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Home Guard


(permanent link) added: 2011-01-17 05:55:48 sponsor: AFP (last reply: 2011-01-21 01:59:42)

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You have your army, perhaps it is a Badass Army, or just a Redshirt Army, but in any case, it is the standing army of your nation, with everything that entails. Of course, not everybody in the army does it for a living. Some folks just do it for the bit of extra pay, or the college benefits, or as a way to keep connected with the military after they retire and settle down to start a family.

These guys are the Home Guard. Typically, they will get called up when the nation goes to war, or in the event of a natural disaster or civil unrest. Many of them will be military veterans who got out of the regular army, or folks who had imminent life plans that precluded being away from home permanently. In more desperate situations, the Home Guard might include people who otherwise would not have been accepted into the military, but are being organized into a militia as a last ditch defense of their homes. Depending on a variety of circumstances, they might be equipped with obsolete weapons and equipment from decades past, or even less. In more ideal situations, they will use the same equipment as the regular troops, to better allow them to serve along side them in combat when needed.

Even the version of the trope where the Home Guard is little more than a Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits armed with whatever they have on hand, it can be justified as freeing up more troops to fight the enemy before they can invade the home country.

Named for the British Home Guard troops who were formed to protect Great Britain in the event of German invasion during World War II.

Other potential names could include The Reserves or The Militia.

Examples:

Film
  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks. The World War 2 British Home Guard appears several times in the movie, including firing at the retreating Nazi commandos. They even have their own song, "The Soldiers of the Old Home Guard".
  • Clash of the Titans: In the remake, the Dwindling Party of soldiers assigned to help Perseus in his mission are from an Honor Guard, distinguished soldiers too old to fight on the front lines or young inexperienced soldiers who look good in formation. They are all he gets because the rest of the Argosian army had recently been wiped out after picking a fight with Zeus and Hades.

Live-Action TV
  • Dad's Army: Based on the writers' experiences in the Home Guard during World War II. Most of the humour stems from the fact that the members are too old, too young, or just incompetent in that bumbling English way.

Video Games
  • In Wing Commander IV, Vagabond mentions that after the Kilrathi War ended, he took a billet in the Reserves, thinking it would be some easy money for little work now that they were at peace. So of course he got recalled to active duty for the next crisis.
    • In the Wing Commander novel End Run, Colonel Bondarevsky warns the pilots under his command that the pilots they'll find defending the Kilrathi homeworld of Kilrah will not be typical aging "Home Guard" pilot with "rusting armor", but rather a very well trained and equipped force of some of their most experienced and skilled pilots.
    • Also from Wing Commander IV, we have the Border Worlds Militia. In the game, they are shown to be a somewhat ragtag force with modern (if somewhat nonstandard compared to what Confed flies) equipment. In the novelization, they are flying barely-holding together ships that would have been at home on the flight deck of the Tiger's Claw ten or twenty years earlier.
  • Valkyria Chronicles: The Gallian Militia unit that the protagonist commands is an example of a homeguard, constituting members of the nation from all ranks:singers;wealthy heiresses;University Students;bakers...

Table Top Gaming
  • The Warhammer 40K equivalent is the PDF (Planetary Defense Forces), considered as underequipped and far less competent by the Imperial Guard. Repeat, the Imperial Guard, Butt Monkey Cannon Fodder extraordinaire, believes the PDF to be beneath them.

Truth in Television
  • The Trope Namer is the British Home Guard, formed during the early years of World War II (and disbanded soon after, when they were no longer needed).
    • The tradition lives on in the Territorial Armies, the modern successor to the Home Guard.
  • In the U.S. this is called the National Guard, which traces its lineage back to 1636, with the formation of the Massachusetts Bay Regiments, local militias formed together by the colonial government into larger units so they could more effectively deal with the Pequot tribes.
    • In modern times, National Guardsmen typically are equipped with the same gear as their "Regular" Active Duty brethren, although up until the later years of the Cold War, it wasn't unusual for them to use obsolete equipment that had been cast off by the regular service.
  • Near the end of World War 2 Nazi Germany had the Volkssturm.
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