Created By: jatay3 on June 20, 2011 Last Edited By: jatay3 on June 22, 2011

The Honour of the Regiment

My Unit is Badass

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Trope
This is where a given military unit(often called a regiment) is given an almost tribalistic devotion. This applies whether it is really a Badass Army or simply an Army of Thieves and Whores. A character devoted to this would know his regiments official Crowning Moment of Awesome, would be aware of every Folktale about his regiment, and would get into a Bar Brawl with anyone who dared insult it. Often thought about by an Old Soldier or a Retired Badass especially if he was an Officer and a Gentleman.

Often retired members of a regiment will be a Brotherhood of Funny Hats

This attitude is likely to be found in someone who has served with Brits with Battleships or Kipling's Finest.

Semper Fi and Legion of Lost Souls are specific examples of this.

Film

Literature

  • In Sword of Honour Guy Crouchback is enlisted with the Halbirdiers.

  • In Gordon R Dickson's Childe Cycle, the Short Story "Lost Dorsai" demonstrates the flaws of having regimental pride unsupported by professionalism and loyalty to the army and nation as a whole. The army of a small nation revolts against its leader, however the strong regimental rivalries make it difficult for them to work together. This flaw is noticed by the Dorsai that have been hired by the ruler of the nation as they scout out the rebel army that is laying siege to a fortess held by only handful of people. The Actual Pacifist uses his knowledge of the regimental rivalries to find a way to make the rebels fight against each other.

  • The honor of a unit is often closely connected with a unit standard. In The Eagle Of The Ninth, the legacy of the IX Legion, destroyed by barbarians in what is now called Scotland, is considered disgraced by the fact that their eagle standard was also captured. Marcus Flavius Aquila, the son of the legion commander, goes on a mission to recover the eagle in order to restore the his own Family Honor, and by recovering it he would also end up restoring the honor of the legion.

  • The Sharpe series abounds with example of the concept of Esprit De Corps. For example, in Sharpe's Eagle the brand new South Essex Regiment discraces itself by letting its unit colors be captured by the French. Sharpe attempts to undo the discgrace (and secure his own rank) by capturing a French gold eagle standard.

  • Along with every other positive trope about the military, Robert A Heinlein's Starship Troopers includes this one. When one of the Mobile Infantry (MI) recruits deserts during basic training and kills a baby girl, the entire MI spends a month in shame. The regimental colors are struck, all celebrations are cancelled, all leave postponed. The standard recruits singing lighthearted (or dirty, although since written for youths this was left out) songs while marching is paused during this time, as they march in silence. When one of the recruits complains about this, because the deserter was really no longer a member for having deserted (he was struck from the rolls and would have been arrested and dishonorably discharged), another recruit asks him if he wants a punch in the mouth for suggesting that MI doesn't take responsibility for its members, even those it would have kicked out at the first opportunity. No recruit ever brings it up again.

Live-Action TV

  • In Magnum, P.I. Higgins is obsessed with The Prince of Wales Own West Yorkshire Regiment

Real Life

Lots of regiments obviously so perhaps it is better to just take a few Real Life examples

Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • June 20, 2011
    Ekuran
    I think this is Badass Army.
  • June 20, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    Pretty much every military fiction. Ever. I'll try to come up with some specific examples when I have time.
  • June 20, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    Also... What about legions, divisions, etc? Regiments aren't the only ones with Esprit de Corps.
  • June 20, 2011
    jatay3
    It isn't Badass Army. Badass Army is about the objective military efficiency of a unit. This is about a "patriotic" loyalty toward it by it's members. Theoretically a regiment of Redshirts will still care about The Honour of the Regiment.

    With Badass Army it really is Badass. With The Honourofthe Regiment, soldiers in it will insist that it is Badass whether or not it is.
  • June 20, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    The problem with this trope is I wouldn't even know where to start, much less end. Pretty much any military unit ever, fictional or real, that isn't a complete shambles, is going to have pride in its unit.
  • June 20, 2011
    jatay3
    "Also... What about legions, divisions, etc? Regiments aren't the only ones with Esprit de Corps. "

    Quite true, which means we have to decide whether we are referring specifically to regiments. Traditionally regiments have been a common focus of Esprit de Corps.
  • June 20, 2011
    jatay3
    Alternatively, this particular trope could be ditched and I could do an essay on the British regimental system as a subtrope of Brits With Battleships. The British system is primarily what I am thinking of and it deserves a useful notes article of it's own.

    But now looking over at Brits With Battleships it already has a bit about that.
  • June 20, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    The thing is, if you are using it as a narrative trope, than it makes little difference if you are talking about the X Legion or the 10th Regiment of Foot. The names may change, but the concepts and the execution storytelling-wise are essentially the same. "Honor of the Regiment" works as a trope name though, I'm just thinking the description could be expanded. Alternativly, you can make this narrow enough so that we can focus on specific aspects of Regimental Honor, rather than just listing every regiment that appears in fiction, which would be quite a daunting task, don't you think? Maybe you can do a trope on how unit standards are considered to be the embodiment of the honor of the unit, and letting one be captured or fall in battle is a disgrace. Or maybe you can do a trope on unit rivalries.

    I like the concept, really I do. I'm just saying that perhaps you need to tweak it a bit. What exactly are you looking for?
  • June 20, 2011
    jatay3
    Ok, make it about espirt de corps in general. That should do. Really I wasn't quite sure what I was looking for. This will do though.
  • June 20, 2011
    jatay3
    How are those changes?
  • June 20, 2011
    Fanra
    Pretty much any military unit ever, fictional or real, that isn't a complete shambles, is going to have pride in its unit.

    This is deliberately invoked by almost every nation. Military people are taught the history (well, the heroic parts, anyway) of both their service (Army, Navy, etc.) and their regiment (ship, etc.).

    A unit citation is a formal, honorary mention by high authority of a military unit's specific and outstanding performance, notably in battle. This is designed to invoke this.

    The United States Marines are probably the most commonly known and one of the biggest promoters of this. "Once a Marine, Always a Marine".

    When a unit is disbanded (at least in the USA) for budgetary or other reasons, there is usually an outcry that a unit with such a rich history (they all have a rich history :) will be lost. When a new regiment, division, whatever, is needed, they will assign it an old name, to bring back the history.

    This is all part of the idea of instilling the concept of living up to the "Honor of the Regiment". Soldiers will fight harder if they feel they have to live up to the examples set by others.

  • June 21, 2011
    AFP
    For another possible name, how about Esprit De Corps?
  • June 21, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    I think this works, though for the purposes of the starting examples, I think we try to should avoid X Just X listing of works with units that display Esprit De Corps and give a quick blurb about the specific way that the author used the concept to influence the story.

    For example -

    • In Glory you have a group of officers that are trying to instill the concept in brand new unit with no history, predominatly composed of ex-slaves who have every reason to be distrustful of white authority figures. Through intense training the officers manage to turn a Ragtag Bunch Of Misfits into a real unit, but even when they deploy, unit morale suffers from them being assigned to disreputable labour and looting missions. The unit eventually deploys to combat, and in a final Moment Of Awesome displays great herorism and unit pride in an extremely dangerous assualt on a fort.

    • In Gordon R Dickson's Childe Cycle, the Short Story "Lost Dorsai" demonstrates the flaws of having regimental pride unsupported by professionalism and loyalty to the army and nation as a whole. The army of a small nation revolts against its leader, however the strong regimental rivalries make it difficult for them to work together. This flaw is noticed by the Dorsai that have been hired by the ruler of the nation as they scout out the rebel army that is laying siege to a fortess held by only handful of people. The Actual Pacifist uses his knowledge of the regimental rivalries to find a way to make the rebels fight against each other.

    • The honor of a unit is often closely connected with a unit standard. In The Eagle Of The Ninth, the legacy of the IX Legion, destroyed by barbarians in what is now called Scotland, is considered disgraced by the fact that their eagle standard was also captured. Marcus Flavius Aquila, the son of the legion commander, goes on a mission to recover the eagle in order to restore the his own Family Honor, and by recovering it he would also end up restoring the honor of the legion.

    • The Sharpe series abounds with example of the concept of Esprit De Corps. For example, in Sharpe's Eagle the brand new South Essex Regiment discraces itself by letting its unit colors be captured by the French. Sharpe attempts to undo the discgrace (and secure his own rank) by capturing a French gold eagle standard.
  • June 21, 2011
    JonnyB
    Highlander regiments have a reputation for this in the UK. As do Gurkha regiments.
  • June 21, 2011
    Fanra
    Keith Laumer's Bolo stories are about autonomous AI tanks. In Laumer's short story "Field Test", the first self-aware Bolo makes a suicide charge Out Of The Inferno that causes the enemy to break and run. When asked why, they expected it to demonstrate some superhuman strategic acumen that it's human commanders missed.

    They're awestruck by it's real reason: "For the honor of the regiment." Specifically, the 20th Virginia Cavalry Regiment, a unit whose history dates back to the American Civil War, to which the Bolo was assigned.

    This has since become the catch phrase of the Bolos.
  • June 21, 2011
    Fanra
    If someone disgraces the honor of the regiment one of their fellow soldiers might Leave Behind A Pistol. Which might happen before or after a Insignia Rip Off Ritual.
  • June 21, 2011
    Fanra
    Along with every other positive trope about the military, Robert A Heinlein's Starship Troopers includes this one. When one of the Mobile Infantry (MI) recruits deserts during basic training and kills a baby girl, the entire MI spends a month in shame. The regimental colors are struck, all celebrations are cancelled, all leave postponed. The standard recruits singing lighthearted (or dirty, although since written for youths this was left out) songs while marching is paused during this time, as they march in silence.

    When one of the recruits complains about this, because the deserter was really no longer a member for having deserted (he was struck from the rolls and would have been arrested and dishonorably discharged), another recruit asks him if he wants a punch in the mouth for suggesting that MI doesn't take responsibility for its members, even those it would have kicked out at the first opportunity. No recruit ever brings it up again.
  • June 21, 2011
    Fanra
  • June 21, 2011
    jaytee
    ^^^What's with the boldface?
  • June 21, 2011
    Fanra
    ^^^What's with the boldface?

    Some people, like myself, have trouble sometimes noticing that a phrase is pot holed. By making it bold it stands out. The blue color of a pot holed phrase is close to the black color of the text, at least if your color vision isn't perfect.
  • June 21, 2011
    jaytee
    ^The boldface links are typically reserved for suggestions that Yes We DO Have This One. It's so widespread in YKTTW that it's confusing to use it for any ol' pothole. I spent a few minutes trying to figure out how any of these examples were supposed to fit the links you gave.
  • June 22, 2011
    captainbrass2
    Perhaps you shouldn't bother with Real Life examples beyond noting that this is true of practically every unit in practically every army worthy of the name. Loyalty to regiment (or brigade, division or corps) is deliberately encouraged in most armies as a means of encouraging group solidarity.
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