Created By: SuperTulle on August 2, 2012 Last Edited By: fulltimeD on August 26, 2012
Troped

Mega Maw Maneuver

A vehicle eats/absorbs another vehicle.

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Trope
In a nutshell, this is when a hostile force attacks a target by using a much larger vehicle with a large door to chase down and then "swallow" the target vehicle. The attackers have just performed the Mega-Maw Maneuver. The reasons for using this tactic are usually as a form of piracy. Once inside the large vehicle, the target is at the mercy of its captors, and can be easily boarded, plundered, or seized without risking damage in a firefight.

While certainly an interesting maneuver, it does pose several problems in Real Life. For one, it's success hinges upon the maw ship being much larger and much faster than its victims. For another, the very real possibility of the target performing some desperate evasive action trying to get away would pose considerable danger. Sometimes TractorBeams are used to speed up the chase and/or explain away why the target isn't performing any evasive actions.

In other words, if there was any real potential to this tactic, it probably would have been tried by now.

Compare: Swallowed Whole, which is this trope but with monsters. Compare: Driving into a Truck, which is the opposite of this trope.

Examples:

Film
  • James Bond
    • The Spy Who Loved Me: The Big Bad Karl Stromberg has a device that can cause submarines to lose power and surface. He also has an oil tanker with a bow that can open and swallow up the helpless submarines. He uses them to capture three nuclear missile submarines (one Soviet, one American and one British) during the movie.
    • You Only Live Twice: Ernst Stavro Blofeld has one of these, which he uses to kidnap US and Soviet space capsules to start WW 3 between them.
  • The pirate spaceship from Space Truckers- again, a huge maw that swallowed smaller ships.
  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture: The enormous Mechanical Lifeform V'Ger had a giant maw like this, which the Enterprise flew through in order to reach V'Ger's main processing center. It then closed, trapping the Enterprise inside.
  • A hilarious variation could be the scene in Mars Attacks! where the US launches nukes, and the Martians deploy a tiny probe that sucks up the nukes into a balloon-like compartment, in which they explode harmlessly, the balloon probe containing everything. Then the Martians smoke the radioactive remains in some king of space-bong.
  • Spaceball One eats Princess Vespa's spaceship in Space Balls.

Literature
  • In the Mortal Engines quadrilogy, most towns and cities (except those in Anti-Tractionist territories) have been converted into enormous tracked vehicles. In accordance with the philosophy of 'Municipal Darwinism', these settlements are fitted with 'jaws' that allow them to catch and dismantle other settlements and claim their resources; cities prey on towns, towns prey on suburbs, and "statics", non-mobile settlements, are the bottom rung of the food-chain and fair game for everyone else.

LiveActionTV
  • In Babylon 5, Shadow Battlecrabs can absorb other ships into themselves, allowing them to abduct their pilots.
  • The Lexx, a giant bioengineered insect/ planet-destroyer could literally eat ship.
  • The "Wisp" spaceship from Star Trek: Enterprise had a huge maw that swallowed Enterprise.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: the Planet Killer, a giant ship that destroyed planets. In an inversion, they deliberately flew a starship into its maw to destroy it from the inside out.
    • The last episode of Star Trek: Voyager has a Borg Sphere doing this to Voyager.
  • The Seeker's semi-invisible spaceship does this to the Space Shuttle Odyssey in Odyssey 5.
  • A seaQuest DSV episode had a large sub pulling this to capture UEO transport subs.

Western Animation
  • The first episode of TaleSpin has the air pirates harassing a Khan cargo plane. As the plane ducks into a cloud bank to try and hide, they fly right into the Iron Vulture, the pirates' ship. It even has a mouth for such purposes.
  • One one the story arcs on Rocky and Bullwinkle has them looking for the giant whale Maybe Dick, which turns out to be a ship Boris Badanov uses to swallow ocean lines so he can plunder them.

Video Games
Community Feedback Replies: 61
  • August 2, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    The Lexx, a giant bioengineered insect/ planet-destroyer could literally eat ships.
  • August 2, 2012
    Omeganian
    The World Devastators are also a literal example.
  • August 3, 2012
    Tallens
    It might be better to expand this to all ships that can do this, not just space ships.

    For example:

    Film
    • James Bond
      • The Spy Who Loved Me. The Big Bad Karl Stromberg has a device that can cause submarines to lose power and surface. He also has an oil tanker with a bow that can open and swallow up the helpless submarines. He uses them to capture three nuclear missile submarines (one Soviet, one American and one British) during the movie.
  • August 4, 2012
    Tallens
    I agree.

    Western Animation
    • The first episode of Tale Spin has the air pirates harassing a Khan cargo plane. As the plane ducks into a cloud bank to try and hide, they fly right into the Iron Vulture, the pirates' ship. It even has a mouth for such purposes.
    • One one the story arcs on Rocky And Bullwinkle has them looking for the giant whale Maybe Dick, which turns out to be a ship Boris Badanov uses to swallow ocean lines so he can plunder them.

    Video Games

  • August 4, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Live Action TV: The "Wisp" spaceship from Star Trek Enterprise had a huge maw that swallowed Enterprise

    Film: The pirate spaceship from Space Truckers- again, a huge maw that swallowed smaller ships
  • August 4, 2012
    fulltimeD
    possible names:

  • August 4, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Also, re: the description

    We tend to frown on Example As Thesis these days.
  • August 4, 2012
    Tallens
    I like Giant Maw Maneuver.

    Also from Star Trek was the Planet Killer, a giant ship that destroyed planets. In an inversion, they deliberately flew a starship into its maw to destroy it from the inside out.
  • August 4, 2012
    fulltimeD
    ^ Then the maw gobbled up the remains for fuel, so it's a straighter example than you'd think.

    I was thinking about whether or not to add that one myself; good catch.
  • August 4, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Also from the film Star Trek The Motion Picture, the enormous Mechanical Lifeform V'Ger had a giant maw like this, which the Enterprise flew through in order to reach V'Ger's main processing center. It then closed, trapping the Enterprise inside.
  • August 4, 2012
    fulltimeD
    And the Seeker's semi-invisible spaceship does this to the Space Shuttle Odyssey in Odyssey Five.
  • August 4, 2012
    fulltimeD
  • August 4, 2012
    Tallens
    If memory serves, there was an episode of Sea Quest DSV that had something similar to The Spy Who Loved Me example listed above.
  • August 4, 2012
    fulltimeD
    ^ I think you're misremembering. That was ecoterrorists sinking whaling ships with a rogue submarine.
  • August 4, 2012
    fulltimeD
  • August 4, 2012
    fulltimeD
    A hilarious variation could be the scene in Mars Attacks where the US launches nukes, and the Martians deploy a tiny probe that sucks up the nukes into a balloon-like compartment, in which they explode harmlessly, the balloon probe containing everything. Then the Martians smoke the radioactive remains in some king of space-bong.
  • August 5, 2012
    Tallens
    Ah, no. The Eco-terrorists sinking ships was in the first season. What I referenced there was Sea Quest DSV S3 E3 Smoke in the Water. There's a large sub in it that swallows transport subs.

    Just looked it up on Netflix.
  • August 5, 2012
    Tallens
    And Giant Maw Maneuver or Mega Maw Maneuver are the ones that seem to work best. Probably Mega.
  • August 5, 2012
    fulltimeD
    I wonder where the OP disappeared to; this is a really good trope.
  • August 5, 2012
    Tallens
    In response to the Example As Thesis complaint, here's my version.

    In a nutshell, this is when a hostile force attacks a target by using a much larger ship with large door to chase down and then "swallow" the target ship. The attackers have just performed the Mega Maw Maneuver. The reasons for using this tactic are usually as a form of piracy. Once inside the large ship, the target is at the mercy of its captors, and can be easily boarded, plundered, or seized without risking damage in a firefight.

    While certainly an interesting maneuver, it does pose several problems in Real Life. For one, the it's success hinges upon the maw ship being much larger and much faster than its victims. For another, the very real possibility of the target performing some desperate evasive action trying to get away would pose considerable danger.

    In other words, if there was any real potential to this tactic, it probably would have been tried by now.
  • August 5, 2012
    fulltimeD
    RE: Star Wars A New Hope

    Not An Example, as the Star Destroyer uses a tractor beam on the Tantive IV.
  • August 5, 2012
    fulltimeD
    ^^ very good except for this:

    "a hostile ship attacks a target by using a much larger ship"

    Read it again, it's redundant. Otherwise, very good.
  • August 5, 2012
    Tallens
    Thanks for catching that.
  • August 6, 2012
    SuperTulle
    Hello everyone, nice to see that my first YKTTW didn't sink like a rock while I was away. I'll be updating the description and examples ASAP.

    As for the name, I can't decide. How about we try a vote between Giant Maw Maneuver and Mega Maw Maneuver?
  • August 6, 2012
    Tallens
    I vote Mega Maw Maneuver.

    Few more examples:
    • A Sea Quest DSV episode had a large sub pulling this to capture UEO transport subs.
    • The last episode of Star Trek Voyager has a Borg Sphere doing this to Voyager.
    • Crusade has a heroic example, Excalibur receives a distress signal from a damaged Starfury, but an Earth senator insists they don't have time to stop, so Captain Gideon takes him at his word. He turns the ship toward the fighter so they catch it in their landing bay, all without even slowing down.
  • August 6, 2012
    fulltimeD
    A few questions about the "trope parameters," Super Tulle:

    Just to be clear, anything involving a "Tractor Beam" or similar technology IE Farscape's docking web or a graviton beam or whatever does not count, right? As your original description? Or is this flexible? Would the Star Destroyer pulling in the Blockade Runner in Star Wars A New Hope count as an iconic example? Similarly, Borg Spheres usually use tractor beams (I don't remember if the one in Tallens' example did, but I'd bet it did). There's no reason we can't exclude mechanical assistance like a tractor beam, but then again, is there a specific reason why we should? Maybe you could add something to the description like "This may or may not involve a Tractor Beam, grappler or other manipulative device pulling the ship into the maw." OR "This excludes instances where a tractor beam, grappler or other device is used to pull the smaller ship into the maw of the larger ship."

    What about a larger ship using a mechanical device like a grappling hook to pull another ship into its maw? Would that count? Or is it too similar to a "Tractor Beam"?
  • August 6, 2012
    fulltimeD
  • August 6, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Also, Super Tulle, since you're new, I don't mean to be too critical, but we tend to italicize the titles of works here (good formatting is good etiquette- someone else won't have to fix it later).
  • August 7, 2012
    Tallens
    I tried looking for an image that would illustrate this. The only thing I found was the shot of Tantive IV in the Star Destroyer's docking bay. That might work, but I think there ought to be better pictures for this, especially since we're not sure if that scene even counts yet.
  • August 7, 2012
    Tallens
    As for the tractor beam thing, my view is that it doesn't really matter as long as the scene gives the impression that one ship is eating the other.

    The Star Destroyer in A New Hope most likely used tractor beams, but I don't recall it being mentioned in that instance. I think you're thinking about the Millennium Falcon being caught by the Death Star later. Either way, I'm not sure this fits because it just looks like a standard docking to me, not starship cannibalism.

    For Voyager, Borg Sphere may have used tractor beams, but it's never mentioned and all the audience see is this gaping maw closing in on Voyager.
  • August 7, 2012
    SuperTulle
    Fulltime D: I really wasn't thinking of tractor beams when I got the idea, I think I agree with Tallens on this one, it doesn't matter as long as it looks like a ship is eating another ship. Also, I have been lurking for almost a year, but this is the first time I try to launch a new trope.

    Tallens: Thanks for trying to find a picture! I don't think the Crusade example works, since it involves a ship saving another ship by a docking maneuver, and not a hijack.
  • August 8, 2012
    Tallens
  • August 8, 2012
    Astaroth
    Does this qualify? In Homeworld, salvage corvettes can be used to capture enemy spacecraft. They are then delivered to the mothership, which uses its internal shipyard to refit them and add them to your army.
  • August 8, 2012
    randomsurfer
    See also Driving Into A Truck.

    EDIT @Tallens below: Ah, my bad, sorry.
  • August 8, 2012
    Tallens
    Driving Into A Truck is already up there.

    Anyway, I think I'm going to throw my hat in.
  • August 8, 2012
    SuperTulle
    Since we now have both boat and airplane examples, I'm going to replace "Spaceship" with "Vehicle" in both the laconic and the verbose description. I'll also try to add something about tractor beams.

    Astaroth: Do these salvage corvettes look like they are eating their salvage? If not, it is not applicable.
  • August 8, 2012
    JonnyB
    Spaceball One eates Princess Vespa's spaceship in Space Balls.
  • August 8, 2012
    Astaroth
    @Super Tulle: Regarding Homeworld, the salvage corvettes just latch onto the enemy craft, and deliver them to the mothership that does the actual 'eating', so I'm guessing that example doesn't count.

    Edit: Just thought of a much better example:

    Literature
    • In the Mortal Engines quadrilogy, most towns and cities (except those in Anti-Tractionist territories) have been converted into enormous tracked vehicles. In accordance with the philosophy of 'Municipal Darwinism', these settlements are fitted with 'jaws' that allow them to catch and dismantle other settlements and claim their resources; cities prey on towns, towns prey on suburbs, and 'statics', non-mobile settlements, are the bottom rung of the food-chain and fair game for everyone else.
  • August 8, 2012
    fulltimeD
    @Supertulle: Are you going to fix the formatting? Sorry, it's driving me crazy with OCD. I'll gladly do it if you want.
  • August 9, 2012
    polarbear2217
    Russian Doll Vehicles?

  • August 9, 2012
    Tallens
    ^^For a trope name? That brings to mind a set of smaller things that are pretty much identical and already inside the first one.
  • August 9, 2012
    SuperTulle
    @fulltimeD: What formatting? The italicization? I've honestly never noticed that, and it seems to be a rule that is rarely followed. Do it if you want to, I don't mind working less. ;)
  • August 9, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Yeah I'll do it. But it's followed more often than you might think. Don't look at YKTTW for examples of good formatting. Look at the main trope pages. This rule is followed.

    It's a good rule, it's followed more often than you think, and it saves times for other people so that they don't have to tediously fix other people's mistakes.
  • August 9, 2012
    fulltimeD
    I'm not trying to be an asshole, but it really makes the wiki look awful when people don't follow these rules.

    Also, one of the YKTTW guidelines IS "Please put some work into your YKTTW." Not saying you haven't put work into this one. It's a good trope and I'm glad you caught it. But sloppy YKTT Ws get delayed launches.
  • August 11, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Anyway it's got my hat now.
  • August 11, 2012
    SuperTulle
    Don't worry, I don't think you're an asshole. :) As I said, I've never really noticed it before, but now that I'm looking for it, I find that you're right. It does look better.

    Oh, and thanks for the hat!
  • August 12, 2012
    fulltimeD
    @supertulle: I appreciate the open mind. Number one rule on this wiki is "take constructive criticism positively and be polite even when you disagree with someone." ;)

    For those reasons this is pretty much the only internet community I participate in.
  • August 12, 2012
    fulltimeD
    I hope you don't mind but I fixed a red link in the examples list too
  • August 12, 2012
    SuperTulle
    Thanks for fixing that, I don't think I really cared about it. I'm a bit sloppy, I know.

    I'll be going away (again) tomorrow morning, and I will not have any internet connection, so it's sink or swim for this little YKTTW now. I'll be back on Friday. Good luck little Mega Maw Maneuver!
  • August 13, 2012
    Tallens
    Can anyone think of any examples from anime or literature?
  • August 16, 2012
    fulltimeD
    @Super Tulle: You should take the better name and more examples tags off, I think those conditions have been satisfied. It will probably get more hats that way.
  • August 17, 2012
    SuperTulle
    I'm back, and it seems that the mega maw sunk. I am disappoint.

    I'll remove the tags per fulltimeD's recommendation and hope it gives this little trope some extra time.
  • August 17, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Don't be disappointed. It's gathered a lot of examples and the description looks good. It'll get hats, just bump it every once in a while so folks will show it more love.
  • August 18, 2012
    SuperTulle
    I didn't even know bumping was allowed. Most forums I've been to liken it to necromancy.
  • August 18, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Don't do it TOO often. This is a very specialized forum, unlike most other web forums.Anyway, give it a few more days to a couple weeks, we'll get this one launched.
  • August 18, 2012
    Tallens
    Yes, we've put too much effort into this trope to let it go down now.
  • August 21, 2012
    Tallens
    Was looking this over and just found one grammatical error.

    "For one, the it's success hinges upon..."

    And yes, I did write that.
  • August 22, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Looking Good. With 5 hats this should be ready to launch soon. You might want to do a last minute check on the description and examples.
  • August 23, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Hey Super Tulle, if you're reading this, this is ready for launch.
  • August 26, 2012
    fulltimeD
    bump
  • August 26, 2012
    SuperTulle
    Five hats! Haha! Sorry I disappeared again, I'm moving this week and writing new tropes is kinda low on my list of priorities.

    Since it appears that the Mega Maw Maneuver is ready for launch, I'm launching it. I would appreciate your help in spreading it to the relevant works pages and I can't even begin to thank you all for your support and advice!

    Onward to glory, Mega Maw 1!
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