Empty Fort Gambit YKTTW Discussion

Empty Fort Gambit
Lure the enemy into your base to trap or kill them
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(permanent link) added: 2013-05-24 00:01:28 sponsor: WiseMan23753 edited by: DAN004 (last reply: 2015-06-12 21:40:27)

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DAN 004 wuz ere takin over ur druft

Alternate name: Empty Fort Gambit

So The Siege is going on your home. You're outgunned and on the losing side. But you don't want to surrender as you wouldn't want your base to fall into the enemy. So what do you do?

Easy. Let them have it...only to have them get them a surprise awaiting for them. Whether it's explosives, a monster hidden underneath, or some other weapon to give as a last will or going away gift. This trope often involves the activation of a Self-Destruct Mechanism with a time delay. Collapsing Lair or Trash the Set optional.

Subtrope of Batman Gambit, Lured Into a Trap and Defensive Feint Trap. Contrast All Your Base Are Belong to Us.


Anime and Manga
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED gives a very good example. The Earth Alliance commanders let their forces in Alaska defend hopelessly against ZAFT forces during their Operation Spitbreak. Once ZAFT reaches the center, they and the defenders get microwaved by the Cyclops. Fortunately, our heroes make it out okay.

  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Kirk pretends to surrender the Enterprise to the Klingons and he and the others beam down to the planet's surface. When the Klingons beam over to the Enterprise, they hear the ship's computer saying "Nine, eight, seven, six, five..." - the last few seconds of the self-destruct sequence countdown.
  • Invoked in The Enemy Below. After the destroyer escort rams the sub, the sub's crew activates its self-destruct charges and evacuates. If the DE's crew had tried to enter the sub (e.g. to grab its code books) they would have been killed.
  • You Only Live Twice. James Bond and the Ninja army have captured the SPECTRE base. Before he escapes, Blofeld sets the base's Self-Destruct Mechanism so they won't be able to keep it and may even be killed.
  • Inverted with The Man with the Golden Gun in which The Villain Scaramanga succeeds in luring James Bond into his surreal deathtrap, designed to cause his targets to waste bullets. Although Bond loses his Walther .32 PPK there, he's still able to use Scaramanga's deathtrap against him.
  • The climax of 13 Assassins is based around one of these, akin to the old Japanese's fort strategy. The titular assassins carefully rig a hastily-emptied town with enough booby traps, weapons, and explosives to take out an army of two hundred men. Cue forty-odd minutes of nonstop carnage.
  • Mad Max: The Road Warrior: The climactic chase sequence begins with the refinery's refugees running away and leaving the refinery wide open, which attracts a number of Lord Humongous' goons (who have been performing The Siege to get its fuel), only to find out the hard way that the refinery had been rigged to explode and thin out the goons' numbers, which it does.
  • Speed: The cops find out who the mad bomber is and his home address. They storm the place only to find that he's not there - but a bomb they just triggered is.
  • Home Alone, with a formula through each of the sequels that involves incompetent burglars, one kid, a massive amount of traps set up, and Amusing Injuries galore.
  • In Captain America: The First Avenger, after Red Skull realized that he is outgunned while Cap's forces walks through his base, he sets the thing up to collapse.
  • Starship Troopers: The Roughnecks arrive at a base that had sent out a distress call only to find it full of dead soldiers, soon after the base is surrounded by bugs. It is found out this was a deliberate action and the distress call was the bait.

  • In Death or Glory, the Imperials and refugees pull out of a supply base after rigging the place to blow. When orks attack before everyone can get clear, Cain orders the troops to break up the ork formations but let them take cover in the base. Then he triggers the explosives.
  • Exaggerated in the Belgariad. The Algars' Citadel is the only permanent structure of a nomadic people, and no one lives there. Its sole purpose is to give their neighbors and deadly enemies, the Angaraks, something to attack when they cross the border. Angaraks can't resist such a huge target, even though it has no strategic value. The Algars have been improving the thing constantly for thousands of years, and if an enemy force does manage to break inside, it finds itself in an impassable labyrinth bristling with traps.
  • The Zombie Survival Guide tells the story of Fort Louis Philippe, a French Foreign Legion output in northern Africa. The fort finds itself surrounded by some five hundred zombies in a grueling three-year seige. Eventually, the final thirty men come up with a bold plan to escape. They collect the food and water they'll need to cross the desert onto the fort's ramparts and destroy the stairs and ladders behind them. A suicidally brave man is lowered to the gates and opens the way for the zombies. He leads them throughout the fortress, gathering as many inside as possible before being lifted out, while another two men close the gates and seal the vast majority of the zombies inside the fort. As the gates pull open into the fortress the zombies can't push them open, the men fight the stragglers outside and march to the nearest town, leaving the zombie horde trapped in their base. Much later during World War 2, the crew of a lost bomber bail out upon seeing an unknown settlement in the desert. They find themselves in Fort Louis Philippe and are horrified by the mountains of bones the zombies left behind after rotting away.
  • Jingo: Carrot pulls this off on an advancing Klatchian detachment by convincing the D'regs to leave it completely undefended. The Klatchians have just enough time to start bragging about how they scared the enemy off before the D'regs show up from behind the dunes. And yet this isn't what convinces their captain to surrender, it's the fact that as Carrot explains, he's asked the D'regs not to charge so they can meet with Vimes. As the captain puts it, "this man can make water run uphill and he has a commanding officer".

Live-Action TV
  • Jack Bauer from 24 invokes this trope in Season 1. Fear of this is his reason for wanting CTU to let him rescue his family without support.
  • Double Subverted in "Minimal Loss" of Criminal Minds. The cult leader has everything set up for it. Just someone else pushes the button.
  • In Stargate SG-1 Stargate Command is built with the expectation that enemy forces would frequently try to invade and therefore incorporates a self-destruct mechanism into the base from the beginning. In the case of an Alternate Universe SGC seen in "There But for the Grace of God", the Goa'uld fight all the way down to the command center only to have the place blow up.

Tabletop Games
  • Warhammer 40K: the Tau's Kauyon strategy boils down to this, using their Kroot mercenaries to run around and lure their enemies into killzones where their extremely superior firepower completely destroys them.

Video Games
  • Doujin game series EXceed has the Church forces lure the vampires and Gun Bullet Children into the alter of Anhel to destroy them.
  • Done in the third installment Halo at the the end of mission "Crow's Nest", where the Marines activate a bomb in the Operations center during evacuation.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, during the First Battle of Hoover Dam, The NCR employed this tactic against the Legion. Overwhelmed during the first stage of the attack, the NCR opted to flee into the nearby settlement of Boulder City. The Legion's Legate ordered his troops to pursue the fleeing NCR into Boulder... only to realise too late that the NCR had booby trapped most of Boulder with explosives, which almost completely demolished the settlement, crippled the Legion's offensive, and gave the NCR the perfect window for a counter-attack.
  • Dawn of War: this is more or less how Gorgutz 'Ead'unter's stronghold ends in Dark Crusade: when the enemy overwhelms his base, he detonates a ridiculously huge stockpile of explosives while he escapes.

Western Animation
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The firebender's powers are completely deactivated during a solar eclipse, so The Alliance uses this to strike at their fortress, allowing Aang to get inside and fight the Firelord while he's powerless. Except that while they get into the throne room without much difficulty, the Firelord is in fact hiding in a bunker until the eclipse ends. The Gaang barely escapes, while the repowered firebenders easily trap and capture the remaining attackers.

Real Life
  • In ancient Japan, the philosophy of fortification wasn't to be impenetrable, but to lure the enemy into carefully prepared kill zones, often designed as mazes or cul-de-sacs.
  • The Waco Siege. We break inside only have nearly everyone inside die...
  • Moscow during the Napoleonic War of 1812. The Russians retreated and let the French have it, but soon fires were started from all sides and the French were stuck in a burning city. What's more important, afterwards they were saddled with a half-burned humanitarian catastrophe of a city, absolutely useless as a defensible point.
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