]] they keep returning, sometimes even accomplishing the [[ImpossibleTask impossible missions.]]



* Creator/MarvelComics had ''Combat Kelly and His Deadly Dozen'', which was heavily inspite by ''Film/TheDeadlyDozen''.

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* Creator/MarvelComics had ''Combat Kelly and His Deadly Dozen'', which was heavily inspite inspired by ''Film/TheDeadlyDozen''.''Film/TheDirtyDozen''.



* ''Film/{{The Dirty Dozen}}''

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* ''Film/{{The Dirty Dozen}}''''Film/TheDirtyDozen'': The basic premise was taking a group of twelve prisoners, training them for a mission and sending them to certain death to infiltrate a Nazi hideout. Winning gives the Army a big war victory; losing just saves them execution costs.



* In the backstory to ''StarTrekNemesis'', the Romulans create a clone of Picard for infiltration purposes, but abandon the project when a new government takes power. The clone is left to die amongst [[FantasticRacism Remans]], whom the Romulans used as cannon fodder during the Dominion War. This human clone led over a dozen ''successful'' engagements.

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* In the backstory to ''StarTrekNemesis'', ''Film/StarTrekNemesis'', the Romulans create a clone of Picard for infiltration purposes, but abandon the project when a new government takes power. The clone is left to die amongst [[FantasticRacism Remans]], whom the Romulans used as cannon fodder during the Dominion War. This human clone led over a dozen ''successful'' engagements.



--> '''[[http://exterminatusnow.comicgenesis.com/d/20100605.html Schaefer]]''': You have a history of making it out of impossible situations, no matter how often we [[TheUriahGambit try to ki-]] no matter what assignment we deploy you on.

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--> '''[[http://exterminatusnow.comicgenesis.com/d/20100605.html Schaefer]]''': You have a history of making it out of impossible situations, no matter how often we [[TheUriahGambit [[UriahGambit try to ki-]] no matter what assignment we deploy you on.



* The WWII Soviet Black Sea Naval Infantry, aka The "Black Death". Got Romanians on your doorstep? Army getting pushed back on all other fronts? Give your sailors rifles, tell 'em to fight. Everyday sailors given a rifle and pressed into service as shocktroopers against the Germans, Italians and mostly Romanians. Manages to hold Sevastapol in the face of German invasion for months, even completed more paradrops during the war than the actual Red Army paratroopers. They were among World War 2's many unsung badasses

to:

* The WWII Soviet Black Sea Naval Infantry, aka The "Black Death". Got Romanians on your doorstep? Army getting pushed back on all other fronts? Give your sailors rifles, tell 'em to fight. Everyday sailors given a rifle and pressed into service as shocktroopers against the Germans, Italians and mostly Romanians. Manages to hold Sevastapol in the face of German invasion for months, even completed more paradrops during the war than the actual Red Army paratroopers. They were among World War 2's many unsung badassesbadasses.



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